THE WAVE / SURFING PACASMAYO
Pacasmayo is located in the north of Peru, so when the south swells hit the Pacasmayo coast, the waves have a big period and are perfectly organized in endless lines. The orientation of El Faro Beach is perfect to get the south swell wrapping around and forming a wave peeling left all the way. When it is big, you can catch a wave at the lighthouse and surf it all the way to the pier, over 1 kilometre! Pacasmayo wave is so unique that legends like Laird Hamilton, Kai Lenny and Robby Naish have ridden it! Nowadays, during the winter months, you can get to share a wave with Kevin Pritchard, Morgan Noireaux or Bernd Roediger!
The first time I finally went in in the water I was so excited! How can it be windy and so glassy! The inside of the bay close to the lighthouse is shallow and protected somewhat by the point. It gets the swell but the surface of the water is so clean that you don’t feel any chop. The wave keeps forming perfectly, with some steeper parts and beautiful walls. There are some parts were you have to wait and reposition, then accelerate and go for the section in front. It is the sort of wave riding you have been dreaming about all your life!
Every wave lets you do so many turns that you learn and improve very quickly! One day in Pacasmayo you can probably learn more than months or years in your home spot! There is a local boy, William Perez, that only started windsurfing a few years ago. He wasn’t practicing any watersport before, and now you can see him ripping Pacasmayo waves with style either on his windsurf or SUP board! It is very consistent also, it was windy and wavy almost every day during my 20 day trip!
The long beach with red cliffs to the right makes you feel like you are surfing in California. The sunsets are orange, mystical and serene. The wind starts to drop. The lighthouse starts to flash. Sailing back home, I got to surf the same wave as a Pelican. Both in silence, both going down the line using the little wind left and the power of the wave. It was so magical and back at the beach I was excited to tell everyone. Well, apparently I was the only person that never surfed with pelicans before! Ha ha, whatever, sharing a wave with a bird so big that can fly so smooth and so close to you is awesome! Sometimes they fly in groups and make funny paths going up and down using the wind that the wave generates. I was hypnotized by them! There are a lot of seals too! For a European like me, it was all so exotic!
These waves are so much fun, you can push as much as you want because they are not too powerful or dangerous, you can share with friends and you can decide how long to ride or in what part of the wave (the bay!) to stay. Suffice to say I rode my best ever waves in Pacasmayo. I got to do a lot of turns and 3 aerials in the same wave! I almost couldn’t sleep after the good days! This wave is so unique that there is a project to have the wave designated as a national monument, protecting it from development for future generations. I really hope they will get it! With an average swell size, to get to the top of the point to surf, the moto-taxis can take you there with your boards for a small charge, but it isn’t actually that far to walk. Windsurfing it is just a 10-20 minute upwind sail. When the swell is very big, the currents are extremely strong and the wave gets so long that if you want to surf or SUP it all the way from El Faro to the Pier you’ll need to hire a boat to take you back to the point. Windsurfing you will not need it.