As the expected increase in swell failed to make an appearance this morning at Balangan Beach on Day 3 of the Billabong Pro Bali, the Men’s Open Division Round 3 contestants who arrived at 7am were told to standby until the tide ran out a bit in hopes that some contestable waves would arrive so Round 3 could begin.
Meanwhile MC Lorca and Billabong’s Made Basur put their heads together to create the first ever “Life is Better in Boardshorts” Billabong Paddle Challenge to stir up some excitement and give the boys something to do while they were waiting.
The rules were simple: Grab your contest surfboard (not over 6’2” in length), wait for the starters horn, jump into the water and paddle as fast as you can around the buoy and back to the beach, then run up the beach and be the first one to sit in the chair under the Billabong tent. The winner to receive the Rp 1 million (just over $100 USD) cash prize and a pair of Billabong boardshorts.
Unbelievably, of the 20 seasoned competitors that raced out towards the buoy, it was tiny little 9 year old Dhany Widianto from Kuta whose arms were just like little propellers as he sped ahead of the pack and won by at least 10 seconds over Made Darmayasa, his closest rival.
After his celebration he was asked how it was possible that he bested all those pro surfers, to which replied with a grin “I don’t know!” When pressed further about what he would do with the money he answered, “I’m going to save it”. Good on ya Dhany!
As the excitement died down around the new paddle champion, the organizers elected to send out first of the two remaining Women’s Divisions semifinal heats a few small waves were starting to break over the outer reef with the outgoing tide.
In the first semifinal it was Rina Kitazawa (JPN) showing keen wave sense and agile form to find a few waves with enough face to make some turns and win the heat, with Asian-Indonesian Women’s Champ Yasnyiar “Bonne” Gea taking the second spot.
In Semifinal 2 the Philippine’s Nilbie Blancada managed to hold off two of Bali’s best up and coming girl grommies Dhea and Cinta to win her finals spot. Dhea looked to have second place all sewn up, but Cinta paddled over to the left and found a little runner that got her the points she needed to push Dhea down into third and out of the competition.
So tomorrow’s Women’s Final will see Rina (JNP), Nilble (PHL), Yasnyiar (IDN) and Cinta (IDN) battling it out in what we hope will be great waves.
Since the ocean failed to cooperate and produce any quality waves, the Round 3 Men’s contestants were told they had the day off, but to be ready for a full day of competition tomorrow starting at 6:30 am.
The swell forecast is showing an increase in size this afternoon and a 1.7 meter swell at 12 second intervals for tomorrow, which should produce contestable waves for the final day of the Billabong Pro Bali. The Billabong crew is offering up prayers to the Bali gods morning, afternoon and night, so we’re confident those prayers will be answered and we’ll have some great waves for the Men’s Open Division and the other finalists tomorrow.
To check out yesterday’s highlights:
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 Images by Tim Hain