24 August 2013, Simeulue Island, Aceh-Indonesia: In a race to beat both the setting sun and his three rivals in the 30 minute final of the inaugural ASC sanctioned 6 star Aceh International Surfing Championship 2013 yesterday, with just 5 minutes left on the clock West Java’s Dede Suryana found the wave he needed and blasted turn after turn to post the highest single wave score of the final, 7.27 points (out of a possible 10), to add to his previous 6.0 point score and overtake 2012 Indonesian and Asian surfing champion Raditya Rondi from Kuta, Bali, leaping into the lead that he held until the horn blew to win his first contest in almost two years.
“It feels really good to get this win,” said Suryana back on the beach in front of the hundreds of locals that had gathered to watch the final day of competition. “It’s been almost two years, so long that I forgot what it feels like to win. A group of us traveled 48 hours from Bali just to come here and compete, and so going home the winner is sweet. It’s been a great trip and competition, and this place is really beautiful, so I want to thank the government and the organizers and everybody involved for putting on this special event,” he added.
When asked about what he thought was the key to his winning the event, he explained, “After my third round heat, Diki (one of the ASC judges from Dede’s home town in Java), told me it looked like I was surfing soft out there, and if I ever wanted to win again I needed to step it up. I guess I hadn’t been thinking about winning, just going out and catching waves, so it really motivated me. In my next heat I got the highest wave score of the event, a 9.17, so that got me back on track. It does feel really good to win again!”
The final took place in waning daylight with pumping 3-4 foot waves, and finished up as the sun had already set over the Indian Ocean. Due to a change in the ferry schedule back to the mainland, the organizers put the word out the evening before that the contest must be finished by Friday night, so ASC Contest Director Tipi Jabrik had to get creative in order to finish up in time, which required eliminating the two man-on-man semifinals and going right into a four man final format.
Finalist Garut Widiarta had been surfing very well up until the final, winning all of his heats convincingly but just seemed out of rhythm, failing to complete the aerial maneuvers that he had been pulling off with regularity. Turns out he had injured his foot in the quarterfinals while attempting an aerial, cutting his foot on his surfboard fin, which affected his final’s performance. West Javan Sandi Selamet was the youngest of the finalists and put on a worthy display for his well-deserved third place finish, charging both right and left waves with equal ferocity.
Runner up Raditya Rondi was far from disappointed with his finals performance, saying, “I’m happy that I was in the final, even with a second place finish. When I landed that air reverse on my last wave, I was so stoked, as it is the first one I’ve attempted since my knee injury 6 months ago. I’m still not 100% recovered from that injury, so completing that maneuver made everything ok. I’m stoked!” Always a consistent performer, the champion goofyfooter from Kuta jumped into the lead with his first wave, scoring 6.83 points for a long lefthander, then leading the pack until the highly motivated Suryana snatched the led away from him in the final minutes. With his second place finish, Rondi jumps into first place in the 2013 ASC points rankings.
After today’s event, the ASC 2013 rankings has Raditya Rondi in the first place, followed by Garut Widiarta, Tipi Jabrik, Dede Suryana, and Putra Hermawan rounding out the top 5.
A total of 24 surfers joined in the inaugural Aceh International Surfing Championship, the majority from Indonesia (Bali, West Java, Banda Aceh, and Simeulue) but also included an Australian, an American, and a South African surfer.
A beautiful and unspoiled island chain of now 62 islands (previous to the 2004 earthquake there were only 40), the Aceh International Surfing Championship event was a part of the tourism promotion effort Visit Aceh 2013 by the Ministry of Tourism and the Creative Economy, the Government of Aceh and the Regional Government of Simeulue.
In his speech that evening at the closing ceremony, Vice Regent of the Simeulue Regency Hastul Edyar thanked all involved with putting on the event as well as the surfing contestants for traveling so far to join in, and promised to keep supporting the event in the future making it bigger and better. He also acknowledged the logistical difficulties experiencing by the surfers in traveling to the island, which limited the number or participants from other countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Japan that usually compete in all the Asian Surfing Championship events, and promised to work hard to get more and larger airplanes flying into the island. A huge round of applause followed.
ASC President Tipi Jabrik gave a short speech as well, where he thanked the government and the event organizers for inviting the ASC to be part of their event, and encouraged the government and the local to keep their island clean and natural, because tourists already have other destinations like Bali where there are so many big hotels and shopping center. He asked them to keep Simeulue special, clean and natural, because that is what makes it attractive and will make it a success, for surfers and for other tourists.
The Aceh International Surfing Championship 2013 was organized and run by the Aceh Extreme Sports Championship, sanctioned by the Asian Surfing Championships, and sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, the Government of Aceh, the Regional Government of Simeulue. Additional sponsors include Bank BRI, Garuda Indonesia, Rampagoe Surf Team, Bahussalam Travel Aceh, Antariksa Aceh Clothing, Singkray Koffie, Uye Coffee, +62 Clothing, T21 Surf Team, Hecanation Clothing, and media support from the Atjeh Post.
To see video’s, photos, heat draws and other contest information, please check http://www.asiansurfingtour.com.
NOTE: Due to the limited and small bandwidth internet capacity on Simuelue Island, video and photos will not be available on the website until 25-26 August, so please keep checking back.
Aceh International Surfing Championship Results
6 star ASC Men’s Open Division
1. Dede Suryana (West Java), 13.2 points. $1,500
2. Raditya Rondi (Bali), 13.10 points. $900
3. Sandi Selamet (West Java), 11.67 points. $700
4. Garut Widiarta (Bali), 8.23 points. $400
Tim Hain – ASC Media and Communications
Denny Affandi – Aceh Extreme Sports Championship
About the ASC
The Asian Surfing Championships began in 2011 with the mission of growing the sport of surfing in South East Asia from the grassroots level by assisting each country in organizing professional surfing events that will develop the skills of their surfers in healthy competition as well as to draw attention to their area for the progression of surfing locally, nationally, and throughout the SEA area.
Organized surfing competitions have historically been the best medium for the development of surfers and for the sport of surfing, where learning how to compete fairly and to being disciplined in training and competition are key skills needed not only for surfing but also for life.
The ASC works with the local, national and multinational event sponsors and organizers to maximize the results of these competitive surfing events towards accomplishing the goals of sharing the sport of surfing and bringing positive economic, social, and environmental benefits to the people in these South East Asian countries. See more at http://www.asiansurfingtour.com