A vast amount of time has passed since the first indigenous fishermen in Peru, the Yunga, took to the waves. For thousands of years the tradition has endured. It all started in the north, spreading down the coast and traversing the Pacific Ocean before landing at the Polynesian islands. Surfing landed there only to be brought back to Peru by Carlos Dogny Larco when he founded Club Waikiki on December 7, 1942.
The obscure history of how surfing spread across the world and the forgotten journeys of the Yunga fishermen reemerged in the second half of the 21st Century. Huanchaco, a surf-town on the north coast of Peru appeared on the international surf map in 2010 with the organization of the Huanchaco Longboard Pro, a featured event on the ASP Longboard Qualifying Series (LQS). It was at this event that the art of riding the old style tups was also promoted. That year, as well as the following several years, there were also a number of ISA events, modern world championships, at different beaches around Peru, including the Open and Junior in Punta Hermosa (2010 and 2011), the first two Stand-Up Paddleboard events in Miraflores (2012 and 2013), Longboard in Huanchaco (2013), and finally with a historical Open championship, celebrating ISA’s 50th anniversary, in Punta Rocas (2014).
New invitational championships were organized in the beaches of Chilca, San Gallán and El Hueco, offering larger prize purses and attracting top level international surfers. Meanwhile, the efforts to decentralize the competitions has continued, focusing on peripheral surf spots. A first-class WQS event has been added at Piedras Negras in the Ilo region, and two of the national circuit competitions have been held in Mejía in the south and Lobitos in the north. In the north, Chicama was the host town for the Pro Junior ASP event, and ALAS Latin America circuit held events at the surf breaks of Salaverry and Negritos.
Peruvian surfing evolved thanks to a combination of tradition, hard work and passion. By introducing a great number of Peru’s beaches to the international surfing scene, the country has been at the forefront of the sports evolution in performance and organization. The Peruvian government passed law N° 27280 for the conservation and protection of surf breaks and Huanchaco was named the fifth world surfing reserve because of its dedicated surfing community and unique history. FENTA obtained a piece of land right in front of Punta Rocas, which has enabled the construction of a high-performance training center for water sports.
In January 2010, Peru hosted both a one-star WQS event in San Bartolo and a six stars LQS (second division of the Longboard world tour) in Huanchaco, both sanctioned by the ASP. In San Bartolo, Sebastian Alarcón showed how he is practically unbeatable at his home beach, taking home the title over Gabriel Villarán. In Trujillo, local businessman Richard Navarrete initiated a campaign to ensure that northern longboard surfer Benoit “Piccolo” Clemente made it to compete in the world circuit, providing him the means to become the first Peruvian to take home a longboard world title. Over 60 surfers from all over the world competed in the championship, and Piccolo did not let the crowd down. He showed the world that he belongs to the top, by earning the silver medal after a tight final against the Brazilian Rodrigo Sphaier.
These two events set the bar high as the attention shifted to the ISA World Surfing Championships at Punta Hermosa. Held at Señoritas and Caballeros, the organization of the competition had two main goals: First, to show the world the capacity and quality of the Peruvian surf breaks. And second, to crown a Peruvian world champion. The competition in the national events in 2010 was fierce, as the Peruvian surfers fought for the limited spots (four in Men’s Open, two in Women’s Open, and two in Men’s Longboard) to represent Peru at this event.
The first test took place at the Billabong Cabo Blanco invitational. Held on the first day of the year, the lineup was full of seasoned and experienced tube-riders and fierce locals, however it was 16-year-old Cristóbal De Col that took the win. Two months later, Gabriel Villarán turned the heads of the international surfing media as he charged in the Big Wave World Tour contest at Todos Santos, México, earning a perfect score.
In March the very first championship at the recently discovered UFO’s point was held in Chilca. The 2010 Quiksilver Chilca Invitational offered some amazing, tubular waves. The contest was won by Javier Swayne. That same week, he also won the national competition held at San Bartolo. The collective self-esteem of Peruvian surfers was further increased when the movie “Twelve Pack” was released in cinemas.
On June 6, 2010, the WQS Women’s event took place in San Bartolo. The four Peruvian surfers competing in the ASP qualifying event included Sofía Mulanovich, Analí Gómez, Valeria Solé and Julia De La Rosa Toro (born in the United States, but with Peruvian nationality after her marriage to Luis Miguel “Magoo” De La Rosa Toro). Despite the Peruvians’ efforts, the Brazilian surfer Silvana Lima took top honors. Male competitors participated in the Billabong Pico Alto contest, as a part of the Big Wave World Tour. A number of exceptional international surfers showed up and it was visiting Hawaiian Jamie Sterling that took home the title.
In October 2010, the hot topic of Peruvian surfing was beyond all doubt the world championship organized by the ISA at Señoritas and Caballeros. It ran from October 19-27 and the Peruvian team was based on the 2009 team that had earned sixth place in the world championship in Costa Rica. FENTA hired Australian surf coach Dave Davidson to be in charge of the team’s strategy and moral. His approach was very clear: the Peruvian were just as good, or better, than any foreign surfer visiting Peru’s beaches to compete. His goal was to fortify the mental strength of the team, so that they could perform beyond the limits they themselves had perceived. Renato Quezada and Magoo De La Rosa also joined the coaching staff the national team was as follows:
Cristóbal De Col
Benoit “Piccolo” Clemente
Juan José Corzo
The opening of this festive world championship included the traditional sand ceremony where the 31 competing nations poured the sand of their different beaches into one glass container as a sign of camaraderie. On October 21, the very first day of actual competition, the Peruvian team was undefeated. Matías Mulanovich bested 2004 ISA world champion Hira Terinatoofa from Tahiti. It was an important confidence booster.
The second day, the Men’s and Women’s Open continued their heats in Round 2, while the Longboard division kicked off Round 1. Both Sofía Mulanovich and Analí Gómez advanced from their heats to Round 3 without any great difficulties. For the Men, Cristóbal De Col stood out with his patient and experienced surfing, beating the American Ben Bourgeois. Villarán, Matías Mulanovich and Clemente were just as successful in their heats, while Javier Swayne and Juan José Corzo were relegated to the repechage round to have a chance to advance back into the main event.
On the third day, Javier Swayne was the only Peruvian that surfed. He was seeded in the same heat with Chilean Diego Medina and he came very close to defeating him, nevertheless, the result was good enough for Swayne to advance into the next round. During this heat Caballeros had very few right-handed waves, and it was only in the very last seconds that Swayne managed to catch a left-handed wave, killing it with two great maneuvers, which assured him the points to secure the runner-up position. Hundreds of spectators on the beach cheered and applauded him, celebrating what was the first, but certainly not the last, dramatic moment of the championship for the Peruvian team.
The fourth day of the competition was basked in spring sunshine. Spirits were running high and two Peruvians were featured in critical heats: Javier Swayne and Juan José Corzo, both in the repechage rounds. Corzo was the first to paddle out at Señoritas. The longboarder faced a difficult heat in which he fought until the very end. For agonizing minutes the surfer needed a 5.00 score to advance, however his came in at a 4.97, making Corzo the first Peruvian to be eliminated from the event. Meanwhile, Swayne advanced from the fourth round of the repechage but still had to surf the fifth round that very same day. His fifth round was a difficult one in which he faced two South Africans.
At ISA world championships, it is not unusual for surfers to tactically sacrifice individual gain, for the greater good of the national team. The most common tactic is to “tag” the rival surfer, a legal practice carried out by experienced teams. The goal is stifle the tagged surfer from catching waves. This is done by taking turns in gaining the inside position of the wave, therefore gaining the position of preference. This way, the tagged surfer will have great difficulties in earning high scores. This is exactly what happened to Javier Swayne. As he was battling in third place to catch a wave good enough to put him in second or first place, he was heavily tagged by the South Africans, and as such was pushed out of the world championship.
Gabriel Villarán and Matías Mulanovich managed to advance in their Round 3 and 4 heats, although not quite as easily as before. Cristóbal De Col made it through his Round 3, but did not have high enough scores in Round 4 and fell into the repechage. Finding himself in a position of do or die, De Col showed his great capacity and strategic mind, winning Round 6 of the repechage with 14.74 points. In the next heat, he put on an even greater show. As the youngest competitor on Team Peru he defeated 1998 ISA World Champion Mick Campbell from Australia, American Mike Losness and Frenchman Vincent Duvignac with a total score of 16.60 points. Cristóbal was now only three heats from the final heat.
In the Women’s category, now in its sixth day of competition, Sofía Mulanovich and Analí Gómez dominated their heats, and both qualified for the semifinals. Piccolo Clemente did what he does best, and found himself only two heats from the final. Six out of eight Peruvians were still in the competition. Peru ended the sixth day of competition in the top position of the national team ranking for the tournament.
On the seventh and penultimate day of competition, De Col did not perform as well as the previous days and was beaten by Mick Campbell and Drew Courtney. Piccolo surfed a stressful quarterfinal where he finally came out on top, claiming his revenge on Brazilian Rodrigo Sphaier who had beaten him in the LQS final in Huanchaco. He was now only one step away from the Longboard final. Mulanovich and Gómez both won their heats in the women’s category, and they were also only one step away from the final. However, the greatest result of the day came from Villarán, who had the chance to eliminate two surfers who were fighting to gain scores in the ranking for their respective country, South Africa and Australia. To accomplish this, he had to secure his own score to pass in first place, and then put his hope to the fourth surfer in the heat, the Tahitian Hira Terinatoofa, in securing the second place. Terinatoofa did not let Villarán down, and as Matías Mulanovich also advanced in his heat, there were now five Peruvians left competing.
Wednesday, October 27, the last day of the competition, will be remembered as the re-establishment of Peru on the global surfing scene. Gabriel Villarán showed unforgettable fighting spirit as he won the silver medal in Men’s Open, only bested by the Tahitian Hira Terinatoofa who embraced the Peruvian in an emotional hug, recognizing the importance of the Peruvian team to having helped him to reach this moment. Sofía Mulanovich repeated her 2004 feat at the ISA competition in Ecuador, reaching the final where she won the bronze medal for Peru. Analí did not manage to reach the final, and secured the 6th place in the competition. Piccolo Clemente had a supreme performance, participating in his first ISA world championship final. Perhaps the most significant performance, and self-sacrifice for the total team score, came from Matías Mulanovich. In the very final heat of the repechage, having the possibility to advance to the final, he instead heavily tagged one of the Australians in the heat, Drew Courtney. By tagging him, neither Mulanovich nor Cortney advanced to the final, and Tahitian Terinatoofa, would go on to win the title. Mulanovich’s sacrifice granted Team Australia the ranking points of only one finalist, just as Peru, securing the glorious top ranking for his country.
3. South Africa
6. The United States of America
7. New Zealand
9. Costa Rica
12. Puerto Rico
16. The United Kingdom
27. The Dominican Republic
The Peruvian surfing season of 2010 had its final competition at the greatest right-hand wave in the country: San Gallán. Volcom hosted the competition, inviting the top surfers of the country and two international surfers Alex Grey from the United States and Marcelo Trekinho from Brazil. Directly afterwards, Jonathan Gubbins, a free surfer and charger, released his film “Stoked,” It reflected his passion for the search of the most perfect tubular wave across the globe. Adding to the Peruvian successes of 2010, Sebastián Alarcón and Valeria Solé were crowned champions of the Latin American circuit.
Peruvian surfers kept performing in 2011, creating and obtaining new goals. The most distinguished achievement of the year was that of Piccolo Clemente, claiming the LQS world title of Longboard in Huanchaco. To secure the title he had to defeat three Brazilians; Rodrigo Sphaier in the quarterfinals, Leco Salazar in the semifinals, and finally the great Danilo Rodrigo in the final. Piccolo was escorted to the shore by the security staff of the event as thousands of spectators celebrated the local hero.
The Peruvian juniors were also at the top of their game that summer, gaining valuable experience and confidence for the ISA World Junior Surfing Championship in Punta Hermosa in May. Miguel Tudela won an event in Ecuador at the ALAS Junior Circuit and Cristóbal De Col did the same in Chilca in the ALAS Open category. Three days later, Martín Jerí became the champion of the ALAS event in Punta de Lobos, Chile, and Carlos Mario Zapata won two of the competitions at the national circuit in Huanchaco and El Huayco in the end of March. These four surfers represented Peru in the Under 18 category.
In Australia, a crazy Peruvian surfer from Punta Hermosa won both the respect and the applauds from the most fierce and territorial surfer community in the area: The Bra Boys, the famous surfers of Maroubra Beach in Sydney. Ignacio Salazar had moved to this faraway country, and his surf adventures made him one of the first Latin-Americans to have surfed the extremely dangerous waves of Ours, south of Sydney, and Shipstern Bluff in Tasmania.
But Salazar was not the only Peruvian surfer defying the waves of the continent of Oceania. On April 20, De Col arrived to Tahiti to surf Teahupo’o for the first time. Accompanied by Americans Kolohe Andino and Evan Geiselman, this trip was sponsored by Red Bull. De Col’s first surf session at Teahupo’o was under pristine conditions, with 10 to 12-foot high tubular waves, no wind, and at the perfect swell angle. His first wave was a beast that was 10 feet high, sucking with it all the water off the reef. He caught the wave deep inside and then took a high line on the wave. It was a dreamlike performance—until a bodyboarder dropped in on the wave, forcing De Col to be swallowed up by the wave. Fortunately, he resurfaced unscathed.
Twenty minutes later, the next set of strong waves rolled in and De Col paddled intently, putting all his strength behind every stroke. Once again he caught a set wave well inside and was able to perfectly position himself with his arms outstretched. He shot across the foam in the next section and exited the great blue tube, enjoying the cheers and applauds from the people in the channel. Surfline.com later listed his wave as the best of the day.
The surf breaks Señoritas and Caballeros were once again to host a similar event to the 2010 ISA World Championship, but this time the contestants would be the Men’s and Women’s Under 18 categories and the Men’s Under 16 category. Peru was represented by 12 surfers, coached by the Australian trainer Dave Davidson, assisted by Gabriel Aramburú, Renato Quesada and Gabriel Hernandez.
Under 18 Men
Cristóbal De Col
Carlos Mario Zapata
Under 18 Women
Under 16 Men
Joaquín Del Castillo
The festivities got underway on May 21 in the Park of the Reserve in downtown Lima. In attendance was a total of 276 surfers from 27 different nations, the greatest numbers of participants ever in an ISA Junior World Championship. Things got underway the following morning with simultaneous heats in Señoritas and Caballeros. Both male categories started their respective competitions and the Peruvians were once again undefeated on day one. Seven of the Peruvians completed their first heats, the only exception being Martín Jerí in the Under 18, whose first heat was scheduled for the next day. Cristóbal De Col, the most experienced surfer amongst the young Peruvian team, earned the highest score of the day, demonstrating great skill and confidence with a 15.83, including a near-perfect 9-point ride. His aspirations to win the world title were clear from the onset.
The second day of competition the women took center stage, and again, all the Peruvian representatives advanced from their first heat. Local 15-year-old talent Miluska Tello earned an impressive score of 14.33 in her heat.
In the men’s Under 18 division all the Peruvian surfed. First out was Martín Jerí, who ended up third in a slow heat at Señoritas, becoming the first Peruvian in repechage. Carlos Mario Zapata had an important win in his second round against South African Davey Brand, Costa Rican Carlos Muñoz and Argentinian Brian Masmut. Cristóbal De Col and Miguel Tudela did what was necessary to advance into the third round. The day ended with three Peruvians in the Men’s Under 18 third round, one in the second round of repechage, and with all of the Under 18 Women and Under 16 Men in the second rounds of their respective competitions.
Tuesday, May 24, was a sunny with hundreds of spectator on the beach to watch the third day of competition. The heats were dominated by the Women’s Under 18 and Men’s Under 16 divisions with quite different results. In the Under 16 competition, three out of four surfers won their heats—Joaquin Del Castillo, Juninho Urcia and Lucca Mesinas—advancing directly into the next round, while Sebastián Correa were not as lucky and had to continue the competition in the repechage. In the Under 18 heats the roles were reversed. Only Belú Quispe advanced directly to third round. Unfortunately, Miluska Tello, Melanie Giunta and Vania Torres’ results put them in the difficult repechage, where one either advances or they’re are out.
Things turned around dramatically for the Peruvian team on the fourth day of competition. The day was dedicated only to the repechage, which meant that in in the Under 18 categories Martín Jerí, Miluska Tello, Vania Torres and Melanie Giunta went out to compete, and Sebastián Correa represented Peru in Under 16s. All surfers secured first place in their respective heats, except for Melanie Giunta, who managed a second place, but also advanced in the competition. Martín Jerí advanced through two heats, reaching the fourth heat of repechage, while Miluska Tello scored the highest heat total for a Peruvian with an impressive 16.33. At the end of the day the Peruvian team’s spirits were sky high as they maintained their role as favorites to win the world title.
If the fourth day of competition was a Peruvian party, the fifth day was a nightmare. Cold, winter weather settled in, and in the third round of Women’s Under 18 repechage, Miluska Tello and Vania Torres surfed the same heat. They managed to take first and second place to advance. Melanie Giunta also won her repechage heat to keep going. The first stumble of the team came as Belú Quispe did not advance in the third round of the main event. Being pushed down to repechage, from that moment on, with few exceptions, the results went downhill.
The first to be eliminated was Miluska Tello, who fell out of the fourth round of the repechage and ended up taking 31st place. In the Under 16 division, Lucca Mesinas was defeated in the third round of the main event and was subsequently pushed down to the repechage. Meanwhile, Sebastian Correa managed to press on in his repechage heat. Juninho Urcia and Joaquín Del Castillo scraped by in their main event heats, managing second place and securing their place in the fourth round of Under 16.
In the Men’s Under 18, Cristóbal De Col, Carlos Mario Zapata and Miguel Tudela all advanced to the fourth round of the main event, while Martín Jerí advanced to the fifth round of repechage. After that Peru’s female surfers start losing one after the other. After Tello’s elimination, both Belú Quispe and Melanie Giunta were eliminated in the fourth round of repechage, sharing the 31st place with their countrywoman. Vania Torres was the only female surfer who made it through to the fifth round of the repechage. In the Under 16, the competition ended for Sebastián Correa and Lucca Mesinas, who were also eliminated in the fourth round of the repechage, earning them a shared 25th place.
By the end of the fifth day of competition, Peru had gone from first place to seventh place in the ranking, 1,500 point behind leaders United States and Hawaii.
On for the penultimate day the championship pressure increased dramatically. It would be the ultimate test for Peru’s Junior National Team. The seven surfers still standing competed that day, and as the smoke cleared two of them had been eliminated. However, Peru had risen to fourth place in the ranking, now only 700 points behind the first place teams. In the Men’s Under 18 division, both Cristóbal De Col and Carlos Mario Zapata fell into the repechage rounds, but Zapata had his exoneration in the following heat where he beat top ranked American Conner Coffin and Australian Cooper Chapman, even as the judges discounted some points for an interference call. Zapata’s dominance in the heat fired up the Peruvians.
Miguel Tudela’s performance was excellent, advancing through both of his heats. He was now only one step from the final. Martin Jerí was eliminated in his fifth round of the repechage, giving him a 25th place finish. In the women’s division, Vania Torres started off the day on the right foot, however she was not able to keep up the strong performance in the afternoon and lost with a 13th place result. In the Under 16 division, Juninho Urcia remained undefeated, securing his spot in the sixth round, also one step away from the final. Joaquín Del Castillo performed on an excellent level, however fell into the repechage in the fourth round. He then won two heats and secured a spot in the eighth round of the repechage.
Saturday, May 28, was the last day of competition It was a cold, foggy morning as the waves were pounding in Caballeros. In the repechage final there were three Peruvians and one Hawaiian: Cristóbal De Col, Miguel Tudela, Carlos Mario Zapata and Keanu Asing. Out of the four, only two would qualify for the big final, where the Portuguese Vasco Ribeiro and the South African Davey Brand were already waiting for them. In this important heat, De Col quickly took command. Tudela and Zapata sat in third and fourth place, respectively. The objective was for two Peruvians to advance to the final, doubling the chances of a Peruvian champion. In the final minutes, De Col placed himself far out, in a strategic position to wait for a bigger set of waves. The Hawaiian was to his left, then with only seconds remaining in the heat, a set rolled in. Both De Col and Asing went for it. Since De Col had the inside, Asing had to get out of the way so he wouldn’t risk an interference call. As he left the wave, Miguel Tudela started to paddle the wave further down. De Col, perceptive of the strategic situation, left the wave for Tudela before the judges would call interference on him, and as such Tudela could make the most of the wave, chasing the final score he needed to take the second place, pushing the Hawaiian down to third. The Punta Hermosa surfer did his best on this wave, starting with a powerful, vertical turn, momentarily disappearing in the whitewater. Then Tudela emerged on his fee, completing the maneuver and continuing to rip the wave with a variety of turns, milking it all the way down to the very end.
Tudela and De Col reached the beach together. The judges deliberated the score. The Peruvians waited in silence. The judges announced the finals scores: Tudela’s last wave was good enough to beat Keanu Asing, securing him a place in the Under 18 final with Cristóbal De Col. Carlos Mario Zapata ended up in 6th place, earning important points for the national team ranking.
In the Under 16 division, Joaquín Del Castillo made it to the final through the tough repechage draw, where he joined Juninho Urcia, who had qualified for the final through the main event. They both put on a great fight against Brazilian Filipe Toledo and the South African Dylan Lightfoot. Despite the high level of the Peruvian surfers, Toledo won the Under 16 title with his aggressive and innovative approach. Lightfoot took second, while Del Castillo won the bronze medal and Urcia won the copper medal. It wasn’t a win, but they were two great achievements for the 15-year-old Peruvians.
In the last heat of the day, four surfers in the Men’s Under 18 final fought for the gold medal. Cristóbal De Col and Miguel Tudela faced Portuguese Vasco Ribeiro and South African Davey Brand. The final was a fierce fight right from the start. De Col took the lead, closely followed by Ribeiro and Brand. Towards the end of the heat it seemed like De Col would be crowned champion, however Ribeiro had caught some great waves as well and was also a possible candidate. The competitors and the spectators were held in suspense as Ribeiro had caught an important wave in the last seconds of the heat. The judges deliberated. Soon came the final announcement was made “This year’s ISA world champion is Cristóbal De Col!” The crowd broke out in a huge celebration as De Col made his way to shore. The Peruvian was carried on the shoulders of his countrymen all the way to the podium. After the medal ceremony, the celebrations reached another level as Team Peru was announced as the new junior world champion. The Peruvian National Team had won two world titles in two year!
2. South Africa
5. The United States of America
10. New Zealand
11. The United Kingdom
12. Costa Rica
22. Puerto Rico
On Sunday, June 12, 2011, one week before Peruvian Father’s Day, four boys made history at Pico Alto. Lucca Saldívar, Ian Escuza, Herbert Fiedler and Roberto Rivero challenged the 10 to 12-foot waves. At only 12 years old, Rivero became the youngest Peruvian surfer ever to have surfed the wave. The next weekend the members of the Junior National Team also surfed the same break, however this time in larger conditions. The waves were over 20 feet and Miguel Tudela, Sebastián Correa, Joaquín Del Castillo, Lucca Saldívar, Carlos Mario Zapata and Martín Jerí faced some beastly waves. The session was recorded by photographer Gonzalo Barandiarán.
The year of 2011 ended with even more medals for the young Peruvian surfers. From November 30 to December 7, the national team traveled to Manta, Ecuador, to compete in the South American Beach Championship. In the Men’s Open category, Cristóbal De Col won the gold, followed by Miguel Tudela with the silver, thus closing the best professional season for the young surfers’ careers so far. Another participant of the Junior Team, Juninho Urcia, became the youngest surfer ever to win the title of the national circuit organized by the FENTA, at the age of 16.
In 2012, the momentum kept propelling the sport forward in Peru. The national circuit of FENTA expanded its schedule to yet another beach, Mejía in Arequipa. The goal was to keep decentralizing and grow to attract more athletes every year, which had shown its importance for Peruvian sports thanks to achievements on at top international levels. While there was a great deal of organization and effort put behind the Mejía event, the waves were immense and the conditions differed greatly from the normal conditions on the national circuit. Shaking things up, it made for a thrilling spectacle for the attendees in Arequipa. Sebastián Correa took home both the title in Open and Under 18 with hundreds of spectators on the beach. Several children even asked for their first-ever surf lessons.
The most important event of the Peruvian summer was the first ISA World Championship in Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP). The event was based in the new sport SUP, where the athletes are standing up on their wide boards at all time, using a paddle to advance and maneuver. Ironically, it is very similar to how the ancient Peruvian fishermen rode and guided their tups. The ISA competition not only featured wave-riding, but also old-school paddle races and relays. Peru was once again selected to host a world championship. The competitions took place between the February 19-25, 2012, at La Pampilla in Miraflores. Brissa Málaga won the copper medal (fourth place) in SUP surfing.
While the world championship was going on in Peru, Under 18 world champion Cristóbal De Col and Sofia Mulanovich where competing in the WQS in Australia. De Col was invited by his sponsor, Quiksilver, to compete in the trials for the WCT in 2012 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast. His was up against surfers from all over the world that were sponsored by the same brand. After winning two heats he reached the final. The Peruvian started off strong, with a wave of 7.25 points, but did not manage to catch an equally good back-up ride. His combined two-wave score was good enough to get him into second place. The winner was Garrett Parkes from Australia who beat him by only one point.
Good news came when Surfer Magazine chose De Col as one of the top 100 junior surfers in the world, featuring him in their movie called “The Hot 100 Surf Movie.” De Col appeared as number 25, side by side famous rising stars such as John John Florence, Gabriel Medina, Kolohe Andino and Conner Coffin.
In June it was announcement that the runner-up world champion at the 2012 ISA World Surfing Games Peru, Gabriel Villarán, was granted the honor to carry the Olympic torch. On July 9 at 8.45 am (Peruvian time), he ran the 300 meters in four minutes, cheered on by thousands of people in the town of Milton Keynes as the torch passed through on its way to London. It was a special moment for surfers all around the world. Peruvian world champion boxer and surfer Kina Malpartida was also granted this honor.
“This will forever stay with me personally, and in history,” said Villarán. “Kina and I grew up together, and since we were children we both dreamed about being the best surfers in the world—to have become distinguished surfers and now have the opportunity to do this is the dream of any athlete.”
The same month the two Peruvian surfers carried the torch, the Peruvian Master’s National Team (older than 35 years old) participated in the ISA World Championship at Playa Colorado, Nicaragua. The team, coached by Gabriel Aramburú, performed well, managing a sixth place in team rankings. Peruvian competitors included: Rocío Larrañaga (Master), César Aspíllaga and Raúl Villa (Master), Germán Aguirre and Luiggi De Marzo (Grand Master, 40+), Magoo De La Rosa and César Aspíllaga (Kahuna, 45+), and Javier Huarcaya (Grand Kahuna, 50+). These championships are always well received, since they bring all the legends back together. At this event Peru gained its fifth ISA World Champion in Javier Huarcaya Pró, who brought home the Grand Kahuna gold medal surfing a board of his own design.
Javier Huarcaya lives with his wife, Rosalena, and children, Diego and Marco, in Carlsbad, California, in the United States, where he has installed a modern board shaping workshop. He is a distinguished surfer and had already won two ISA silver medals in 2007 (Kahuna) and 2010 (Grand Kahuna). The third time around he obtained the gold medal thanks to a flawlessly ridden tube in the last minutes of the final. With the win Huarcaya joined the list of Peruvian world champions: Felipe Pomar, Sofía Mulanovich, Magoo De La Rosa and Cristóbal De Col. Javier’s friends Raúl Villa and Germán Aguirre carried him on their shoulders as he came to shore, while he proudly raised the Peruvian flag.
From November 1-11 Lima’s beaches hosted yet another international competition. This time it was the first Bolivarian Beach Games, which were carried out at La Punta, Lake Bujama and in the waves of Punta Rocas, to be able to accommodate the needs of the numerous disciplines. Peru presented a strong surfing team, with men and women in Open and SUP, and representatives in Longboard and Bodyboard as well. The team was to compete against surfers from Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, The Dominican Republic and Venezuela. The host country brought home the title in every single category.
Gold: Gabriel Villarán (Peru)
Silver: Guillermo Satt (Chile)
Bronze: Cristóbal De Col (Peru)
Gold: Analí Gómez (Peru)
Silver: Dominic Barona (Ecuador)
Bronze: Sofía Mulanovich (Peru)
Gold: Benoit Clemente (Peru)
Silver: Tamil Martino (Peru)
Bronze: Oswaldo Borbor (Ecuador)
Gold: César Bauer (Peru)
Silver: Bryan Medina (Chile)
Bronze: José Cristiano (Ecuador)
Men’s SUP Surf
Gold: José Gómez (Peru)
Silver: Rafael Tapia (Chile)
Bronze: Jose Luis Magra (Venezuela)
Women’s SUP Surf
Gold: Brissa Málaga (Peru)
Silver: Michelle Soriano (Ecuador)
Bronze: Trinidad Segura (Chile)
Men’s SUP Sprint Race
Gold: Tamil Martino (Peru)
Silver: Colin Saunders (Ecuador)
Bronze: Rafael Tapia (Chile)
After her great results in the Bolivarian Games, Analí Gómez achieved another great feat when she secured the title of the Latin American Circuit organized by ALAS in December. This win placed her 24th in ranking of the Women’s WQS (second world league). The surfer from Punta Hermosa competed in all 10 events during the year, which added up to 3,469 points in total. Her goal was set on making it to the absolute top of female international surfing.
Mark “Makki” Block Dietschi grew up right in front of the wave Peñascal in the north of San Bartolo. He hosted surfers from all over the world at his Hotel Kahunas, located by the most potent wave of the beach. He was the only son of Pitty Block, one of the forerunners of Peruvian surfing. At the end of 2011, Block had started to experiment with an all-terrain GoPro camera, taking photos and filming himself in the water. He was shared the footage on social media, his strength as a surfer evident in the videos, riding tubular waves up north or the immense waves at his home break Peñascal. He would also share videos of kitesurfing, a sport similar to surfing and windsurfing. He enjoyed “kiting” when he was up north visiting his elderly father Pitty in Máncora. Makki Block was almost 40 years old when he discovered this new hobby of his—filming and editing his sessions.
In June 2012, he left for the Easter Islands, accompanied by a small group of surfers and photographers, including his friend from San Bartolo Tamil Martino and the photographers Piero Marotta and Daniel Balbuena. The four of them explored the island and its waves for a week. There were heavy rains almost all week, but also a lot of enjoyment at some breaks where they found great left-handed tubular waves, as well as some small right-handed ones. They represented their hometown San Bartolo with style. The trip was documented for Olasperu.com.
A month later, on July 26, Makki went out to surf in Peñascal. His friend, local César Barthelmess, joined him in the water. Block’s board had a circular base on the point, with a small metal rail where he attached the GoPro. He did not use the camera that day, so the base and the rail were both exposed. On one of his waves he fell and received a hard blow to his head from the point of his board. He went unconscious and was not able to breath for several minutes. When Barthelmess realized what had happened it was already too late. The Ecuadorian surfer Andrés De La Torre saw the accident from the beach and entered the water to help Barthelmess.
The entire country mourned the tragic death of Makki Block. One of the most important Peruvian surfers had lost his life doing the sport he loved. His passing was all over the news and print media dedicated emotional articles to him as a mean to say goodbye. His surfer friends paid tribute to him in the waters of Peñascal on Saturday, July 28. It was the 191st anniversary of Peru’s independence. Makki will always be remembered for his performances in the WQS during the ‘90s, traveling with his great friend and teacher Magoo De La Rosa, his historic final in the ISA Junior World championship in Japan 1990, his style and class surfing the waves of Peñascal and the tubular waves in the north, and last but not least, his great smile and enthusiasm. His noble spirit will continue in San Bartolo for all eternity.
Only a couple of months later, in October, the Peruvian surfing community was once again struck with grief as Fernando “Wawa” Paraud passed away in his wooden house at Nonura. He had decided to move to Mancora to comfortably manage a hotel there. Later, he moved to the impressive Illescas peninsula, where he dedicated his time to photographing and filming the beautiful nature around him. His legacy can be found in some unforgettable surf sessions at Pico Alto, where he was crowned the first-ever champion, and his adventures and practicing different aquatic sports along the coast of Talara, such as kitesurfing and spearfishing. Towards the end of his life he dedicated himself to the welfare of the environment.
While there were not many international victories during 2013, there were plenty of achievements on a national level. In January, Cristóbal De Col won his second title at the Billabong Cabo Blanco Invitational, three years after his first one at the humble age of 16. Analí Gómez once again defeated Sofía Mulanovich in the three-star WQS event, the Rip Curl Girls Pro, in San Bartolo. Meanwhile, Álvaro Malpartida took home the title at the Quiksilver UFO’s Point in Chilca. A couple of weeks later, he won another championship at that very break; an invitational tow-in event arranged by O’Neill. His winning streak continued, and he secured first place in both the Peñascal Classic Copa Boz, an event organized in the memory of Makki, in beastly sized waves, and in the …Lost El Paso Invitational. Malpartida was on his way, with great speed and confidence, to the most important title of his career.
Between February 24 and March 2, Miraflores hosted the second ISA SUP World Championship. Peru’s streak continued as Tamil Martino won the silver medal in SUP surfing, while José Gómez ended up in sixth place. Rocío Larrañaga collected two bronze medals in the categories of prone race and the marathon paddle race. Luis Escudero also made it to the podium, earning the copper medal in prone race and the marathon paddle race. Brissa Málaga earned herself a fifth place in SUP surfing, and as a team, Peru won the copper medal (fourth place).
In June, Álvaro Malpartida traveled to Arica, Chile, to compete in the new three-star WQS event Arica Pro Challenge at the demanding surf break of El Gringo. The Peruvian delegation, consisted of Gabriel Villarán, Carlos Mario Zapata, Martín Jerí and Malpartida. They arrived at the competition brimming with confidence. Villarán, Jerí and Malpartida all made it to the quarterfinals. In the quarters, Villarán and Jerí had to compete against each other to advance. Villarán put on a tube-riding clinic to advance to the semifinals. It seemed likely the 2009 final was bound to repeat itself with both Villarán and Malpartida in the semifinals. Unfortunately, Villarán lost against Australian Anthony Walsh, while Malpartida beat Uruguayan Marco Giorgi. El Gringo, usually filled with tubular waves, showed different conditions for the final heat, but Malpartida surfed strategically, winning with a close margin thanks to his surfing intelligence. This was his first win in a WQS event, thus granting him his revenge for the final in 2009.
Towards the end of 2011, the experienced surfers of the Club Kahunas in Huanchaco and passionate foreign surfers, amongst them the English citizen Caroline Warwick Evans, filed a proposal to grant Huanchaco the status of a World Surfing Reserve. It would be an important step to preserve the beach town’s waves and historic surfing culture. The Club Kahunas secretary, Carlos Antonio Ferrer Calderón, was chosen as the liaison with the Save The Waves Coalition, and prepared and filed the documentation to the global conservation program World Surfing Reserves (www.worldsurfingreserves.org) on February 21, 2012. The fishermen and surfing community of Huanchaco were represented by the Club Kahunas of Huanchaco, the Huanchaco Municipality, and the Surfing League of Trujillo. The process of including Huanchaco in this global program had three stages: nomination, approval and dedication. An incredible effort was put behind the application and it received the nomination (first step) on April 21, 2012.
In order to attract sponsors to support the founding of the reserve, Felipe Pomar planned a very special challenge: The Paddle Race for the Peruvian Waves. The 70-year-old’s goal was to break his own personal record, set in 1962 at the limber age of 19. The challenging long distance paddle race started on the beach La Herradura and ended right in front of the clubhouse of Club Waikiki. Sponsored by MAPFRE, and also receiving support from Club Waikiki, the Huanchaco Municipality, the Surfing League of Trujillo and FENTA, The Paddle Race for Peruvian Waves took place on April 27, 2013. Seasoned surfers and the participants of the Peruvian National Surf and SUP Teams all participated.
In 1962, Pomar won the race for the first time with a time of 41 minutes and 30 seconds. More than half a century later he managed to cover the distance in 44 minutes and 9 seconds. With this achievement Felipe Pomar showed his support for the World Surfing Reserve in Huanchaco, the cradle of surf. At the same time he also made a request to the authorities to approve law N° 27280 to protect surf breaks.
“Surfing is a beautiful sport that lets us exceed physically, improve our health and free our spirits,” said Pomar as he got out of the water. “Because of this, it’s an extraordinary sport that allows us to rejuvenate ourselves, and to live and enjoy life longer.”
While in Huanchaco there was an ongoing fight to conserve their waves and culture, a little bit further north in Chicama, a Peruvian surfer managed to break a Guinness’ World Record. On the August 25, 2013, Cristóbal De Col, backed by his sponsor Red Bull, made his entry in the famous book for having made the most maneuvers with in a board, on one long wave. Cristóbal performed an astonishing 34 maneuvers during 2 minutes and 20 seconds.
“I was counting… My entire mind was focusing on that very moment,” said De Col. “As I reached 25, I gave it my all!”
The Guinness World Record has been in print since 1955 and has an incredible global spread. Currently it is available in over a hundred countries, in 20 different languages.
The morning of the 11th of July, 2013, Walter Braedt and José “Titi” De Col met up at the San Bartolo airfield to fly to San Ramón in the Peruvian jungle to visit a property that Braedt wanted De Col to design and develop. De Col was one of the foremost architects in the country and Braedt was the CEO of the meat producer Braedt. He had just closed a strategically strong deal with the Mexican group Alfa, who controlled 50% of the Mexican meat market, and he had invested his earnings in real-estate and reforestation.
They had been friends all their lives and shared a passion for the sea and surfing. A bit after 9:00am the plane took off. Piloted by Braedt with De Col serving as co-pilot, they flew over the Huarochirí region. As they were flying the plane suffered technical issues which resulted in a crash that ended the lives of the two friends. It was unexpected and left a huge vacuum. De Col, a two-time national champion, was an excellent father and surfer. He and his wife, Marcela Monge, made sure that their family grew up by the sea, building a house in Los Órganos, Piura. The northern waves shaped their children Cristóbal De Col, world champion, the excellent surfer Nadja De Col and the young Noah De Col, who is also expected to perform well in the sport of surfing. Walter was also a surf-fanatic, and in addition to surfing he also snowboarded, canoed, rode mountain bikes, motocross, kitesurfed and paraglided.
On Monday, September 2, another important surfing icon lost his life. Author and journalist Oscar Tramontana Figallo passed away due to a heart attack in his home in Santiago de Surco, Lima. Tramontana was the editor of the most important surfing news portal in Hispano-America, Olasperu.com, where he worked for 12 years. His influence in surfing included researching and spreading the incredible stories of the sport. He covered the ISA World Championships, Sofía Mulanovich’s campaign to become world champion, and helped train a new generation of writers and journalist interested in one of the most successful sports in the country.
One of the unfinished works of Tramontana was this very book, which contains unpublished research from the hypothesis of the first men to create a one-man surf craft, to the great tradition and the success story that is modern Peruvian surfing, and the supreme role of our surfers in the evolution of the sport internationally. The charisma and commitment of Tramontana will live on through both Olasperu.com and in this monumental literary work.
The last three months of 2013 was a never-ending party for the surfers of Huanchaco. First, the ISA World Longboard Championship, the first modern longboard championship, was organized between the 22nd and the 28th of September. Representatives from 22 different countries came to compete in three categories: Men, Women and Mixed Junior (Men and Women). The four competing Peruvians all made it in the top ten 10 in their respective categories, with Piccolo Clemente and Juan José Corzo as sixth and seventh place, respectively, and Karen Mendiguetti in fifth place. The big surprise of the event was Lucas Garrido Lecca, who managed a seventh place in the Mixed Juniors. The team finished ranked as sixth in the tournament.
One month later, on October 26, Huanchaco celebrated its official acceptance as a World Surfing Reserve. The grand celebration included Caballos de Paso on the beach, magnificent horses who dance together with their human partner, coordinated displays of caballitos de totora amongst the waves, and of course, with a whole lot of surfers on the beach. 1965 surfing world champion, Felipe Pomar, travelled all the way from Hawaii to participate in the festivities. And the champion from 2012, Javier Huarcaya Pró, came to Huanchaco from California. The universal attention on Huanchaco as it was named a World Surfing Reserve supports the theory that Peruvians were the first to have ridden waves on one-man surf crafts. A beautiful statue of a Chimu Guardian of the waves (pre-Incan Peruvian culture) was raised on the boardwalk to celebrate becoming the fifth World Surfing Reserve and the first in Latin America. Huanchaco joined Manly Beach in Australia, Ericeira in Portugal, and Santa Cruz and Malibu in the United States. At this ceremony Felipe Pomar was named lifetime guardian of the reserve.
President: Fernando Bazán Pinillos
Vicepresident: Juan Carlos Ferrer Calderón
Secretary: Bernardo Alva Pérez
Treasurer: Alfredo Gamero Jacobs
Directors: Saara Velander, Javier Fernández Urbina, Fernando Rodríguez Taboada, Alonso Venegas Espejo
Ambassador and guardian of the reserve: Felipe Pomar Rospigliosi
Representative: Carlos Antonio Ferrer Calderón
The celebrations of Huanchaco culminated in November, when local surfer Benoit “Piccolo” Clemente traveled to China to compete in the final event of the World Longboard Championship, the Riyue Bay ASP World Longboard Championship from November 25-29. The event took place at a beautiful left-handed point break off Hainan Island. Clemente won his first heat, directly qualifying for Round 3, where he also was victorious. In his fourth heat he ended up in third place, but fortunately it was not an elimination round. He advanced to the fifth round where he bested New Zealander Thomas Kibblewhite by a mere 0.70 points.
In the quarterfinals, Piccolo defeated Timothee Creignou from France with an even smaller margin, 0.15. A win’s a win and it put Piccolo into the semifinals. There he had to face off with yet another Frenchman, Antoine Delpero, who was a strong candidate to take home the title. The Peruvian surfer dominated the heat from beginning to end, showing his determination to take home the world title.
In the final he met Rodrigo Sphaier, his old Brazilian nemesis from the championships in Huanchaco. Clemente defeated Sphaier with a score of 13.60 points (7.50 + 6.10), against the Brazilians 12.25 points (6.50 + 5.75). Piccolo Clemente is the first male Peruvian ever to have won a world title according to the rules set by the ASP (presently known as World Surf League). With this spectacular achievement in China, Piccolo rounded out an amazing year where he became national champion of the FENTA, Champion of the Bolivarian Games, and finally longboard world champion of the ASP.
Piccolo Clemente won again the WSL (former ASP) World Longboard Championship in 2015, becoming the first Peruvian ever to win a professional world title twice. Clemente is now one of the most important longboarders on the planet. In November 2016, he placed 5th in the World Longboard Championships, losing to Brazilian Rodrigo Sphaier in the quarterfinals.
The 5,000 glorious years recounted in this book will serve to strengthen the image of Peru as an international power in this marvelous sport. New generations of talented and disciplined surfers will enjoy the privilege and honor of discovering new challenges and greater achievements for their country. There is no longer any doubt about the talent of Peru’s surfers or its extraordinary waves. It is a banner of triumph and accomplishments. It is up to the new, young surfers to defend the winning tradition established by legends such as Héctor Velarde, Felipe Pomar, Sofía Mulanovich, Magoo De La Rosa, Cristóbal De Col, Javier Huarcaya, Piccolo Clemente and Analí Gómez.
In 2014, we have seen how the surfing media worldwide turned their heads at Punta Hermosa local Miguel Tudela’s performance in Hawaii, the United States, Europe and Latin America. We have seen a young Lucca Mesinas, from Máncora, showing great quality in his first international adventures, obtaining a bronze medal in the ISA World Junior Surfing Championship of Ecuador, and being victorious in ALAS events and the competitions of Pro Junior ASP, with the skill of a seasoned surfer. In the professional Latin American circuit ALAS, Joaquín Del Castillo and Sebastián Gómez from Punta Hermosa were successful in Pro Junior and SUP, respectively. We also have Juninho Urcia from Huanchaco, a direct descendent from the Yunga fishermen, who managed a historic qualification for the Pro Junior world championship of the ASP. The event took place in Ericeira, Portugal, where Juninho together with Miguel Tudela and Miluska Tello from Punta Hermosa, where all of them tried to best Analí Gómez silver medal from the 2006 edition of the same event. The national team performed with excellence in the South American Beach Games in Venezuela, in the ISA China Cup on the island of Hainan, and in the Bolivarian Beach Games in Huanchaco, bringing home three gold medals as a team and on top of that various gold, silver and bronze medals on an individual level.
On top of that, the Peruvian beaches, federation and private companies have shown that we are ready to organize top level international surfing events. Peru has hosted the World Championship Tour (WCT) for women, the Big Wave World Tour, regional events of the World Qualifying Series (WQS), the regional Qualifying Series for Longboard, regional Pro Junior events, eight ISA World Championships, the Bolivarian Beach Games, the Latin American circuit by ALAS and fascinating and spectacular invitational competitions in challenging and intimidating waves. These achievements have laid the basis for the new structure of Peruvian surfing, as a leading country in Latin America, and one of the most important countries in the world for its unique and marvelous tradition.
The Ministry of Exterior Commerce and Tourism (MINCETUR) decided to do a market study of surfing’s impact on tourism in the country. The results show that Peru received 44,448 foreign tourists annually that spend an average of 18 days on our beaches. There were 363,470 domestic trips within the country for the purpose of surfing. The most interesting finding, however, is that the amount of surfers worldwide increases every day. According to the International Surfing Association (ISA) there will be 47 million surfers in 2020.
In 2015, a study will be presented in Huanchaco. It has been promoted by the Save The Waves Coalition (California), Center for the Blue Economy of the Monterrey Institute (California) and Desarrollo y Gestión Costera (Coastal Development and Management, Peru). The surveys show that 69% of the international tourists visiting Peru’s beach town do so because of surfing.
These market studies show how important it is for the Peruvian authorities to take responsibility and protect the beaches and surf breaks. Surfing tourism has the potential to greatly develop the economy in many of the coastal regions of the country. Take Costa Rica for an example, 25% of their total tourism revenue comes from surfers.
As we were finishing this book, Peru managed to win its second team world title in the Open category. The Claro ISA World Surfing Games 2014 took place at Punta Rocas, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the International Surfing Association (ISA). From October 24 to November 1, Peru hosted yet another world surfing championship and the Peruvian team were the favorite for the gold. The strategic head coach was the experienced Australian trainer Martin Dunn, assisted by Gabriel Aramburú and Renato Quezada. From the very first days of the championship, with excellent waves, all the Peruvian representatives proved why they were ranked as favorites.
However, during the final days of the event, bad luck struck in combination with some faulty strategic decisions which reduced the number of Peruvians in the competition from six to two. Sebastián Alarcón, Cristóbal De Col, Joaquín Del Castillo and Gabriel Villarán competed in the Men’s category, and Melanie Giunta and Analí Gómez in the Women’s category. Only Joaquín Del Castillo and Analí Gómez managed to make it to the final day of the historical championship, and of the two of them only Gómez made it to the final. Del Castillo lost in the last heat of the repechage.
As a team, Peru was ranked second on the final day, only bested by Australia, who had four competitors in the finals (two in the Men’s category and two in the Women’s category). Peru only had Analí Gómez. Despite these terrible odds, there was a miraculous turn of events. Analí Gómez was victorious in her final, while the Argentinian surfer Leandro “Lele” Usuna took home the men’s title. The four Australians ended up in third and fourth place in both finals, and as such Peru had enough points to jump to first place, defeating Team Australia by only 62 points. The final results were as follows: 1. Peru with 11,402 points, 2. Australia with 11,340 points, and 3. Argentina with 10,922 points.
It is difficult to imagine what the future has in hold for Peruvian surfing. We have the confidence to achieve great things and the passion for riding waves every time we enter the water. This has been solidified during 5,000 years of history, including great challenges and beautiful moments. Maintaining Peruvian surfing in the international top ranking will continue to be the task of surfers, political authorities, private investors and the media. How the next couple of pages in our surfing history will be written is completely up to the next generation of Peruvian surfers.