Shots Across The Bow

Paddle-in surfers threatened with firearm by tow-in surfers in Peru
Story By Nicole DeJesus

In Lima, Peru, there’s a new meaning to “the waves are firing.” A couple months ago, at a break known for its monster waves, Pico Alto, there was an altercation about an expensive board that got lost in the white water. After some words were exchanged the typical macho tow surfers took things too far, pulling a gun from their wave runner and shooting it off in the air.
Local big wave surfers Kodiak Gutierrez and Magoo De La Rosa are fed up. It used to be, [when you surfed big waves in Peru] you’re on your toes and you have butterflies in your stomach, but you’re at peace because you’re a mile out and it’s quiet,” says Gutierrez, “Now, there’s the noise and smell of the engines and the water has a rainbow colored film on it from the oil. It’s a piece of ****.”
This battle between the paddle surfers and the tow-in surfers has been happening in other parts of the world for years, but these guys say everything develops slower in Peru.

There are three or four crews of towing surfers [in Lima], says Gutierrez, and they are all nasty. They are Peruvian locals but they don’t have the typical surfer vibe. “They’re very good big wave surfers, probably some of the best, but they’re sick in the head.” Gutierrez insists if you paddle into one of their waves, which when they’re out, is every wave, “they’ll probably break your legs on the beach.”
He’s not exaggerating. “Three years ago I was almost drowned by one of these guys. I saw a good wave and I took off. It was this guy’s 21st wave, and my first. He came from the inside and I had to eat it. When I got back from the line-up he started wrapping his 20-foot leash around my body and tried to drag me under water. These guys are 250-pound black belts; you don’t want to mess with them.”
“We used to have every year a big wave surf contest here at Pico Alto. But sadly, everyone has walked away,” Gutierrez reminisces on the last contest in 2006, “We have to get our line-up back.”
Typically cops and lifeguards regulate beach violence, but they don’t have that. “So, we are trying to get the word out there; Pico Alto is NOT their beach!”
If all else fails, it will be revenge of the paddlers. “Next time there’s a big swell, we’re going to the ghetto to get a couple huge guys to stand on the sand while we paddle into any wave we want. If there’s a problem, they’ll fix it for us on the beach. I’m serious.”
The Pico Alto surf community is in the process of implementing a legal manual for proper surf conduct. Damn, this is getting gangster. Stay tuned.

Reader Comments
Posted Fri Jul 4, 2008, 11:09 AM — By James AllenSounds messed up. The whole vibe of big wave surfing is destroyed if there is one jet ski out there. Jetski's may end up in the line up on small days as well. After all loads of people would prefer to hit the lip at 40km/hour rather than try to generate their own speed in 2 - 3 foot surf. Maybe lifeguards or the police will be able to deal with jet ski's at popular beaches but there is no chance that they will be able to deal with the problem at isolated or big wave spots. Blame the mags and the surf industry for continuously promoting tow surfing, selling out the whole sport for cash. The mags need to start to make it clear that tow surfing should only happen if there is no-one paddling. Unfortunatly that will never work, so stop publishing photos of tow surfers. This is ruining the very essence of big wave surfing. Laird for gods sake look what you have done! Posted Fri Jul 4, 2008, 7:09 PM — By Billabong PerúBillabong Pico Alto Invitational 2008, defending the roots of surfing Billabong, steadfast in its commitment with the Peruvian surfing and defending the cradle Big Wave Surfing - Pico Alto, launches the sixth consecutive year of the Billabong Pico Alto Invitacional 2008 championship. The now classic Billabong Pico Alto Invitacional 2008, that take place in the high risk and most important big wave of Perú and all South America, will be held this year between the months of August and September (waiting period) when the biggest swell arrives. Men full of courage will face waves of more than eight meters of height. It´s measured, "a clean arm," against the immensity of the ocean to the greatest spectacle of adrenaline and fearlessness that every year we live in the remable biggest paddle in wave in South America. For this, will not be used motorized vehicles to put the athletes in the wave, competitors use only their arms and their lung capacity to enter in the huge waves. Posted Fri Jul 4, 2008, 7:10 PM — By miksurfno matter how big a guy is, there are always equalizers: a good one is a long jail sentence for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. otherwise, the Karma will come back just as violently,one way or another. Natural Law is 100% reliable.Posted Fri Jul 4, 2008, 7:12 PM — By Billabong PerúWe claimed the classic surf style and pure big waves surf. These wave gave the greatest Big Wave athletes recognized globally as: Felipe Pomar, Miguel Plaza, Pancho Aramburú, Perico Arevalo, Max De La Rosa Toro, Magoo De La Rosa Toro, José Gómez and Gabriel Villarán. With the main objective of go back to the roots and defend the Big Wave Surfing in Peru, and perpetuate the traditional and recognized reputation of our Big Waves surfers, Billabong Perú will bring together the bravest and best athletes in this discipline, who will be measured for a prize U.S. $ 10.000 dollars . The Billabong Pico Alto Invitational 2008 will be webcast LIVE! Posted Mon Jul 7, 2008, 11:09 AM — By totothis article is not quite accurate. the altercation was in between two tow in teams, NOT with anyone paddling in (which is even more stupid). however, tow ins in pico alto are out of control, there are a couple guys (those whom kodiak mentions) whom should be put in jail. its a matter of time before they end up killing someone. it is pretty ridiculous actually, when there are eight tow in teams and the waves are 12 foot. they should only be out when its huge and even then give priority to people paddling in because you can always paddle in at pico. i tow in too, its a great thing, but order and respect has to be established for sure.Posted Tue Jul 8, 2008, 7:58 AM — By JohnnyThe Golden Rule in life is "Give and it will be Given, Take and it will be Taken". Yes there is a balance in all things. Those who are unlearned should be taught. Gods love is TOUGH LOVE sometimes so BEHAVE. Not to be wishy washy about the situation, purists will agree that machines are destroying the heart and soul of everything. If you bros cant behave then a Surf Police will have to be formed to protect your right to free use of pico. Otherwise we can make everyone pay a fee for each ride like Disneyland. If the Gov. boys step in maybe no one gets to ride.Posted Wed Jul 9, 2008, 3:59 AM — By luke AustraliaWhat a shame our sport has come to this. We once had only localism to deal with and this was only a matter of pecking order. Now we have a bloody mess with no nice resolve. The sport and lifestyle we enjoy is being destroyed.I don't like theme parks and crowded city's the ocean is an escape from the mess of our daily lives, Let's hope we don't completely sell it out.Posted Wed Jul 9, 2008, 9:40 AM — By jayName and shame these idiots that are not welcome at any spots around the world.