All Divisions See Action in Great Conditions on Day One of the Bali Adaptive Pro Presented by Burton Automotive at Canggu
1 September, 2019 – Canggu, Bali: Echo Beach provided great 3-4 foot wave conditions today for the start of the Bali Adaptive Pro presented by Burton Automotive, giving all 23 competitors the chance to surf on the first day of the first ever professional adaptive surfing event held in South East Asia.
The low tide early morning conditions at the Echo Beach lefthand reef break certainly appealed to the Standing Upper Limb division who were the first to paddle out, as the waves were breaking fast due to the current flowing south and the water being sucked off the reef making a quick takeoff the key to posting a good score. Later as the tide came up the take off’s became a bit less critical, though there were always some big sets to dodge or get pummeled by in every heat.
Winning the first heat of the morning was Harry Chris Marzan in the Standing Upper Limb Division. Marzan is from Baler, the birthplace of surfing in the Philippines. When asked to describe his feelings after the event wrapped up for the day he replied, “This is my first time to come to Bali, and to compete in an Adapted surfing event, so this morning I felt so excited as the waves were pumping! It was a bit scary but also exciting. This has been such a fun day, as I’ve met so many surfers that are like me, and I can’t wait to surf again tomorrow.” Marzan may have lost most of his left arm in an accident, but he’s never lost the stoke of surfing.
The competitor who scored the highest points on the day was Mike Richard from Brazil in the Standing Upper Limb Division, who posted the day’s highest single wave score of a 9.0 (out of a possible 10 points) as well as the highest total heat score of 16.17 (out of a possible 20 points).
In the Kneeling Division, Indonesia’s own Sobarudin, more commonly known by his nickname Obay, was over the moon at being able to compete in the event. “I’m so happy to be able to join in a competition like this, as this is a first for me. I really hope we can have more competitions like this, and that this inspires other Indonesians to do surfing or any other sports to make their lives better,” he said. Obay has a leg handicap but started surfing 7 years ago in his home town of Batu Karas in West Java, a place known as a world class righthander for longboarding. When asked why he started surfing he replied, “I would watch my friends and other people surfing, and it looked really fun and exciting, so I thought I could try it also. So I tried it and really liked it. Batu Karas is quite different from this wave, as it’s a righthander and this is left, and it’s sand bottom where this is reef, so it’s more difficult here, but it’s a great experience for me so I’m really happy.”
In the Prone Division, who required the most assistance, the Canggu Surf Community boys did a fantastic job of getting the surfers in to the water and then back out again using the Beach Wheels, with everybody safe and smiling at the end of the day. Michael Pingatore and Daniel Neff won both their heats in both rounds of their division’s today. In the first round, though in separate heats, their total wave score was exactly the same at 12.33, with Neff getting the highest single wave score of an 8.00.
In the Visually Impaired Division, young Jack Jackson from Australia put on an impressive performance against Matt Formston, who is years his senior. When asked about how he got into surfing, though legally blind, Jackson explained, “My mom and dad actually pushed me into it about 5 or 6 years ago….I didn’t even like it at the start. But once I got past the beginner stage I started to have fun, so kept at it.” And his thoughts on Bali and the waves here? “This is my first time to Bali and I really like it…I want to live here!” he replied emphatically.
After the horn blew the end of the day’s competition, event co-creator Jade “Red” Wheatley voiced his thoughts on the day saying, “I think we’ve probably just held the most insane first day of an adaptive surfing competition that’s ever been,” he said. “Great waves, great vibes, great people, culture, food, everyone has big smiles on their faces..it’s Bagus!” When asked about the wave conditions and any safety concerns he replied, “The contest directors and local guys really helped us to make sure we sent the proper divisions out when the conditions were the most suitable, and so there were no drama’s no injuries, no issues…it was perfect.” Wheatley competes in the Kneeling division as well, and is looking forward to getting deeply barreled tomorrow when the competition continues.
Tomorrow’s swell forecast shows an increase in swell size, so the plan is to send out the Standing and Kneeling Divisions only. Competition will resume tomorrow at between 7:00 and 8:00 am.