Predicting swell is the most difficult job on the planet, just ask Big Wave World Tour director and founder Gary Linden. Imagine trying to balance sponsorship deals, government permits, event staff, rescue teams and 24 big wave surfers coming from all around the globe at the blink of an eye… It’s stressful enough just thinking about it. The stars literally have to align in order for a Big Wave World Tour to go perfectly. The recent acquisition of the BWWT by ASP meant that $50,000 in prize money was at stake for the Quiksilver Ceremonial Chile, the first stop of the big wave tour for the 2013 season.
However, all of the planning going into an event like this can be nulled by Mother Nature’s everchanging weather patterns, the make or break of heavy anticipation. Unfortunately, the “green light” for the Ceremonial in Chile was turned off momments before start time, after competitors had already arrived to Punta de Lobos. The swell everyone had been waiting for didn’t fully show its face, with waves under the 25 ft minimum height requirement for the Big Wave World Tour events. In order to keep the integrity of future events, local surfers concurred with BWWT directors in a joint decision to call it off.
While fans and Chilean surfers lined up on the cliffside in anticipation, Ceremonial invitees decided to get wet and surf Punta de Lobos anyway in a four-heat Super Session. Local hero, Ramon Navarro, was awarded with the “Biggest Wave” and “Most-Critical Drop” while Cristian Merello, 2010 Ceremonial Champion, was awarded the “Best Wave of the Day.”
While ASP’s official endorsement of the BWWT begins in the 2014 season, their support meant $50k was split evenly amongst all 24 competitors. While it wasn’t 25 ft+ nor XXL worthy, it was still a classic session of powerful Chilean waves in dangerous, chilly waters.
With a solid swell sweeping it’s way up Chile’s coastline in anticipation for the event, the Quiksilver Ceremonial Chile trials were held in 12 ft Punta de Lobos. The left hand point break hosted a field of 24 surfers all battling it out for a ticket to the main event. After some crazy wipeouts and epic rides, the top four qualifiers were: Fernando Zegers, Camilo Hernández, Morris Tapia and Ismael Herrero.
Check out the video from the trials, featuring the best local big wave chargers at Punta de Lobos:
Below is an official statement from the Big Wave World Tour:
Thank you all for waiting…
The Contest was official called off due to a lack of sizable surf and the BWWT minimum requirements were not met…. In order to protect the legitimacy of the Big Wave World Tour and Professional Big Wave Surfing, the contest was called off.
The waves that should have been… never emerged. There were several competitor/organizer meeting held throughout the morning hours. After deliberations, the surfer representatives decided to run a fan pleasing four-heat Super Session versus an official Tour contest… to showcase their skills to the many adoring Chilean fans.
With a $50,000 USD prize purse provided by the ASP, the winnings were divided equally amongst the 24 surfers with a special bonus for the surfer who caught the biggest wave and the surfer who caught the best wave (highest scoring).
Ramon Navarro, a Chilean hero, was awarded with the Biggest Wave and most-Critical Drop while Cristian Merello, 2010 Ceremonial Champion, was awarded the Best Wave of the Day. Fans and surfers alike left the beach, anxiously anticipating the return of the Quiksilver Ceremonial 2014.
We look forward to the Quiksilver Ceremonial Chile in 2014!