Clair Bevilacqua (Aus) earned a perfect 10-points in her semifinal heat in challenging 6-8 feet (2-4 meter) conditions on opening day of the West Sumbawa Pro 2016, by charging fearlessly through a heavy barrel section after setting it up with a couple of gouging turns
Due to the prediction of a significantly increasing swell, which would likely render Yoyo’s unsurfable later in the day, Contest Director Tipi Jabrik called the Women’s Division into action first thing in the morning. Rip currents, huge sets, and strong side-offshore winds greeted the 8 women surfers from Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Taiwan, and the USA that signed up to compete for the nearly $4,000 USD prize money, but they were ready to take on the challenge and did so bravely, with all coming back to the beach safe and stoked.
After nailing her perfect 10 point wave, West Australia’s Claire Bevilacqua was both stoked and relieved, saying “The waves were big and perfect and I knew there were a couple of barrels out there, but I don’t think you really know what to do until it’s right there in front of you…I saw it started to form down the line and you know when everybody is watching you like the Bali boys, you know you gotta go! So I pulled in, and it went fully square so I knew I was coming out I just had to hold my line.”
She went on to explain, “This is the first time I’ve surfed this waved, as I’ve never been to Sumbawa or Lombok, I think this is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen in Indonesia and the waves were just incredible today, straight up, you just had to go the waves were that perfect.”
Judge Mark Clift, who also hails from West Australia, wasn’t surprised that both Claire and her traveling buddy Denver Young put on stellar performances today, saying, “It was definitely testing conditions out there for the women, but since Claire and Denver surf West Oz waves like Margaret River all the time, I’m not surprised that they made it into the final. Congrats also to Kai and Pua for their performances today, as they are much younger but bravely took on those waves against older and more experienced surfers and made it into the final.”
14-year-old Kailani Johnson admits she was scared and didn’t think she surfed that well, saying, “I really didn’t want to be out of position so I played it safe. I know I didn’t surf my best, but I’m super happy to be in the final.” She will be joined in the final by her sister Puanani, who is two years older.
The Philippines Nilbie Blancada narrowly missed advancing into the final, only requiring a 2.5 point wave
After the two Women’s heats the first three heats of the Men’s Round 1 was run, but strong winds and massive sets had the contest director call a stop to the competition at just before 11 am.
It’s likely that tomorrow will see a change of venue for the competition, as the organizers plan for a backup site due to the increasing size of the swell which will eliminate Yoyo’s as an option.