The 2015/2016 Big Wave Tour got underway yesterday at Punta de Lobos in Chile, but due to the late arrival of the predicted huge swell, the organisers only managed to complete the first round of the competition. It is hard to be too excited about the event and write with any authority as the WSL haven’t streamed the Quiksilver Ceremonial and we are left to gleaning what information we can from highlight videos and post comp reports.
The first heat got underway in building conditions and was dominated by the surfing of Marcos Monteiro, Koa Rothman and Grant ‘Twiggy” Baker, with Twiggy eventually taking the win. Although the waves were at times between 5 and 6 times overhead, it wasn’t the cleanest we have ever seen Punta de Lobos and the wave was choppy on the face and sections were regularly closing down.
By the time Heat 2 got underway, the conditions were probably at their best and saw the most rides of the afternoon with Hawaiian Mark Healey taking the win, just ahead of Cristian Merello with Makuakai Rothman placing third. As the sun dropped behind the wave the viewing conditions began to deteriorate but it was Nic Lamb who took Heat 3 and nudged Mark Matthews into second place, just ahead of the local legend Ramon Navarro.
Heat 4 had the most drama of the day when an unfortunate Carlos Burle slammed in front of Los Morros and faced a worrying few minutes as he released his board and negotiated his way past the danger. Mind you, Carlos still placed second in the heat, behind local Diego Medina with Damien Hobgood edging into third position.
So we expect to see the Quiksilver Ceremonial resume around 10 am local time (around 2pm BST) but do feel the WSL have missed a trick by not broadcasting live from Chile. We all love to watch surfers tackling waves beyond what many of us would feel comfortable in and the fact that the Quiksilver Ceremonial not only gets the BWT underway but is also running for the first time since 2011, makes it all the more special. Having to catch up with a few, hard to see highlight clips is just not the same.
But with that said, the highlights from the first round at Punta de Lobos can be seen below and you can pick the bones out of what happened yesterday, there was certainly plenty of action, with wipeouts, drop ins, close outs, dead end barrels and some gargantuan drops. You can follow the action from the Quiksilver Ceremonial as it unfolds this afternoon via the WSL App or on the website, but will not be able to watch live. We would love to hear your thoughts as to whether the WSL should have streamed the Quiksilver Ceremonial or are you happy to catch up via highlight clips after the competition? Incidentally, you will be able to watch the Big Wave Awards Show live later today at the WSL – but would you rather see the surfers in action on massive waves or collecting awards in a theatre?
Pictures – WSL/@PabloJimenez photo