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Rocky Point Sandboarder Emmanuel Ortega conquers dunes in Peru at National Championship

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Emmanuel Ortega of Rocky Point Sandboard Crew represented Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, and Mexico in Peru at the national Sandboarding Championship recently held in Chimbote, Peru.  Ortega managed to position himself in third place in the Senior Big Air category, while also stepping away with the nickname “gallinazo” for flying the highest over the dunes in Peru, which has some of the highest dunes in the world.

The extreme athlete from Puerto Peñasco, accompanied by guide Luis Alpas Vásquez, had the opportunity to glide down some of the world’s highest sand dunes. This included Cerro Blanco in Nasca, which is considered the highest in the world with an 860 meter descent, and Toro Mata in Acarí, known as the longest dune with an over 1800 meter descent.

Emmanuel Ortega has earned experience and recognition throughout Mexico for dominating his board, principally in the Sonoran Desert surrounding Puerto Peñasco, where he serves as a guide to instruct individuals and groups with sandboarding. He’s also had the opportunity to glide down dunes in other parts of Mexico and abroad.

For Ortega, the chance to get to be at the top of the highest dune in the world and sweep down the world’s longest extension of sand has been a revitalizing experience, filling him with positive energy. This is a unique experience in being the first Mexican to glide down the most important dunes in Peru.

“Being at the top of Cerro Blanco is really incredible, it’s living life, everything goes through your mind, lots of energy moves you. It’s quite the experience as a Mexican to cross over ranges for nearly 4 hours to be able to board down. Each dune has its own story and recognition, for example yesterday we were at Acarí where the Toro Mata dune is, which is the largest; imagine being on top and seeing the clouds below, gliding down and there’s a moment when you can’t see anything, as if you were going into an abyss,” detailed the sandboarder.

Ortega, along with his guide Luis Alpas, made an offering with natural elements when atop Cerro Blanco, asking the sun gods and Mother Earth for protection and good vibes for his slide down the immense mountain, which is a tremendous and risky journey.

The sandboarder expressed appreciation for his guide and coach Luis Alpas Vásquez who has always supported him in reaching his dreams.  Alpas Vásquez is also known for having developed the “Lima Sandboard” for low-income children, transforming beginners to national championships along Peru’s coasts.

“I’ve met lots of riders, new “patas” as they call friends here. They made me go viral on tiktok because of the jumps and on one descent I did a type of summersault because I fell. The people here have a good vibe and I’m very grateful,” stated Ortega who will soon make his way back to Puerto Peñasco to share his experience. 

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