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Ben Hergott gives an insight into the South American destination, as part of a quest to lose the crowds and traverse some new borders.

Discovering surfing at 28 led me to change a few things in my happy little Melbournian life. I tried to improve by surfing every weekend around Melbourne and spent my holidays in Reunion Island, East Java, Telo Islands, Mexico or Lombok. I actually had a ball doing that but wanted an ‘Endless Summer’, where nothing is planned too far ahead, and I could leave work at home. Placing the career on hold was a tough decision, it seems easy to get stuck in having it all planned out. At the time of writing this, all I know is that I don’t know where I will be surfing next week… but I will be surfing.

For the past five weeks I have been in Peru, but what makes Peru so good?

Things started well on the flight to Lima. Iberia didn’t charge me 300 Euros for the board, then they upgraded me to Business Class, then slightly damaged my board and gave me $690 to replace it!

If crowds bother you, Peru might be a good option. Numerous point breaks, great food, easy transport and the friendliest locals. I’m surprised it’s not more often featured in the media.

I finally arrived at Chicama, and it’s truly a memorable place to experience. It’s the longest left in the world, and surfing here can reward you with rides of a minute or more. It even barrels on the inside section.

Lobitos is an unusual setting, inside an abandoned military base, with oil wells replacing palm trees. I’m not sure it lives up to its reputation as the best wave in South America, but it definitely has the best level of surfing.

Lima has heaps of waves, from the barrelling La Herradura, to the more busy Costa Verde.

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There are dozens of waves scattered along the coast, mainly lefts, often in small places like Puemape were only 20 people live, Cerro Azul that was even mentioned in a Beach Boys’ song or Pico Alto that is often compared to Sunset Beach in Hawaii with its larger waves.

I almost feel like I shouldn’t share my experiences of a country that is not suffering from wave celebrity status. But maybe spreading the demand into places like this will help with the crowds back home.

Ben Hergott was born in the French Alps, but moved to Melbourne, Australia, where he found the ocean.

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