The first event of the 2015 World Surf League (WSL) South America calendar, the Huanchaco Repalsa Longboard Pro presented by Claro and Samsung, is set to kick off February 12 at Playa El Elio, Huanchaco, in La Libertad, Peru.
In 2013, Huanchaco became part of the exclusive list of locations included in the World Surf Reserve. The beach at El Elio is a long, lefthand pointbreak that provides an ample amount of space to display an array of surfing talents.
In 2014, Atalanta Batista (BRA) was victorious in the inaugural women's event and was crowned the first WSL South America Longboard Tour (LT) champion. In the men's division, Piccolo Clemente (PER) cemented his legacy by obtaining his second South American championship (he had won previously in 2011) over former LT champion Phil Rajzman (BRA).
Clemente, who claimed the 2013 title, has consistently shown his prowess at his local break, El Elio. In the past five events held there, Clemente has made it to the Final four times. Curiously, the only year he didn't make it to the Final was the year he won the world title in China.
"This event is very important for me and for all of the up-and-coming athletes from Peru that want to qualify for the LT," said Clemente. "It's important for me to keep up my level of competition and to be in contact with other international athletes. I know that a lot of big names are coming and that the talent level will be very high, but I've been doing a lot of specialized training for the event with Renato Quezada and I hope to win again."
Clemente highlighted the fact that locally the overall talent level has risen due to the running of the Huanchaco Repalsa Longboard Pro. "Other surfers from around here have gotten really good. Proof of that was when Fernando Rodriguez (PER) got a fifth place result last year. He was able to show a classic longboarding style, which is what the judges want to see nowadays. I'm sure the event will be a great success."
Rajzman, who earned the Longboard Tour title in 2007, has made it to the Final the past two years at Huanchaco, but has yet to win the South American title in Peru. Known for his impeccable style and technique, Rajzman possesses a full arsenal of progressive and classic maneuvers that suit the waves at El Elio well.
Tony Silvagni (USA) has also confirmed his presence in the stacked draw at the 2015 Huanchaco Repalsa Longboard Pro. In addition to the international array of athletes, the local contingent increases its participation with each event and includes names like Juan José Corzo, Jean Pierre Saldana, Walter Blas and Jorge Vilcchez among others.
For the past 5 years, the Huanchaco Repalsa Longboard Pro was the only longboard event held in South America. The winners would become the continental champions and would also qualify for the championship event. However, beginning in 2015, the WSL South America titles will now be decided after two events. The Rip Curl Longboard Pro will be held July 24-26 in San Bartolo, Peru. Both events will distribute 1,000 points going toward the 2015 WSL South America Longboard Series ranking and will furnish $10,000 in prize money for the men's division and $2,500 for the women's division.
Past WSL South America Longboard Champions:
2014: Piccolo Clemente (PER) and Atalanta Batista (BRA)
2013: Rodrigo Sphaier (BRA)
2012: Jeferson Silva (BRA)
2011: Piccolo Clemente (PER)
2010: Rodrigo Sphaier (BRA)
2009: André Luiz Deca (BRA)