Since his family moved from Cajamarca to the Huanchaco Beach, Trujillo, his life has always been connected to the sea. When he was 7 years old, Benoit “Piccolo” Clemente tried to defy the tidal with his “Caballito de totora”.
Now he is 37 and, despite being a legend at the World Longboard Championship circuit, he dreams of claiming the gold at the Pan American Games. The Lima 2019 Ambassador has always wanted to play at home with the support of his people.
What does Lima 2019 mean to a three-time world champion?
The Pan American Games mean a lot to me because I worked really hard to qualify for the longboard category. I had to be in a good condition to compete at several world championships, and I was able to secure a quota place at the last qualifier, the ISA World Surfing Games. It would be amazing to represent my country and even more so if I could win the gold medal.
How important is the connection that you have with the Punta Rocas Beach?
Punta Rocas is a historical beach for surfers because of all the titles we’ve won there. It never changes, and its waves are always great. We’ll only be able to get an idea of the sea conditions as of July 20, but the advantage is that we know this beach.
Do you think playing at home gives you an advantage?
Well, it doesn’t mean it’ll be easy for us. Among the surfers competing at Lima 2019, there are South American, Pan American and even world champions, so the competition is going to be tough.
How did you feel after receiving the new surfing sport center?
I was really glad to see the new High-performance Center. It’s a great legacy for Peruvian surfing. The infrastructure is fantastic, and it’ll help us discover new talents. I can already see those stands full of Peruvians supporting us during the competition that will take place in 15 days.
What are the advantages of this sports center when compared to others?
I know this will be the best sports center in our continent. I’ve seen the infrastructure in other countries, such as Australia and France, but ours has nothing to envy to those facilities. I’m sure every sport center built for Lima 2019 will help us in the future.
How can Lima 2019 help Peru?
I believe that sports will increase a lot after Lima 2019. We’ll have new representatives and of course new world champions. We need them, so the Peruvian sport can grow sustainably.
Peruvians will be rooting for you in Punta Rocas.
They’ve always been rooting for us, and I’m forever grateful for their support. The 10 members of the Peruvian team hope people can come to see us during the competitions because the performance level will be really high. Seeing people with Peruvian flags supporting us from the stands is a huge motivation.
The Punta Rocas beach has been home to Peruvian surfing since Felipe Pomar claimed the World Surfing Champion title in 1965 for the first time. The Pan American Games will not be an exception. That is why the tickets for the final session scheduled for August 3 are already sold out, but there are still some tickets left for the previous stage at www.lima2019.pe/tickets and the 10 Teleticket authorized points of sale.
THE STARS OF LIMA 2019
The participation of five world surfing champions has already been confirmed by the International Surfing Association. The Lima 2019 Ambassador Benoit “Piccolo” Clemente will be Peru’s ace in longboard. Another names on the list are the Argentinian Santiago Muñiz, gold medalist at the World Surfing Games 2018, and the Puerto Rican Tia Blanco, two-time gold medalist at the ISA World Surfing Games.
The four-time SUP racing champion, Candice Appleby, will also compete in Lima, along with Brazil’s Luiz Diniz who has claimed the SUP surfing title two times in a row.
Also, María Fernanda Reyes will participate in longboard representing Peru. Lucca Mesinas, Alonso Correa, Daniela Rosas, and Melanie Giunta will take part in the open surfing event, a qualifying competition for Tokyo 2020. Besides, Tamil Martino and Vanie Torres will compete in SUP surfing. Meanwhile, Itzel Delgado and Giannisa Vecco will compete for a spot on the podium in SUP racing, which is one of the most challenging competitions.
SURFING AT LIMA 2019
The disciplines of open surfing, longboard, SUP racing, and SUP surfing are included in the Pan American Games sport program. The competitions will be governed by the rules of the International Surfing Association (ISA) and the Pan American Surf Association (PASA) and will be held from July 29 to August 4 at the Punta Rocas Beach.
The event will take place in heats, with a double elimination format. Athletes will face each other in a first, second and third round, until they reach the finals. The number of participants in each heat can vary from two athletes to three or four. In a two-surfer heat, first place will advance in the event. In a three- or four-surfer heat, the first two will advance in the event.