26 July, Uluwatu-Bali: In a tightly contested final, Komang “Gogo” Sujaya narrowly defeated Dede Suryana in the final seconds of a blazing sundown victory at the Rip Curl Cup on Friday at Uluwatu to claim Indonesia’s most prestigious prize purse yet on the Indonesian Surfing Championship Tour.
For his first ISC Tour win, the goofyfooter from Kuta got to hoist the perpetual Rip Curl Cup trophy on the winners podium, got handed a check for 20 million Rupiah, chalked up 3,500 ISC Championship points, and received Rip Curl’s exclusive “Ticket to Somewhere,” a wild card entry into the Rip Curl Pro Search 08 World Championship Tour event to be held “Somewhere” from July 30 to August 10.
With this “Ticket”, in his next competitive heat Gogo will find himself up against one of the world’s top 44 professional surfers in Rip Curl’s as-yet-un-announced secret “Search” location, a once-in-a-lifetime chance to surf with and against the best surfers in the world.
The 24 year old Gogo, born and raised in Kuta, was just ecstatic when he was announced the winner, but before climbing to the top spot on the podium first gave his friend and competitor Dede Suryana a handshake and a hug. It was an amazing victory, with Gogo snatching the win away from Suryana in the final minutes, winning by less than one point at the horn. In his victory speech he said “First I want to thank God, then thanks to the all the people here at Uluwatu today, my sponsors, and to Rip Curl for having such great event. I’m so happy to win here…wow, I can’t believe it, and didn’t ever think it was going to happen like this. Thank you everybody, I love you all!” Clearly he was overjoyed with the biggest achievement so far in his surfing career.
In a hard fought final as the setting sun was scorching the lines bumping down the reef at the Race Track section of Uluwatu, Bali’s most famous wave, Gogo’s patience paid off in the last minutes. After watching Dede lock into a barrel and then come out to blast some turns and finish with a big floater on the inside with less than 5 minutes to go, and listening to cheers of the crowd on the cliff, Gogo picked off one of the smaller but better shaped waves in the 30 minute final and must have heeded the words of MC Mark “Bunga” Cliff, who had just said “Boys, you just gotta go for it out there on every wave with every maneuver, no second chances now. Give it all you got, coz the bad ones are just throwaways anyway!” Gogo proceeded to do just that, eventually disappearing around the corner with the crowd gathered along the cliff first cheering wildly and then going quiet, waiting for the announcement of the judges score. But no score was forthcoming, as after the 20-minute mark of the final no more scores were being called out over the PA system, so everybody had to wait for the announcement later at the podium.
Dede couldn’t have know how close it really was, but he still scanned the horizon searching for one more good wave could only take off on a closeout just second before the horn blew. After the trophy presentation he was asked about those final seconds. He replied, “I knew Gogo had gotten a good score, hearing the noise of the crowd, and seeing part of the wave, but I knew my last wave was pretty good and that I had another good backup so I was pretty confident I still had the lead. It wasn’t til I was back on the beach and heard all Gogo’s friends cheering for him that I started to wonder about it.” Then he added philosophically with a wry grin, “Of course I’m bummed I didn’t get the ticket, because that’s the thing I kept thinking about during the whole day, but I’m happy for Gogo that he won. That’s the way it goes sometimes.”
The bigger 4-5 foot sets were swinging wide and positioning was a challenge for in the man-on-man final, with the current running down the reef as the tide was moving out, so finding the right takeoff spot was tough, and the smaller 3 foot waves were only giving the surfers a brief chance for a couple of maneuvers before shutting down.
Both competitors had to overcome some early jitters, falling on their first waves, but then Dede got the lead with a combination of turns and a floater to score a 4.3, and then on the paddle back out nabbed one with a nice wall that he took apart for a 6.4. Later he added a 7.5, which appeared to put in solidly in the lead for the win.
Gogo on the other had took some time to get going, by midpoint only getting three waves, the highest a 4.5. But with 10 minutes to go he added a 6.6 that got him a lot closer, then pulled off the biggest win of his life with his last wave, scoring an 8.3 and winning the final by a total score of 14.8 to Dede’s 13.85.
32 of Indonesia’s top surfers started their Friday morning by arriving at Padang-Padang at 6:30 am in anticipation of competing in a solid 4-6 foot swell for the biggest prize pool in ISC Tour history. Unfortunately the forecasted result didn’t materialize, so Contest Director Clemens Berger and Rip Curl GM Jeff Anderson made the call to move the action to Uluwatu, where the Race Track was giving up consistent 4-5 footers with nice barrel sections on the low tide.
A full day of surfing ensued, with the action kicking off at 9:30 am and lasting until almost 6:00 pm. Literally hundreds of barrels, floaters, lip smacks, re-entry’s, carves, and even a few aerials filled the day, and so many close heats it was amazing. All the guys had set their hearts on coming home with “The Ticket”, and the level of surfing they displayed was truly impressive. Many heats were won and lost by just fractions of a point.
One of the many highlights of the day was Made Lana’s 10-point barrel, for which he received the Coca-Cola ISC Best Maneuver Award and one million Rupiah. Lana was born and raised at Uluwatu, and admits that though a natural footer he has a hard time surfing on his forehand!
Another Uluwatu local, Made Lapur, made it to the podium in the equal third spot along with last year’s ISC Champion Lee Wilson.
After his win at the Rip Curl Cup and throwing away his lowest result, Gogo jumps up the rankings ladder from 19th to 5th. Meanwhile Dede Suryana has jumped up to nab the Number One spot and Lee Wilson moved up to Number Two, pushing Devis Ratif down to third and Tipi Jabrik into fourth.
Should be great run to the Championship, as the next two events will be at Halfways in Kuta Beach before the Tour goes to Scar Reef in Sumbawa. The final event on the tour is the Rip Curl Rock and Music Festival, a 3-star event back at Halfways, so the boys will be celebrating hard after that one, because by then all the points will be totaled and they’ll know who will wear the 2008 championship crown!
Thanks to Rip Curl and sponsors Coco-Cola, BCA, MOD Jewelry, Light Surfboards, Maxim, and SurfTime for all the support and a great competition!
Pro Division Results:
Komang “Gogo” Sujaya (Kuta)
Dede Suryana (Cimaja-Java)
Made Lapur (Uluwatu) 3. Lee Wilson (Kuta)
Coca-Cola ISC Best Maneuver Award :
Made Lana (Uluwatu) – 10 point barrel