2 July 2011, Kuta-Bali: The first day of the inaugural Bali Big Eco Weekend and annual Quiksilver King of the Groms surfing competition on Kuta Beach was jam-packed full of highlights today from just after sunrise to way past sunset, starting with 78 frothing young surfers competing in perfect waves for three rounds of action in hopes of continuing their quest for the coveted King of the Groms crown tomorrow and ending with surf movies on the beach.
Jeren Kiring was the star of the day’s surfing action, not only posting the highest single wave score of the day, 7 points of a possible 10, but also the day’s highest heat score of 13.5 out of a possible 20. He will be meeting opponent Maracandra in the man-on-man format Round 4 that will start tomorrow morning. There are still 16 surfers still remaining in the competition, all vying for the prestigious King of the Groms title, with which the winner receives an all expense paid trip to France to compete in the King of the Groms International taking place in Hossegor France and a brand new Yamaha motorbike.
The Big Bali Eco Weekend event was officially opened by Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika, who rang a Balinese gong after giving a very positive and supportive speech saying, “As the governor and on behalf of the Balinese people I’m very pleased to see Coca-Cola and Quiksilver and the others making these efforts to save the environment. This effort will be useful to the Balinese and for the tourists also, as well as for the planet. I’m sure that through this event, many people will learn how to keep the beaches clean and their environment healthier. You have my high appreciation for taking action and for caring for Bali…congratulations and I support your actions. The more you do, the more the Gods will love you, as this is the Island of the Gods. I ask you to please share your happiness with others, for you want to increase your happiness, divide it and it will multiply. Thank you!”
Also attending and giving an encouraging speech was the Deputy Minister for Tourism and Culture I Gusti Putu Laksaguna, who apologized that the Minister of Culture and Tourism Jero Wacik was unable to attend, but stated on his behalf that he was also very supportive of the event and that the most important thing was not only to clean up the beach right now but to teach people how to be clean and to keep their area’s clean as well.
A very exciting Lifesaver Race was held just after the speeches, with all the government officials joining with the Coca-Cola and Quiksilver management on the beach to watch the 100+ Balawista lifeguards run and swim in a grueling race. The lifeguards were nothing short of impressive, getting big cheers from the entire crowd gathered on the shore to watch Supriadi slip past Putu Merta with extraordinary bodysurfing skill and then run like the wind to the finish line.
As the sun began to head downwards in the West, it was time for the much anticipated turtle release in front of the Turtle Conservatory near the Hard Rock Café. Surfing legends Mark Richards, Martin Potter, and Jake Paterson joined a crowd of hundreds to see the little fellows safely off into their natural environment in the sea. Coca-Cola Amatil Indonesia’s Bruce Waterfield was quite happy with how the event was being received by the public, and was having a great time there with his family, saying, “Today has been simply superb. First we got really good support from the government, as they all came to the event and then paid a lot of attention to the Eco Village, which I was really happy about. The kids were ripping at the King of the Groms in great waves, and now here we are at the turtle release with so many people helping to send the little guys out in to the ocean. There is still a lot more happening this evening and tomorrow is going to be even better, so I hope lots of folks come out and enjoy it with us.”
The evening’s entertainment included music by the Hydrant, a Mark Richards Surfboard giveaway and other prizes, then finishing up with the surf movies Stormriders, Moments, and Kelly Slater (Evolution of a Champion) on the beach.
Tomorrow will see the finals of the King of the Groms competition starting at about 7:30 am, beach cleanups in Jimbaran and Kedonganan, Kuta, Legian and Seminyak, the Locals and Legends Surf Challenge and lots more including live music by Dialog Dini Hari, Bondan Prakoso, and Fade 2 Black.