17 September 2011, Rote Ndao – Indonesia: In an amazing final day of competition at the Rote Open 2011 presented by Billabong on the far-flung East Indonesian island of Rote today, Bali’s Marlon Gerber and Tai “Buddha” Graham from Australia exhibited impressive displays of high performance surfing over the two day event to each end the day in the coveted top spots on the podium.
For Gerber, this was the fifth time he has competed in a surf competition in Rote (2002, 2004, 2009, and 2010) and he has been the runner up in 3 of the four events, so his victory today was very sweet indeed. Gerber entered the event as the Number 1 ranked ISC Open surfer, and as a somewhat unexpected surprise he was informed by Coca-Cola ISC CEO Tipi Jabrik back on the beach that with his win today he was now the 2011 Coca-Cola ISC Open Champion as well!
“I wasn’t really thinking about the championship during this event much, I was just trying to break my runner-up streak here at Rote,” said Gerber. “I love this place and this wave, it’s so much fun to surf and compete here, so to finally get the win here is so great. Then to find out I’ve won the 2011 championship, well I’m just about speechless. I’ve been pretty focused, just surfing one heat at a time in each comp and be consistent, and now its really paid off . I can’t be any more happy than I am right now!” Gerber pockets $2,500 for his win today as well as the many rewards that follow after being crowned the best surfer in Indonesia.
In the International Division, it was Australia’s Tai “Buddha” Graham who goes home with the big $4,000 USD first place prize money, and he was all smiles, saying, “I’ve surfed in competitions since I was a kid, and this is the biggest prize money I have ever won in my life. And to win it in such a beautiful place with all the locals and the Bali boys here is tops. It’s my third time coming here to Rote and I love this place. The waves were pumping today for the most part, and I was stoked to get a couple of good ones in the final. A big thanks to Pak Amos and all the crew here for such a great event. And to think that I almost didn’t come!” Graham hails from the Gold Coast but is a long-time resident of Bali and an active participant in the Indonesian surfing and entertainment scenes.
The two-day Rote Open 2011 presented by Billabong event also saw competition in several other divisions, namely the ISC Masters and ISC Women’s, and a special Local Rote surfing division.
The Masters Division was taken out in a come-from-behind charge by Ketut “Kombong” Juliarta, and the Women’s division was won handily by four time Coca-Cola ISC Women’s champion Yasnyiar “Bonne” Gea.
The Rote Locals Division was won by Adi Lenggu, and it was observed by many of the ISC surfers how much the level of surfing has improved over just the last two years. “I remember three years ago these guys couldn’t even make a turn without falling,” said two-time Coca-Cola ISC Champion Lee Wilson. “Now they’re getting super long rides, making bottom turns and going off the top. It’s really great to see how much better they have gotten in such a short time, I’m stoked.”
The Rote Open 2011 presented by Billabong was sponsored by the Regency of Rote Ndao and held at Boa Beach in Rote Island from September 14th-17th. This the third year for the event, which is a part of the government’s tourism promotion program to attract foreign and domestic surfers and tourists to their unique and still pristine island. “We hope that everybody that comes to our island for this event has enjoyed their time here and will take back to their friends and associates the memories of the good times they have had here. We’re proud of our island and all it has to offer, and want to share it with everyone,” said Vice Regent Marthean L Saek.
The Rote Open 2011 presented by Billabong boasted a record $25,000 in total prize money and attracted the top professional surfers from Indonesia as well as international surfers from Australia, France, Hawaii, Japan, and California.
Rote Open 2011 Presented by Billabong Contest Results:
1. Tai Graham (AUS) – $4,000 USD
2. Gazali Hamzah (IND) – $2,000 USD
3. Made Adi Putra (IND) – $1,250 USD
4. Adam Bennett ( AUS) – $750 USD
Coca-Cola ISC Open Division
1. Marlon Gerber – $2,500 USD
2. Raditya Rondi – $1,300 USD
3. Lee Wilson and Dedi Santosa – $600 each
Coca-Cola Masters Division
1. Ketut Juliarta – $500 USD
2. Ketut Wirtawan – $350 USD
3. Made Lapur – $150 USD
4. Nyoman Wastika – $50 USD
Coca-Cola Women’s Division
1. Yasnyiar Gea – $500 USD
2. Febri Rohaye – $300 USD
3. Aulia Muzri – $150 USD
4. Michaela Partin – $50 USD
Local Rote Division
1. Adi Lenggu – $500 USD
2. Mersi Titi – $300 USD
3. Yermi Bulu – $150 USD
4. Yandri Kase – $50 USD