Monday, July 7, 2014
I'm living in a very convenient location. A very convenient location indeed, because I'm just a mere overnight bus ride from the longest left in the world. Chicama; it needs to be seen to be believed. Before my first trip to Peru I knew vaguely of the wave, but arrived with little knowledge and almost no expectations. Yet what greeted me was one of the most incredible sights of my life. The huge bay of Chicama is nestled in a small fishing village on the dry and barren Peruvian coastline. It is a bay of epic proportions, framed by large dusty red cliffs and a long fishing pier. And the lines. The lines wrap with impeccable shape, beginning at the headland and stretching, ever expanding, like perfect mechanical waves, wave after wave after wave along the giant bay.
This April I was blessed with the opportunity once again to return to Chicama with Women's Surf Style Magazine, with the duty of documenting their latest Peru trip. We had the owners of the magazine, Sandra and Dan Olson, along with a group of amazing clients who had flown in from Florida. Our host, as per last trip, was the incredibly decadent Chicama Surf Resort.
The week stated off slowly as the beast was sleeping. Chicama takes a big swell to start firing, but still consistently delivers a fun peeling longboard wave. We spent our days either longboarding, or taking day trips to the neighbouring breaks like Pacasmayo (known as Chicama's sister wave, another long left that requires less swell to start working) and visiting ancient Peruvian ruins and cultural sites. Shooting was proving challenging, with the Peruvian desert giving me no breaks with its relentless sand and gale forced winds. Walking down the point to set up required a hat, sunnies, and a completely wrapped up face and ears, trying to protect myself from the sand storms. The crazy thing about Chicama though is even when the wind blows, it's always offshore, and the waves ALWAYS hold their shape.
On our last day she woke up. I jumped out of bed at the crack of dawn and ran down the point, board in arm, for a sneaky morning session. Our team spent the day surfing wave after wave down the bay, smiling from ear to ear, arms like noodles. One of our clients Bobby caught a wave that we timed to be a few minutes long (maybe two or three?). After our legs completely gave out we returned to the hotel to soak in a much needed hot tub, watching the big red sun setting across the perfect lines.
I'm forever swell watching here. Watching and analysing, waiting for the next perfect swell to coincide with some time off in my schedule. I'll be on a bus North faster than you can blink, because still in my whole life of travel, I have never experienced a wave like this.
*Look for the full story and pictures in the next issue of Women's Surf Style Magazine