It was a full day of action on Day 2 of the Billabong Pro Bali today, as the Longboard, Women and Master’s Divisions all saw action under another day of bright sunshine at the white sandy beach of Balangan on Bali’s Bukit Peninsula.
In the words of MC Steven “Monte” Montell, “We all wish the waves were a foot or two bigger out there, but surfers always wish that, no matter what the size,” he said with a laugh when talking to the crowd about the wave conditions of the day.
The swell had dropped overnight as anticipated, but with the full tide just starting to go out and some nice lines rolling in the Longboard division competitors were called into action to start of the morning.
A great mix of international contestants from Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand, France, the USA, and Indonesia paddled out in the 1-2 foot surf, with the high score of the session coming from one of the more unlikely contestants, Alma Oida from the Philippines. She earned a massive 8.5 points out of a possible 10 for holding a long and stylish hang 5 noseride in her first heat, besting her husband Mike.
Alma had had just arrived in Bali the night before and had no plans to compete in the event, but after being gently nudged by her husband and some friends, changed into her bikini, pulled on a rashguard, and paddled out to compete against her husband, Tipi Jabrik (IDN), and Mickey Sudena (IDN). She ended up getting the high score and winning the heat! “I was just planning on relaxing on the beach watching Mike and our other friends compete,” said Alma. “But I though ok, I’ll just surf a heat for fun and then relax on the beach.”
Alma not only won her first heat but also make it through her second heat as well, coming in second to current Indonesian Longboard Champion Arip “Mencos” Nurhidayat from West Java. She’ll be in the final on Sunday up against her husband Mike, Arip, and fellow Filipino Luke Landrigan.
As the tide went lower and lower, it was the Women’s Division competitors that had some very challenging conditions to face. There would be heats with a flurry of 2 foot sets, then heats with very few scoring opportunities and 1 foot closeouts, but all the girls were game. From youngsters like Cinta, Kailani, Julika, Dhea, and Puanani from Bali to 19 year old Rita Kitazawa from Japan, and on to 30-something Indonesian and Asian Women’s Champion Yasnyiar “Bonne” Gea from Nias, Gamala Hanafia from Java, Cheryl Tang from Singapore, Jessie Hong and Wen Ling Chou from Taiwan, and rising star Nilble Blancada from Cloud 9 in the Philippines, it was all on and not one of them was holding back.
Rina from Japan showed great wave selection to get in multiple maneuvers and post the highest single wave score of 6 points out of 10 to win her heat. She was the winner of the previous ASC event in West Java, and looks like the in-form surfer to beat in the Women’s Division. The semifinals for the women will be run on Sunday, as well as the finals in all divisions.
The day wound down with the Master’s Division (over 35 years old) taking on the smallish waves and the sun got lower and lower on the horizon, with Wayan Ganti Yasa putting in a last minute charge to win his heat and a spot in the final, along side follow Kuta resident Wayan “Kopling” Wirtama, ASC president Tipi Jabrik, and American Richard Johnson.
The ASC sanctioned 6-star Billabong Pro Bali boasts over $8,000 USD in prize money over 4 competition divisions as well as valuable ASC championship points, and will see competition resuming tomorrow at Balangan Beach with Round 3 of the Men’s Open Division on standby at 6:30am for a 7am start.
The swell forecast shows a moderate increase in swell tomorrow, so the organizers are expecting some 3 foot plus conditions that will allow the ASC’s top 16 ranked surfers to do battle with those winning their Round 2 heats yesterday for a place in the man-on-man Round 4, which will hopefully be completed by the end of the day tomorrow and setting things up for a great finale on Sunday.
To see a clip of yesterday's highlights at the Billabong Pro Bali:
The Billabong Pro Bali is sponsored by Billabong, Dakine, Von Zipper, BIMC Hospital, KIX TV, Bintang Beer and Smirnoff ICE, and sanctioned by the Asian Surfing Championships with media partners Surfersvillage.com, Baliwaves.com, Balibelly.tv, Outdoor Channel, Mylifeonboard.net, Surftime, Lines Magazine, and Magic Wave Surf Community Newspaper.
Text and Pictures by Tim Hain