Chicama Surf Resort

Peru: La Libertad

The best accommodation in front of the world's longest wave. Surf your brains out, get towed back to the lineup and chill in the swimming pool, spa or jacuzzi.

History of Chicama

Legend has it that the surfing potential of Chicama was first seen in 1965 by Hawaiian surfer Chuck Shipman, from the window of a plane when returning home from the world surfing championships at Punta Rocas, near Lima, Peru. Like filmmaker Bruce Brown creating "Endless Summer" about the same time, Shipman was seeking a "perfect wave", superior to the known surfing spots of the period. Because prevailing ocean swells and winds were from the southwest, he methodically searched for headlands that might refract these waves. Using a large, detailed map of Peru, Shipman identified three promising headlands north of Lima: Viru, Chicama, and Pacasmayo. Swells wrapping around these points might result in long peeling waves with offshore winds that surfers prefer.

Chuck encouraged Peruvian photojournalist Joaquin Miro Quesada to organize an expedition to explore the northwestern coast. At that time, few spots were surfed outside of Lima, although Peru had great potential. They filmed less than epic surfing at Viru, Pacasmayo, and Chiclayo, but failed to find the unmarked dirt road to Chicama. Shipman subsequently observed long peeling waves while flying over Chicama on three commercial flights.

Back home in Hawaii, he persistently wrote to his Peruvian friends to find a way to this promising surf spot. Eventually, Miro Quesada, Oscar “Chino” Malpartida, Carlos Barreda (brother of noted Peruvian surfer Sergio Barreda) and a small group of surfers found the way to Chicama and were the first to film and surf the long point wave. Reportedly the first surfer filmed was Malpartida in and out of the barrel with the film running out long before the ride was completed.

An interesting footnote is that in addition to local fishermen on "Caballitos de Totora", other surfers may have ridden the surf at Chicama long before. Casa Grande, Peru’s largest sugar plantation is located in the Chicama River Valley. Recently, a Peruvian surfer visiting old warehouses in Casa Grande found several wooden surfboards, appearing to date from the 1930’s or earlier. It is likely that sugar plantation managers or researchers from Hawaii visited or worked at Casa Grande during the 1920’s and 1930’s. Seeing the fabled waves, they built surfboards to enjoy their sport. They kept Chicama a secret until 1965.