Surf's up in Chile; championship competition in Pichilemu

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Promotional poster of the championship.
The famous rocks of Punta de Lobos.

The Surf Championship Competition, "Ceremonial Quiksilver Pichilemu 2010", took place on Wednesday in the Chilean city nicknamed "Capital of the Surf", Pichilemu. Waves nine meters high or larger were predicted in Punta de Lobos, six kilometers from the urban centre of Pichilemu.

Some of the most important surfers were in the championship, the South African Grant "Twiggy" Baker, Hawaiians Jamie Sterling and Mark Healey, as well as the Chilean Ramón Navarro, who won the Master Drop award last December, the 10-meters "hellish wave" in Hawaii. The weather conditions in Pichilemu have been fine recently and the tides are optimum.

"This Championship will be one of the best in the big waves circuit. We will see huge waves, like the ones that made Diego Medina [another Chilean competitor] to win Billabong XXL [...] Many of the surfers there have never seen waves like the ones of this 2010 Championship [...] I'm prepared and anxious," said Ramón Navarro to La Nación, some minutes before the competition started.

The competitors accorded to donate US$15,000 (almost 16 million pesos) to help people affected in the Pichilemu area after the February 27 earthquake. The final prize is of US$30,000.

The competitors are the following, by class: first class: Carlos Burle (Brazil), "Twiggy" Baker (South Africa), Jamie Sterling (United States), Cristián Merello (Chile), Ismael Herreros (Chile) and Alejandro Martínez (Chile); second class: Mark Healey (United States), Danilo Couto (Brazil), Marcos Monteiro (Brazil), Fernando Zegers (Chile), Pato Texeira (Brazil) and Reinaldo Ibarra (Chile); third class: Peter Mel (United States), Kohl Christensen (United States), Ramón Navarro (Chile), Cristóbal González (Chile), Fabián Farías (Chile) and Santiago Di Pace (Argentina); fourth class: Diego Medina (Chile), Greg Long (United States), Gabriel Villarán (Peru), León Vicuña (Chile), Anthony Tashnick (United States) and Ben Wilkerson (United States).

The final charts were:

# Name Country
1 Cristián Merelló Pichilemu, Chile
2 Gabriel Villarán Peru
3 Peter Mel USA
4 Jamie Sterling USA
5 Mark Healey USA
6 Greg Long USA

From the 24 surfers, just six contested the final of the championship. The Peruvian Gabriel Villarán obtained the second place, meanwhile the most-known Ramón Navarro, just managed to reach semifinals.

The final phase of the competition lasted after 45 minutes. Merelló managed to pass one of the giant waves perfectly. Diego Medina, also Chilean, received the Big Drop and Surf Spirit awards, recognition given by the other competitors.

More than a thousand people went to Punta de Lobos to attend the championship, one of them the Mayor of Pichilemu, Roberto Córdova, with some O'Higgins Sernatur (National Tourism Service) officials.

However, the tour hasn't ended, and the beaches of California, Peru, South Africa and Hawaii are left.