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PHOTOS:
Diego Medina dropping into one of the biggest paddle-in lefts ever seen. Photo: Phillip Muller

Cristian Merello dropping into the bowl. Photo: Phillip Muller

Ramon Navarro was conceived on the point at Lobos. No wonder he's so calm up there. Photo: Phillip Muller

Ramon and Cristian, floating. Photo: Phillip Muller


CHILE GOES MEGA XXL
Local surfers catch biggest paddle-in lefts -- ever?

(Click photos on left to enlarge.)


If you've glanced at LOLA anytime in the last month, you've probably noticed a steady stream of purple people eaters shearing off the Antarctic ice and slapping Chile with serious swell.

Pichilemu, in Central Chile, is primarily known for it's consistent cold-water point surf. Think Santa Cruz without the vermin, and lefts instead of rights. Punta de Lobos, just outside of town, is the Chilean workhorse -- two hulking rocks sit sentry as wave after wave peels down the point. Lobos is fun at chest high, great when overhead, and can handle big swells. How big, you ask?

Photographer Philip Muller, who left Belgium a year and a half ago for Chile, sent us some photos to help clear this question up. OK, now we know: Lobos can be surfed really big -- really, really big.

On May 10th and 11th, local rippers Ramon Navarro, Diego Medina and Cristian Merello pushed the limits on one of the biggest days ever surfed at Lobos.

According to Phillip, "nobody ever surfed that far up the point before, behind the morros, the two huge rocks where the waves normally start to break."

Most impressively, the local crew did it the old fashioned way -- jumped off the sketchy rocks, got beat on the paddle out, and then bagged their bombs by hand. No jetski for tows, no water patrol for rescues.

Although towing has begun to catch on in Chile, Philip reports that this season most Chilean pros are concentrating on paddling in.

Why the return to old-school rhino hunting? "There is a championship actually in Chile, going along the lines of the Billabong XXL," Philip notes. One big difference -- if you want the prize money, you've got to paddle in. And while these guys have been paddling into giant Lobos for years, no doubt they appreciate the chance to make a little money doing something they love.

Judging from the photos, it will be hard to top the beast that Diego Medina caught on his 8'6" -- a jurassic, tapering wall Philip Muller called "the biggest wave caught that day."

Cristian Merello saw Diego's wave from the water, and told Surfline, "Diego was in the right spot at the right moment, and he just paddled in, very relaxed." Hats off to Diego -- his wave looks like one of the bigger pointbreak lefts paddled into, ever.

In the meantime, if you're planning a trip to Chile, it might be wise to pack that bigger board, or start cultivating your excuses.


***

RELATED LINKS:
More photos
Chile Surf Map
Surfline's Chile Forecast
LOLA for Chile
Ramon Navarro Website


Special thanks to Phillip Muller for taking the amazing photos and Ramon, Diego, and Cristian for charging the gigantic surf. Phillip has high res versions of these images for sale, too. Email him for more info.

-- Lewis Samuels

 

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