Runaway to Chile with Reubyn Ash

I decided to head to Chile after my good friend Nic von Rupp called me up to see if I would be keen to go with him and Alex Botelho to film for his My Road series. I had never been there before and this trip sounded like a good one with friends, so I decided to hook up with them and I’m glad I did.

First we flew to the capital of Chile, Santiago and continued straight away to northern Chile, to Iquique. We wanted to go there to check their waves. It took about two hours flight to get to there. That was pretty amazing place, but we didn’t really score. Iquique looks like a normal big city from the seaside, but when you look at the other side of the city, you can see that it’s surrounded by a huge sandy desert. Like in Santiago, this city has also mix of new and old architecture. It reminded me a little bit of Portugal.

Because the waves didn’t get that good in Iquique, we decided to head even further north. This meant that we had to drive through the Atacama Desert which is the driest place on earth. The landscape looks like Mars and the desert has been used as a location for filming Mars scenes. I have to say the landscape was absolutely breathtaking.

On the other side of the desert was our next destination, Arica which is Chile’s most northern city. Arica is a slightly smaller city than Iquique but its location is similar – sea is on the other side and desert on the other. Because of the desert, the temperature is varies a lot. Nights get really cold and days get boiling hot because the sun comes out every day of the year. Some hotels are even promising free nights for their guests if the sun fails to shine. Luckily, we didn’t get lucky with free nights.

The reason why we travelled to Arica is for a wave called El Gringo. This wave is a powerful slab and whole setup of the wave is dangerous – not only is the wave is heavy but also the setup so close to the rocks. I have to admit, I was shitting myself.

After spending four nights in Arica we decided to head back south. From Arica we travelled back to Iquique by bus, took a plane back to Santiago and jumped into cars to drive in to Southern Chile. Because Chile’s coastline is over 6000 km long, we literally spent a lot of time on the road driving or flying from place to another. However, spending a lot of time in the car driving through Chile is not a bad idea because the landscape is beautiful everywhere. While the north is dominated by the sandy deserts, the south has forests and big snowy mountains. Chile has it all.

After about seven to eight hours drive we finally arrived in our last destination of the trip. We found some amazing spots over there with sandy beaches and perfect waves. I can’t tell you names of these places, because otherwise I’d have to kill you. Within this endless coastline there are still hundreds of undiscovered perfect waves to be found. Guaranteed.

–Reubyn Ash

All photos Jonna Kerman


Ed Temperley

Founding editor at magicseaweed