If you haven't checked yet, the forecast for the Billabong Pro Tahiti looks kind of underwhelming. Things are likely to kick off at the start of the waiting period with 6-foot, semi-sloppy conditions. From there it gets cleaner, but also smaller. Of course the webcast-aholics will watch, and those required to sit in cubicles all day have no choice but to tune in, but don't expect the kind of "holy crap, you have to see these maneaters," webcast numbers like last year.
But it's likely that Bong drew a few of those curious eyeballs Tuesday for the tenth anniversary of the Billabong Pro Pico Alto presented by Xperia Sony Smartphone event in Peru with swell that hit 30 feet with bigger sets. Conditions improved throughout the day for a classic event on the Big Wave World Tour.
The six-man final basically came down to a test of knowledge and nerves between California's Greg Long and Brazilian Carlos Burle. Following a 10-minute lull at the start of the heat, the ocean raged with sets over 35 feet and Burle proved to be the man of the day.
"I am very excited. The truth is I wasn't sure I had won. I love Peru. It was one of the first places I traveled to compete. I have very good friends here and I am very happy to earn this victory," Burle said in a press release.
Burle, 44, grew up in Brazil and cut his teeth on the North Shore in the late 1980s. Following a passion for riding big waves when there was zero money in it, he and countryman Rodrigo Resende won the inaugural Reef Big-Wave World Championships at Todos Santos in 1998 for Brazil. Although he had arrived, it took some time for the big wave world to recognize his talents and bravado. He was the first Brazilian invited to the Quiksilver Eddie. He added a Nissan Xterra XXL Big Surf Award in 2002 for a 68-foot mountain at Maverick's the previous fall. Burle has played a major roll in developing Maya Gabeira as the premiere female big wave rider on the planet and was the 2010 Big Wave Champion.
Hawaii's Jamie Sterling won this event in 2010 and Nor Cal charger, Peter Mel, won in 2011. 2012 saw some barriers broken with tube rides in mega sections. This event now sees a good number of Peruvian surfers. Sebastian de Romana, Tamil Martino, Rafael Velarde, Kodiak Semsch, Rafael Otero and Gabriel Villaran all stepped up to the challenge. Peruvian Jose Gomez, who won this event in 2006 made another appearance in the final. Jeffrey Rowley of Australia, a rookie to the Big Wave World Tour took first in his first two heats. Ken "Skindog" Collins took third after taking his gun to the face in the first round. Wining the first event of the 2012/13 season, Burle now leads the Big Wave World Tour.Billabong Pico Alto 2012 Results:
1. Carlos Burle (BRA)
2. Greg Long (USA)
3. Ken "Skindog" Collins (USA)
4. Jose Gomez (PERU)
5. Ramon Navarro (CHI)
6. Jeffrey Rowley (AUS)