Though the Billabong Pro Tahiti is only around the corner, surfers all around the world have been competing in other contests, eager to perform and make a name for themselves in the competitive surfing scene. The past few days has seen contests all over the globe, though stand out action was no doubt obvious from the Rip Curl Cup at Padang Padang on the beautiful island of Bali, and also the trials for two wildcard seats in none other than the Billabong Pro Tahiti, scheduled to start this Friday the 15th of August.
The Rip Curl Cup saw epic conditions on the final day of competition, with swells reeling in at the solid 6-8 foot mark, some say the best waves in the events 11 year history. Surfers from all over the world competed in this event, though it was none other than the local knowledge of the Balinese surfers that helped progress them into the Final, knocking out surfing big wigs Chris Ward and Jacob Wilcox. Garut Widiarta and cousin Raditya Rondi paddled out in the afternoon glare to battle it out in the perfect conditions, both eager to win at their homebreak. The pair both scored long, amazing barrel rides, though it was Garut Widiarta who walked away with the victory after making barrels that were quite honestly, just ludicrous. The event certainly lived up to its name of the ‘Ultimate Tuberiding Contest’, with huge spectator turn outs only making the contest a little more interesting and creating the typical surf contest feel and atmosphere. After a long run of runner up placings, the win for Garut Widiarta is a huge accomplishment and has certainly proved to surfers everywhere what the Indonesian standard has grown to.In other contest news, Australian charger Nathan Hedge will once again be appearing on the ASP World Tour. Nathan came in at runner up at the Air Tahiti Nui Billabong Trials, winning a wildcard position for the Billabong Pro Tahiti, scheduled to start this Friday the 15th of August. Hedge and 31 other surfers battled it out for the two wildcard spots, the other going to Tuamata Puhetini. Puhetini won the trails in 2010, and seems like a dangerous contender in the ASP event. The famous Tahitian reef break of Teahupo’o delivered the goods, with solid 6-8 foot swell lines and long, grinding, perfect tubes for competitors.
“The surf was fantastic today!” Puhetini said. “I can’t believe I won it again, everyone was surfing very well. I won the Trials in 2010 and it was a great experience, and I’m looking forward to taking on the best guys out there in the Billabong Pro.”“It was a day for the Tahitians with Tuamata taking the win,” Hedge said. “I’m really stoked to have made the Final. I got some of the best waves of my life today, it’s like a dream.”With conditions set to continue to grow and improve, Nathan Hedge and Tuamata Puhetini will now face off with World Number 1 and 2 Gabriel Medina and Joel Parkinson in Round 1 of Stop #7 at the infamous Tahitian reef break, Teahupo’o.
All competitors at the trails did not leave unscathed however, with Kevin Bourez, younger brother of world number 5 Michel, unfortunately having to pull from the competition, despite being a favourite to take the wildcard spot. The French Polynesian went over the falls in his Round 1 efforts, resulting in multiple head fractures and reef cuts to the face. The Bourez presence did not disappear as Kevin did in the ambulance, with him still taking the heat despite his heavy wipe out. An unfortunate circumstance, though that’s what can happen at Teahupo’o. We wish Kevin a speedy recovery and can’t wait to see him pull out his usual bags of tricks next year.
SurfStitch would also like to congratulate Garut Widiarta, Tuamata Puhetini and Nathan Hedge on their results. Be sure to stay tuned right here on the SurfStitch Blog as we bring you all the latest updates in the surfing world, including all the action from the Billabong Pro Tahiti!
*All Imagery by Rip Curl/ASP