20 April 2015, Kuta- Bali: You would have thought that there hadn’t been a surf comp in Bali for years, as a steady stream of almost 100 kids (97 to be exact) began jumping off motor bikes and piling out of cars frothing to first check the waves and then the heat board yesterday morning at Volcom’s first Totally Crustaceous Tour event of 2015, the Geckofish Sanur at Lembeng Beach.
And yes the waves were absolutely pumping, a mini version of the main peak at Margaret River some were heard to say, with glassy 3-4 foot rights and lefts peeling down the reef just begging to be ripped apart.
In the time-honored Volcom tradition of Letting the Kids Ride Free, this Geckofish event attracted not only the East Coast of Bali’s best kids but also kids from Nusa Lembongan, Lombok, Canggu, Kuta, Uluwatu and even Taiwan and Brazil! With no entry fee, free lunch, games, and prizes to the finalists and two custom surfboards up for grabs, its no wonder the event was full to the gills with groms. The custom surfboards, in courtesy to Cipta Jaya Selancar, were given to the two most deserving local kids!
Event Director Ribut Wahyudi was running around like mad trying to sort it all out in the early going. “This is crazy,” he exclaimed. “I closed the registration a month ago with about 60 kids, and now look…but I can’t turn all these other kids away can I?” he asked.
So in most of the divisions heats were expanded to 6 kids per heat and limited to 15 minutes per heat, just so the competition could be completed before the sun went down…which it was… barely; the awards presentation finishing up at 6:15 pm just as the sun began to disappear.
The judging crew certainly had their work cut out for them, trying to keep their eyes on 6 kids per heat and sometimes two surfers up and riding waves at the same time. MC’s Made “Bol” Adi Putra and Nick “Chongy” Chong often helped out as spotters, while having a blast calling the kids into waves and encouraging them to push their limits.
The wave conditions varied a lot during the day, with the tides and swell variations giving both opportunities and challenges to the kids, but the finalists were easy to spot during the day with their outstanding performances. The cream truly rose to the top and the finals were nothing short of a highlight reel.
Check out this video of all the action:
In the highly competitive Pro-Am (20 & Under) Division, it was an on-fire Andre Julian whose aggressive and critical turns following a pinching barrel off the drop on the lefthander got him the win over Samuel Pupo (reported to be the brother of WCT surfer Miguel Pupo), who chose the righthander and narrowly missed landing a couple of big air reverses to take second spot. Andre’s last wave in the final minutes had him breaking a fin on the inside reef, so luck was on his side that he had enough points to hold onto the lead. “I’m so lucky to get some good waves out there. With the low tide it was hard sometimes to know what waves were going to be good, but thanks god I got some. Even though I broke my fin, it was so shallow on that inside spot, I won and got some more fins as a prize!”
The Junior (16 & Under) was handily won by Raju Sena, know as the “Prince of Padma”, who was last year’s Indonesian Junior champ and seems to be wining every junior comp he enters. When asked if he was getting tired of winning yet he replied with an impish grin, “Not yet…maybe if you can beat me I’ll be tired, hahaha. When asked about the wave conditions, he replied, “the waves were pumping most of the day, and so all the boy were ripping. High tide in the morning, low tide for the finals where it was a bit dangerous, but we were all ripping and I won, so I’m happy!
Kian Martin extended his winning streak in the 13 & Under’s in spite of injuring his foot earlier in the day, having a seesaw battle for the lead with a charging Dhani Widianto. Just when it looked like Dhani had gotten the winning wave with just a minute to go, a nugget popped up for Kian and he went to town on it 110 percent, blasting a big backside hack on his final turn to nip Dhani and take the win.
The Girls (20 & Under) finalists had some trying low tide conditions to contend with, making for a relatively low wave count as the girls searched for waves that would give them the highest scoring potential. But Dea Natasha and Cinta Hansel knew just how to pick off best waves, dueling it out blow for blow for the majority of the final, with Dea getting the nod over Cinta Hansel by just two points at the end.
At the day’s end, MC Nick Chong was asked about what he thought the highlights were, to which he replied, “Wow…well first it was the high level of junior surfing we that saw today, especially going into the semifinals and finals, with how compact and aggressive the kids were in attacking the waves and how tight the competition was. And for me, equally enjoyable was the looks on the two local kids faces that won the surfboards, watching them run to the stage when their names were called up!”
Volcom’s General Advisor James Beckwith was equally impressed by the quality of surfing on display, adding, “I’m stoked to see how good it is! Coming from Australia and knowing what it’s like there, then seeing performances at the same level here for the juniors is fantastic. And also with the event setup, the judging, the commentary, and everything around it, it’s all very impressive and I couldn’t be happier.”
Raymond Jansen, Marketing Manager at Volcom summed up the day nicely, saying, “We had a massive turnout! We’re very stoked and I know that the kids and their parents are too. Especially seeing guys like Rizal Tandjung and others bringing their kids out here today, it’s what our events are all about…it’s like the Volcom family. I think everybody had a great time today and we’re looking for to the next one out in Pecatu.”
Rizal Tandjung, arguably Bali’s most famous ambassador for surfing, agreed. “It was so fun being out here with my family and all the others today, and stoked that Varun got into the final,” he said. “We were out here surfing this place a few months ago, just Varun and I and a couple other guys, and we got to help rescue a stranded dolphin and get it back into the water. That was pretty cool and a special moment at this place. So ya, it was a great day for the kids, but I do think we need to work with the locals here to clean up this beach next time,” he added.
Volcom Stone’s Totally Crustaceous Tour has run across the globe since 1999, making it one of the longest FREE surf series dedicated to the youth. Since its inception, the Totally Crustaceous Tour has stayed true to the Let The Kids Ride Free campaign, which continues to be fun, free and sometimes raucous event for all participating and spectating. Essentially, these events are about giving back to the local surf communities and giving young surfers an opportunity to get their feet wet in competitive surfing.
This was the first of the three-event Totally Crustaceous Tour in Bali, the second coming up in Pecatu on the 26th of July. The top 42 from each region will then battle it out through the qualifying rounds at Kuta’s Halfway Beach on August 23rd for the glory of the top spot on the podium, and their share of the Rp. 35 million in cash and prizes on offer.
Big thanks to event sponsors: Cipta Jaya Selancar, Hydro Coco, FCS, Vestal, Sector 9 and Surftime.
Pro Am Final:
1. Andre Julian (West Java/Padma) – 43.3 pts
2. Samual Pupo (Brazil) – 40 pts
3. Riman Jayadi (Canggu) – 33 pts
4. Kayu Vianna (Canggu) – 28.2 pts
16 & Under Final:
1. Raju Sena (Padma) – 34.6 pts
2. Ketut Agus – 28.3 pts
3. Kadek Alit Suargana – 22.8 pts
4. Wolf Wertheimer (Taiwan) – 16.5 pts
13 & Under Final:
1. Kian Martin (Canggu) – 38.2 pts
2. Dhani Widianto (Kuta) – 34.8 pts
3. Varun Tandjung (Kuta) – 22.8 pts
4. Made Pajar Ariana – 16.8 pts
1. Dea Natasya (Kuta) – 32.2 pts
2. Cinta Hansel (Uluwatu) – 30.2 pts
3. Puanani Johnson (Nusa Dua) – 17.2 pts
4. Hayana Iguchi (Canggu) – 13.2 pts
Surfboard winners – Courtesy of Cipta Jaya Selancar:
1. Under 13 Rookie – Kadek Sastrawan
2. Under 16 Best Performance – Agung Sudarta