Our Chile Trip
By Lutz Schwenke on⟵ Back to Stories
This story actually starts in 1997. I was spending a school year abroad on the island of Maui, Hawaii and my brother, who was traveling around the world, decided to come for a visit. We were in the water nearly every day and became obsessed with traveling and discovering new waves.
My brother wanted to learn Spanish so he pulled out a map of South America and somehow figured that there must be nice waves in Chile. Considering the country has over 4000km of coastline it was quite a logical guess. He absolutely loved it and ended up living there for almost 3 years. Not a day went by that my brother wasn’t telling us about the waves in Chile.
In 2005, when I had the chance to work at the United Nations as part of my masters program, I decided it was time to finally see what all the fuss was about in Chile. I applied to the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean in Santiago, Chile and got in. My work at the United Nations and the research I completed about responsible consumption planted the seed for the foundation of a sustainable company, but the true inspiration for the ocean brand was the experience I had surfing with sea lions and pelicans and exploring the untouched coastline of Chile.
My appreciation for Chile reaches further than the business models and lifestyle that I developed while visiting; I have a deep personal connection to the country because I met the love of my life there and ended up marrying her. After the many years of being away from this influential place, 2019 was the time for me to go back with my family, reconnect, and rediscover the ocean country.
Chile’s progress is amazing. There are many areas that are a lot more accessible than they have been in the past and you can get a decent meal right by the beach, but with that interest and demand comes higher prices, comparable to Europe. Regardless of price, if you want to have a truly special experience in some untouched nature, I highly recommend taking the time to visit this country.
There are two regions in particular that I’d recommend. About 3 hours south of Santiago are the coastal surf towns Matanzas, Puertecillo, and Pichilemu. All are must-see and must-ride locations. The other region I would recommend is the region of the lakes. Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve has a breathtaking landscape with the southernmost cold rainforest in the world and snow-capped volcanoes in the middle of summer. On the coast of Puerto Montt you can also find Caremalpu, the most southern surf spot in the world. Unfortunately, we couldn’t surf the day we visited because the conditions were bad, but it was quite impressive to get to know that part of the country.
Chile is a beautiful country with a lot of contrast, from Atacama, the driest desert in the world, to the cold evergreen rainforests of Patagonia. It has some of the cleanest skies on the planet, the second highest mountain range, Los Andes, and is filled with peaks of volcanoes and valleys of lakes. All of that makes it an homage to the heritage of our natural world and I believe you can see this in the images we brought back. They speak for themselves.
ExploreInspiration Surf Sustainability wanderlust weareocean
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