Beyond the waves

People from all over the world make their way to Pichilemu, Chile to dip their bodies in the frigid Pacific Ocean and ride rolling waves that break from two colossal rocks encased in sea foliage sprouting from the water. The 100 meter high cliffs are perhaps the most recognizable part of this South American surf hotspot called Punta de Lobos. Beginners and world champion surfers can share the waves that range from huge curling cylinders to mild whitecaps in water shallow enough to stand.

A best trick surf competition combined with the Chilean Independence day attracted thousands of people to the area in the weeks surrounding September 18. While the competition was fascinating, and I stranded myself on a few rocks as the tide was coming in to get close enough for a decent picture, I was more interested in the scenes and landscapes before the peak moment of a surfer spinning at the crest of a wave. Here are some shots of surfing “beyond the waves” at Punta de Lobos.

A surfer walks down to the beach at Punta de Lobos near Pichilemu, Chile on Dec. 18, 2013. The beach is one of the best surf locations in South America.

A surfer walks down to the beach at Punta de Lobos near Pichilemu, Chile on Sept. 18, 2013. The beach is one of the best surf locations in South America.

A surfer waits for the waves to calm before jumping in to surf at Punta de Lobos near Pichilemu, Chile on Dec. 18, 2013. The beach is one of the best surf locations in South America.

A surfer waits for the waves to calm before jumping in to surf at Punta de Lobos near Pichilemu, Chile on Sept. 18, 2013. The beach is one of the best surf locations in South America.

A surfer launches into the ocean at Punta de Lobos near Pichilemu, Chile on Dec. 19, 2013. The beach is one of the best surf locations in South America.

A surfer launches into the ocean at Punta de Lobos near Pichilemu, Chile on Sept. 19, 2013. The beach is one of the best surf locations in South America.

Spectators gather on a rock to watch Surf Beats Best Trick competition at Punta de Lobos near Pichilemu, Chile on Dec. 19, 2013. The beach is one of the best surf locations in South America.

Spectators gather on a rock to watch Surf Beats Best Trick competition at Punta de Lobos near Pichilemu, Chile on Sept. 19, 2013. The beach is one of the best surf locations in South America.

A sunset paints the sky at Punta de Lobos near Pichilemu, Chile on Dec. 18, 2013. The beach is one of the best surf locations in South America.

A sunset paints the sky at Punta de Lobos near Pichilemu, Chile on Sept. 18, 2013. The beach is one of the best surf locations in South America.

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