Monday, May 9, 2011

Arica Chilean Challenge

2011 Arica Chilean Challenge
El Gringo, Chile

May 20th – 29th 2011

The third event on the 2011 IBA Grand Slam Tour will get underway in late May at the legendary El Gringo in Arica, Chile.
El Gringo has been a staple on the bodyboard world tour for a number of years now and is always a favorite with competitors. The wave itself is not unlike Hawaii’s Pipeline, with predominant lefts (particularly on bigger swells) barreling along the reef, all the way in to a shallow inside section. There are definitely rights to be had as well, and some of the bigger ramps known to man in both directions. El Gringo is located in the Alacran Island (Isla del Alacrán) in front of El Morro.

It’s another of those waves that was custom- built for performance bodyboarding. A shallow reef where swells come out of deep water on to a short dangerous shelf, making the wave hoist up and split in either direction. There’s a whole lot of ocean it behind and the force is not to be taken too lightly.
“ This event is going to be critical to the ratings, ” said IBA Tour manager Terry McKenna.
“ Coming off the BOX Pro we have a clear leader-board and if one of the frontrunners wins here, it could set them up for a potential world title ” he added.

The format will see the Top 23 riders in the world joined by 2 wildcards and 7 trialists.
The IBA wildcard for the event, selected by a committee, is Jose Octavio (Brazil) whilst the promoter’s wildcards (1 in the main event 2 in the trials) are yet to be decided.
After the success of The BOX Pro, the team at Redbull Media House has again backed the event and viewers will be able to watch the action LIVE on
The event will also be shown on the IBA website at

The action will begin on May 20 with a three-day trial. This event will allow for unlimited riders to compete for the 7 prized trials spots in the main event.

“With 1 of the top 24 riders unavailable, this has opened up an additional spot in the main event with 7 spots going through from the trials. ” said McKenna.
The event will offer both GSS (Grand Slam Series) and GQS (Global Qualifying Series) points to the riders. GQS points will start in the trials and carry through to the winner (of trials) with 2000 points up for grabs. In the main event there will be 2000 GSS points available.
The GSS riders will surf a 32 man, 3 round series (4 man heats). There will be a leader board after R1 & R2 and at the conclusion of R3, the top 16 ranked riders will progress into R4 man-on-man heats. From here the event would continue with man-on-man quarter finals, semi-finals and final.


R1 – 8 x 4 man heats
R2 – 8 x 4 man heats
R3 – 8 x 4 man heats

Top 16 after 3 rounds move into R4 and man on man format

R4 – 8 x 2 man heats
QF – 4 x 2 man heats
SF – 2 x 2 man heats
F – 1 x 2 man heats

GSS Round 1-3 breakdown

Heats would be calculated in R1-R3 in the following fashion

1st Place 6 points
2nd Place 4 points
3rd Place 2 points
4th Place 1 point

This formula will again be used to determine the Top 16 after R3. From this point the event will go man on man.

Australian Ryan Hardy is coming off a win at Box and is one of the men to beat.
“I love this place” said Ryan.
“It is the ultimate arena to showcase high performance bodyboarding and I’m very keen to do well” he added.

How to get there
Make no mistake, getting to Arica can be quite the mission, but it’s worthwhile. There are two recommended ways to go about it. Fly to LAX, then LA to Lima (in Peru), then Lima to Tacna airport (on the border of Peru and Chile), followed by a 45-minute drive to Arica. Your other option is flying from LAX to Santiago in Chile’s south, and then getting a direct flight to Arica airport.
Waves this time of year
Pumping. Arica is a favorite amongst the tour riders for good reason. Every year it pro- vides cracking waves, with clean barrels and ramps galore.
Is available in close proximity to Alacran Island.
El Gringo is usually best in the morning when there is little to no wind.
Renowned as one of the driest inhabited places on earth in terms of rainfall, but still rocks high humidity and consistent cloud cover and grey days. Expect mild weather with minimal rainfall.
Water temp
Cold. Make sure you pack your steamer.
The Chilean peso
Chilean Spanish (a dialect of Spanish) is spoken most prominently throughout Chile.
There are plenty of hotel and hostel accommodation options in Arica.
See for more info.
Local rippers/legends
Chilean Cristian Fernandez made it to the semi finals in the 2010
event, getting narrowly pipped by an in form Amaury Laverhne.

Other attractions
Machu Picchu – often referred to as The Lost City of the Incas – is Peru’s most visited tourist attraction; an awe inspiring set of Inca ruins based 2430 metres above sea level. It’s not too far from Arica (especially considering how far you’ve traveled
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