(Kuta-Bali, July 12, 2008): With his win today at Kuta Reef, Ketut “Mega” Yoga Semadhi became the first Balinese surfer to climb atop the podium in a Billabong Pro Junior Series competition, taking on a strong field of international Pro Juniors and coming back to the beach with a hard fought victory.
After exchanging the lead several times in the hotly contested final, an on-fire “Mega” Semadhi charged into the lead with three minutes to go, nabbing the highest single wave point score of the competition, a 9.7, to wrestle the lead away from a stunned Caleb Boquist.
Boquist needed just minutes before he ripped into a glassy 3 footer and netted a 9.5, leaving Semahdi requiring a 9.2 to take the lead and seemingly having the win well in hand, but on the paddle back out to the lineup he watched Mega take off on small but nicely formed wave. A mixed bag of snaps, floaters, rail grab cutbacks, and punting a small air in the critical inside section kept the judges busy, and when the MC announced the score the spectators and crew on the boats cheered wildly.
“I didn’t know how good of a wave it was going to be, but I knew I had to go for it and make the most of it. I just didn’t want to fall and so I had to focus on completing every move. I’m so lucky it was a good wave so I could do my best,” said Mega later back on the beach grinning widely.
The winners presentation was held at the Discovery Kartika Plaza Hotel where Mega couldn’t wipe the smile off his face as his friends and fans went berserk. “I want to thank Billabong for bringing this series here and for all the sponsors that support it. I’m so happy to win today for my country and my island, its unbelievable. Thanks everybody, now lets have a drink!” Then the champagne bottles erupted and he generously doused his fellow competitor and runner up Caleb with the contests. Later, when he got down from the podium, he was asked what he would do with his $2000USD prize money. He answered, “I’ll be making a couple extra car payments I think!”
Unlike the previous Billabong Pro Junior event at Keramas in which no Indonesian surfer had advanced past Round Four, the Kuta Reef event quarterfinals included Mustofa Jekson, Ketut “Mega” Sumadhi, and Agus Purnawan. Earlier action in Quarterfinal One saw Mustofa Jekson looking set to continue his run for the podium by getting on the scoreboard first over Josh Baxter, but a tactical priority error by Jekson with 30 seconds to go let Baxter back in and so ended the run. Back at the boat Baxter said, “I got a bit lucky there in the end. There was a lull for awhile and I was expecting some bigger sets like the ones coming through while it was raining so I kept waiting, and at the end one finally came my way.”
Quarterfinal Three between Sam Wrench (NSW) and Ketut “Mega” Semadhi was one of the most closely contested of the event. After getting out in front with a couple of small scores, Mega gave up the lead to Wrench who blasted off on one of the better set waves to nail a 6 and then win the paddle battle for priority. He then proceeded to rip off some big turns and finish with a 360 hop on the inside for a 7.83. But Mega wasn’t fazed and in the final minutes posted a 9.0 that included boosting a couple of airs, digging out some deep gouging cutbacks, and going off on the lip to win the heat.
Nick Vasicek took his time dispatching Agus Purnawan in Quarterfinal Four. Vasicek was behind in the early going as Purnawan was chasing the few smaller ones coming in and getting points up, but just after the halfway point Nick nabbed one for a 6.5 that got him out in front, and with the ocean going flat for the last 5 minutes, had Purnawan on the ropes when the horn blew.
In a David and Goliath battle, the small and wiry Ketut “Mega” Semadhi took on the much larger Nick Vasicek in tightly contested Semifinal Two. But the waves and the wind were in favor of the young Balinese surfer, and though Vasicek’s surfing was nothing short of solid, the smaller waves favored Mega’s quick and nimble style and mixed back of tricks. There were several lead changes during the 30 minutes of competition, each surfer upping the ante in hopes of getting through. In the final minutes Mega retook the lead by working a couple of big turns and a floater into a 7.2 that got him into the final.
The Billabong Pro Junior Series is supported by Discovery Kartika Plaza, Hawaiian Tropic Suncare, Nixon, Kustom, and Von Zipper.
About The Billabong Pro Junior Series:
The Billabong Pro Junior Series is sanctioned by the Coca-Cola Indonesian Surfing Championships as part of the Pro Junior Championship Division. The series is the most lucrative on the Indonesian calendar, attracting surfers from Australia, Indonesia, USA, Hawaii, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Europe.
In line with the ISC’s goal of seeing talented young Indonesian surfers on the WQS and eventually on the WCT, Billabong is delighted to be an integral part of attaining this goal, as the Billabong Pro Junior Series is widely recognized as the premiere career booster for surfers aged 20 and under with world renown surfers such as Andy Irons and Joel Parkinson having launched their careers with wins at the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships.
2008 Billabong Junior Series
June 18-22: Billabong Pro Junior Series Keramas
July 9-13: Billabong Pro Junior Series Kuta Reef
August 13-17: Billabong Pro Junior Series Canggu
August 13-17: Billabong Occy’s Grom Comp Canggu
Tim Hain (On Ground, BALI)
Indonesian Surfing Championship
+62 812 360 6674
Simon Barratt (In Australia)
Billabong SE Asia
+62 812 380 8855