Why? Lefts, power, South American anarchy.
What you need? Warm gear, a bit of Spanish.
Boards: Length, heavier glass, strong leashes.
Also: Try to stay off the cocaine if poss
Get there: Flights to Santiago this summer starting around €850
What’s the word in Spanish for heavy waves? That’s what you are gonna definitely get in Chile. Big, thick heavy surf during their winter months. You’ll need all the bravado you can pack and the long pintails to go with it. Extra thickness and glass is a must rather than a luxury. Ever wonder how Ramon Navarro or Diego Medina got so so good in the big stuff? Chile’s got XXL juice on tap.
Add in the cold Humboldt current factor, the remoteness of it all and there you have it: one of the most hardcore destinations in the Southern Hemi. Apparently even the World Tour stars asked the ASP to avoid this kind of destination after the Rip Curl Pro Search Arica 2007 in favour of somewhere a bit more… mellow.
Chile has 4300km of surfable coast granting you enough options to find either exposure to or shelter from the gnarl, even if you are limiting yourself to the northern tip of the country, which holds most of the famous breaks. Spot-wise, Chile has probably the biggest number of relatively unknown world-class breaks on the planet, mostly lefts. The surfing population has skyrocketed the last few years, so don’t expect to be pioneering any new waves in the country, even in the deep south, and surprisingly some line ups in the central region can be a bit tense. But Chile, being under the Latin American influence, doesn’t see that many early surf risers. Still, you’ll experience good value and a true old fashioned adventure. Chile is a great opportunity for a long road trip, complete with male bonding and high adrenaline. But it’s not all balls and bravado; as Derek Hynd once observed, “Chilean women are the best looking in the world…”
Only one way to find out.