Checking in on the first big wave event of the upcoming season.
Some of us have our eyes on Fiji and the Outerknown Fiji Pro, while others have their eyes on the goings-on in JBay and the JBU Supertrial which took place last week in epic conditions.
Some surf fans have also been watching the 2017 Los Cabos Open Of Surf WQS 6,000 contest with interest. There’s a lot going on.
Over on the other tour – the Big Wave Tour with current world champion Grant Baker and brand-new commissioner Mike Parsons, it’s time for them to kick in and start looking at the maps closely for their opening event of the year - the Puerto Escondido Challenge.
Last year the event was an absolute killer of an event – the first time it was run – with many classic moments coming out of it. There was Jamie Mitchel’s Billabong Ride Of The Year nomination for this wave –
There was Grant ’Twiggy’ Baker’s incredible 10-point ride for a big and deep tube ride that also saw him nominated for a Billabong Ride Of The Year nomination –
and leading from this highlight was Twiggy’s event win, that subsequently saw him becoming the Big Wave World Champion for the second time.
It’s an amazing event, and it has a lot going for it that so many of the prior big wave events and locations were lacking, including:
- The wave breaks incredibly close to the beach, which means that broadcast is infinitely easier than those deep-sea waves like Pico Alto or Dungeons
- The break, as a big wave venue is super consistent. There are going to be big days every year, and the WSL BWT organisers can plan on definitely having a swell here during the waiting period. This bankability takes away much of the uncertainty that lurked around the Big Wave Tour.
- From all accounts, Puerto Escondido is easy enough to forecast. Big wave spots are notoriously difficult to forecast with reasonable accuracy, but with Puerto you can clearly see the approaching swell size, direction, as well as wind direction and you can make a call, knowing that there are not too many disturbances like outside reefs and tiny swell direction changes that will transform wave energy before landfall.
- The locals are embracing of the event. Big wave events have been canceled around the world due to locals not wanting to have surf contests at their local breaks, and the reason why Puerto was added to the calendar was because the South African local crew didn't want a WSL event at Dungeons, but the Puerto locals appreciate the support and effort, as well as gainful employment for a large segment, and are happy with the event retuning.
- It gets rightfully big enough, and fits the criteria needed to run a legit big wave tournament. While it might just be a beach break, it is arguably the biggest beach break in the world and when the sets start coming through it has all the drama and action expected from a big wave tournament.
- A big wipeout at Puerto is a cringe-worthy as you’ll get, anywhere in the world. Who can forget 65-year-old big wave surfer and Big Wave Tour founder Gary Linden’s classic wipeout in March of 2015?
Finally, just for shits and giggles, check out this poor dude’s GoPro in mouth POV of him getting his ass served on a plate by a giant set
and this sorry soul’s terrifyingly mistimed paddle out to an over-the-falls of doom –
The Puerto Escondido Challenge has a waiting period from May 01 to August 31.