Monday, April 6, 2009

tough chileans

work had me away from blogging and the beach last week, but i made it down to the chilean coast for the first time in my life over the weekend. it was grueling, frigid and humbling. the water is ice cold, the currents are lightning quick, and the breaks are heavy and often double overhead. punta de lobos, the longest left in chile, is probably the most demanding break i've ever seen up close. and once you wipe out, chances are you'll be swept the one or two kilometers into the shore in just a few minutes by the whitewater. at least it takes you in the right direction. we went out briefly the first day but it was so foggy you couldn't see where you were going and we couldn't figure out the paddle. then we almost went out on our third day but were too exhausted from our second day, which included hiking for more than an hour to a place called puertecillo, a gorgeous place that requires you to essentially go bouldering with your surfboard to reach the point and jump in. what most amazed me though is that all the serious year rounders in the area do windsurfing, attach kites to their surfboards, or do tow in surfing. there's just too much wind and too much current most of the time to do anything else. and a lot of the time the waves are moving too fast to get into. maybe that's why they built a three-sided bowl out of wood to skate on when the fog rolls in. here's a video of the place. check out the hike down to punta de lobos, the paddle across the channel, and the climb onto the islands. what they didn't show is the guys waiting for 20 minutes on the islands for a tiny lull in the sets to padde out.

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