Whether you're a beginner or a professional surfer, in Chile you'll find the perfect wave! Visited by some of the greatest surfer from all over the world, our country is known for its quality in waves, throughout the year. Hop on that board with these tours we have found for you.
Here's a list of the best tours with Surf in their activities. To see the full list, visit our Tours in Surf
Originally from the islands of the South Pacific, surfing is a sport enjoyed by people around the world, and here in Chile, as with everywhere, it attracts a huge following.
It is a sport that requires a lot of knowledge about the element upon which it is practiced: the sea. You will learn how to predict the movement of the water, by reading its surface and its waves and currents. After mastering these basics, you will be able to "ride the waves".
In the past, the sailors of Polynesia were forced to maneuver towards the coast by surfing, but we still do not know for sure if their abilities were responsible for the direct development of this sport.
In 1777 and 1778 captain James Cook and his crew were the first to report the existence of "surfers" with long boards and canoes in Tahiti and Oahu.
In 1821, European missionaries prohibited surfing as they considered it an immoral activity. In 1920 it was revived, when Duke Kahanamoku, a famous Hawaiian swimmer, who had already introduced surfing in Australia five years before, formed the first surf club in Waikiki. Kahanamoku died in 1968, but by then the sport had gained worldwide popularity and several international competitions were being organized on a regular basis.
In 1960, the International Surf Committee was founded and based out of Palm Beach, Florida. This organization is made up of the International Federation of Amateur Surf, the International Federation of Professional Surf, and the International Surf Foundation. The first worldwide championships were carried out in the 1960s on the coasts of the United States, Perú, Hawaii, South Africa, and Australia.
Surf in Chile
Chile is a great destination for surfing, and from the Northern region to the Central region there are many beaches with the right conditions for the sport. You can surf practically all year round here, save for the middle of the winter (July and August) when weather conditions are non-conducive to surfing.
In the North, the waves are smaller, but very forceful and between Arica and Iquique, "tubes" are common. The temperature of the water fluctuates between 15º and 20ºC (59º and 68ºF). Due to the difficult conditions of the Atacama Desert, there are many unexplored, quiet beaches in this area.
In the Central Region the water is a little bit colder, and there are steeper shores and bigger waves. The Easter Island surf is not so well known. Due to the characteristics of its beaches, where the waves break on lava and coral, it can be dangerous and should only be attempted by experts.
Región de Atacama and Altiplano
- Arica: XVth region.
- Iquique: Ist Region of Tarapaca.
- Antofagasta: IInd Region of Antofagasta.
- La Serena: IVth Region.
- Pichidangui: IVth Region.
Chile's Central Area
- Reñaca: Vth Region.
- Pichilemu: VIth Region of Bernardo O'Higgins. Beaches La Puntilla, El Infiernillo and Punta Lobos.
- Easter Island
Araucanía and Lakes
- Lebu: VIII Region of Bio-Bio. Boca-Lebu sector located 2 km from the city of Lebu.
Surf in Pichilemu:
Located 126 kilometers to the Southwest of San Fernando, in the Region of the General Liberator Bernardo ÓHiggins (VI region), the beaches of Pichilemu are not only recognized by the beauty and tranquillity that offers to the visitors, but also by the excellent conditions of wind and surf, that turn it into the best place for the practice of one of the most mystical aquatic sports ever: surfing.
- La Puntilla
- Located at the front of the Park Ross, is a very extensive beach, completely equipped with restrooms, showers, dressing rooms and parking for vehicles. It is ideal for swimming lovers and surfers alike.
- These last ones must consider that in La Puntilla the wave runs very long (about a kilometer), is a consistent left, and fast with tubular sections, varying its size between one and four meters when the swell (group of waves that travels from high seas towards the coast) comes clean. Recommendable for beginners.
- El Infiernillo
- Located 500 meters to the south of Punta la Puntilla, is this black sand beach with spectacular cliffs (ideal for watching the sunset), in which it is possible to practice fishing and variety water sports.
- Recommended for more experienced surfers, El Infiernillo is a rocky point where a very hard left and tubular wave runs, not as long as in La Puntilla but much more intense. Here it is possible to be surf when the wave has a minimum of two meters of height (with less size the wave does not break or breaks to close to the rocks) and up to four meter waves are common.
- Punta Lobos
- Crossing 6 kilometers of a dirt road towards the south of Pichilemu, there is an impressive rocky point with cliffs and waves rather greater than in the places above and an extensive and beautiful black sand beach.
- This is, without a doubt, the most extreme place to surf, perhaps because the waves can reach six meters of height or a little more. It is important to indicate that is not the adequate place for novices. In order to enter the sea it is necessary to walk over rocks, cross a turbulent water channel, climb the "morros" (big rock promontories) and then wait for a good moment to dive into the sea and surf. Like the waves in La Puntilla and El Infiernillo, these also are a long left (a kilometer approximately), being useful from 2 meters and up for the same reason as in El Infiernillo.
To be considered:
The temperature of the water is very cold, therefore a wetsuit is necessary (minimum 4/3 mm thick), and booties, cap and gloves are recommended. The surfboard length recommended is from 6,5 feet for small waves in La Puntilla, to 8,5 feet for big waves in Punta Lobos.
Surfing is for everybody:
Punta Lobos promontories
To learn how to surf is something that tempts many people. They promise themselves this summer they will try to learn, nevertheless this never happens because it seems very remote, too hard to begin or because the erroneous prejudice that in Chile there are no good conditions to practice this sport. This is not so, then, take notes and let yourself go.
The minimum age to learn surfing borders the 9 years. Also if children learn to swim when they are 4 or 5, they can begin 1 or 2 years before that. Nevertheless, if you are a little over this age, don’t worry, there are people that began near their 40’s, staying in good shape until their 70’s.
The first steps (or strokes)
The beginning implies to face a new medium: the ocean; and with this, new series of rules and principles probably not experimented before. But don’t let this scare you; once used to these factors, surfing can be very rewarding.
Waiting for the best moment
You need to be a sound swimmer, but besides that, you should consider that surf demands to use certain muscles of the arms for " rowing ", muscles which you probably have not used before, reason why you will feel a little fatigue in the first runs ("rubber arm syndrome"), and after several sessions will yield to better performance.
The balance. Like in a bicycle or roller skates, in the beginning it seems almost impossible to stay on a table in movement: basically, balance will depend on the position of the feet and the use of the arms. The trick seems harder than it is, especially when a fall will not hurt more than one in roller skates.
Some basic knowledge of the waves.
Whereas there are not two equal waves, the sea behaves in a quite logical and consistent way. But it takes time to develop the capacity to interpret the surface and predict the movements to be able surf waves successively.
From the first moment you touch the water it is necessary not to fight against the sea, you have to learn to comprehend and take advantage of this forces with respect. Most amazing fact is that will not only survive, but play in the middle of the tremendous power of the waves and the currents. This is the basic joy of surfing. In addition, you get self-confidence from a medium that normally scares.
To learn the control of the table; that is to say, rowing, turns, maneuvers, sitting and also the transport to the beach, only takes a couple of hours in smooth waters (without waves, but in the sea).
When to begin
The best thing it is to begin when the climatic conditions and sea water temperature are warmest and comfortable as possible. But with good will... it can be at any time.
The water is very cold in Chile, reason why a sealed wetsuit is recommended. This will help to maintain the temperature of the body and increase buoyancy, without much loss of mobility. In summer it is possible manage it with a bath suit, but if you intend to continue practicing seriously, a good nautical article store will explain the characteristics of each suit in regard to the station or region where you wish to surf.
To choose a good surf board suitable to learning the sport, you will have to put some effort. For the two or three first times you can rent or borrow a table until you are ready to recognize what surf board is the one that you will need to continue learning. The main characteristics to consider are:
- Use a board that is in good conditions, without damaged areas in the fiber glass cover since you could get cut.
- Use a board of a length enough (7 on 8 feet) to float and to glide easily. When laying flat in the board, with you body weight evenly distributed and slightly back of the dead point, the front end of the board should not surface more than and inch.
- For protection of the others, and your own security, use a surf strap. This is an elastic cord tied to the back end of the surf board and to your ankle with a system that can freed quickly if needed.
- After some sessions you could be ready to invest in a surfboard. A good used board is suggested since your ability and the idea of what you really want of it can change several times during the season.
Choosing a suitable beach
An error common in some beginners is to ride a wave adequate only for experienced surfers, this not only represents a risk for its own integrity, but also to the others’. In order to avoid these dangers, consider the following points:
a) Choose a nice sandy beach, without rocks at the end, to avoid hitting them.
b) Look for a place where the waves form and break periodically in the same place and at a moderate distance from the beach. The wave must break smoothly and not in an aggressive form Ride the sea foam.
c) Ask, other surfers that know the beach, for details that can be useful at the time of riding the waves.
The basic things, can be explained in a book, but nothing accelerates more the learning process than an instructor that goes in with you and shows you the techniques and the basic rules of security for not getting hurt with the board. To take lessons is a good and wise investment.
Now, all this is not more than a small incentive so that you try surfing. But be careful, since like some substances, surf produces addiction.
These are some recommendations for you to go surfing safely
- You need to be a good swimmer and take lessons from a qualified instructor.
- Use a bounding strap with the surf board.
- The best way is to begin is in the so-called "smooth waters" (without waves) and by learning the basic board-controlling techniques: row, course, turns and sitting, among others.
- Choose a beach where the waves form and break periodically in the same place.
- Surf only in beaches without rocks at the bottom.
- Avoid riding a wave beyond your skills.
- Seek advice from experienced surfers who know the beach.
- Although surfing certainly requires good physical condition and a sense of balance, both can be developed with practice.
The basic surfing equipment consists of: a board and a neoprene water suit.
- The board must measure at least 6 to 8 feet, in order for you to float and row easily. Having the right board is crucial for good surfing. In the beginning, you can try rented boards until you know which one suits you best.
- The suit must be chosen according to the characteristics of the area in which you will surf. For Chilean water conditions it is recommended a 4/3 mm thick suit.
Los Morros Surf Shop
Luis Pasteur 5321, Vitacura.
Phone: (56-2) 880 44 75
Apoquindo 4900, Local 96-98, Edificio Omnium, Las Condes
Phone: (65-29) 207 65 97
Surf Science: An Introduction to Waves for Surfing
Autor: Toby Butt
The Encyclopedia of Surfing
Autor: Matt Warshaw
Collaboration: Martín García de la Huerta
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