14 June 2013, Kuta-Bali: Round 1 of the ASC sanctioned Oakley Pro Bali Trials was completed today at Canggu in near perfect 3 foot plus waves, with 24 of SE Asia’s best pro surfers putting up impressive performances as they began their battle for the one wildcard spot in the upcoming ASP WCT Oakley Pro Bali, which will start off next week on June 18 at Keramas Beach.
Although today there would be no eliminations, as the second and third place finishers in each heat will still have a chance to compete again tomorrow, it was clear that each one of the 24 competitors was intent and committed to putting up their very best performance, as a chance like this to compete with and against the worlds best pro surfers in a world championship competition may only come along one in a lifetime.
Heat 1 got underway at 9:30 am with two-time Indonesian champion Lee Wilson wasting no time sending the message that he will accept nothing less than that wildcard spot, catching a total of 10 waves and mixing things up with a variety of maneuvers to end the heat with a satisfying result, his best wave score 7.5 points out of a possible 10. “I was looking to do some airs out there, but just didn’t many opportunities,” said Wilson after the heat. “The waves had lots of face so I just went to work on them instead. That last wave was such a good one, and I thought I mixed things up pretty good. I just hoped the judges would see it that way and they pretty much did. I’m stoked to get through, but I kind of wish I could surf again tomorrow because these waves are so much fun.”
In the next heat it was a closely contested battle between 2010 Indonesian champ Putra Hermawan and current Indonesian (ISC) and Asian (ASC) champion Raditya Rondi. Regular footer Hermawan jumped into the lead and soon had goofyfooters Rondi and Made “Bol” Adi Putra playing catch up, but towards the last half of the heat Rondi began to find his championship form and mounted a respectable charge, finishing the heat behind by only two tenths of a point. Hermawan 14.70, Rondi 14.50. Rondi is currently rehabbing from a knee injury, but is looking strong. “I feel like I’m almost there, but still about 80 percent,” said Rondi. “It feels a lot better on my backside, so I’m actually pretty happy we’re going right here and at Keramas. I’ve been surfing a bit just to keep limber, but not too much to risk further injury. Sure hope I can win my heat tomorrow!”
Other highlights included ASC number 1 ranked Garut Widiarta easily winning his heat with his lightning fast backside attack, and then in Heat 4 West Java’s Sandi Selamet almost taking down Lakey Peak’s Gazali Hamzah with his final wave.
Selamet posted the highest single waves score of the round, 8.8 points out of a possible 10, for a massive first turn followed by a calculated check turn and then riding out of a critical air reverse on the inside. Hamzah had the distinction of being the only surfer to reach his 12-wave limit today, several minutes before the end of the 25-minute heat, and was truly surfing like a man on a mission, attacking each wave with vengeance.
Hamzah’s younger brother Oney Anwar showed the rest of the field that he has air reverses down to a science, winning Heat 6 by combo’ing the other two competitors and posting the highest two-wave heat score of the day, 15.25 out of a possible 20 points.
2011 ISC champ Marlon Gerber put up in a strong performance in Round 7 just as the conditions were starting to be affected by stronger side-onshore winds, crushing the lip and gouging the face as well as taking to the air to post a big 8 points, then finishing off with another solid wave that got him 5.86 points and the heat win.
Though the final heat had the worst wave conditions of the morning, the day ended with a bang and not a whimper as 2008 ISC champ and WQS warrior Dede Suryana nearly got to his wave limit by catching 11 waves in his 25-minute heat. “It was like good practice out there for me” said Suryana. “The waves were still fun and they kept coming to me, so I just kept taking them. How many did I catch, 5 or 6 maybe?” he asked smiling.
After the horn blew the end of Round 1, Contest Director Tipi Jabrik announced that the competition would resume tomorrow with a standby time of 8:00 am and a possible 8:30 am start, depending upon conditions. “The tides are really good for Canggu tomorrow, so we expect to be able to run through Rounds 2 and 3. Today the wind didn’t come up until almost 1:00 pm, so we’re optimistic that with an 8:30 start we can get through two rounds tomorrow, said Jabrik.
Look forward to another day of non-stop action as the battle continues for that coveted Oakley Pro Bali wildcard spot, and follow the action on Facebook at Asian Surfing Championship (ASC) and at http://www.asiansurfingtour.com/events/oakleyprobali,
where you will find heat scores, video highlights, photos and more.
The Oakley Pro Bali will be Stop No. 5 of 10 on the 2013 ASP World Championship Tour season and run from June 18 – 29, 2013 and will be webcast LIVE via www.oakleyprobali.com