Raditya Rondi and Pua Johnson Take Wins at ASC Sanctioned Covelong Point Classic in Chennai, India
21 September 2015, Chennai-India: Indonesia’s Raditya Rondi (Bali) won the Men’s Open Division over fellow Indonesian Dede Suryana (West Java) yesterday to take home a $3,000 USD paycheck, and Pua Johnson (Bali) posted her first ever ASC Women’s Division victory to earn her $1,500 USD in cash on the second and final day of the first every ASC sanctioned Grade 2 Covelong Point Classic Surf and Music Festival event in Chennai, India.
In the exciting 30 minute Men’s Open final, it was a nailbiting finish down to the final 45 seconds as goofyfooter Raditya Rondi had come from behind to overtake regularfooter Dede Suryana, who then needed to find a 6.5 wave scoring opportunity to regain the lead. Rondi had already caught his quota of 12 waves so was watching from the beach as Dede had one last chance to score on an approaching wave. It was also Dede’s 12th wave ( each surfer was allowed 12 waves in the final), so it was do or die, but unfortunately the wave didn’t give him a what he needed so his score fell short, only 3.8 points, giving Rondi the win.
“That was a tough final!’ said Rondi. “I was behind Dede for a lot of final, but lucky I got that one good score of a 7.2 after getting only small and averages scores at the start, so that’s the wave that got me back on track and into the lead. At the beginning of the final the conditions were good, and Dede got a couple good scores in the 5 point range with his first couple of waves, so I got a bit nervous actually because I couldn’t get any good waves,”he explained.
“The waves had been so good in the quarters and semi’s, then in the second half of the final the wind started coming up and changed the conditions, making it harder to find the good waves But I kept trying and trying and finally got a longer and bigger wave and that got me the lead. I still kept taking off on more and more waves then heard the MC say I already had 12, so had to paddle in. Then Dede was alone out there only needing a 6.57…lucky for me his last wave only came in at a 3.8, so I got the win. So stoked to come here to India and find such good waves and great people….really big thanks to the event people and and the locals here…can’t wait to come back next year!
Suryana was not at all upset with his runner up finish, saying “Wow, that was a great final. Raditya is such a great surfer, he always knows how to get the score. At the beginning of the heat he seemed nervous, maybe it was like a trick to fool me, hahaha. But I’m stoked to get second place here on my first time to India, and after the final I got really good support from the locals! They carried me from the beach all the way to the parking lot, cheering for me and dancing for me, then I danced with them. It was the best part of my trip here for sure! Great trip, great place, great waves, and great final. Thanks to all the judges, to the ASC, to the sponsors and everybody that made this happen. Hope to come back next year!”
Suryana also has the distinction of earning the only perfect 10 point score of the two day event, getting in and out of three barrels sections on a single wave on the first day of competition!
In the Women’s Open Division it was Pua Johnson from Bali putting on a solid backhand performance in some tricky morning conditions as overnight the swell had picked up from the previous day and the direction had changed slightly. 17 year old Johnson seemed to very in tune with the waves, each of her three waves earning bigger and bigger scores, as 2013 ASC Women’s Champion Rina Kitazawa from Japan prowled the lineup trying to get the lead, ending up with 7 waves ridden but came up short on points when the horn sounded. She thought she might have had it as on her last wave she got the only barrel of the final with seconds to go, but when the judges made their decision it was not enough.
The other women finalists were Pua’s 13 year old sister Kai, and Nildie Rietenbach from the Philippines, who placed third and fourth respectively.
Pua was very emotional after her win, saying “I can’t believe I won, especially with Rina, my sister, and Nilbie all in the final. Rina is on her frontside and a previous ASC Women’s champion, and the rest of us are on our backside at this right point, so I really thought it would be Rina that would win, or Nilbie as she is the best and most experienced women in the Philippines, so I feel really lucky to win…and super happy! It’s my first ASC women’s win, so it’s something I will always remember. And to have it happen here in India, a place I never expected to ever visit let alone surf and compete, and in a final with my sister Kai, it was really awesome. Thanks to all the people and the sponsors here for making such a great event.”
The two-day ASC sanctioned competition followed two days of a national surfing run by the Surfing Federation of India, which included men’s, women’s, juniors, and master’s divisions. The top ranked Indian competitors in the men’s and women’s divisions earned spots in the ASC divisions, where there was a total prize purse of $10,000 USD up for grabs, $7,000 in the Men’s and $3,000 for the Women.
There were 10 women and 25 men in the competition, representing Australia, France, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Japan, the Maldives, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.
Supporting the event by his attendance for the third year was star cricket player turned coach, Jonty Rhodes from the Mumbai Indians.
A surfer himself, he always manages to take time out from his hectic schedule to come to the event and support the local surfing community, and they certainly appreciate and idolize him.
When Jonty was asked what he though about the event being sanctioned by the ASC this year, he replied, “There has been amazing growth here in just three years, and it’s great to see how the level of surfing is progressing. But I think it’s really important for the local surfers to get exposure to other Asian surfers, so it’s great to see the ASC tour surfers in the event this year, to show the locals how to progress to where they need to be. They compete against each other every day, but they need to reach the next level and that will only happen in events like this where they can see first hand where they need to go. They will learn more by losing than by winning, and use that experience to progress, so that is a big step forward this year with the international surfers coming to compete and I look forward to seeing it continue.”
The Covelong Point Classic Surf and Music Festival was truly a landmark event, not only for the participation of the ASC but also for the progression of surfing and watersports in India. With the support the government, represented by Mr. Hemanth Sinhe of the Tamil Nadu Sports Authority, and private enterprise represented by Arun Vasu of TT Group, Yotam at Earthsync, Kishore Kumar of the Surfing Federation of India and the many event sponsors, the future of surfing in India is looking very bright.
The Covelong Point Classic Surf and Music Festival is sponsored by Earthsync and the TT Group, along with SDAT, TTDC, AVS, Kalyan Jewellers, DJ Academy of Design, Vidiem, LMW, Chola, Nippo, Gatshby, Royal Enfield, Wild Vitamin Spark, Costal Security Guard, Parrys Drinking Water, Myproptree, Itus, and sanctioned by the Asian Surfing Championships and the Surfing Federation of India.
Covelong Point Classic Contest Results:
Men’s Open Division
1) Raditya Rondi (INA) 12.77 pts
2) Dede Suryana (INA) 12.23 pts
Equal 3rd) Made Adi Putra (INA) and Tipi Jabrik (INA)
Women’s Open Division
1) Puanani Johnson (INA) 10.33 pts
2) Rina Kitazawa (JPN) 9.67 pts
3) Kailani Johnson (INA) 6.17 pts
4) Nildie Rietenbach (PHP) 3.93 pts