Chicama | Catching The World’s Longest Wave

Chicama Waves

After the assault on the senses that is Lima, a ten-hour bus ride gets you to Huanchaco. A sleepy fishing town that doubles as a World surfing mecca.

Only just over a week into our year-long Inca to Inuit adventure and we decided it was time to try out our new GoPro hero 4 in the water and where better to do this than the World’s longest wave at Puerto Chicama. There was no way we could venture this far North in Peru without surfing the World’s longest wave.

A group of guys from our hostel and I headed out in earnest at 7 am on a cloudy Tuesday morning. We had hired a taxi for the hour and a half journey from Huanchaco to Chicama. The driver promising to take our boards and us to the wave, wait while we surfed and drive us back for just the equivalent of £30. Bargain, we thought.

Jake Surfing

Much like the surf, the journey to Chicama wasn’t without its drama. It stated so well. The driver arrived bang on time at 7am all smiles, but then proceeded to secure (I use this term in its loosest form) our four boards to the top of his taxi with nothing but an old old frayed rope that I swear he got from a 1900’s shipwreck. Fearing that our hired boards would end up underneath a sugarcane lorry on highway 1N, we interjected and insisted that we used the board leashes in addition to the rope from the Titanic to give at least some form of security. That left us holding onto each end of the leashes through the windows while our driver, pedal to the metal, weaved in and out of traffic like a Peruvian Louis Hamilton. An hour and a half and 10 leash-checking stops later we arrived and Chicama with boards, if not our nerves, intact.

My god is it worth the drive. It is surfer’s paradise.

Peurto Chicama is where hundreds of miles of desert meet the waves, with just towering cliffs separating the two. Puerto Chicama is little more than a surfing outpost with nothing much there apart from condos and a few basic hostels catering for surfers, but the wave is insane! Chicama is a point break that locals claim has been ridden from the point to the pier, a distance of 2.2 km.

You arrive on the cliffs and scramble down to the beach for the kilometre and a half walk to the point break. The point is the best part of the wave and consequently gets busy with surfers jostling for position, but the wave for almost the entire first kilometre is excellent.

Chicama is only really worth surfing when there is good swell. If the swell is poor head to Huanchaco instead where there is almost always good sized waves. We were lucky on the day we went that the swell was good which meant there weren’t even sets of waves, every wave was big and rideable.

Chicama from Cliffs

So to give our new GoPro its first wet-run. Having obviously not read any attachment instructions I secured it to my board before the surf, ensuring the sticky pad was firmly stuck. After only my second wave, I soon realised that my GoPro sticking skills we not up to scratch. I surfaced from ducking under a wave only to look at the end of my board where the camera had sat just seconds earlier, now naked as a new born baby!

I desperately looked around for a glimpse of orange foam the float attached to the back on the camera but could see it nowhere. Another wave came and hit me, when I resurfaced, I again looked for an orange glimmer of hope, but nothing! The longest wave in the World had robbed me.

This continued for another two or three minutes at which point my desperation turned to despair. I decided to head in and look for it from the shore where I would have a better vantage point and where it would likely be washed up.

When I reached the beach my despair had turned into panic. Not at the thought of losing a shiny new GoPro, no, instead at the realisation that Lyndsay, my girlfriend, was going to KILL me! I could see the headlines back in the UK, “Woman kills boyfriend in Peruvian GoPro rage”. I HAD to find it.

After walking up and down a stretch of 2 km long beach for an hour and a half and enlisting numerous locals and surfers in my search, I had completely given up hope when I saw the unthinkable! About a kilometre down the beach from where it had come off… our camera in all it’s sandy glory. I was so happy I hi-fived a fisherman and took this celebratory selfie.

Jake at Chicama

Moral of the story. Go to Chicama. Don’t lose your GoPro.

You Might Also Like