2 flights, 2 buses and 30hrs later I’ve arrived in Pichilemu, Chile. This is the first stop of a 5 month voyage exploring the cold and powerful coastline of Chile and Peru. Only 3.5hrs south west of Santiago, Pichilemu is the the Chilean equivalent of Byron Bay though there is only one paved road through the middle of town and horse and cart are still a common method of transport. It is a very popular holiday destination for Chilean/International surfers and holiday makers alike, attracted here by the wide range of waves and relaxed vibes.
When I arrived at my hostel situated on a black sandy beach over looking a sand bottom left point named Infiernillo, the onshore was blowing hard and the surf looked ugly, 5-6ft death rides into random prongs of dry rock and kelp didn’t look particularly inviting. I had met an american backpacker and he assured me that the morning would bring glass-off perfection, not totally convinced i collapsed in my bed.
I awoke the next day to a pumping 5ft empty lineup!! I wanted my first surf in Chile to be at a nearby hotspot called Punta De Lobos, this infamous wave is 6km away and starts to break at 2ft but can handle 30ft, it is usually a few feet bigger than its neighbouring waves so i flagged down a cab and headed south. As i arrived the fog was thick and the wave couldn’t be seen until I was standing directly above it on the cliffs, I looked down and saw a hooded surfer drop into a double over head bomb set, pick his line and shoot off down the point, I couldn’t wipe the cheesy grin off my face. I suited up and stashed my clothes under a cactus then jumped/fell down the cliff to the water. The rock jump is sketchy and requires good timing. Firstly theres a paddle across a small channel to an island that is covered in Kelp and stained with bird shit. From there its a scuttle across an open rock shelf between sets and into the lineup. In front of me a local kid slips and gets bounced across the kelp beds before getting sucked into the surf.
In the lineup the waves are powerful and the water is freezing (12 degrees), next to the rocks a few sea lions are floundering about checking everybody out. After watching a few sets roll through its time to pick a few off. A medium set with a bulky shoulder pops up so I spin and go, after a fast takeoff the thing just walled for days as I raced and bashed my way down the line, 200m later I kick out and begin over frothing on my first wave in chile.
Two days on the swell really kicks in, pulsing 20ft faces, 20 sec period. I spend the morning repairing my board which is cracked down the fin box and into the rail, no surf for me today its huge and my knee needs a day off. I meet some crew at a nearby hostel and they offer me a lift to check out Punta de Lobos so I jump in the car with my camera. There are 2 guys out with 8ft guns and there charging the sets. It was awesome to see the place come to life and it can handle so much more! I’m looking forward to buying and gun and having a crack in the upcoming weeks.
The bar has been set and with the swell forecast staying consistently solid theres going to be no shortage of waves, combined with friendly locals and amazing food, I’m falling in love with Chile already.