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Surfing in Peru - Activity Info. - Peru

Surfing has been a staple in Peru since the beginning of its civilization. Revered as a sport because of its spiritual ambience, wave riding was also a daily part of the fisherman's routine, when they surfed on their totora, or reed boat.

Since then, both the styles and methods of surfing in Peru have evolved, with synthetic surfboards replacing the wooden boats. However, Peruvian esteem has not diminished. The country has turned out many legendary surfers, such as Sergio "Gordo" Barreda, a four-time Peruvian national champion and two-time international champion. Needless to say, many young locals take inspiration from him, beginning their surfing careers early—they take their surfing seriously here.

Peru is blessed with consistent surf along its 3,000 kilometer (1,864 mi) coastline, as well as consistently sunny weather, unlike many other countries where surfing is limited to a short period during the year. Peru also hosts one of the surf world's most sought-after waves: Chicama.

Chicama, the world's longest wave, stretches over 4 kilometers (2.48 mi). The wave embodies the "go big or go home" surfer mentality, because after paddling out, surfers are denied the chance of going back. The wave is definitely on every pro surfer's "to-do" list.

Reportedly, Chicama was discovered by Hawaiian surfer Chuck Shipman from the window of a plane on his way home from the world surfing championships in Peru. Barreda’s brother Sergio later returned to the wave with a few friends to film the phenomenon, but the film actually ran out before the ride was even completed.

There are dozens of other top surfing beaches, ranging from undiscovered stretches to happening hippie towns. Some beaches are specified for experts, and are dangerous for the inexperienced. Others are perfect beginning points for novices, however. The cold Humboldt Current and the warm Nino Current feed the waves year-round, thus creating huge temperature differences along the coast. It is best to check out surf reports online before heading out to a chosen destination.

Cabo Blanco, for those in the know, has the best waves in all of Peru. Advanced surfers that can handle the left reefbreak are rewarded with perfect tubes, when conditions are right—waves can get up to 3 meters (10 ft) tall here!

Mancora, known for its gorgeous coastline and good waves, is the most common surfing destination. Supposedly, this beach is sunny 365 days a year. During the early months of the year, a swell from the Pacific builds long waves. However, if the surf isn't to your liking, there are always the captivating white-sand beaches (great for tanning!) and lively bars to keep you busy.

Although the Peruvian surf scene proffers so much, it is relatively unoccupied compared to other top surf spots, and well worth the time spent. After all, the Beach Boys mentioned Cerro Azul in their '60s hit "Surfing Sufari" and the movie adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea" was filmed at Cabo Blanco. Perhaps you’ll be inspired too. If not, you'll still encounter some unforgettable breaks and undiscovered waves.

There are limitless choices to how you want to approach your surf journey through Peru. It is possible to book a surf tour through the numerous operators, many of which are based in Lima. There is also the opportunity to find a private guide to drive you along the coast to great spots; this is a good way to find the beaches that only locals know of. Or you can take a chance, and rough it on your own!

Activity Info., Surfing Info.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Peru: Peru Mountain Climbing, The Association of Gente del Manana, Inca Baths, Lamas Ethnic Museum, Peru Whitewater Rafting and Kayaking, Hiking in Peru, Awamaki, Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco, Birdwatching in Peru and Blue Lagoon.

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