Doesn't Puerto Escondido make your heart pound right through your chest? When a south swell lights up that Pacific chart and a breath of nor'easterly wind looks set to groom those lumps in to heavy tubes, you can bet that Mexico's premier beachbreak will harbour some of the most committed – and this time, they're likely warming up for the WSL's big wave competition.
Here, we bring you a session featuring all your favourite chargers, as captured by Edwin Morales, who has been delivering the goods from Mexpipe all season-long. The likes of Coco Nogales, Tom Lowe, Jojo Roper, Oscar Moncada and more feature throughout.
As Jojo Roper tells MSW: “This swell was unique in the sense that, being very south you get those big teepees everywhere. Which from a lineup shot, makes it look easy. But you have to take off behind them.
“Backdooring a 12-15ft teepee can be a bit intimidating. But I got a few. Super stoked. My better waves were not easy to say the least. So I'm happy with it all.”
And, just in from the ground, speculation is running through the streets of ol' Mexpipe that the Puerto Escondido Challenge could run on Monday. As Edwin tells MSW: “What a year this has been. It went from a really bad early season to an all-time summer. By far the year with the most straight south swells since I remember.
“Right when we all thought things couldn't get any better, and the Puerto Challenge waiting period soon coming to an end, boom, another epic swell pops up on the charts and this time with the possibility of running the contest. The excitement in town is unbelievable. Every corner you stop, the topic is the same. "Is it gonna run? How big is it? Should I get the guns out again? Should I take a sick day? Should I bail and go to the points down south?" The whole town is in some kind of ecstasy.
“This next few days will be the most anticipated and anxious ones waiting to hear the call. Hopefully, it is a green light and the world gets to see the best big wave riders on the planet with the best swell direction for Puerto. The rights will be blowing minds and of course, steep lefts with heavy bowling sections. I get goosebumps when I think about it.”
In light of that, could we see a potential green light for the competition?
Let's crunch the numbers. Monday's swell looks set to peak around 7ft@16secs, heading in from the SSW. Winds are scattered, but light, and looks a solid choice for the foreseeable future. We are approaching the latter end of the event window, which closes on August 31, so there is still time to wait for another decent run to rifle through.
As a comparison, we pulled up the charts from last year's event to see how they stack up. And, in 2016, the numbers were much more in tune with what we'd expect to see from a big wave event. The opening day, on Friday June 24, saw the swell peak at 9ft@20secs, again from the SSW with light, scattered winds, which made for a classic day of competition.
The day after, on finals day, the swell had dropped, still maxing out at 8ft@18secs but seemed a little on the smaller side for a big wave competition. Twiggy took home the win and eventually claimed the 2016 Big Wave Tour title.
MSW's premier wave wizard Francisco Silva breaks it down, explaining that the figures for Monday might not be enough to get Puerto Escondido chugging for a big wave event: “Puerto is expecting a weekend with plenty of action. Tomorrow, and during the next few days, a succession of southerly pulses should be dominant in the Mexican line-up. The first pulse should peak during Saturday, with a new swell filling in late Sunday and peaking on Monday.
“When comparing this forecast with last year’s event, we can’t be completely optimistic that it will present the numbers required to beat the WSL minimum threshold to run the competition. But the peak direction of this swell may be a key player in the overall face heights we will see at the beach.
“At this time, with the majority of the swell already travelling towards the equator, the model guidance looks accurate and our validation system is showing a good agreement between the forecast and the observations.”
Regardless if the event runs or not, we're damn sure to see a select crew of big wave aficionados tucking into some prime Mexican beef, as this fresh swell pulses. Go or no? Stay tuned and feast your eyes on the below from the latest swell to get the juices pumping.
Cover image: Tom Lowe, showing us why he's the newly-minted Big Wave Tour invitee