Billabong Pico Alto

Pico Alto Yellow Alert Called Off

UPDATED: July 18, 2015

After monitoring the progression of the storm system in the Southeast Pacific ocean, Big Wave Tour commissioner Peter Mel has decided to call the Yellow Alert OFF for the Billabong Pico Alto event. With a waiting period through August 31, 2015, there is still plenty of time for the events in both Peru and Mexico to take place and the BWT team is optimistic about its chances.

High Stakes, Huge Peak: Billabong Pico Alto
Get pumped for Peru's Big Wave Tour stop the Billabong Pico Alto.

"After monitoring the seas from the storm as it moved off the coast of Antartica, the data showed it came slightly under forecast," said Mel. "The main fetch of the storm was directed south of Peru, so would really affect the size and consistency of the waves. We've decided to put the contest back on standby and wait for a better day.

"We have six weeks left in the waiting period. I'm confident we will get an opportunity to run the Billabong Pico Alto or Puerto Escondido Challenge."

Storm activity originally alerted Surfline experts to a massive swell headed for the coast of Peru, causing Big Wave Tour Commissioner Peter Mel to issue a Yellow Alert for Tuesday July 21, 2015. And though early indications of swell height were positive, Surfline did note that a high pressure system close to the storm could have prevented it from tracking north to Peru, sending swell to Chile instead.

Surfline Forecast:

The primary swell of interest will be for early next week. Current model guidance has solid SSW/S swell building in quickly on Tuesday and peaking through the afternoon with 9-10' of deepwater swell at 16-18 seconds. That would produce breaking waves in the 20-30'+ range on the face, with the largest sets of the day potentially up to 35-40' faces.

When a Green Alert call is made the world's best big wave surfers have 72 hours to collect their boards, wetsuits and courage before competition gets underway in an event location. Reigning Big Wave World Champion Makuakai Rothman (HAW) began his title campaign with a win at last year's event in Peru, the only event completed in the first half of the 2014 BWT window.

Rothman's Impressive 9.40 in Pico Alto Final
Reigning Big Wave World Champion, and last year's event winner, Makuakai Rothman made an unbelievable drop in the Final.

Should the event run it will be broadcast LIVE on the World Surf League homepage and WSL App. The following surfers have received invitations to compete alongside the BWT Top 10.

BWT Alternates
Carlos Burle (BRA)
Kohl Christensen (HAW)
Ken Collins (USA)

BWT Wildcards
Josh Kerr (AUS)
Shane Dorian (HAW)
Ramon Navarro (CHL)
Jamie Sterling (HAW)
Ben Wilkinson (AUS)

Event Alternates
Jamie Mitchell (AUS)
Ryan Hipwood (AUS)
Albee Layer (HAW)

Event Wildcards
Miguel Tudela (PER)
Sebastian Correa (PER)
Alejo Loret De Mola (PER)
Sebastian De Romana (PER)
Luis Gomez de la Torre (PER)
Cristian Merello (CHL)

Event Alternates
Fabio Castagnino (PER)
Carlos Mario Zapata (PER)
Jamie Venegas (PER)

Video Qualifiers
James Taylor (ZAF)
Trevor Sven Carlson (HAW)

Video Qualifier Alternate
Nic Vaughn (USA)

The swell event at one point had potential to send waves to Mainland Mexico for the Puerto Escondido Challenge. Mainland Mexico has already delivered its fair share of submissions to the 2016 Big Wave Awards, however, and could see more if the forecast delivers.

Rodrigo Koxa at Puerto - 2016 TAG Heuer Wipeout Entry
Rodrigo Koxa finds a lot of open space under his surfboard at Puerto Escondido. Video by Adam Hayward.

The successful completion of the first event of the 2015/2016 season, the Quiksilver Ceremonial at Punta de Lobos, Chile has BWT organizers extremely eager to see another event in the books.

Check back on the World Surf League homepage and WSL App for the latest call and don't miss the exciting conclusion of the J-Bay Open LIVE through July 19.