The 12th Annual Rip Curl GromSearch South East Asian Finals were decided this morning in perfect 4 to 5 foot waves at the famed “Canggu right” at Pererenan Beach, Bali. Champions Rio Waida and Cinta Hansel are now headed for the big time at the international finals to be held overseas at a yet to be released location. Compliments of Rip Curl, they earned the right today to surf against the greatest Groms in the world later this year.
Today, the absolutely perfect, high performance surf inspired the Groms of both divisions to really step up their game in do or die performances, drawing gasps and applause from the crowds on the beach. Not bad for a group of hot, young surfers that have yet to celebrate their 16th birthdays.
First up, the girls final. It was a fired up 13 year old Taina Izquerdo who dominated the first 20 minutes with a fireworks display of explosive backside off the lips. With five minutes left in the final, she was easily in control of the title. And with what looked like a long lull underway, Izquerdo sat comfortably inside as a 14 yr old Cinta Hansel sat outside, scanning the horizon for something, anything to come her way.
And then…it did.
Suddenly both girls were paddling for the horizon as a big set approached. Cinta Hansel spun, took a late drop and used her regular foot advantage to rip it all the way to shore. Earning a big score. Still, with the seconds ticking by, Izquerdo was confidently ahead. Hansel was still powering her way back into the line-up. But then Izquerdo, with priority, let a wave pass underneath her…and would probably wished she hadn’t. Hansel jumped into action, scratched over to meet the wave, just managed to catch it and ripped it with radical desperation, managing to stay on her feet all way into a spectacular floater in the shore break. The heat horn sounded.
Hansel’s last score was announced and Taina Izquerdo’s heart was broken.
Cinta Hansel, in the last five minutes of the heat, had caught the two waves that would earn her the 2015 GromSearch Championship. A brave performance and a fine example of the grit that these young competitors have in their hearts.
Then it was an all Padma Boys affair for the boys final. Both Rio Waida and Raju Sena, staunch members of the most tight knit surf club in Bali, faced each other in the final. Side by side, it looked like the David and Goliath story. The tall, confident, 15 yr old Raju Sena paddling out against the determined, stocky 15 year old Rio Waida for a 25 minute final in the best conditions of the day.
As it turned out, Rio Waida took the reins of a runaway horse.
At not one time in the final heat did Waida falter, immediately combo’ing his fellow club member with a series of high scores. Including an opening 9 point ride. Sena, who had been winning everything in sight all year, appeared rattled and out of rhythm for the first time all season. His surfing seemed to have lost its usual razor sharp edge and the crowd actually groaned as he fell time and again. For Sena, Surftime Magazine’s rookie of the year, something was going very wrong.
Waida struck the advantage like a pouncing lion. Wave after wave, powerful, deep rail surfing, monster cutbacks, closing out his rides with giant off the lips in the notorious Canggu shore break. And, in the closing seconds of the heat, as if to hammer in the last nail of Sena’s GromSearch coffin, Waida smartly picked off a small, but perfectly shaped wave and ended the heat with the best aerial seen in any GromSearch all year. A 9 point ride. Waida would hoist the trophy and the overseas trip overhead in front of an adoring crowd, burying Raju Sena’s dreams for the year.
But not forever. These two young surfers proved, in 25 electrifying minutes, that the future of South East Asian competitive surfing is in solid hands.
“I’m very happy” whispered Champion Cinta Hansel, “it was a privilege to surf against all the best girls all year. Taina had me scared going into that last five minutes, but I guess it’s never over until the final horn blows. I am just so thankful to the ocean, Rip Curl and the Pererenan Surf Club for giving us their surf spot at the last second. It really allowed us to surf as well as we can”. Taina Izquerdo giggled a different take. “It’s all just so exciting! And fair is fair! I am proud of my second place result and look forward to next year when I am going to win it! Ha!”
A reserved Rio Waida had little comment on his win other than thanking his sponsors and supporters. “I am already thinking about the international contest” he privately said later. As for Raju Sena, always gracious in victory as well as defeat, “I am just so stoked to be a part of this and I have had a great year and it was a good win for Rio… and I am so happy that a Padma boy won it! If not me then at least it was him! Except for losing, this was my favorite contest all year…The waves…so good!”.
Both Rio Waida and Cinta Hansel will go on to represent Indonesia at the spectacular Rip Curl GromSearch International Finals. A grand final event where they will face an International field of the best young surfers from around the globe. With Locations in the past as far away as Australia, France, America, and Brazil, today’s two young champion’s dreams have come true.
The location for the The Rip Curl Gromsearch International finals will be announced soon. Stay tuned to RipCurl.com for all the updates and make sure to follow our young Indonesian champions, Rio Waida and Cinta Hansel, as they take on the world.
#1 Cinta Hansel (14.33)
#2 Taina Izquerdo (12.33)
#3 Salini Rengganis & Kailani Johnson
#1 Rio Waida (18.60)
#2 Raju Sena (13.30)
#3 Andre Anwar & Mega Artana