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Peru - La Libertad Region, Puerto Malabrigo, Chicama // The Longest Wave

Killvan's Peru. A tale of the worlds longest waves, out in the desert sands of Puerto Malabrigo, Chicama.


Waking inside the green room was frightening and it made for quick exists from bed. Some wandering type spaced out on coca or weed no doubt, had obviously investigated their inner consciousness in a heavy way, and had used a cigarette lighter to create a spiral from the black smoke atop the flame. From the cornices into the light fixture was a black burn track that was interesting to follow as you lay in bed after a day of riding what is known as the worlds longest wave.

The two story brickworked hotel was the true place to stay while visiting Puerto Malabrigo, Chicama. Almost a shell of a building it was far from five star, though it suited the desert surrounds and the almost abandoned town. Perched on a cliff top facing dead north looking up the Peruvian coast, where mystical sea fog could be seen drowning the land. Whoever built this shelter obviously had little care for the wave that spun hypnotically down the flank of rugged red rock coastline.

The headland is so far away that it's hard to make out from the cliff top, and almost impossible to see from the waters edge. For the first day or so we'd surf the immediate hot section, visibly the better more perfect stretch of the point. When I'd initially heard of this wave I thought it'd be different, like one long spinning cocoon of a wave. Though it was quiet different as the wave is broken up into different sections and for the most part the wave characteristics were similar though disconnected. A fast running sand bottom left that was mechanical in it's operation. From the Pacific Ocean dark brown corduroy lines would slide in and feel the point, reeling off forever on days of substantial swell. The bay is massive and watching swell refract and march in is a pacifying thing to witness.

During any stay in a remote location lucking into a swell is to be a fortunate traveler, to trek to the ends of the Earth and get skunked is disheartening, and it's for this reason alone I made the two hour trek to the end of the point, alone. My traveling companions had lazily opted for the obvious inside point break that was looking amazing, though to not sample the entire point on a decent swell seemed blasphemous, like eating the cherry and disregarding the sundae.

The walk out was a mission, and spooky as hell. The sand dunes and rocky desert played tricks on your mind, shadows blinked and the strange sounds from the sea echoed through the valleys. It is a very lonely experience out there on that walk. Reaching the points tip erased the day, like a long wharf with an end. If it can be described as nothingness, then this point break in the brutally isolated sands of Peru shall be just that.

It only took a few moments to jump off the rocks, slightly on edge I didn't want to spend too long out here in the nothingness, it seemed like an opportunity for some surfer to disappear, and that wasn't to be me on this day. There was little comfort to be found in the water, as I surveyed in an arc it was as though I was sitting out in the middle of the ocean. Water brown, cold and hazy, the space created a fear of beasts. The land looked absent in this enormity and more intimdating from the water. A single soul marveling at a site of nature had me so far away from riding waves, yet I was here to do just that. At this point waves were the only company to be found and I knew them, they weren't strange like the rest of the world at this moment, and possibly the only thing I could relate to so I started paddling.

It only took four waves to get back to my friends. Four, long, long waves. Speedy affairs that were similar in their rides, yet unique in the way they felt the point, their curves changing as the sand bottom offered different contours. Some sliding hot sections, one that had a grab rail tube stance locked in for perhaps fifty meters. By the forth wave backhand re-entries were so repetitious that there was more joy in gliding drifter lines, so forgiving is the wave itself that it was like drawing lines with crayons on nice clean white butchers paper.

The longest waves ridden most definitely, though the surfing paradigm and its theories of perfection could perhaps be readdressed, marveling at the beauty of a long wave is much different than surfing one.

 

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LOCATION OVERVIEW

Location: Chicama, Puerto Malabrigo. North of Lima, Peru. South America.
Optimum: April to October.
Weather: Cold water and foggy low cloud in winter, and a warm sunny but short summer break.
Surf Conditions: Beachbreaks and rocky sand point breaks. For all surfers.
Access: It's easy but real third world. Fly into Lima, belt up the Panamaericana Norte passed Huanchaco, turn left at Paijan, and head on out to Puerto Malabrigo.  The drive is a mission.
Accomodation: Doris and Senor have a great house on the point, plus a resort thing that is kinda not as fun. The town is rugged.
Live Free: 7/10. It's isolated, lonely and rugged, very Peruvian and it's a real adventure.

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