It is known for Machu Picchu, some of the best culinary experiences in the world and everyone’s favourite Great Lake surfer, Larry Cavero. Peru is also home to the arguably longest wave in the world, Chicama, which happens to be Surf the Great’s next retreat destination.
If you Google Image search “Chicama” you get some shots that look otherworldly; as if the wave is coming off of an assembly line or fashioned by a Photoshop aficionado. Also known as Puerto Malabrigo, locals can confirm the wave with multiple named sections offers confirmed rides of 2.2km. Just the thought of such a lengthy ride gets us buzzing for a taste and wishing we started doing squats yesterday. Point breaks often offer up long rides but few waves around the world are comparable to the spectacle that is Chicama.
According to Matt Warshaw’s Encyclopedia of Surfing, Hawaiian surfer Chuck Shipman was first to lay eyes on the hypnotizing left hand point break while flying over it in 1966. He was quick to morse code the message (assuming they didn’t have snapchat in ‘66?) to his Peruvian surf mates and they scored it later that year. After Chuck’s pals burned their legs on a few slides on Chicama, legend has it word spread to our very own Larry Cavero, whose local expertise we are thrilled to have with us on this trip.
Similar to previous surf and yoga camps we have offered, this one is specifically designed by International Surfing Association (ISA) accredited Level 1 Surf Coaches and certified Yoga Instructors, catering to beginner, intermediate and advanced surfers.
The main lineup provides the perfect canvas for those looking to both experience fun and consistent unbroken waves, as well as those seeking to dial in all the moves in their surf repertoire. A goofy-foot’s dream, but not a foe of the natural footers, what better way to celebrate a 2 minute long ride than hopping in a provided motorized zodiac to take you back to the point? Larry will be on board to show us the way, share the stoke and some ceviche that the country is famous for.
The inside section of the wave that spills onto the sand beneath our luxurious accomodations at the Chicama Boutique Hotel and Spa is the ideal space for guests who are brand new to surfing and experienced beginners who seek to polish the skills they already have. We provide a safe, fun and active environment to learn to surf. We focus on not just standing on the board but all things encompassing surfing from safety, knowledge of the conditions, paddling fundamentals and eventually all the tools you need to safely surf on your own. Not to mention our daily mindfulness and yoga sessions to get your body and mind ready for every session.
We wanted to pick the brain of our good friend Larry Cavero about his experiences growing up surfing in Peru, so we asked him a few questions.
STG: Peru growing up, what was it like?
LC: Surfing in Peru was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I just knew that I would be spending most of my life by the ocean, so it was pretty easy actually. My parents took us to the beach every weekend. That’s where we spent most of our family time playing on the sand and in the water. When my mom passed away (suddenly at young age) my dad went every single weekend fishing and would take us to the beach if any of us wanted to go, so I always chose to go with him. He would be camping and fishing at the most secret spot in the region. He would be at spots where you will never ever see anyone other than us and my uncles and his friends just fishing. There would always be waves so I’d bring my board and surf for the entire weekend.
Also in my neighbourhood everyone surfed and they were a few shapers too. The older guys would push us and bring us to the beach sometimes so we could surf more often. My school with just steps from the beach and we used to keep our surfboards in the school, so after school we could run to the beach and surf.
Surfing gave me everything: a personality, a place to find peace, answers growing up as a teen, and it was the best possible way to see life. Surfing changes lives and that’s why I think it’s so important to share surfing with everyone.
STG: What’s the North Shore of Peru and Chicama like?
LC: I started surfing the North Shore of Peru at the age of 14 as my father is originally from Trujillo and not that far from Chicama. My mother is from Piura at the Northern part of Peru where we have many world-class waves. My brothers and sister were born there too.
Travelling to surf the North Shore was really amazing as I have family all along the coast—from Chimbote all the way to the Northern tip of the country. I was lucky because I always had a place where to stay, eat, sleep and surf! Surfing Chicama was always a mission in the early 80’s. It was absolutely empty and beautiful. It was originally an old fisherman’s village. We used to take the bus from downtown Trujillo, sitting down holding onto your board and spent many hours on this bumpy road with some water and tuna sandwiches in our backpacks. We knew that we could surf there the entire day and take the last bus to Trujillo and back to Huanchaco, or at my aunts house in the city. It was an incredible experience especially seeing such an incredible wave that breaks that long! It really blows your mind and I don’t think I ever rode a wave the entire length to the to the shore as it is extremely long.
This part of Peru is very special because of Moche and Chimu—two ancient Inca civilizations that had surfing as part of their lives. They rode the Caballito de Totora or Totora Reds—which is a native plant to the area.these As kids, we used to go for long walks to get where grow. That was really fun, and a great way of growing up surfing there.
Limited spots are still available for this potentially life changing trip. Click here for more details and see below, some of our favourite surfers tear the wave apart!
Words by Surf the Greats ISA Level 1 instructor Matty Weiler.