It’s not so long ago that I did an article about surfing the mighty Zambezi below Victoria Falls, but today it’s a different river, different continent – The Urubamba River, South America.
Gabriel Villarán is one of the most extreme and outstanding Peruvian surfers who is known for his passion and immense courage. He was 8 years od when he got his first surfboard and very quickly began to take part in national and Latin American competitions. “At the age of 11, I participated in my first competition and since that moment I never stopped competing,” he said.
He become the Latin American champion in the Sub-18 category, in 1999 and 2000. In 2002 he was the National Champion in the categories Sub-18 and Open, and won 5th place in the ISA World Surfing Games 2004, held in Ecuador. He also won the ALAS Tour 2005 (Latin American circuit) competing in only 8 stops, while other surfers competed in 9 or 12 stops. In 2006 he won the PanAmerican champhionships, but the highlight of the year for him was when he came 4th in the Billabong Monster Energy Pro, beating world famous surfer Rob Machado in the quarterfinals.
His love of surfing, the challenge and adrenaline that it offers, has ensured that his life is dedicated to conquering the next challenge and it is for this reason that he appears on this site. His latest challenge has teamed him up again with Red Bull for an altogether unique quest – to surf the Urubamba River…
The Urubamba is a partially navigable headwater of the Amazon River which rises in the Andes to the south-east of Cuzco and flows across the sacred valley of the Incas. It flows north-north-west for 724 kilometers (450 miles) before joining the lower Apurímac River to form the Ucayali River. In the Gorge of Torontoy, the river plunges from about 11,000 ft (3,400 m) above sea level to about 8,000 ft (2,400 m) in 32 km (20 miles).
Villaran will be searching the Urubamba for static waves in the Peruvian highlands. “He’ll need all the skill he has gained over the years and no small amount of endurance if he is to complete what could well be the biggest task of his life,” say Red Bull.
The challenge begins on Sunday, 6th March.
A small sample below of this talented extreme sportsman doing what he does best…