Since the very first time I picked up a surfing magazine, and for as long as I can remember, I have always dreamed of heading to Northern Peru to surf Chicama, the world´s longest wave.... Well, 15 years later, this dream finally came through - and not only did it happen, but I was able to share it with my two best friends - I could not have asked for a better experience.
So I left Mancora, heading South on an overnight bus to Trujillo to meet up with Paul and Jordan who were doing the same thing, except heading North from Lima. The timing was practically impeccable. Though we didn´t arrive at the same bus terminal, they got in a half hour before I did, which made it easy for them to meet me at my terminal. Starved and fatigued from the overnight (bumpy) ride, we were so pumped to get to our destination, Chicama, which was still a hour and a half away by taxi.
A good friend of ours from High School, Ines, who now lives in Lima had put us in touch with a friend, whose dad owns a resort in Chicama, which was apparently
very nice and right by the break. To make things even sweeter, she hooked us up with a nice discount, which, she assured us, would be a great deal. THAT IS THE UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE CENTURY. The place was unreal! I´m talking 5 star accomodation, all meals (3 courses each) included, board rental, walking distance to this world´s first class break and the most attentive staff who would take care of every one of our needs, from custom massages, to hanging up our wetsuits, to waxing our boards, to feeding us to no end! What a step up from my 5 dollars/night accomodation in Mancora, with no hot water, toilet paper or towels!
We seriously couldn´t believe how lucky we were to have scored this ridiculous set up... The staff was incredibly friendly and it helped that the manager was a great surfer who told us all about the ins and outs of the break and also drove us a hour south to this amazing spot called Pacasmayo - some of the biggest and best waves I have ever surfed! From Wikipedia: Chicama is famous for its surf break, which has been widely touted to be the longest
rideable wave (excluding tidal bores) in the world (about 2.2km, and up to 4 minutes), although a Peruvian Surf Guide published in the early 2000s states that another nearby wave at "Pacasmayo" actually produces even longer rides (around 2.5km, and over 4 minutes).
WHAT A WAVE! I had seen pictures and heard stories about this break, which, on a good day, would wrap around the point and go on for up to a mile! Well, that is no myth! The wave would go on for so long that Paul, Jordan and I would have to eventually walk back up to our take off spot since paddling would take way too long and our arms would turn to noodles! We finally worked out a system where we would jump off from this one spot way out at the end of the break and catch two (long) waves and get off, more or less around the same spot so that we could all walk back together to the same take off spot. Such a different concept than anything else I had ever experienced before.
The actual port town of Chicama is prett desolate, and filled with desert, which
felt a bit spooky and eery, but a small price to pay to surf some of the world´s best waves. Oh, and how could I forget the best part... We were the only ones surfing there (a welcoming change from Southern California!).
So, here we were, three best friends sharing the world´s longest wave all to ourselves - I couldn´t think of a better and more appropriate way to catch up!
I´m not sure if it was because all the meals were included as part of our accomodation, or because we were truly famished from so much surfing (averaged 6 hours a day), but we continuously stuffed ourselves (which I´m sure gave Americans a great name!) I think the staff thought we were ordering for a whole family each time we sat down for a meal! On our last morning there, we made a pact (a stupid one at that) to finish EVERYTHING that was displayed on the breakfast buffet. Eventually, we worked out a system, based on a simple theory of culinary comparative advantage whereas each of us would focus on our speciality. Jordan, dubbed the cheese man or (quesodor) focused on cleaning up the cheese plate,
while Paul was on starch duty and whiped out the entire bread and pastry offerings. My meager contribution consisted of making sure no yogurt, juice or other forms of liquid was left on the table. We eventually opted for a more collaborative strategy, which worked out just fine... Good to know that 15 years later, we still haven´t really grown up! To our credit-defense, that caloric energy was well needed in the water as we surfed our faces (and stomachs) up for a solid 4 uninterupted hours afterwards.
After 3 full days and 2 nights at the Chicama Surf Resort, it was time to pack up and say goodbye to our most gracious hosts. We headed back to Trujillo for another epic bus journey, this time through the rough mountain roads to our next destination. HUARAZ. To make matters slightly more difficult, there were no "VIP-sleeper" spots left on the bus, so we spent the night (9 hours) in small, non reclining bus seats zig zaggin along the bumpy Andean roadways...
Now, here we are, safely in Huaraz, accalamating to the altitutde (which is about 10,000 feet), gettng ready for our next adenture - a two day trek
and ice climbing trip to the The Cordillera Blanca, which is the mountain range in the Ancash Region of Peru and which includes 33 major peaks over 18,000 feet tall in an area 13 miles wide and 112 miles long.
To say the least, there´s been no shortage of adventure so far...
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