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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hawaii's Sterling, Healey top 5 in Chile

Advertiser Staff

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Hawai'i's Jamie Sterling placed fourth in the Quiksilver Ceremonial Punta de Lobos Big Wave Invitational at Pichilemu, Chile, which was won by hometown surfer Cristian Merello.

Courtesy Quiksilver

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Hawai'i surfers Jamie Sterling placed fourth and Mark Healey fifth at the Quiksilver Ceremonial Punta de Lobos Big Wave Invitational contest yesterday.

The one-day contest was staged in treacherous 30-foot waves off Pichilemu, Chile.

Sterling and Healey were standouts in the morning heats, and advanced to the six-man final in the afternoon.

"Some of the waves were really barreling, and it's a point, so it's totally different to what we're usually riding in Hawai'i," Healey said. "I got a couple of tubes early in the day, so it was good."

Hometown surfer Cristian Merello of Chile won the contest, receiving $10,000. He dedicated the victory to his mother, who is battling cancer.

Healey said the relatively-unknown Merello deserved the victory.

"He had that local knowledge and went straight into the biggest and best waves," Healey said. "The conditions really changed throughout the day and he was the best at adapting. I've surfed with Cristian on previous visits here, but outside of Chile or South America, people probably haven't heard of him."

The event featured 24 invited big-wave surfers from around the world. The only other surfer from Hawai'i was Kohl Christensen, who was eliminated in the first round.

The surfers in the contest donated $15,000 to the local fishermen of Chile who lost their homes during an earthquake in February.

The contest was also the first event on the 2010-11 Big Wave World Tour. The next event is scheduled for June off of Peru.