17-year-old Basque Country Local Natxo Gonzalez Wins Arnette Punta Galea Challenge 2012/13
GETXO, Basque Country, Spain
Natxo Gonzalez, a local from Bizkaia, captures the Arnette Punta Galea Challenge 2012/13, the first ever Big Wave World Tour Qualifying Event.
With a victory at hand, the 17-year-old charger obtains a “BWWT Wildcard ” to compete at the next BWWT Southern Hemisphere Event (Chile or Peru) and will become the youngest big wave surfer to participate in a BWWT Main Event.
Ben Freestone, forecasting advisor for Magicseaweed, stated that strong winds would be present during the morning hours and that the weather pattern would shift by noon. The prediction held and contest organizers started the event around 2pm with good conditions and waves in the 40-foot face range.
The day was filled with tense moments, heavy wipe-outs and incredible rides. During the event one of the water safety’s jet skis lost power and found its way to the inside rocks below the fabled cliffs of Punta Galea. No one was hurt and due to the professionalism of the water safety crew and the surfers competing the incident was just another jaw-dropping moment in competitive big wave surfing.
Winner, Natxo Gonzales, kept calm despite the conditions and this to say after his maiden victory, “I decided to get my spot at the peak and stay quiet. My sponsor brought me a new surfboard and everything worked really well, the board responded perfectly and thanks to that I surfed with confidence. I think it is the secret in order to do well in these kind of conditions.”
Ramon Navarro stated, “At first it was hard! It was big and kind of bumpy. Local surfers made good use of their knowledge of the wave and positioned themselves better. Then, wave after wave, I’ve gained confidence, and, by the end, I was able to catch some good ones. Actually it was big, the sets were around seven meters and they were really strong. “
According to Gary Linden, Director of BWWT, who traveled from California to attend the event, “Punta Galea is a world class wave in all its aspects!
1 – Natxo Gonzalez (EUK) 3000 Euro + BWWT Wild Card
2 – Ramon Navarro (CHI) 2000 Euro
3- Adur Letamemdia (EUK) 1000 Euro
Worst Wipeout – Indar Unanue (EUK) 500 Euro