Punta de Lobos is the best left pointbreak in Chile. A quickly developing system off of Antarctica was producing waves well above the 25-foot minimum requirement and the 2015 Big Wave Tour season kicked off on a Thursday, April 30.
I got lucky and during my current visit to Chile, the World Surf League gave green light for the seasons first Big Wave Tour Competition in Punta de Lobos. Needless to say, I drove down — a once in a lifetime opportunity to see some of the worlds biggest waves being tamed by some of the worlds best surfers. The spot is one of the most consistent in the southern hemisphere and with a southwest swell coming in, the break peels of the Punta in perfect intervals.
One of the local heroes is the Chilean international surf star Ramon Navarro, who’s not only of the best big wave surfers out there but a committed activist, working on preserving Chile’s surf environment and supporting an ongoing crowdfunding campaign to protect Punta de Lobos, together with Save The Waves.
Ramon grew up in Pichilemu, his father was a fisherman and diver and taught him everything about the ocean. The crowds cheered the loudest whenever Ramon dropped into a wave, and he made it to third place in the competition. “The Fishersmen’s Son” is an award-winning short film about how Ramon became who he is now, an inspiring story of a young local with a bigger vision to protect the culture and environment of the Chilean coastline and surf heritage.
Just before the competition started, the first jet ski took a few surfers out to the rocks. It was sunny, the light was perfect and some of first sets coming in were a blessing to the few photographers on site.
The final lineup included Makuakai Rothman, Grant Baker, Cristian Merello, Nic Lamb, Marc Mathews and of course, Ramon Navarro. Rothman from Hawaii won the comp and had the most consistent waves. He continues his winning streak on the Big Wave Tour as the defending 2014 champ.
The crowd started cheering on every approaching set and I had an adrenaline rush during every wipeout. The riders got ridiculously close to the rocks and their jet skis often snatched them out last minute.
The admiration for mother Nature’s strength and the beauty of these giant waves being surfed should remind us all of how important it is to protect our beloved oceans and coastlines.
This story was originally published on Maptia.