29 October 2011, Kuta-Bali: In a perfect end to another banner year of the Coca Cola Indonesian Surfing Championship Tour, last night’s gala dinner and awards presentation at the posh W Retreat & Spa in Bali’s upscale Seminyak area saw hundreds of surfers, celebrities, industry icons, and media joining together to congratulate and celebrate Indonesia’s 2011 surfing champions, whose hard work and dedication through the year resulted in this crowning achievement.
It was Bali’s Marlon Gerber that lifted the 2011 Open Division Championship trophy high above his head that night, the most significant reward of his career so far, joining the ranks of Indonesia’s surfing elite that includes Pepen Hendrik (2004), Made Adi Putra (2005) Rizal Tanjung (2006), Lee Wilson (2007 and 2009), Dede Suryana (2008), and Putra Hermawan (2010).
The stylish and talented 28 year old Gerber was raised just steps away from Kuta Beach, growing up surfing with brother in law Rizal Tanjung, Pepen Hendrik, Lee Wilson, Made Adi Putra, Wayan “Betet” Mertha and others, honing his craft to perfection to join the ranks of Indonesia’s best surfing talent. Images of Gerber’s exceptional surfing have and continue to grace the pages of the world’s most widely distributed surfing publications, and he has appeared in too many surfing video’s to count over the last few years. Known more for his easy-going nature and ultra-smooth surfing style than for being a fierce competitor, it might seem at odds with his personality that he would focus on a competition circuit with his eye on a championship trophy. Gerber explains the contradiction like this: “I’ve been competing on the ISC since the beginning, and I figured I had the skills to win but I never was serious about it, instead I was more enjoying going on trips for photo and video shoots and just doing the ISC comps to hang out with the boys and have fun.”
What changed? “At the end of 2009 I won the Rip Curl Surf and Music Festival at Kuta Beach, my first ISC contest win, and it really felt great. So during the off-season I thought about it a lot, and then set myself the goal of trying for the championship. When I won again at the very first contest of the year, the Oakley Pro at Canggu, I really knew then I could do it, it was just up to me to be consistent and keep focused.” Gerber went on to add another win at the Rote Open later in the year, narrowly besting runner up Raditya Rondi (who also won two events during the 2011 season) to realize his goal of the 2011 championship.
According to Gerber, what worked best was to avoid thinking about the other competitors too much and just focusing on choosing the right waves and then surfing them well. “I’m not the kind of guy that can hassle out in the water, I just don’t do that. It’s not about me and the other guy; it’s about me and the wave. We all get our turn during a heat, to get a wave and surf it as good as we can, so the one that surfs the best should win, not the one that hassles and blocks and intimidates,” he said. “It’s really a great feeling to accomplish this, and I’m very thankful to my sponsor Rusty, my family, all my friends, and the judges and ISC crew for making it possible.”
In addition to his championship trophy Gerber takes home Rp 100 million rupiah (over $11,000 USD), which he says he will use to go travel around Europe for the next couple of months. His father Roman attended the event, and was understandably proud of his son’s achievement, saying “Marlon and his friends were going to the beach and surfing almost every day since as long ago as I can remember, and I just figured it was a great hobby for him…I never thought I would see him in a black jacket on a stage getting a trophy and over 10,000 bucks! I never had to give him money to go on trips or buy things to support his surfing, well except for his first surfboard, which he just reminded me that I paid Rp 30,000 for when he was about 12. He’s done very well for himself and I’m extremely proud of him.”
In the Women’s Division it was Yasnyiar Gea taking home her fourth championship trophy in as many years. This remarkable woman is setting a fantastic example for Indonesian women by bucking the odds in a majority Muslim country where they typically shy away from dangerous watersports and are looked down upon for wearing revealing swimwear and having tanned skin. She exemplifies the picture of energy, vitality and health, with a ready smile for all, truly deserving of her championship.
For the second year in a row it was Jeren Kiring from Canggu that hoisted the 2011 Junior Division Championship trophy, having had another superb year of outstanding performances against the other Under 16 groms. The talented goofyfooter is being mentored by Rizal Tanjung, and also competes in the Pro Junior and Open Divisions whenever possible.
The Pro Junior Division Champion for 2011 is non other than 20 year old Darmaputra Tonjo from Legian, who as a wildcard at the recent ASP Oakley World Pro Junior contest in Bali went on a giant-killing spree, gaining world wide attention for taking out first Number 2 ranked Nat Young and then Number 1 ASP Pro Junior Champion Jack Freestone. He will no doubt be a future Indonesian champion, with his complete repertoire of aerial and on the face maneuvers and boundless energy in the water.
In the Longboard Division it was Arip Nurhidayat (Mencos) from West Java who got his first championship trophy. This is only the second year for the ISC Longboard division, and Arip expressed his wish that there would be more longboard events in Indonesia and throughout Asia so he can pursue his dreams of one day becoming a world longboard champion.
Wily veteran and ISC judge Ketut Wirtawan claimed his first Masters Championship this year after narrowly missing out last year. Tawan as he is usually called, has a ready smile and can invariably be found in the finals of each Master’s Division event he enters, a very worthy representative for Indonesian surfing both in and out of the water. He was clearly ecstatic about winning his Masters title, thanking his sponsor, friends, family and the ISC.
All the 2011 Coca-Cola ISC Champions received cash and Aerial 7 headphones in addition to their trophies.
A formal dress code invitation-only dinner started off the 8th annual Coca-Cola ISC Awards Presentation festivities around 8 pm, with a specially prepared menu, drinks and a photo/video montage of images and scenes from this year’s surfing competition played on the big screen while the over 100 attendees ate, drank and socialized until MC Tai “Buddha” Graham stepped up to the microphone to announce the start of the main event of the night as the outer doors were opened to admit another 100+ people.
S. A. Rara from Coca-Cola Amatil Indonesia was first on the microphone on behalf of CCAI Business Director Bruce Waterfield, who was unable to attend due to a previous engagement overseas, and expressed CCAI’s pleasure at being able to work together with the ISC and the Indonesian surfing industry in their Corporate Social Responsibility program to do beach clean ups, turtle conservation, clean water initiatives, and other environmental efforts. She added that CCIA was very confident that this relationship would continue to thrive and progress in the coming years, to the benefit of all involved.
Next was a passionate speech by Coca-Cola ISC CEO Tipi Jabrik, who shared with the audience how his dream for an Indonesian surfing tour started in 2004 with a Rp 30 million contribution from his surf brand sponsor Quiksilver, and then with the additional support of Jeff Anderson at Rip Curl, Paul Anderson at Billabong, and Steve Palmer at Surfer Girl began to take shape. With lots of hard work and dedication, the dream eventually become reality and what we know today as “the Real Dream tour”, the Coca-Cola ISC Tour. He received a large ovation after generously thanking all the event sponsors, surfers, media supporters, CCAI, and his ISC staff for making the dream such an incredible reality.
A very special and new award was then presented to Oakley Indonesia’s Brad Cunningham, the award for Event of the Year. The ISC staff and management reviewed all the events during the year and though all were exceptionally good the decision was to give the award for the Oakley Pro 11 was based on its environmental efforts such as natural food packaging and a low carbon imprint due to reduced use of plastics, daily beach clean ups, the ROLE Foundation Canggu river clean up and GUS natural toilets, as well as their initiation of the first Oakley Tag Team program. Oakley also hosted an Indonesian Pro Junior event this year as well as the ASP Oakley World Pro Junior event. “This award is really a big surprise,” said Cunningham. “All of the ISC event sponsors have put together such fantastic events this year that it would really hard to choose just one as better than another in my mind. We feel very fortunate to be involved in supporting surfing here in Indonesia, and we look forward to even better things to come in the future. Thanks Tipi and the ISC crew, and to all the industries represented here tonight for their support,” he concluded.
Next was a highlight of the evening that brought cheers and hoots from the entire audience, the excellently produced 2011 Coca-Cola ISC Tour video recap put together by Sean Gilhooly, which was played just prior to the announcement of the champions. Featuring great surfing, beautiful scenery, funny moments, wipeouts and more, it covered the ISC’s tour through Indonesia from the far east Island of Rote to the north west island chain of the Mentawais.
After all the trophies were presented to all the champions, and the Awards Presentation officially declared done and dusted, the banquet room slowly emptied as the call went out to move over to the W’s Woo Bar for the ISC Awards After Party, where DJ Adam Bennetts, himself a well-known pro surfer, was on the decks and pumping out his best for the after party crowd as free flow margaritas and beer were being thirstily consumed over the next couple of hours to end the nights festivities.
Coca-Cola Indonesian Surfing Champions for 2011:
OPEN DIVISION – MARLON GERBER
WOMEN’S DIVISION – YASNYIAR GEA
MASTER’S DIVISION – KETUT WIRTAWAN
PRO JUNIOR DIVISION – DARMAPUTRA TONJO
JUNIOR DIVISION – JEREN KIRING
LONGBOARD DIVISION – ARIP “MENCOS” NURHIDAYAT
The Coca-Cola ISC 2011 Awards Presentation was presented by the W Retreat & Spa and sponsored/supported by Coca-Cola Amatil Indonesia, Aerial7, Alam TV Bali, Bali & Beyond, Baliwaves.com, Balibelly.tv, the Beat, I-Mag, Lines Magazine, Magic Wave, NowBali, Outdoor Channel, ProMotion Events, RVM, Surfersvillage.com, SurfTime, and We-Like.org