SURF PARADISE IN CHILEFrom the first moment you touch the water it is necessary not to fight againstthe sea, you have to learn to comprehend and take advantage of this forces withrespect. Most amazing fact is that will not only survive, but play in the middleof the tremendous power of the waves and the currents.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Good gear helps a lot
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.
Collaboration: Martín García de la Huerta