The Land Of Long Lefts In Peru
In the search for consistency of solid waves, we crossed the border from Ecuador into Peru. Travelling in the middle of the night, we had missed the transition from greenery to the desert. The Peruvian welcome was evident with the change of landscape. Our first stop was Mancora, a town to enjoy if all you want to do is drink a lot. The wave here was small and, at best, overcrowded.
We wanted to surf Lobitos (the land of barrels) and decided to find a wave before it to chill out in with a swell four days away. Los Organos was where we stopped. One hour later, we were on the bus again. A very creepy town and an unpleasant experience involving a challenged local simulating a gun with his hand at us left us wondering why we even bothered to exit the bus here.
Unfortunately, we didn't surf Lobitos as we arrived four nights too early for the swell. We only held out for two nights with boredom in this town quickly hitting, especially with the lack of fresh produce to buy and places to eat. 2 dogs locked their sites on Bronnie from a mile away. One of which was able to hit their target—Bronnie's ankle. Luckily, no skin was pierced, so we were pleasantly relieved.
We beelined it straight for Puerto Chicama via a night in Trujillo.
Chicama is one of the longest waves in the world. We were in ore at this place. We would wake up just as the light was bearing its face, pull on our wetsuits and stuff our mouth with a banana. Often we would be the only surfers out in the coolish and rippy ocean for the first round of waves. This tactic worked because often, there would be at least one rubber ducky start up at 9 am with its primary aim of pissing all the paddle surfers off. These rubber duckies would drop someone off right on the take-off when a good set would come through—rendering you useless to compete as the current being so strong had already dragged you off to the side. Once the people using the ducky would finish their wave, the ducky would be there to pick them up again. Usually, 800 meters down the line but sometimes earlier depending on the length of the wave. It was a great day watching from the balcony of El Hombres when a ducky flipped over and swamped by a wave in the sandpit. The sandpit is where surfers take-off and is on the 1st point where the water shallows out very quickly. There is a lot of sand churning around in it, and if you miss time the take-off, you eat sand. hence the name sandpit.
Triff, having spent some time here recently, was already tuned to this wave and where to sit, so the current didn't take advantage of him. An excellent thing to know as the currents here can be powerful and drag you well down the line in a matter of minutes or even seconds. There is a second point at which it is good to start. It is only a little bit more of a walk around from the 1st point—an excellent warm-up just as the sun is coming up and before you reach the sandpit.
We made heaps of good friends and caught very long waves here, but it was time for a change.
Huanchaco is only 20 minutes from Trujillo. This location is where we enjoyed the following 11 days. This town did prove to be a great place to freshen up. The desert looming over Chicama and the lack of things to do could all be a bit much. Huanchaco soaks in a good vibe for surfing. It was up to you if you wanted to party every night or escape that scene and concentrate on surfing. Surprisingly this town felt very well balanced. The wave itself was quite a bit of fun—big left-hand slabs with slow sections, fast sections and many long rides. The current was a problem here on bigger swells. Staying at our hostel was Triff, and a few mates we had met from Chicama called Janaka, Kayne and Simon with matching white thongs. In another hostel down the road was another mate from Chicama called Sebastian. And in another hostel, Tasman was staying whom we met from Chicama as well. All excellent mates and we look forward to catching up and maintaining our relationship with them more. We just missed another dog attack, this time on Janaka's calf muscle, causing a bit of blood. To this day, Janaka is still alive and isn't frothing, thank goodness.
From here, we headed back to Chicama for one last dag. Unfortunately, we were both bedridden and sick. With the swell disappearing, Bron and I headed up to Pacasmayo, which was the right choice as we scored some epic waves there. We met up with Tasman, who happened to be staying at the same hostel and played a few rounds of table tennis. We all decided to hire a moto and catch the early bird at Puemape, a 30-45 minute drive south from Pacasmayo. We scored except for the carload of Peruvians who thought that if we paddled deeper, they would paddle even deeper. This practice sometimes worked in our favour, for obvious reasons. Overall, Puemape is a great spot that isn't frequented and surfed by the masses.
On the trip home from Puemape to Pacasmayo, our moto had a puncture. Positioning Bronnie on the puncture side (because she is the lightest), we pushed on to the closest town. Upon arrival at this town, the driver bought a new tube and tyre and replaced the now barely recognisable damaged wheel. Because of all the driving on the rim, the new tube and tyre wouldn't fit properly. This issue meant our driver had to buy a new rim. So nonetheless, we pushed onto Pacasmayo, driving just on the rim. It was a slow trip, and we felt very sorry for the driver.
I preferred the wave at Pacasmayo (El Faro) to the wave at Chicama. The paddle out was a bit strenuous, with a fair distance to walk over rocks in the water. The wave's face itself was more extensive and gave you more opportunities. Plus, the ever ending current at Pacasmayo was nowhere near as bad as Chicama. It cost about $AUD2 to catch a moto all the way out to El Faro which gave you the real sense of isolation away from town.
We look forward to catching this wave with Puemape again sometime.
After spending the last month in the Trujillo area from Pacasmayo - Chicama - Huanchaco, the water and air temperature had warmed up quite a lot. Bronnie, Tasman and I decided to head south to Lima.
All aboard another bus.