Top seeds hit the line-up on Wednesday for Day 2 of the Maui and Sons Arica Pro Tour presented by Jeep with hefty waves in the 6-8 foot range (2-2.5 meters) at the "Coldwater Pipeline" known as El Gringo in Arica, Chile.
Australian goofy-footer Dean Bowen (AUS) has been coming to El Gringo for several years and is well aware of the risks and benefits garnered surfing at one of the most dangerous waves in the world.
After getting clamped on a lefthander early in Heat 2 of Round 3, Bowen was thrown bottom-first along the rocky reef. Contused, Bowen paddled gingerly back to the outside. That's when the biggest set of the day rolled in. Bowen was never not going. Scratching into the wave, the Australian dropped in late, got caught behind a section and was able to come out down the line in what seemed like an unmakeable ride.
"The heat was a little slow at the start but then some really good sets came," stated Bowen. "I tried to get a good one earlier, but I fell and hit the bottom pretty hard, as is common at El Gringo (laughs). But when the best wave of the day came, I was always going to go for it. It felt like I was too deep, but then it opened up and I just drove through it. It was the biggest of the day, so it was pretty unbelievable. Now that the adrenaline is wearing off, I'm feeling pretty sore, so I'm going to rest up for tomorrow."
The INKA TEAM has continued to show that the Peruvians are coming on strong with a wide array of talents from big wave to modern aerial surfing. With ties to surf-craft going back millennia, the current group of surfers has displayed that they are the next big thing to come out of South America.
On Wednesday, Sebastian Correa (PER) led the charge making it out of a hollow lefthander for an 8.50 and a win in Heat 16 of Round 2. Advancing in 2nd place was Kauli Vaast (FRA), eliminating Ricardo Cruzado (PER) and Hizunome Bettero (BRA) from the competition.
"The waves are firing and I'm so happy I caught that nice barrel to win my first heat here," said Correa. "It was so unexpected because I didn't have priority, but I was in the perfect position. All I had to do was make the drop because the wave did all the rest. So making it out of the tube and getting a high-score was a great feeling. In my opinion, this is one of the best and most difficult stops on the Qualifying Series," Correa added.
When competition resumes, Sebastian's brother, Alonso Correa (PER) will be first in the water for Heat 4 of Round 3 against Kaito Ohashi (JPN), former event winner Gabriel Villaran (PER) and the perennial threat in heavy, barreling waves, the Hawaiian Dusty Payne (HAW).
A call is set for 8:00 am local time for continuation of the 2019 Maui and Sons Arica Pro Tour Men's QS 3000.