Peru was my very first World Championship Tour event ever! The trip was awesome… kinda. It had its up and downs but what trip doesn’t. The wave that the contest was held at was versatile and was a good spot to hold an event in my opinion. I missed out by qualifying for the tour last year by one spot. Sad yet great in the sense that this year I’ve been holding the number one alternate spot. I don’t think I was ready for it last year. The WCT is a job, a career and an athlete’s dream. You have to be fit not only physically but mentally and I feel like I still have much to grow in those areas. Each contest I have been gaining experience in all of the above.
Peru is a very poor country. Lima was the prettiest/cleanest part that I saw. Driving to SanBartolo there is not much to see but sand hills. I would picture it as Egypt with more dirt/soil. I have never been to Egypt but thats what my visual is. The sand hills are covered with boxcar like homes with no electricity, or running water, nothing. Once you get to the contest area it’s beachier versions of the boxcars, some nice homes as well. When my first heat came along I was really nervous. It was the first time that I would be competing against girls like Chelsea Hedges, Steph Gillmore and Sally Fitzgibbons, all whom I find absolutely amazing surfers. I ended up losing in Round 1, a rookie’s nightmare. It was a punch to my confidence that I had going into the event. I knew that I had to keep my head up and look onto Round 2, a second chance. In my first heat I received a 7.5 on one wave and needed a 3 to advance and I could not find it. Going into my second heat I knew that I was capable of the scores needed but technical smart heat surfing was needed this time. With visualizing and focus my performance improved in my second heat of the event and I won!
Round 3 was on. I had a lower seed going into the event, I drew former world champion Sofia Mulanvich, Queen of Peru. Not really but that’s how it felt. Me against the country. Every time she stood up in a prior heat the roar of the crowed was unheard of. She is a god here, giving me poor hope for success.
I knew going into the ‘man-on-man’ heat I would have to surf my best, push my resolve and execute everything to perfection. Sofia and I exchanged waves and scores throughout the entire heat. She opened with 2 mid 6’s and I opened up with a 7.4. Needing a 6.5 with 2 minutes left I got a smaller wave and surfed my hardest. I saw the quarters ahead of me. Tunnel visioned towards the judges stands I turned and carved. Kicking out of the wave I heard a couple appaloosas. I put my head down and prayed that would be the score..it came through and there it was a 6.8! I got the score..i couldnt believe it. I sprinted and fast as I could back out to the lineup. Only to find sofia pick off a great wave. I closed my eyes and said its in God’s hands now. She received an 8 and went back to first. I lost, but not without a fight. When I got to the beach the girls congratulated me on my performance. I was proud to be a part of this event. It lit a fire in my eyes. This is where I want to be, what I want to be and what I will become.
I continued on to watch the girls compete. I really wanted Sally to win. She is a true athlete that I strive to take advice from yet a great friend at the same time. Her surfing is amazing. She continues to progress and I continue to take note. Silvana Lima ended up winning. She surfed amazing in the final and a well deserved first place. I’m headed home now. Excited and ready. On to the next adventure, Indonesia in a week. My first boat trip! Yay.
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