Weight: 150 lbs.
Hometown: Lima, Peru
Sponsors: Quiksilver, Red Bull, Arnette, etnies, Pilsen beer, Klimax
The world got its first glimpse of Peru’s surfing talent pool when Sofia Mulanovich burst onto the surfing scene several years ago. She broke the ice, and now it’s the guys’ turn to take over. Leading the charge is a nineteen-year-old regular-foot named Gabriel Villaran.
I first met Gabriel in Peru earlier this year. He picked us up from the airport and proceeded to guide us around the crazy streets of Lima at speeds I once thought were impossible. His driving was aggressive, confident, fast, and controlled, and from the first time I saw him in the water, I knew he surfed the same way. For the next two weeks I witnessed first-hand his lethal, small-wave act.
Last spring, the surfing community got its first glimpse of Gabriel during the Hansen’s Energy Pro. The contest, held in some of the heaviest Pipeline in years, was where Gabriel really shined. He absolutely charged Pipe on his backhand, in the process taking one of the worst wipeouts I’ve ever seen, but also getting some of the best barrels of his life.
Now he’s taking it to the next level with tow partner and Chile’s hardest charger Ramon Navarro. The pair has recently been pulling into one the heaviest left slabs in Peru, and I’m sure it won’t be long ’til he’s an XXL big-wave contender.
Fearless, stylish, and motivated-this kid is no joke. Sit back and watch as Gabriel makes his mark on the surfing world.-Seth Stafford