Arica Chile – 4th July 2017
The Arica Chilean Challenge began today in what can best be described as challenging and disappointing conditions considering the potential of the wave. Despite forecasts pointing to an increase in swell from 1 to 2 metres, building to 3 metres by the day’s end, the 1st day of competition took place in sloppy 2 – 3 foot windy conditions.
While the conditions were challenging, that didn’t stop the riders in the trials from literally throwing their bodies on the line for a coveted place in the Main Event of the ACC.
There were a total of 16 local Chilean riders entered into the trials, and after Round 1 was completed, 12 were still in contention for one of the 8 spots available in the Main Event, with Christian Fernandez (CL) posting the highest combined heat total of 15 points (and also the highest heat score of the trials after Round 2).
Smaller waves at the notorious El Gringo break closer to the sea urchin encrusted rock shelf, meaning that riders are forced to complete aerial manoeuvres and exit tube rides with little time to avoid making contact. Even the best riders in the world can share stories of manoeuvres attempted and skin lost.
All Images: Pablo Jimenez (pablojimenez.cl)
Conditions didn’t improve moving into Round 2 of the trials, but the spectators were once again treated to a display of quality riding from the local and international competitors.
The highest heat score of Round 2 was taken by Australian Joshua Burguete-Kirkman, who won his heat with 14.10 after he was able to find two very rare waves that barrelled along the rock-shelf and allowed him clean exits before the dry reef could catch him.
After this result in Round 2, Josh was the sole remaining Australian in the competition, after Greg Howlett and Paul Blaz (who both competed in the Tahiti Challenge earlier this year, Blaz finishing 4th) and following on from the unfortunate news that Lewy Finnegan was forced to return home to Australia early for medical treatment.
After the completion of Round 2, the 12 local Chilean riders were reduced to 5, with more international ridings finding the waves with the highest potential and progressing ahead.
Despite being disappointed by the conditions, APB CEO Alex Leon remained optimistic about the conditions for tomorrow morning:
“Look, we weren’t expecting conditions to be so poor for the trials, but that is life sometimes, when you are working with forecasts and limited waiting periods.
The riders did their very best in the challenging conditions and spectators on site here in Arica were still cheering their friends on an all that. So not all bad.
We have heard reports that there are 10 foot waves further south on the coast by the Chilean capital of Santiago, so we are expecting much larger and cleaner waves tomorrow morning.”
Competition will recommence on Wednesday the 5th of July early, with the Quarter Finals of the trials hitting the water first, finally deciding which 8 riders will have places in the Main Event.
The Main Event will start immediately after the completion of the trials, and the Live Webcast will be up and running from then onwards