The next stop on the 2016 World Surf League South America calendar has been moved up from August to July in Chile. The QS 1500 Maui and Sons Arica World Star event has been confirmed for July 18-23 at the challenging reef-break known as El Gringo, in Arica.
Last year, an enormous swell bashed the contest site on the final day of the event and had to be called off due to the unsafe conditions, primarily in respect to the safety of the athletes. Scheduled to begin the Semifinals - Manuel Selman (CHL), Leo Landea (CHL), Miguel Tudela (PER) and Andy Criere (FRA) - all earned an equal 3rd place finish and split the prize money equally.
With the cancellation of the events in Saquarema and Bahia, the Maui and Sons Arica World Star is currently the longest running event held on the WSL South America calendar. Beginning in 2009, Gabriel Villaran (PER) defeated fellow Peruvian Alvaro Malpartida (PER) in the final at El Gringo. No contest was held in 2010, but Arica has been home to the event ever since. In 2011, Guillermo Satt (CHL) took out the all-Chilean final against Camilo Hernandez.
The quality of the waves at El Gringo became a magnet for surfers on the international circuit, demonstrated in 2012 by the final won by the Hawaiian Eala Stewart (HAW) against the Australian tube-hound, Anthony Walsh (AUS).
Walsh once again made it to the finals in 2013, but was defeated by Alvaro Malpartida, his first victory in Chile. In 2014, Jesse Mendes (BRA) became the first Brazilian surfer to win the Maui and Sons Arica World Star against Marco Giorgi (URY) in the final. Mendes was also the last surfer to win at El Gringo since no final occurred in 2015 because of the storm surge.
In addition to the 1,500 points valid towards the WSL Qualifying Series rankings, an added 1,000 points will be given to the WSL South America Regional Surfer with the best result. The 2016 WSL South America Regional Champion will receive automatic entry into all WSL QS 6000-10000 rated events in 2017.
So far, two WSL South America events have already been run this year. Flavio Nakagima (BRA) took an early lead in the rankings after winning the QS 1500 Rip Curl Argentina in Mar del Plata over local surfer Leandro Usuna (ARG). However, Usuna currently leads the WSL South America ranking after coming in 3rd at the QS 1500 Praia do Forte Pro, held in Bahia, which was won by Bino Lopes (BRA).