My friend Patricio and I went surfing for my birthday. I heard about Pichilemu since the day I
surfed in Peru when I met a few Chileno that told me... " You MUST go surf in Pichilemu!" one of the best spots in Chile.
One rule on my birthday, is to remember it by doing something fun and good outdoor.
Well, I can say that I will remember this one, freezing my ass surfing the Chilean cold Pacific ocean in Pichilemu!
The adventure started at 6:30 am. Pato told me the night before he would pick me up at 6:50, I had to get breakfast and coffee ready. He didn't show up until 8am, he misread the time on his watch!
I offered him Black Forest cake for breakfast - Thanks to Angela!! she found my favorite childhood birthday cake! - But Pato didn't want cake... so I gave him instant cappuccino instead.
As we were driving on the highway, Pato noticed a police road block. - common here in Chile to verify car papers. So he decided to ride close to the guy in front of him so he could just pass beside the police and not get stopped. His trick didn't work so well, so we got pulled over. The police officer told him he pulled him over because he was driving too close to the guy in front of him!!! (against the law in Chile to tailgate) Not like in Italy let me tell you!!! there.. it's against the law NOT to tailgate ...
The officer was nice enough to not give him a ticket and let us go.
Arriving in Pichilemu, Pato was little excited to get in the surf when he came flying around the corner on the dirt road, coming in a little too fast and loosing it driving over a small wooden wall in front of the surf shop and broke the garden fence in pieces. Luckily the guys at the shop found it pretty funny instead of giving him shit. After renting a board and wetsuit (and fixing the wall) they still gave me a good discount after all! We were all primed up to catch some waves, - thanks to a red bull I drank so I wouldn't fall asleep on the 3 hour car ride from Santiago. ( Pato was cut out of red bull!!) - The waves looked good, not too big. Pato says... Lets go to Punta De Lobos, " sure.. vamos"
Punta De Lobos is a left point break. It's stunning scenery, rocky shore, a clean sandy beach and massive outside waves make it a world class surf spot. When it gets big, waves can reach well over 20 feet! But I was lucky today, it was only 4 to 6 feet. Thank god!
I hadn't surfed in a while so I wasn't too keen on getting beat up on my birthday.
Wet suits on, wax on board, off we went.
"Lets go in this channel" Pato says. Surrounded by rocks and crashing waves, I was a bit intimidated by the look of it. It didn't take long to get a brain freeze after the first wave crashed on top of me.... paddle paddle paddle, is all I could think to get away from the crashing waves and rocks. Next thing I knew, I was in calm water sitting on my board. Wasn't that bad after all. But surfing cold water is a hole other world! It's Not Costa Rican warm luxury bath.
2 hours later, my hands were getting numb, starting to get cold and no birthday waves. It was time to get out.
I waited on the beach roasting like a lobster under the warm Chilean sun watching pro Chilean surfers getting Barrels. ( there is a hole in the ozone here that helps you getting fried even faster! - trust me I know!!)
one hour later Pato came out - himself all numb... "I don't know how the hell you can stay so long in this cold water?? " "Get used to it!!!" he says - Looking all blue!
We went for a massive killer seafood lunch in town. I could barely breath after. Pato was ready to get back in for more surf. but not his truck. He killed the battery by leaving the lights on. Luckily he had cables. He flagged a guy down that was driving by, The guy had no choice to stop since Pato was standing in the middle of the road with his boosting cables in hand. 3o seconds later, we were ready to go. I decided to digest and take photos instead of surfing again, as I was still frozen from our morning surf. The waves also picked up a bit more and they got even harder to catch... so why freeze in there again, while I can be the warm lobster on the beach??
I watched pro surfers like Christian Merello and a couple Aussies while they were being filmed for a future Aussie surf video.
Meanwhile I snapped a few of shots.
Pato finally came out of the water, it was now 8pm. Angela was preparing a birthday dinner back in Santiago. When Pato had talked to her at lunch, he said we would be back around 9pm.
There was no way we'd be on time now. We raced back to Santiago in 2 1/2 hours in his shot gun truck. (the thing back fires like you wouldn't believe every 10 kms, loud enough that you would need earplugs passing threw tunnels). We made it back home alive by 11 pm. We had a late dinner, but it was tasty. - Thank you Angela for a nice BD dinner and cake - and Pato for a fun surfing day!
I'll be back to Pichilemu next weekend with my bike, try to get use to the cold water and it will be the starting point of my coming adventures down toward Ushuaia...
Town of Pichilemu
Pato getting ready
Go freeze your ass my friend!!
Boogie board dude ripping it up
Get out of the way bird!
Christian Merello in a barrel with the camera man
Christian Merello running for another lap.
Chilean Pro surfer - Christian Merello carving for the camera.