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La Vaca Gigante 2024 | Big Wave Surfing Highlights

The 10th edition of La Vaca Gigante is now history.

Twenty-four local and international surfers fought today in the imposing Cantabrian wave, surfing walls of more than 7 meters high, which crashed against the Cantabrian coast – an epic day of XXL surfing in Santander finally crowned Indar Unanue as champion, who ended up shaking the cowbell and raising the milk jug that accredits the winners of this prestigious competition.

The day dawned cloudy in Cueto, with almost no wind, and the silence was only broken by the sound of waves eagerly awaiting their turn to shine.

The tide was rising, and around noon La Vaca Gigante 2024 competition started with the trial round, a preview in which seven surfers competed to achieve the last place for the main event.

The action did not take long to start, with good waves and very powerful surfing, especially by the Frenchman Pierre Rollet, who, with 24.11 points, surpassed the rest and made a place for himself in the final phase of the event.

With the Main Event roster already complete,18 surfers, divided into three heats of 6 riders each, the fight for €10,000 in prize money got underway before an increasingly large audience arrived at the imposing cliffs looking forward to enjoying a great day of high voltage surfing.

The competition format consisted of 45-minute heats in which surfers would add their two best waves; the best of the two would also count double.

The first round highlighted local talent, with Nico García and Nano Riego taking the first and second places – 23.84 and 22.87 points, respectively – which gave them access to the grand final.

The participants of the second round entered the water immediately afterward, and the tables turned as this time it was the foreign surfers Indar Unanue and Nic Lamb who got the best waves of the heat, adding a score of 25.27 for the Basque and 25.39 for the Californian.

Finally, the third round featured local Juan Merodio and Frenchman Pierre Rollet.

Merodio achieved a perfect score of 10 on his best wave – 26.90 in the combined wave – and Rollet achieved the highest combined score of the qualifying rounds with 28.27 points.

With the final list of cowboys who would fight for this year’s title, around 10,000 people crowded the cliffs of Cueto expectantly to see what would decide the grand finale of La Vaca Gigante 2024.

With six finalists and an hour-long heat in a capricious sea, things wouldn’t be easy for the riders. Patience, talent, and wisdom would be the keys to the golden round of the championship.

The Cantabrians Nico García and Nano Riego – champion of the last edition – asserted their status as locals by being very active throughout the final, adding a combined score of over 20 points, putting them on the podium in third and second place, respectively.

The Frenchman Pierre Rollet, one of the most notable names of the day, rode a bomb that the judges scored with a 9.77.

However, he lacked a second wave that would have put him on the podium or even allowed him to challenge Indar Unanue, who was unbeatable in the final heat, for the victory.

Unanue scored two waves above 9 points –9.67 in the second wave and 9.93 in the third–to add a combined score of 29.53 out of 30 possible.

The numbers of the Basque surfer in this 10th edition of La Vaca Gigante are impressive. After a few years without participating in the competition, he finally won after finishing second three times before.

La Vaca Gigante 2024 | Results

1. Indar Unanue (EUK) – 29,53
2. Nano Riego (CAN) – 22,21
3. Nicolás García López (CAN) – 20,61
4. Pierre Rollet (FRA) – 19,54
5. Nic Lamb (USA) – 17,99
6. Juan Merodio Velasco (CAN) – 2,46

Best Cantabric Surfer: Nano Riego
Best Wipeout: Juan Merodio

Footage: La Vaca Gigante

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