Billabong Pro Jr Series to Run at Kuta Reef
Teahupoo Style Event for Kuta Reef Bali
Australia’s top U/21 surfers will be seriously challenged by their Indonesian counterparts in the second Billabong Pro Junior Series Indonesia event to be staged in the left-hand barrels of Kuta Reef from June 29th – July 1st.
Bali’s most crowded reef break is a favourite amongst locals and features a tricky ledge take-off that will provide Indonesia’s goofy footers with an advantage in the second of the three event series. Top seed Kalen Schloss (Sunshine Coast, Aus) is expecting strong competition from the locals but the goofy-footer is also looking forward to competing front side (face to the wave) rather than on his backhand as he did in the right hand waves of Keramas.
The 20-year-old who finished runner-up to Julian Wilson (Sunshine Coast, Aus) in the opening series event was the only goofy-footer to qualify for the final day of competition at the break that favoured natural footers. “This time there is going to be tougher competition from the locals. They surf Kuta Reef all the time," said Schloss. “It’s one of their favourite breaks."
“The Aussies dominated on their front side at Keramas and the stronger, Indonesian surfers are all goofy footers. They will challenge the Aussies a lot more this time round," added Schloss.
The event will be staged in a similar style to the Billabong Pro Tahiti with the break situated 800 metres offshore in front of Kartika Plaza Hotel. Judges, commentators, water patrol and surfers will watch and work from the channel in boats and jet-skis. A free boat will also ferry spectators out from the front of Discovery Kartika Plaza Hotel to watch the world’s best junior surfers in action at the world famous break.
“It’s a great opportunity," added Schloss. “I haven’t surfed Kuta Reef yet, I’ve really wanted too but there’s always such a large crowd out there. It’s great Billabong are putting on a junior event there and giving us the opportunity to surf with the locals. It’s going to be awesome. It’s a big effort from the people of Bali to run this event," added Schloss.
Big hitting Balinese goofy-footer Raditya Rondi (Kuta Beach) is expected to be among the top Indonesian performers. The 18 year-old impressed at Keramas with his backhand vertical snaps, even managing to outpoint Australia’s current no.3 ranked junior surfer Brendan Leckie (Gold Coast) in the non-elimination round one. Leckie answered back in round three eliminating Rondi from the tight match-up.
Rondi will be entering with more confidence this time round. When asked if he had a better chance at Kuta Reef he answered in broken English. “Yes because Kuta Reef is a left hander and I am a goofy footer. I love surf left handers. The Balinese will be stronger at Kuta Reef. The Balinese like to surf Kuta Reef and hopefully a Balinese wins this event," added Rondi.
Powerful Australian goofy footer Nick Vasicek, 19, (Snapper Rocks, Aus) has flown into Bali especially for the Kuta Reef event. The 2005 U/18’s national champion possesses a style reminiscent of 1999 world champion Mark Occhilupo (Gold Coast, Aus) perfect for the long breaking left hander. A definite threat at Kuta Reef, Vasicek has been a regular visitor to the world famous Indonesian surfing Island of Bali since the age of twelve.
“I’m excited to be back here and surf a left hand reef break again, we don’t get that in Australia," said Vasicek. “It’s ledgey, so it’s going to be tricky and sometimes it can double up. Some of the local guys are going to be hard especially Raditya (Rondi). Not many of the locals get to go over to Keramas and surf the right handers but they are out at Kuta Reef everyday," he added.
Top ranked Indonesian surfer One Anwar (Lakey Peak, Sumbawa) will also enter with more experience following his semi-final placing in the opening event to now be ranked in equal 3rd on the Indonesian Surfing Championships (ISC) Pro Junior ratings. “This event will hard on my back hand," said 14 year-old Anwar who is now based in Kuta. “But I have been putting in practice at Kuta Reef. I want to stay Indonesia’s top ranked surfer."
The inaugural Billabong Pro Junior Series Indonesia event at Keramas offered local surfers their first opportunity in years to compete against an international field of top ranked competitors on home turf. Inexperience was a factor in many of their eliminations but it’s a more experienced local field entering the Kuta Reef tournament.
Keramas champion Wilson will not be competing due to previous commitments. However, most of the Australian surfers have stayed on in Bali for the second event including Leckie, (Gold Coast, Aus), Madison Williams (Coffs Harbour, Aus) and Tim Stevenson (Torquay, Vic). Recent USA Trestles junior event winner Brent Dorrington (Gold Coast, Aus) and Chris Bennetts (Gold Coast, Aus) have also arrived in Bali for the Kuta Reef event.
“It’s really amazing," said Stevenson. “It brings the quality of junior surfing to a whole new level by being able to surf proper waves. It’s awesome. I’m having the best time of my life."
John ‘Bearsy’ Cummings (Gold Coast, Aus) is hoping to join his compatriots in the Kuta Reef event but is currently recovering from a minor motor bike accident. “Brenno (Brent Dorrington) and I were riding home from dinner on our motorbike and we ran into a taxi on the kerb," said Cummings who was driving. “I injured my ankle. It should be all right by next week so hopefully I can surf in the event."
The highest placed Indonesian surfer at the end of the three event series will be granted a position into the Von Zipper Trial, the 16 man precursor to the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships at North Narrabeen, Sydney.
Entry into the World Junior Championships is exceptionally valuable to any aspiring professional surfer, with the likes of Joel Parkinson and three-time world champion Andy Irons having launched their careers on the strength of wins at the WJC.
The Kuta Reef tournament will be staged over three days from June 29th until July 1st with the final event at Canggu from August 2nd to 5th. A total of US$15,500 prize money is on offer over the three event Billabong Pro Junior Series Indonesia. The Billabong Pro Junior Series is supported by ISC, Discovery Kartika Plaza Hotel, Coca Cola, Kustom footwear and Von Zipper eyewear.
Indonesian Surfing Championships (ISC) Pro Junior Ratings
1 Julian Wilson (Aus)
2 Kalen Schloss (Aus)
=3 Heath Joske (Aus)
=3 One Anwar (IND)
=5 Agus Purnawan (IND)
=5 Brendan Leckie (Aus)
=5 Wayan Susiana (IND)
=5 Tim Stevenson (Aus)
=9th Madison Williams (Aus)
=9th John Cummngs (Aus)
=9th Kadek Murtika (Aus)
=9th Mustofa Jeksen (Ind)