Billabong's surfers Raditya Rondi & Yasnyiar "Bonne" Gea were crowned as Asian Surfing Champions in Singapore

18 December 2011 – Singapore: The inaugural Asian Surfing Championships Awards were held on Saturday evening December 17th at the Wave House on Sentosa Island in Singapore to honor the Asian region’s first professional surfing champions, Singapore’s surfing champions, and to celebrate the media partnership of the ASC with the Outdoor Channel for 2012.  The event was attended by over 100 members of the Asian surfing community and various media.

It was a historical landmark in the progression of Asian surfing, as it was the first time that Asian surfing champions have been crowned as a result of competing in a multi-country and multi-event professional surfing competition circuit. The 2011 Asian Surfing Championship circuit saw a total of 9 events held in four countries, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Thailand.

22-year-old Made Raditya Rondi from Bali Indonesia took top honors as the champion in the Open Division, having won the Quiksilver Thailand Surf Competition in Phuket last September, the Rip Curl Surf & Music Festival in Bali in October, and just last week the Billabong Cherating Pro in Malaysia.  He is also the runner up on the Coca-Cola Indonesian Surfing Championship tour for 2011.

The significance of what he had achieved was evident in his acceptance speech, as he said, “Thank you very much for this award, as this is one of the biggest honors of my life so far, and I’ll always remember this. I want to say thanks to my sponsor Billabong and the ISC and ASC crews for making this all happen, and I hope that next year surfing can grow in Asia so we can make more contests. Should be lots of fun…thank you!”

Unfortunately 2011 ASC Longboard Champion Arip Nur Hidayat from West Java Indonesia was not present to receive his award, as he was attending his brother’s wedding, but he was acknowledged in absentia with a around of applause.  Hidayat is also the 2011 Indonesian Longboard Champion.

In the Women’s Division it was Yasnyiar “Bonne” Gea from Sumatra Indonesia who received the ASC Women’s Champion award, having competed in all six women’s events and having won three of them.  She thanked her sponsor Billabong, her family, the Asian surfing community and the ASC for their support in making it possible for her to be able to surf and to win this award.  Gea is also 4-time and current Indonesian Women’s Champion.

Decha Sithidej is now Thailand’s first surfing champion, having won the Master’s Division (over 35 years of age) of the Asian Surfing Championships.  It has only been in the last several years that Thailand has been recognized as having a surfing community, and it has grown rapidly as a result.  In his acceptance speech, Sithidej was liberal in his praise of the ASC for their support of surfing in Thailand, saying “Thanks to Tipi Jabrik and Tim Hain at the ASC for helping and supporting us in Thailand, without them this wouldn’t be possible.  Also big thanks to the crew at Quiksilver Thailand and to Joob at Surfing Thailand for their dedication and support.  This award is only possible because of all of you, and I’m so proud to represent Thailand as the first surfing champion.”

After the ASC champions had been called up together on the stage for a group photo, ASC Media Director Tim Hain took the microphone and called on Mr. Kevin Sim from Multichannel Asia to receive a placard in appreciation of the ASC and Outdoor Channel agreement for 2012.  By mid 2012, the Outdoor Channel will be broadcasting a series of programs that revolve around the ASC and its events, in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, and other Asian countries.

“On behalf of Outdoor Channel, I would like to say that we’re very happy to be a partner with the first even Asian Surfing Championships, for next year and in the years to come” said Sim.  “We believe it’s the perfect platform from which to inform and entertain both the mainstream and sports enthusiasts in the Asian region, bringing the exciting sport of surfing into the living rooms of millions of people.”

After Sim’s speech and a big round of applause, MC Nazir “Ajill” Sallah from Big Foot Industries and president of the Singapore Surfing Association made a surprise declaration…the announcement of Singapore’s surfing champions for 2011.

Receiving the Singapore Women’s Champion award was Cheryl Tang, who though taken by surprise delivered a heartfelt speech when asked by MC Sallah how she felt to be Singapore’s first woman surfing champion, especially given that there is no surf in Singapore.  She replied, “I think that if there is a will there is a way.  I’m really happy to see that surfing has grown so much in Asia, especially South East Asia, and I want to see more girls surfing in the current generation and the younger generation, and thanks to the ASC and the Outdoor Channel I know that’s going to happen.  It’s been a long road but it’s a really good thing for Asian surfing."

Singapore’s Men’s Champion Nasri Banadhaj was all smiles as his name was announced, and from the podium said, “First of all I want to thank the Indonesians and the Malaysians for sharing their waves with us, as we don’t have any waves in Singapore, so thanks so much for that.  And a big thanks to my crew of friends that has been surfing with me and supporting me for so many years!

With a final thanks to the attendees and the sponsors by MC Ajill, the formal part of the evening was over and then it was time for some entertainment at the Wave House Flowrider, where ASC Men’s champ Raditya Rondi and Women’s champ Bonne Gea tried their hand at surfing a different kind of wave than what the ocean can deliver.  With a bit of coaching and hands-on help, they both succeeded in spending a few seconds on their feet in the Flowrider.  “It’s way different than surfing for sure,” said Rondi.  “I started to get the hang of it at the end and it was really fun…really different but really fun.  When you fall its crazy, because you get swept away and rolled around so different than in the ocean, but it’s all good. With a bit more practice I’m sure I can get good at this!”

Billabong's Peter Thew and Wave House's Jeff Ranta as well as several other local experts jumped in to do a little demo to the crowd and show how it was supposed to be done.  DJ music accompanied the performance and and soon the crowd was dancing to the beats...until long into the night.

The ASC Awards was held in conjunction with the B.Y.O.B (Bring Your Own Board) event that included a full day of Flowboarding, Skateboarding, Wake Surfing, Stand Up Paddling, BMX and Bodyboarding, followed by their awards presentation and a night of partying with top local bands and DJ’s.

The Asian Surfing Championship Awards was sponsored by the Wave House Sentosa, the Surfing Association of Singapore, and Bigfoot Industries with the support of the Coca-Cola ISC Tour, Billabong, Oakley, Quiksilver, and Rip Curl, and media partners Outdoor Channel, Surfersvillage.com, Lines Magazine, Baliwaves.com, Thai Surfrider Magazine, SurfTime Magazine, and Royal Video Magazine.

 

Text and photos:  Tim Hain - ASC

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