Resort Guide: Matanzas Region, Chile, Chile

INDIVIDUAL BEACH REPORTS

 

SQUARE ROCK (LA ROCA QUADRADA)

On a smaller day this wave is not at all intimidating, peeling off a square rock 2 km downwind of Matanzas. You can often get 5-6 turns on the wave but beware though because with a little more swell the wave becomes tubular, hollow and powerful. You need a 4x4 to sail here because you literally have to drive 2 km across the sand from Matanzas to get there.

LA BOCA

10 minutes from Matanzas this is a perfect flat water spot in the river just before it meets the ocean. It’s like sailing on a lake and perfect for any level of sailor, but just down wind where the river meets the ocean you can also get some jumping in. The land is privately owned and at the weekends Bernado (old Chilean man) sits at the gate accepting CH$2,000 (£2) per car in return for opening the gate! If you need to get in during the week you can go to his house and he unlocks it for you. (His house is the blue and white one third from the end on the right before you get to the gate.)

MATANZAS

Matanzas is a huge bay where the wave curls all the way round. When you first see it, its breathtaking. The wave is quite a fast one so you have to stay close to it; no big, loopy bottom turns, and you can get 5-6 turns on the wave crossing sections. It’s less hollow than square rock, and on small days it can be a good place for beginner wave riders but when it gets to logo/mast high it can be mean! The wave is actually quite variable here. In five weeks we saw it flat, over mast high, softly peeling, quickly peeling and on one day, after a very large swell, it became extremely hollow and sections would close out. But normally it’s a relatively fast wave that’s pretty soft and peels nicely.

 

PUPUYA

 

Pupuya is upwind of Matanzas and satisfies all your jumping needs. The wind here is more on shore and you can get plenty of speed up before hitting the ramps. When the swell is small it’s a great place to go too, but if the swell is particularly big then it’s not a good option because the waves here are bigger combined with the onshore wind – not much fun. You need a 4x4 to drive onto the beach.

TOPOCALMA

This place is absolute joy! I have never seen so many waves perfectly peeling one after the other whilst it simultaneously blows 3.7m weather! You must remember that it is windier here than anywhere else, so on a relatively windy day you can literally get blown off the water by mid afternoon so the best thing is to get there early. If you DO get blown off the water you still have plenty of time to get back to Matanzas to sail for the rest of the day. The waves are nicely spaced, with decent gaps between the sets so as long as you work on your timing it can be easy to get out here.

It is a 40 minute drive to the gate of Hacienda Topocalma and from here on all of the land is privately owned so you have to get permission before you are allowed in. It sounds annoying but you can understand why when you see how beautiful the place is. Once you’ve rung the bell, and left photo ID on the gate, you’re in and another 20 minute drive to the beach. At the T-junction you turn left (unless you want to go the surfing beach, Puertocillo, in which case go right.

Once you arrive at the beach make sure you park on the land side of the lagoon (unless you want to have sand blown into every acienda you thought existed) rig up, sail across the lagoon, walk across the beach and the wave is yours.

They only let 30-40 cars into the acienda (for both the windsurfing and surfing beach) every day so at weekends get there early to avoid disappointment.

PICHILEMU

This spot is a little further away than the others. It takes an hour and a half to get to and the wind is usually around 5 knots lighter than the Matanzas region, so go on a good forecast. This is the slowest peeling wave I have ever seen and ridden, and when I say you can get 12 turns on a wave I’m not exaggerating. You sometimes have to hook in between sections to give your arms a rest. But the wave is so unbelievably slow and predictable that it’s almost a different type of wave riding to anything I’ve ever experienced. On one occasion we went on a huge swell and it was breaking mast and a half high and still peeling.

ANY HAZARDS?

At all the beaches there aren’t really any hazards. If you come in too far down wind it’s sandy and the only problem is a long walk back. The only exception is Square Rock. If you ride the section of the wave which is furthest up wind, and stack it in the wave you should water start reasonably quickly. There are a few rocks which you could end up on but it’s quite unlikely, and certainly nothing like a Ho’okipa style experience.

INSTRUCTION AND KIT HIRE

This is not a place for instruction and there are no windsurfing centers. At the Olas de Matanzas camp site Hector has a small windsurfing shop where he hires equipment but it is limited so if you do want to hire e mail well in advance: info@olasdematanzas.cl

Kit rental costs are CH$25,000-30,000 (£25-30)/day for a board, two sails, wetsuit and harness.