The inaugural Liga Surfing Indonesia Finals came to an exciting conclusion Sunday at Kuta Beach after three full days of challenging competition, with Indonesia’s top surfing talents called up onto the stage to receive their awards and the recognition from family, friends and fans gathered on the beach to celebrate the moment.
15 surfing clubs brought a total of 197 surfers from as far away as West Java and Sumbawa to Bali to join this competition that began last Friday, with their top 4 ranked surfers separated in divisions Under 10, Junior, Women, Men, and Master, competing for the LSI’s Number 1 ranking position along with cash, a trophy and Vans footwear in this first-ever Indonesian surfing league national final.
Winning the Club Challenge as well as having winners in the Men’s, Women’s and Master’s Divisions was Halfway Kuta Boardriders, one of the longest-running surf clubs in Indonesia that can boast literally decades of experience in their ranks, having produced Bali’s top talents such as Raditya Rondi and Garut Widiarta and up and comers like Ketut Agus, Mega Artana, and Dhany Widianto.
“This is really our dream becoming a reality,” said Widiarta as he witnessed the awards presentation. “When we started our Halfways club we had two main goals, first was to have a development path for our members, which would lead to them being able to compete at a professional level, and then to have a WSL event here at Kuta Beach. This last week we accomplished both of those things, with first the QS and now the LSI Final…I couldn’t be more proud and happy!” Widiarta has had a distinguished career as a pro surfer, competing internationally and going on exotic surf trips with World Champions such as Mick Fanning and Gabriel Medina.
This Liga Surfing Indonesia Final was certainly welcomed and appreciated by the longtime members of Bali’s surfing community, none more than Wayan Pica, who was the head judge of the Vans Bali Pro presented by East Ventures and the Liga Surfing Indonesia Final and is the Vice Secretary-General of the Indonesians Surfing Federation (PSOI).
“I’ve been judging now for about 25 years, and it makes me so proud and happy to see everybody here at the beach involved and enjoying this LSI Final,” said Pica. “It’s such a great success for us at PSOI and the surfing community, this first annual event, and it’s truly a dream come true. From when I first started judging, I always hoped that something like this would happen. Now with the support of the ASC and sponsors, I’m sure we can keep growing and be an even bigger success in the future.”
The judging panel did an amazing job in what were quite challenging surfing conditions, which varied from small and glassy to small and windy and until the final day there was no priority system given the 6 man heats in most of the divisions, and in sweltering heat from late morning until almost sundown. Big thanks to Wayan Pica and his judging crew!
The Under 10’s Final was a closely contested battle between Al Faruk (Sumbawa) and Legian’s Gede Darma Wisesa. Al Faruk jumped into the lead early and seemed to have the win wrapped up until Gede found a long righthander to jump into the lead. Waves were exchanged with only 20 seconds to go, and the boys had to wait anxiously on the beach to see who would be the victor. The judges determined that Al Faruk’s score was not high enough and it was Gede that claimed victory.
Next up was the Women’s division, which saw 3 of the 4 competitors from Halfway Kuta Boardriders and 1 lone entry from Bingin Boardriders. It was another close call with Dhea Natasya narrowly besting Ziggy Mackenzie for the win. Ziggy had the highest single wave score and just needed a backup score of 2.74 to advance as time ran out.
The Junior saw Sanur’s Made Nesa hold the lead for almost 19 of the 20 minutes in the final, but Gilang (Batu Keras) found a good scoring opportunity in the last minute to post a 5.10 and get the win.
Local knowledge certainly played its part in the Master’s Division with Kuta’s Dedi Santoso getting the win over West Java’s Dede Suryana. Certainly Suryana has a lot of experience surfing and competing at Kuta Beach, having won ISC (Indonesian Surfing Championships) events in the past, but it wasn’t to be his day. Santosa was all smiles back on the beach saying “I’m so happy to win the Masters title here at my home break and as part of the Halfways Kuta Boardriders. I really want to thank the ASC, all the sponsors that supported this event, the Liga Surfing Indonesia, and all the boardriders clubs that participated. I can’t wait to do this again next year!”
Another success story from Halfways Kuta Boardriders is Open winner Dhany Widianto, who posted a huge 7.83 score for a long righthander to jump into the lead and was never challenged. With just a couple of minutes left in the final, Legian’s Made Darma Yasa managed to find a ridable wave and get a 3.53 score from the judges to boost him up into second place.
“This was a great start for the Liga Surfing Indonesia, and I’m really happy and consider this a success for sure,” said ASC’s Tipi Jabrik. “Looking ahead, the plan for LSI includes adding more surf clubs from around Indonesia and focusing on the development of the Under 10, Junior and Women’s participants, as they are certainly the future. Also, we hope to get more government and private sector support so we can provide more and more services and help to the clubs, then ultimately we’d like to be able to have the LSI Finals in a different location each year to give a variety of experience to the clubs and their surfers.”
And speaking of support, a new member of the surfing community and a major sponsor of the LSI event is East Ventures, whose Co-Founder and Managing Partner Willson Cuaca was impressed by what happened over the last week at Kuta Beach, saying, "Hopefully the Liga Surfing Indonesia can be the turning point for the surfing industry here in Indonesia, to develop more quickly over the next few years, and it will motivate the surfers to train and progress so they can compete nationally and internationally and fulfill their dreams of making a profession out of the sport that they love. From these LSI and Bali Pro events we have seen how much potential there is here. East Ventures wants to ensure the success of surfing in Indonesia by supporting ASC events as they continue to create a bright surfing future."
The Liga Surfing Indonesia is sanctioned by the PSOI (Persatuan Selancar Ombak Indonesia), operated by the ASC (Asian Surf Cooperative), sponsored by East Ventures, Vans Indonesia, Bintang, Mamaka and Earth Island, with support for LiveHeats from Billabong, Quiksilver, and Rip Curl, and also supported by the Indonesian Tourism Ministry (Kemenpar), Ministry of Youth and Sports (Kemenpora), National Sports Committee of Indonesia (KONI), and the Indonesia Olympic Committee.