Madison Williams claims Billabong Pro Jr at Kuta Reef
Experience overcame local knowledge with Madison Williams (Coffs Harbour, NSW) winning the all-Australian final of the Billabong Pro Junior Series Indonesia at Kuta Reef in Bali. In perfect 1.5 metre waves Williams narrowly defeated fellow natural footer Brent Dorrington (Gold coast, Qld) in the left-hand waves situated 800 metres offshore in front of Discovery Kartika Plaza.
Williams set up his win from his opening ride - an 8.33 (out of a possible 10) - that saw him break his board on dry reef with a death defying backhand re-entry. Unfazed by the experience, the 18 year-old, quickly backed up with a 6.67 to leave his opponent to play catch-up for the remainder of the thirty minute final.
“I’m just so happy to have won my first junior event in Bali," said Williams, who has now taken the ratings lead on the Indonesian Surfing Championship (ISC) Pro Junior. “I just wish my old man was here to have seen it, he would have been frothing. I was a bit rattled at first when my board broke but then I heard I had that 8.33 score and my back-up board felt just as good."
“What the Balinese and Billabong have done here is amazing. Especially this event being so far out to sea, it’s incredible for the locals and for the Aussie’s as well," added Madison. Twenty year old Dorrington, fresh from his first major pro junior win at Trestles California, came back with an 7.33 and 7 point ride but was left requiring a 7.68 score on the final siren.
“At the start of the heat we decided to do rock, paper scissors to see who would get the better second set wave," said Dorrington. “I went paper and Madison went scissors, so I had to go the first one and he got the second one which was a bomb. I’m happy to see Madison win he deserves it, but I don’t think I will be playing that game again."
The final heat score saw Williams claim victory by less than one point with a total heat score of 15.00 points (out of a possible 20) to Dorrington’s 14.33 score. Australian surfers filled three of the final four semi-final berths again proving too competitively strong for the Indonesians who had dominated the early rounds of competition.
U/18’s Australian title runner-up Josh Johnson-Baxter (Ocean Grove, Vic) posted his best pro-junior result in his first full year on tour finishing equal third after being eliminated by Williams in the opening semi-final. “The whole family is here on holiday," said Johnson-Baxter. “So this was just amazing to be able to come to Bali and compete while on vacation."
Indonesia’s highest placed surfer Mustofa Jeksen (Kuta) was eliminated from the second semi-final by an in-form Dorrington. The 18 year-old, Balinese goofy footer had no come-back from the newly confident natural footer who dominated the twenty minute match-up. “So hard, that heat," said a disappointed Jeksen. “Brent Dorrington is one of the best junior surfers in Australia. I know he is good but I wanted to win too."
“Today with the waves it’s about the luck. Me, I’m so lucky to make the semi-finals. Many of the Balinese surfers like Garut and Raditya could have done it today, it just about who get the good waves." Jeksen is now the top ranked Indonesian surfer sitting at No.3 on the ISC Pro Junior Ratings ahead of One Anwar (Sumbawa,IND) in No.4 heading into the deciding event at Canngu, Bali.
The tournament's No.1 seed Kalen Schloss (Sunshine Coast, Aus) was handicapped by his cracked ribs incurred while free surfing at Kuta Reef on Saturday morning and was unable to perform at his best level bowing out in round three of competition. Schloss still retained his No.2 ranking now placed behind Williams.
Australians Chris Bennetts (Gold Coast) and Victoria’s Tim Stevenson fell victim to the high-tide conditions of Kuta Reef. Bennetts required just a one point ride to advance but failed to find any scoring rides in the wave starved heat.
Despite the Australian domination Balinese surfers proved they are a future world force with the likes of young stars Jeksen, Raditya Rondi (Kuta) and Made ‘Garut’ Widiarta (Kuta) turning in performances that were equal to any of the worlds top pro juniors.
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 final event of the inaugural Billabong Pro Junior Series Indonesia will be staged at the peak break of Canggu, Bali from August 2nd to 5th. A total of US$15,500 prize money is on offer. The Billabong Pro Junior Series is supported by ISC, Discovery Kartika Plaza Hotel, Coca Cola, Kustom footwear and Von Zipper eyewear.