Challenge Begins in Cold Barrels at El Gringo in Chile
EL GRINGO, Arica / Chile (Wednesday, Aug, 06, 2014) - Local surfers at El Gringo, in Arica, Chile proudly boast that the reef-break holds the world record for high scores, broken boards and broken bodies. The waves today lived up to their expectations for the commencement of the 2014 ASP 3-Star Maui and Sons Arica World Star Tour with cold water and heavy sets breaking in the 8-10 foot range (3-4 metres).
Even paddling out is a risk when athletes have to perfectly time their jump off of a slippery, urchin-infested rocky point. The majority of surfers opted to wear booties instead of facing the peril of going barefoot. No one was seriously injured, but the number of broken boards steadily climbed throughout the day
Gabriel Villaran (PER) came out victorious in Heat 1 of the competition and is looking for a solid result after winning the same event in 2009. Other standouts from today's action were Lucas Chianca (BRA) and Eala Stewart (HAW), who earned an 8.65 (out of 10 points) for riding the day's highest scoring barrel.
"I'm really happy to be back in Chile again," said Eala Stewart. "This is my third time here and I'm hoping to make another final (Stewart finished in 2nd place behind Anthony Walsh (AUS) in 2012). The waves are pumping and my board feels great. As soon as the contest finishes, I'm going to spend another two weeks in Chile and Peru surfing with my friends because for me, you can find some of the best waves in the world here."
Lucas Chianca (BRA) felt right at home in his introductory heat and obtained the day's highest heat total by scoring a 14.05 (out of 20 points) on his two best waves.
"I'm from Saquarema (State of Rio de Janeiro) and I'm stoked to be competing here," said Chianca. "The waves here are insane and a little similar to where I surf every day. The biggest difference is that the water here is a lot colder, but you get used to it after a while."
Other surfers who qualified into Round 2 of the Maui and Sons Arica World Star Tour were mostly from Brazil and Hawaii and included Marcos Monteiro (BRA), Paulo Moura (BRA), Eli Olson (HAW), Hank Gaskell (HAW) and local surfer Nicolas Vargas (CHL).
"I was lucky enough to catch a wave before the wind picked up and it was good enough for me to win my heat," claimed Nicolas Vargas. "Now I'm going to focus on the next round and I hope to have all the support from Chile behind me and the other Chilean surfers that will compete tomorrow (Thursday)."
A call is set for 7am (local time) when competition will resume at the 2014 ASP 3-Star Maui and Sons Arica World Star Tour. Heat 9 of Round 1 will be an all-Chilean affair with Manual Selman (CHL), Camilo Hernandez (CHL), Christian Merello (CHL) and Nicolas Undurranga (CHL) facing up against each other. The Maui and Sons Arica World Star Tour is broadcast live on the internet and can be accessed on the event banner at www.aspsouthamerica.com
Text: Gabriel Gontijo / ASP South America Joao Carvalho - jcarvalho@aspsouthamerica ASP South America Media Officer