Quiksilver Ceremonial

Punta de Lobos Goes Green: BWT Heads to Chile

Quik Ceremonial: Trailer
The 2015/2016 Big Wave Tour season kicks off Thursday, April 30 with the first event of the year.

With a potentially historic swell for the Quiksilver Ceremonial, the Big Wave Tour (BWT) has given the first green light of the 2015/2016 season. A quickly developing system off of Antarctica is on track to produce waves well above the 25-foot minimum requirement for a BWT event. Preparations are now underway to run Thursday, April 30, which would allow just enough time for surfers to make the 2015 Big Wave Awards Friday in California. The timing means that there will be just 24 hours between the crowning of the big wave season's first event champ and the crowning of the 2014/2015 World Champ, Makuakai Rothman (HAW). The Ceremonial will not be broadcast live but big wave fans can keep up with the event with real-time updates and on-demand video highlights.

"This is not unusual," BWT Vice President Gary Linden said of the early start to this year's BWT. "Traditionally we look to Chile for the opening of the season since it's still fall there. There are clean conditions and good swells so we opened in April to make sure we didn't miss it."

The 24-man field for the Quiksilver Ceremonial Chile will be comprised of the BWT Top 10 as well as six WSL wildcards, six event wildcards and two qualifiers from the 2014/2015 season. The 2015/2016 BWT includes potential contests in Chile, Peru, Mainland Mexico, Baja California, Hawaii, the Basque Country and the Pacific Northwest and features big wave icons such as Grant Baker (ZAF), Greg Long (USA) and Rothman, among others, as they battle one another in the biggest surf on the planet.

A team of experts track swell systems all over the world, waiting for those that will produce waves bigger than 25 feet for one of the seven world-class breaks. The most recent forecast from Surfline is as follows:

chile forecast Surfline's Official Forecast for Punta de Lobos, Chile. - WSL

Looking at the forecast charts this storm checks off just about all of the boxes for an XXL swell: very intense, with model guidance indicating central low pressure will drop to between 928-936mb, with adjacent 1024mb high; extra large and especially wide fetch; takes an excellent track toward central Chile; and good agreement amongst our more trusted global weather models that this will be a monster storm that will generate a vast area of 40-50'++ seas within 2000 miles of Lobos.

Assuming this storm behaves as forecast model guidance indicates, we will see an XXL, long period SW swell (215-235) build in all day on Thursday the 30th, likely peak in the afternoon, and then slowly wind down on Friday the 1st. This would very easily meet the minimum standards for the event to run and could very well produce solid 20'+ swell. On paper it one of the more impressive storms/swells I have seen in a while, we just need it to come to fruition in the real world.

Hobgood's Harrowing Chilean Paddle In
Damien Hobgood finds a giant left at Punta de Lobos during a 2014 freesurf. The wave earned him a Big Wave Awards Paddle-In nomination.

"The swell that's coming in is predicted to be one of the biggest we've seen in a long time," said Linden. "We'll look to get started around 10 a.m. but will push it later if we can. The timing is a little late -- it's supposed to be bigger in the afternoon -- but it should make for a fantastic Final."

It's a busy week for big wave surfing. After the conclusion of the Quik Ceremonial, the world's best chargers will head to Anaheim, Calif., for the 15th Big Wave Awards Show. Check out the on-demand features for the Quiksilver Ceremonial Thursday, April 30 using the WSL App. Then watch the Big Wave Awards LIVE at worldsurfleague.com Friday, May 1.

Quiksilver Ceremonial Invite List:

  • Makuakai Rothman
  • Gabriel Villaran
  • Nic Lamb
  • Anthony Tashnick
  • Nathan Fletcher
  • Grant Baker
  • Natxo Gonzalez
  • Carlos Burle
  • Miguel Tudela
  • Kohl Christensen
  • Alex Gray
  • Josh Kerr
  • Damien Hobgood
  • Ramon Navarro
  • Marcos Monteiro
  • Mark Healey
  • Jamie Sterling
  • Mark Mathews
  • Christian Morello
  • Diego Medina
  • Fernando Zegers
  • Federico Mekis
  • Reinaldo Ibarra
  • Koa Rothman


  • Ben Wilkinson
  • Frank Solomon
  • Ken Collins
  • Will Skudin
  • Rafael Tapia