In an event dominated by the international invitees, Mega Semadhi was the lone local Indonesian surfer to reach the final of the 2016 Rip Curl Cup at Padang Padang. But when the final horn sounded, it was Mega who came out on top, claiming his second title in the past three times the Ultimate Tuberiding Contest has been held.
After a slow start in his opening round heat in which he took off on several smaller closeouts, Semadhi eventually found his rhythm. He would manage to survive the opening rounds and go on to win his semifinal heat with a perfect 10 and the highest heat total of the round. In the final, Semadhi won the heat with a 9 and sealed the deal with another perfect 10 with six minutes remaining, leaving Mason Ho (HAW) and Clay Marzo (HAW) comboed, and Damien Hobgood (USA) needing a 9.41 that he could never find. In the end, Mega was hoisted to victory in front of a raucous crowd, followed by Hobgood in second place, Ho in third and Marzo in fourth.
“My first heat I was really nervous and was really sloppy,” said Mega, who previously won the 2013 Rip Curl Cup. “I was going on small waves, bad waves and whitewash. Luckily I got my head together and got through and was able to get into a rhythm the rest of the contest.”
At the outset, international invitees Hobgood, Marzo and Ho looked like the surfers to beat in the event. Hobgood dominated the opening rounds, winning both his Round 1 and 2 heats and posting the highest heat total of the opening rounds. Ho meanwhile put together a spectacular performance, capping off multiple deep backhand drainers with skate-inspired aerials on the end section and wowing the massive crowds on hand at Padang Padang and watching on the webcast.
“This is one of the best contests in the world,” Ho said, “right beside the Pipe Masters and The Eddie. I wish I had the words to describe how much fun that was.”
It certainly was another epic showcase for the Rip Curl Cup Padang Padang. The day saw four perfect 10 barrels, including an impossibly deep and long disappearing act by Bruce Irons in Round 2, another perfect 10 by Paulo Moura (BRA), and five 9+ point barrels from Marzo leading up to the final.
But in the end, despite the electrifying performances from the many big-name international surfers in the draw, it was the local boy Semadhi who once again kept the Cup in Bali, to the delight of the Padang Padang locals who sang a spirited rendition of the Indonesian national anthem, led by Semadhi’s mother on the awards podium. For Mega, however, the victory wasn’t about country or patriotism, but about celebrating his beloved Padang Padang.
“I’m so happy to win at my home break again,” Mega said. “But from my point of view, there is no local. We are all locals of this universe and today we are all locals at Padang Padang.”
2016 Rip Curl Cup Final Results:
1. Mega Semadhi (IND) 19.00
2. Damien Hobgood (USA) 16.60
3. Mason Ho (HAW) 15.50
4. Clay Marzo (HAW) 4.00