Saturday, January 21, 2012

Ok, Matanzas

Klaas Voget being Klaas Voget

When you talk about wavesailing in Chile, probably the first spot that comes up is Matanzas. It's a small town on the coast with not a lot going on beyond windsurfing. The name of the town literally means "murders", for reasons I don't know. My first month or so in Chile I did not sail at Matanzas, opting for places that were closer to Pichilemu and I couldn't get a clear explanation for what made the spot special or outstanding. Topocalma supposedly had the amazing offshore wind and 20 turn waves, Pichilemu had the wave that could be ridden for a minute and a half, Llico had stronger wind and opportunities for huge jumps, Matanzas did not have a claim to fame with the people I spoke to.

But after having sailed Matanzas several times, it turned out to be my favorite spot. Sure the wind was light and flukey on the inside (like nearly all of the wave sailing spots in Chile), and the wave was not the longest or the most aggressive. What I found is that Matanzas delivered something nearly every day that I could enjoy. Sometimes it was scary-fun, but usually there was some part of the day when the waves were reasonable, fast enough to carve turns on and peaky enough to find steep sections. Matanzas seems to be the groomer slope of the Chilean coast, it almost always works. Frequently on the days when it is windy it is chest to head high around noon, and builds to head to mast+ in the afternoon. On lighter wind days with big waves, it frequently becomes a pro's only show, which is not to be missed.

My friend Bjorte has to run away from a heavy one.

There is nearly always a peak to backdoor on every wave. The guys who know how to read this spot make it look amazing.

This is the spin cycle and it's really easy to get there because there is a strong current that runs down the beach.  If you get caught in a heavy set going out and can't waterstart for a few seconds you end up taking a beating for a few minutes and finding yourself 100-200 meters down the beach. The good news is that it's relatively safe even though some gear gets broken.

Belgian friend Gregory getting some air. There are a million incredible wavesailors from Europe in Chile that you've never heard of.

My anemic bottom turn

Hotel Surazo is built right at the launch which is both a good and a bad thing. The good part is that it's an incredible place to stay and the restaurant has amazing gourmet food. The downside is that it's really pricey and even the camping options are over-the-top priced.

Olivier is actually a windsurfing teacher in Texas. Really nice guy and oh yeah. He rips.

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