EL GRINGO, Arica / Chile (Thursday, Jun, 14, 2012) – Barreling left-handers continued breaking in the 4-6 foot range (1.5-2 meters) at the El Gringo reef break in Arica, Chile. Fierce competition in the water saw local Chilean surfers show their knowledge of the risky lineup to come out on top of their foreign opponents. Guillermo Satt (CHL) led the charge by scoring a 16.60 (out of a possible 20) for the day’s highest heat wave total.
“I’m really happy to have done well in my heat,” said Guillermo Satt. “I felt good out there because I know this wave really well. I’ve been surfing here since I was 14 years old and I’d love to win this event again because there is nothing better than winning at home.”
Another surfer showing talent in El Gringo’s challenging conditions was Australian charger, Anthony Walsh. Walsh qualified into the Round of 32 alongside veteran Brazilian surfer, Victor Ribas, overcoming Hunter Lysaught (USA) and 2009 Maui and Sons Arica World Star event winner, Gabriel Villaran (PER).
“I think this wave awesome because I love heavy waves,” stated Walsh. “I’m from Australia, but I currently live in Hawaii because that’s where the waves I like are. I don’t really take part in WQS events because they’re usually run on beach breaks. But, since this is a world-famous wave, I decided to come down and I’m loving it, even though it’s one of the most dangerous waves I’ve ever surfed.”
Apart from the spectacular barrels, El Gringo really is considered one of the most dangerous waves in the world. About twenty competitors needed medical attention so far throughout the event. One of the most serious cases occurred when Carlos Munoz (CRI) was thrown face first into the reef. He received seven stitches to close up two deep lacerations after being taken away from competition in an ambulance.
Besides the imminent danger, all of the competitors are in awe of the wave at El Gringo, especially the Hawaiians, Australians and Americans. On his first trip to Arica, Ian Gouveia (BRA), son of legendary Brazilian surfer Fabio Gouveia, also qualified into the Round of 32 along with Leon Vicuna (CHL) over Eli Olson (HAW) and Tristan Aicardi (CHL).
“That was a really difficult heat,” said Ian Gouveia. “It’s a tight take-off spot with 3 other people in the line-up and it’s a battle to paddle into a good wave. I couldn’t find any good tubes, but luckily I found some of the middle-sized ones that opened up to earn the win. This reef is extremely dangerous. Before my heat Carlos Munoz had an accident and cut his face badly, so it’s the kind of spot where you can catch the barrel of your life or get seriously injured.”
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