It was an intense day. I got up at 6:30 am thinking the first heat would be at 7 am, but it didn’t happen until 9 am. The excitement in the air was palpable–every roof and hilltop in the area had people on it. When a set would approach, the air was filled with cheering.
I have so many favorites. My Peruvian roots had me rooting for Gabriel Villaran, who found one of the first bombs of the morning. I’ve been photographing Jose Ramirez Rito and Coco Nogales for a month now, so I was cheering for them, too. Unfortunately, although they’re both Puerto locals, they didn’t make it to the semifinals.
Seeing young Ramirez and Corzo representing Mexico and going to the semifinals was epic. I’ve spent eight months in Mexico, and I feel as though my heart belongs here. Will Skudin’s heat win made me happy, as well. My partner and I drove to Mexico from his home town of New York, and it’s like my second home.
Puerto has changed my outlook on waves. I’ll never see them the same again. This swell has been massive, and watching the best big wave riders in the world surfing it has been like something from another world. It’s been life-changing.