Puerto Escondido is a world-renowned surf break on the Pacific side of main land Mexico, known for its grinding power and ability to maintain surfable shape in massive conditions. At the same time it’s a beach break with a shifting sand bottom and likewise shifting mountainous peaks of waves, making it difficult to line up and requiring expert surfing skills to catch waves while not getting killed.
In the first week of May, 2015, the surfing world was taken by storm — literally — as a huge cyclone-like system swept through the deep Southern Pacific Ocean, sending huge waves marching up the Pacific coasts of South, Central, and North America.
When one of those waves arrived at Puerto Escondido, expert and veteran big-wave surfer, Pedro Calado, was waiting.
While wipeouts are as much a part of surfing as wax, leashes, wetsuits, and wet hair, the wipeout that was coming for Pedro Calado was on an entirely different level, the wave stacking to an unknown height before pitching into an enormous barrel big enough for a freight train to drive through and stay dry.
Unfortunately for Calado, the stiff offshore wind held him at the top of the breaking peak as that barrel began to pitch, his board faltering and Calado skipping down the face of the wave, suffering what is currently being called “The Wipeout of the Year” by Surfer Magazine.
Surfer caught up with Pedro Calado, who fortunately survived the surfing wipeout of the year, asking him to describe what happened and the resulting “beating.”
“When I started to drop in, I realized the stiff offshore wind was holding me up in the lip of the wave, and that an airdrop was inevitable. But still, in that moment, my board was under my feet and I felt confident. It was the moment the nose of my board dug under the water when my world became hell… I felt like I was in a nightmare. When I hit the water the first time, I felt my life vest rip. I skipped and tumbled and hit two more times before the wave finally swallowed me. At this point, my life vest was actually almost entirely off of me. I held on to it with all of my strength. Eventually I hit the sand at the bottom, and was able to gather which way was up and to get to the surface. I don’t remember how long it was…just that it was way too long.”Though alive, there was no one to rescue Pedro Calado and he had to fight his way through the historically signifcant, pounding Puerto Escondido swell, to safety. This required Pedro “taking two more waves on the head” before being able to escape the crushing impact zone and swim two kilometers back to the harbor from where he’d originally paddled out into the lineup.
At first Calado was pretty bummed out that his wipeout had snapped his new board in half, and the only wave of his surfing session had resulted in a savage surfing beat down following the epic wipeout. But once Pedro Calado learned people were posting some amazing pictures of the event, and that it was one of the biggest waves ever paddled into at Puerto Escondido, the big wave surfing waterman said he “actually got really happy!”
And this is the second Surfing Wipeout of the Year nomination for Pedro Calado in 2015, the first coming back in January at a break called Jaws in Hawaii, where Pedro was surfing another massive crusher and got tossed over the falls.
But with plenty of time left in 2015, Pedro may have more wipeouts to throw into the Surfing Wipeout of the Year pool.
[Image and video via YouTube]
[Image and video via YouTube]