It’s almost on!
The brightest stars of the 11th annual Rip Curl Cup took the field in smallish, but perfect Padang Padang barrels today to the backdrop of a picture perfect sunset. Luminaries such as Matt Wilkinson, Owen Wright, Bethany Hamilton and the great Rizal Tandjung traded waves with such rookies as Jacob Wilcox and Jack Robinson as the sun dipped near the horizon at one of the most spectacular surf spots in the world. The fearsome Padang Padang reef, the inspiration for the world’s ultimate tuberiding event.
If today was any indication of the performances ahead, then tomorrow’s anticipated swell is sure to provide the perfect canvas for some of the best tuberiders in the world to strut their stuff. With an approaching swell that can already be heard crashing on the outer reef, it looks like Surfline – the official Event forecaster’s patience has paid off. After over 4 weeks of waiting, with waves that have been on the radar for over ten days, the mood here in Bali is electric.
More than contest, the Rip Curl Cup Padang Padang has always been more of a gladiatorial feat. Pitting 12 of the world’s finest tuberiders against 12 of Indonesia’s best locals. Locals who have literally grown within the shadows of Padang Padang’s howling barrels. As always, the visiting surfers will have their work cut out for them, but with emerging young talents like western Australia’s Jacob Wilcox and seasoned veterans like Chris Ward and Anthony Walsh, sparks are sure to fly.
And let us not forget Bethany Hamilton, whose performance today was only a hint at what she will be capable of tomorrow. In 2012, her stunning performance earned her a second round slot, sending more than one male competitor to the beach to reconsider their abilities.
With a first round heat featuring Hawaiian Pipeline Master Kalani Chapman, Java’s goofy foot sensation Mustofa Jeksen and Bali’s new young lion Koki Hendrawan, this multi-national competition rings more like a summit meeting than a contest, a showcase to the surfing world of not only incredible tuberiding performance, but a gathering of our international tribe that is not to be missed. See more photos, here
Watch all the action starting at 6.45am Bali time – www.live.ripcurl.com