Break out the Pisco! Xcel’s Chilean charger Cristian Merello has won the Quiksilver Ceremonial Big Wave Invitational in 30′ Punta de Lobos, Chile.
The goofy-foot Merello, 27, took advantage of the heavy lefts with patience and commitment, finding the biggest and best waves as sets built from the early morning and peaked in the 6-man finals.
Dedicating his win to his mother, who is battling cancer, and to the local Pichilemu community, Merello’s determination and local knowledge won the day.
“My strategy was to sit as deep as possible and wait for the biggest waves,” Merello explained. “I felt so comfortable out there, and I’ve surfed that board so many times at this spot that I knew what to do and did my best.”
With his Punta de Lobos win, Merello receives $10,000 and currently leads the 2010-2011 Big Wave World Tour.
Xcel’s Greg Long (USA) – winner of the recent Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau Waimea Bay Invitational – joined Merello in the all-star final heat, which also included Gabriel Villaran (Peru), Peter Mel (USA), Jamie Sterling (Hawaii), and Mark Healey (Hawaii).
All 24 competing surfers donated a total of $15,000 to the local fishermen of Chile who lost their homes during the February 8.8 earthquake and tsunami.
“[My win] was for me… for my mother, and the entire community,” Merello added. “We’ve all been through a lot.”