Sunshine, strong offshore winds and a 4-metre (15ft) swell greeted the 15 competitors and hundreds of spectators, who lined the clifftops at this winter’s ‘La Vaca Gigante III’ big wave event on Saturday the 14th Nov. The spot ‘La Vaca’ or ‘The Cow’ breaks 400m out to sea, off a rocky coastline beside a rural Cantabrian cattle finca. The cliff-lined surf spot is far from inviting, but allows spectators a gladiator style view of the proceedings. Armed with surfboards up to 12′6″ in length, the invited surfers decided to compete in a four-hour final.
The individual ‘Biggest Wave’ prize was given to Michel Velasco. But was closely challenged by surfers such as David Echague and Asier Muniain. This year it was Dani Pablos who took the ‘Worst Wipe-out’ award, after falling on a spectacular wave. Whilst French Surfer Pilou Ducalme perhaps had the most harrowing of moments. After taking a lefthander, Pilou ending up getting washed directly into the cliffs below the spectators. He kept his cool and just edged around the rocks and into the channel, narrowly avoiding disaster. He received huge cheers from the worried spectators, once he exited the danger zone unscathed.
When the results were announced in ascending order, it was British Quiksilver and Gravis surfer Gabe Davies who rode a series of solid sets successfully and claimed the ‘Best Surfer’ first prize. The judges decided Gabe took off deeply and critically enough on a series of solid set waves to claim the top prize. “I was stoked just to get an invite to the ‘La Vaca Gigante III’ Event and to surf alongside such respected surfers,” he said. ”Coming here for the first time was never about competition for me, its more like a celebration of surfing and an event which shows respect to all those surfers who continue to push themselves and the sport in ever more challenging situations. This wasn’t the biggest that ‘La Vaca’ has been surfed, but it remains a challenging wave worthy of respect. You have to commit to paddling into the deep-water take off. It has massive power behind it.
For more information check www.tow-incenter.com/lavaca/