A Peruvian Surfer You Should Be Aware Of
Gabriel Villaran proves he can thread giant tubes like the best of them.
Meet Gabriel Villaran, a Peruvian who for the last decade has been charging the lineups of Puerto, Costa Rica and Hawaii in pursuit of massive tubes.
For the better part of this year, Gabriel was on the mend after breaking his leg on a rogue set. Fast forward to today, Gabriel’s back to hunting tubes and looking in fine form. Along with the help of his sponsor, Vissla, Gabriel has put an edit together in an attempt to showcase his needle-threading abilities. We were curious to find more about Gabriel, his childhood, and why he wanted to be a professional surfer:
Stab: Where are you from in Peru, can you describe it?
Gabriel: I’m from Punta Hermosa. Its a cool and mellow town, 45 minutes away from Lima city. It has a bunch of point breaks around the town, Pico Alto is the most solid wave in the hood. We have plenty of seafood restaurants, ceviches are classic in PH, summer time gets crowded, plenty of parties and epic weather. In winter we get plenty of solid swells and sometimes there is no one around. I can’t complain, we are blessed with waves all year long.
What age did you realise you would become a professional surfer? How did that come about?
I decided I wanted to be a professional surfer when I came out of school and my family was unable to pay for college. But honestly, I have wanted to since school, I spent alot of time watching Taylor Steel movies like Momentum, Focus, Good Times, Loose Change, etc. My favorite surfers were Justing Poston, Greg Browning, Kalani Robb, Machado, Dorian, etc. I dreamt about going to Hawaii and living like them.
How has it been developing in Peru as a professional surfer, what are the positives and what are the challenges?
There is always pros and cons. The pros that all the industries at home are based in Lima, and the city is pretty small, we kinda know everybody and it’s easy to get to the top CEO’s to ask for support and sponsors, so that’s really good for opportunities. The con, is it’s hard to make yourself know in the international surf industry if you are not from Australia, USA or Europe. You really need to stand out, because you don’t get much support from outside of home.
Do you travel often? Is it important for your career?
Yeah it’s the most important aspect I believe. I won a plane ticket to Hawaii after winning the nationals at home. I was 18 and dreaming about the North Shore. Back then, i was lucky, I was able to stay at the Quiksilver Pipe house. I arrived and they had me on trial for a week, to see if I was good enough to stay with the boys. Those days were crazy. But I had Pipeline in front of me and that was all I needed. I ended up staying for a month and after that trip I have back there twice a year during the winter season.
What else do you do to keep psyched when there are no waves?
Training I guess, I’ve been doing a bunch of pool and functional training at home, its fun and keeps you solid.
Tell us about the clip; where and when it was shot, why you put it together?
This is a small mix of my last fun waves at home, Puerto, Costa Rica and Hawaii. We just did a pretty cool Vissla party at home launching the holiday season and we needed to have a cool surf porn video, so the Vissla guys helped me out. Came out ok?
What were the highlights during shooting? Tell us about the challenging moments too!
The highlights were in Northern Peru, Puerto and Pipeline. My last trip to the North Shore (early 2017) was kinda epic until I broke my leg. I got a bunch of good waves for a few weeks, and my last day before going home I copped a lip on my head, my leg got stuck with my board and it snapped! It was a painful day, but that’s how it goes, I was finally ok when the Doc and shark attack specialist told me before the surgery that I was gonna be back to normal within six to eight months.
Now I’m back and stoked to be able to do what I love.
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