Wed, 18 December 2019

The rise of young Kommetjie charger Fabian Campagnolo continues after his 5th in pristine big waves at Punta Galea in Spain on Monday, writes Spike. Cover photo Sebastian Staines

Solid 20 foot surf turned the normally benign reef into a grinding right point that looked a bit like pure perfection scaled up in size a good few notches. Brazilian Lucas 'Chumbo' Chianca crossed 10 time zones from his 6th place in the cbdMD Jaws Big Wave Championship to win this event on the back of a perfect 10 point ride that included a deep backside tube on a solid set wave.

The Brazilian had a gruelling journey just to get here in the wake of the Peahi event. Almost immediately after prize-giving, he was on a red eye flight to Europe with Nic Lamb and Alex Botelho. That was followed by an eight hour drive to Gexto, Galicia, where they arrived with hours to spare.

You'll see no mention of the event on the World Surf League website after Punta Galea Challenge, which was part of the Big Wave Tour in 2013-2014, pulled out of the BWT. They have run their event for 14th consecutive years, and this iteration will be remembered as one of the most pristine big days of contest they have had.


MAKING A POINT: The best waves in years pulled through in the Basque Country. Screengrab

Campagnolo, 21, maximised the honour of being invited into the event by making it to the final. On top of that, he was the only African (and non-European) in the final. His typically no-holds-barred approach earned him respect from the grizzled local crew, and he can feel proud of this achievement.

The Kommetjie born-and-bred charger funds his travels by working odd jobs, including grape picking in France. Grant Twiggy Baker was instrumental in getting Camagnolo into the event, and supplying him with guns to ensure he was properly equipped for his quest in Spain.

Part of a crew of young big wave surfers in South Africa who must overcome lack of sponsorship and expensive travel arrangements, this will surely provide a heads up to the 'brands' who should start to sit up and take notice before he is snapped up by someone else.


BACK HOME: Fabian charges the big wave spots around Cape Town. Photo Grant Scholtz


1 – Lucas Chianca (BRA) – 27.50
2 – Pierre Rollet (FRA) – 27.00
3 – Alex Botelho (POR) – 22.91
4 – Indar Unanue (BAS) – 21.13
5 – Fabian Campagnolo (AFR) – 16.49
6 – Ilker Muñoz (BAS) – 3.20

Photo Essay of Fabian Courtesy Sebastian Staines

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