18 September 2012, Phuket-Thailand: The second annual Asian Surfing Championship Awards were held on Saturday night September 15th at the Phuket Graceland Hotel in Patong Beach, Thailand as a crowd of hundreds of surfers, surf fans, celebrities and media gathered to celebrate the conclusion of the 2012 Quiksilver Open Phuket Thailand surfing competition and to witness the crowing of Asian’s 2012 surfing champions.
Getting his second consecutive ASC Men’s Open Championship was Raditya Rondi from Kuta Beach in Bali, Indonesia. Rondi won the Billabong Malaysia in Cherating and the Monsoon Mayhem in Desaru (Malaysia), placed equal 3rd at the Rip Curl Pro Mentawai (Indonesia), and finished with a 2nd place at the Quiksilver Open Phuket, the final event of the 2012 season. He only missed surfing in one event all season, the Taitung County Surf Challenge presented by Quiksilver in Taiwan due to scheduling conflicts.
From the podium after accepting his trophy Rondi said, “I was so proud to be the first-ever Asian Surfing Champion last year, and now to be the champion again is an even bigger honor. I’m so thankful to my family, my sponsor and my friends for always supporting me. Thanks also to the ASC for giving us this tour where we can surf and compete around Asia, and come to great places like here in Phuket.”
In the ASC Longboard Division it was another repeat champion, also from Indonesia, as Arip “Mencos” Nurhidayat was awarded his second ASC Championship trophy. Nurhidayat hails from the small seaside town of Batu Karas in West Java, and thanked his sponsor Quiksilver for giving him the opportunity to travel and compete on the ASC tour.
A new ASC Women’s champion for 2012 was crowned at Phuket, Thailand’s own Annissa Flynn, who is just 14 years old. Flynn had wins in 3 of the 7 competitions she entered, and surfed every event in the 2012 season, which included three competitions in Malaysia, one in the Philippines, two in Indonesia, and the final event in Thailand.
Flynn, who has only been surfing for 5 years, had won both the Grommet and Women’s Divisions of the Quiksilver Open Phuket Thailand earlier in the day in front of her family and friends. At the awards presentation she had the additional honor of being presented her 2012 ASC trophy by the world’s top professional women’s surfer, 5-time World Champion Stephanie Gilmore. Gilmore congratulated Flynn on her achievement, saying, “I think this is a really special moment for Thailand, to have a local Thai champion, and an especially amazing award for you, after beating both the boys and the girls and now becoming the women’s champion! Congratulations!” Flynn had been the only girl competing in the Grommets (under 16 years of age) Division.
After she accepted her trophy, Flynn replied, “I can’t tell you how happy I am to win this title. It’s insane that in 5 years of surfing, I’m now the Asian champion!” Certainly this young woman has a brilliant surfing future and is a powerful inspiration to girls and women all over Asia.
And for the second year running, receiving the ASC Master’s Division was Patong Beach local Decha Sithidej, who in addition to competing in the Master Division also competes in the Longboard and Open Divisions. He owns Andaman Sea Surf, which is a surfboard rental business at the beach where the Quiksilver Open is held, as well as the Baan Andaman Sea Surf accommodations. As one of the key figures in Phuket’s surfing community, Sithidej is the go-to guy for just about anything around his hometown of Patong Beach and beyond.
ASC President Tipi Jabrik was especially gratified to have two out of the four champions from Thailand, a country that is not usually included in the world’s surfing map. “I think it’s a great step forward and a clear message that with a little support and encouragement, even small surf communities that don’t have year-around surf like Thailand can nurture and produce Asian champion surfers. In 4 years of having professionally run events in Thailand and only the second year of the ASC, already they have two champions. In Indonesia we’ve had an organized professional tour since 2004, so its not surprising to have two champions, but for sure given time Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and other countries are also capable of producing champions. I hope this is the encouragement that the surf industry needs to keep increasing their support of surfing in South East Asia.”
The inaugural 2011 Asian Surfing Championship Awards were held in Singapore in December of 2011, the results of a total of 9 surfing events being held in 4 countries; Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Thailand. During that historic evening, Raditya Rondi from Indonesia was crowned the first ASC Open Division Champion, Arip “Mencos” Nurhidayat (Indonesia) the first ASC Longboard Champion, Yasnyiar “Bonne” Gea (Indonesia) the first ASC Women’s Champion, and Decha Sithidej from Thailand the first ASC Master’s Champion.
Special thanks goes to Quiksilver Thailand and Quiksilver SEA for their support and contribution to this awards presentation, and to Coca-Cola Amatil Indonesia, Rip Curl, Oakley, O’Neill , and Big Foot Industries for their dedication to helping the ASC in their mission to grow the sport of surfing throughout Indonesia and South East Asia.