La Vaca Gigante launches what could be its 10th edition with a 3 month waiting period. Until May 20th, 2024, local surfers and wave forecasting experts will monitor all the swells that reach the Cantabrian Sea to decide when the best conditions are available for the La Vaca Gigante (The Giant Cow) dispute, a big wave surfing championship that will take place in Santander.
These conditions are waves that can reach 6, 7 or 8 meters in height, with the appropriate strength, winds and tide point. If this occurs, the organisation publishes a series of alerts – which can be followed on social networks – and so a frantic countdown begins to organise the event, which takes place on the cliffs of Cueto, in Cantabria’s capital city. The format of the championship remains invitational, and on this occasion, it will pit 9 local Cantabrian surfers against 9 surfers from the rest of the world. All of them will fight to win the €10,000 prize money. Always accompanied by a powerful and essential safety team, both aquatic (10 jet skis, hospital boat, etc.) and land (lifeguards, ambulances, etc.), as well as thousands of spectators.
During the full house presentation press conference in Banco Santander’s Work Café hosted by Banco Santander’s Territorial Director Manuel Iturbe, the president of the Santander’s Obsession A2 Club, Pedro García, recalled that “currently La Vaca Gigante is the only paddle-in giant wave contest in Europe” and he hopes that the event can be held soon: “Last year it was at the end of March, let’s see if the series of storms that we are going to receive coincides with southerly winds and the tide that we need.”
Among this edition’s news, García highlighted that there will be a streaming broadcast and the promotion of female participation: “We were pioneers, and on this occasion, we have three confirmed surfers: Shannon Marie Quirk, Katie McDonald and Laura Coviella.” There will be no shortage of local riders such as the current champion, Nano Riego, or the discoverer of the wave, Óscar Gómez Ibars, and even international stars such as Lucas ‘Chumbo’ Chianca, winner of the Tow-in Surf World Cup in Nazaré.
Gustavo Cubero, Cantabria’s Government Tourism General Director, stated, “La Vaca Gigante is sustainable and family tourism, so it is very important, and it’s a firm commitment to the future on our part.” The Sports Councilor of the Santander City Council, Beatriz Pellón, agreed: “For the city, it is a spectacular external promotion. La Vaca Gigante will continue and I hope that we can continue supporting it for many years.”
La Vaca Gigante is a big wave surfing championship supported by the Santander City Council through the Department of Tourism and the Municipal Sports Institute and the Government of Cantabria hrough the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sports, Cantabria Infinita and Lebaniego Jubilee 23-24. In addition, it is sponsored by Blue Banana, White Claw, Camarsa, Banco Santander, Estrella Galicia, Mini Grünblau Motor and Dysmetcant. Collaborators include Aemet, MarCa, Grados Deportivos, European University of the Atlantic, Costa Quebrada and the Cantabrian Surf Federation. The championship is twinned with Gigantes de Nazaré and El Buey Santos del Mar.