EL GRINGO, Arica / Chile (Wednesday, Jun, 13, 2012) – Barreling waves in the 4-6 foot range (1.5-2 meters) were breaking in both directions at the Chilean reef-break at El Gringo, in Arica for the opening day of competition at the ASP 3-Star Maui and Sons Arica World Star Tour 2012. Arica gained international recognition in 2007 by hosting an ASP World Tour event won by the late Andy Irons.
The highest single wave score of the day was a perfect 10-point ride obtained by Brazilian surfer, Bino Lopes. It was the only Brazilian victory of the day and Lopes qualified into the next round as well as Luke Shepardson (HAW) by defeating Josie Graves (PRI) and Liam McNamara (HAW).
“It’s my first time here in Arica,” said Bino Lopes. “I’m psyched with my first impression of the wave because it’s really tubular and breaks really strongly on the reef. My heat didn’t have many waves coming in so I felt kind of lucky to catch that set wave. When I slid into the barrel, I didn’t think I was going to come out, but I set my rail and was so happy to come out of that one and get a perfect score…stoked!”
Eala Stewart (HAW) scored 18 points (out of a possible 20) for the day’s highest heat wave total in the Round of 64. Stewart scored a 9.5 and an 8.5 on his best waves to qualify into the Round of 32 alongside Lucas Santamaria (ARG), eliminating the event’s Top Seed, Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) and Wesley Toth (PRI) from competition.
“I’m so impressed with the waves here,” said Eala Stewart. “They’re just like Hawaii, just colder. I’d like to thank Liam McNamara for bringing me here to compete in this event, which is really special for me. When I get back to Hawaii, I’m moving out to the North Shore to live with him so I can improve my surfing even more.” (Stewart currently lives in Honolulu)
During the best tide conditions in the morning, perfect barrels were breaking in both directions at El Gringo; with scores to match. Anthony Walsh (AUS) scored a 17.40 on his highest scoring rides and qualified along with Marcos Monteiro (BRA) to eliminate Chliean surfers Giovani Visconti and Cristobal Gonzalez.
“I’m so stoked to be here in Chile surfing these waves,” said Walsh. “I’ve always wanted to come here, but I never had the opportunity. But this year everything worked out and here I am. Even though the waves haven’t reached the size we know they can break at, today (Wednesday) we saw some really good tubes and I’m having a blast.”
Another standout performer was local surfer Leon Vicuna (CHL), who scored an impressive 17.15 points during his battle in Heat 4 in the Round of 80.
“I’m really happy to have surfed well in my heat,” said Leon Vicuna. “My opponents were really tough and I was lucky that the waves came to me. I hope to continue qualifying and reach the final heat, which is my main goal for the contest.”
Competition continues tomorrow at 8am (local time) with Heat 5 in the Round of 64. First up will be young, Peruvian standout Cristobal De Col against Landon McNamara (HAW), Antonio Eudes (BRA) and Javier Swayne (PER).
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