Day 1 of the Quiksilver Uluwatu Challenge presented by Coca-Cola Amitil Indonesia and the Australian Embassy Jakarta kicked off in 4-to-5-foot waves at the Race Tracks section of the famed Uluwatu on Bali's Bukit Peninsula. This year's event is dual sanctioned by the World Surf League (WSL) and the Asian Surfing Championship tour (ASC) and holds a Qualifying Series (QS) 1,000 rating.
The first seven heats of the day saw 28 of Indonesia's best surfers battle it out for the last 16 spots in the main event. One competitor who moved through to the main event was Bali's Wayan Merta, who posted the highest heat total of the trials -- a 16.25 -- for two long backhand barrel rides. Merta was lucky to overcome Dex Scoot. who posted a perfect 10-point ride with the longest barrel of the morning.
"You have to be lucky to get one like that today," said Merta. "I don't surf here much so I just tried to find a wave that might barrel. When I pulled in I didn't think I was going to make it, then I just snuck out."
Another trials winner, Usman Trioko (IDN), continued his form into the main event taking down one of the big names, Hawaiian Mason Ho. Trioko now moves into Round 2.
"Mason is my good friend, so I was so happy to meet him in a heat," said Trioko. "To win in the trial was awesome but to get a win in the main event, especially with Mason in my heat was awesome."
1998 Pipeline Master Jake Paterson (AUS) put the first 10-point ride of the main event on the board with a long, deep barrel ride all the way through the Race Track section. He was lucky to progress though, only having a two-point backup score.
"I can't believe it, a 10 and a two," said Paterson. "I'm stoked that Quiksilver and WSL gave me a wildcard into this event. It's sick. That wave I got the 10 on was a bigger one so I knew once I was in I just had to maintain my speed."
In what was arguably the most exciting heat of the event thus far, Trioko continued to dominate in Round 3, locking in a heat total of 17.25 and forcing his opponents to search for two new scores. Top seeds Chris Ward (USA) and Dede Suryana (IDN) were in a close race for second down to the final minute. Ward, needing a 6.45, took off on a set wave but was unable to post the score he needed, allowing Suryana to progress to the next round.
"For the last minute I did not know what to do," Suryana said. "I was worried when Chris took off on that wave, he is such a good competitor. When I heard he didn't get the score I was so relieved. And Usman is so good when it is barreling like this, it was a good heat."
In the final heat of the day, Curtis Ewing (AUS) showed nerves of steel, pulling into numerous barrels over shallow reef at low tide to post a heat total of 16.25 in his first-ever QS event. He moves through to Round 3 with fellow Australian Jeames Young.
"I haven't competed in five years so I was really nervous," said Ewing. "Once I got a score I felt good. Surfing out at Uluwatu with only three other people out was amazing, I'm looking forward to my next heat."
Competition will resume with Round 2 Heat 5, former WSL Championship Tour surfer Damien Hobgood (USA) will take on Jacob Connelly (AUS) and Indonesians Dedy Santoso and Loco Swastika.
The Quiksilver Uluwatu Challenge is part of the eighth annual Quiksilver and Coca-Cola Amatil Indonesia, Bali's Big Eco Weekend Event, which takes place this year during Indonesia's Independence Day long weekend. Bali's Big Eco Weekend highlights the need to keep Bali's beaches clean and safe as well as promoting an active and healthy lifestyle through the various surfing events and beach activities that take place through the course of the event.
More information available here.