True to Volcom’s “Let the Kids Ride Free”, the kids were riding free, fast, and sometimes frantically as Balangan Beach delivered both massive 6 foot closeout set waves and perfectly peeling 2-3 footers at the Grillfish stop of Volcom’s Totally Crustaceous Tour 2015 yesterday, creating a challenging and exciting day for the always eager 100 plus competitors and a great show for the spectators gathered in the beachside warungs.
With the Geckofish Sanur stop run back on April 19th, it was now the Pecatu kids turn to show off their best maneuvers to the judging panel and hopefully earn their place in the qualifying rounds of the grand final that will take place at Kuta Beach on August 23rd. So there was no holding back, and as was observed by Brad Benson, whose son Ben earned second place in the Under 13’s and his spot in the grand final, “These kids are charging just as hard as any groms I have ever seen in Australia, and America, or anywhere!” he exclaimed as he watched the finals.
The morning started out with the Under 13’s in smallish but still rippable conditions, but as the day progressed so did the quality and size of the waves. And with at least one or two bomb sets rolling through in most every heat, Volcom team MC’s Muklis Anwar and Made “Bol” Adi Putra would frequently give the competitors a heads up when a big set would be seen approaching in an attempt to help get them into the best position and avoid a drubbing from the closeouts.
Deep bottom turns, big mid-face gouges, vertical lip smacks, long and critical floaters, and even a few barrels were thrown down by these youngsters on the way to the finals, with the boys and girls all giving it their all during the 15 minute heats that could have as many as 7 competitors in them.
There were a few rain showers blowing through during the day to break up the hot sunshine, along with some nice offshore breezes and a game involving kids and bananas… and Volcom Indonesia’s skate legend Indra Kubun even got in on the surfing action, paddling out in a heat just for the fun and experience of it.
He didn’t win the heat, and had this to say after when asked about how he felt after: “It was…well, that’s a good question….a bit ashamed maybe? I really enjoyed being out there…I felt honored to be out there with the kids…they made it look so easy but I can tell you it wasn’t! They are brave…they know what they are doing…I saw some really big sets and I wish I could have caught one…but in the end I only caught one small one…and I was lucky to do that! Maybe if I can join in next one at Kuta Beach…I catch another one!” he said laughing.
But all too soon it was time for the serious stuff…the Finals.
In the Under 13 Division, Tenshi Ishii and Ben Benson had been battling it out since the morning, with Tenshi nabbing first and Ben getting second in both their previous heats…and guess what? Once again Tenshi got the win!
The 16 and Under win was taken by Andre Anwar, who after a see-saw goofygooter vs natural footer battle with Rio Wiada all heat long and with less than a minute remaining, nabbed one of the best waves of the heat and throw down handful of critical turns and a solid finish to take victory over Rio, whose polished and critical backside attack was nothing short of impressive.
After the awards presentation, Volcom’s Muklis Anwar was asked what he thought was the highlight of the days competition, to which he replied, “I thought that everybody surfed really good today, as Balangan is known as being on of the faster waves in Bali so it can be hard to surf well. But I was most impressed by the Under 16 final…for me that final with Rio and Andre going for it wave for wave was the highlight. Everyone was surfing very well for sure, but what stood out for me was definitely that one heat.”
The 20 and Under Girls Division saw Summa Longbottom dropping the biggest scores and taking the win by a nice margin, finding the best spot in the lineup and putting together some great bottom turn floater combinations in the tricky low tide conditions to best Hayana Iguchi, Taina Hinckel, and Kailani Johnson.
In the last final of the day, similar to the Under 16’s, in the Pro Am Division it would have been a good bet from the first round that either Tommy Sobry or Mega Artana would be accepting the first place award at the end of the day. Both surfers displayed a variety of maneuvers with a smooth yet aggressive and in control style, speed and superior wave selection, fitting all the criteria for winning…but there can only be one, and with though Tommy put up some impressive and critical turns, it was the consistency and variety of maneuvers on each of his waves that got Mega the win.