ULUWATU – It was an amazing Sunday with a spectacular finish at the Quiksilver Uluwatu Challenge yesterday, where 56 competitors including legends Matt Hoy, Simon Anderson, Jeff Hakman, Jim Banks, Wayan Gantiyasa, Made Switra, Ketut Menda, Made Lana and others surfed Bali’s most legendary lefthander in excellent 3-4 foot waves. Uluwatu Boardrider Tumbling Sudiantara posted the event’s two highest scores in the last heat of the last round as the sun dropped down into the Indian Ocean.
Ryuki Waida had put himself solidly into the lead in Heat 7 of Round 1 with two excellent scores of an 8.17 and an 8.83 for a total of 17 points out of a possible 20. Ryuki looked to have a lock on the event win with the closest competitor needing an excellent score of 8.6 or better. Ryuki was runner up last year and no doubt still smarting from being pipped at the post by Tipi Jabrik last year. But luck once again deserted the young ripper in Heat 7 of Round 2 where he was knocked out by Koki Hendrawan, who claimed his 9.70 ride for a chunky barrel that grinded through Racetracks.
Koki was already at the Edge and on the Bintangs, set to celebrate his victory, when Tumbling Sudiantara used all of his local knowledge by first scoring a 9.53 and then the event’s only perfect 10 point wave in the final minutes to end the 2019 Uluwatu Challenge trophy hunt in a climatic finale. Lifeguard Toska was on the mike with Vaughan Blakey, revving up the crowd gathered on the cliffside warungs, nearly shaking the Edge Bar off its foundations. When the horn blew the Uluwatu Boardriders and thousand strong crowd lining the cliff went crazy!
Wiping cold San Miguel off his face, Tumbling was all smiles talking about his heat, saying “I was so happy on that second wave when I tucked in and then came out of the first barrel and then I saw the second section was opening so I pulled in again and came out….it just happened so quick! In my first heat I didn’t get any good waves, but I’m so happy in the end I could get the win for the Ulu boys! Thanks Quiksilver for the invitation, to the judges and for everyone who came out today, I’m so happy!
Vaughan Blakey, guest commentator and editor of Surfing World was over the moon at being able to surf in the event and do some commentating as well. When asked what the highlight of the day was for him, he replied, “Ah mate, it was definitely the fact that in the last heat of the day, a guy that wasn’t even in the running could get a 9.5 and then follow it with a perfect 10 to win the whole thing….the next best highlight was old mate (Toska) commentating at the end…he got on the mike and just destroyed me!”
“This is the sickest comp,” he continued. “The thing I love about it more than anything is that it digs into what Quiksiver is built on…real and raw and doing it because you love it, no rules sort of thing. It’s perfect for Bali. And who you get to surf with in this comp, are you kidding? You’ve got Simon Anderson, a couple of local boys, a 16 year old girl, and a couple of ordinary Joes’ in the same heat. It’s such a sick concept and it totally works!”
Local commentator/publisher Lorca Lueras got a few waves in the event in between stints on the microphone, and was also asked for his event highlight.
“The most exciting part of the event for me was those lead changes during the final round,” he replied. “Ryuki Waida had it in the bag for so long, then during my heat Koki took the lead, and then in the last heat of the last round of the day, Tumbling just nailed it. And that’s it….you just can’t count anyone out until the final horn. Just two waves can win the event, and that’s what happened in the end. In any other event you’ll either keep getting through or you get knocked out, but in this one, it just takes that one wave that can put you on top and get you the win. It was unbelievably fun, thanks Quiksilver!”
Quikilver legends Simon Anderson, Matty Hoy, and Jeff Hakman were all honored with return invitations. Hakman was stoked to take part again saying “The guys in my heat were saying ‘Jeff, you have priority…you can have any wave you want, take this one.’ There was some fierce competition going on, but it was great to see so much camaraderie and fun being had out in the water.
Quiksilver’s Sammy Gosling summed up the day by saying, it is great to see the whole Bali surf community come together for this event, the local and international legends, boardriders clubs, punters and tourists enjoying the best of Bali. We were stoked to work with Eco Surf Rescue Uluwatu and do a beach clean-up around Uluwatu during the day so that we can continue to try and have a positive impact in securing Uluwatu for future generations. The cave has called and we look forward to doing it all again next year.
The Quiksilver Uluwatu Challenge was sponsored by Quiksilver, Uluwatu Boardriders Club, San Miguel Light, Bali Belly and Single Fin and supported by the Asian Surfing Cooperative (ASC) and the PSOI. (*)