July 25th 2012: Kuta, Bali – Hawaiian charger Bethany Hamilton has been awarded a wildcard spot in the 2012 Rip Curl Cup Padang Padang Invitational. Hamilton, 22, from Kauai, Hawaii, will be the first-ever woman surfer to compete in the Rip Curl Cup (July 15 – August 26). The fearless goofyfooter, known for her exploits in powerful waves, is relishing the historic opportunity to surf against the best barrel riders on the planet at Bali’s most revered wave.
“The Rip Curl Cup at Padang Padang is the longest running surf event in Indonesia so I am really stoked to get one of the wildcards.” said Hamilton, who arrived in Bali on Tuesday night. “It should be super sick to just go and surf Padang Padang with three other guys. Even though that is a little intimidating, I am just really excited for one day of epic barrel riding.”
Hamilton earned her invitation to the Ultimate Tuberiding Contest based on her solid credentials in big, hollow surf, and her several impressive freesurfing performances out at Padang Padang in recent years. Hamilton has also charged the treacherous barrels at Teahupoo in Tahiti, and is a regular at many of the lesser-known heavy reefbreaks near her home on Kauai.
“I only surfed Padang Padang for two solid swells but I immediately fell in love with the wave,” Hamilton said, “It’s challenging but then once you get a barrel you are just so exhilarated.”
In 2003 Hamilton became arguably the world’s most famous surfer when, at the age of 13, she was attacked by a 14-foot tiger shark while surfing off Kauai’s North Shore. The attack left Hamilton with a severed left arm. Miraculously, just one month after the attack, she returned to the water to continue pursuing her goal of becoming a professional surfer. In 2004 Hamilton published a best-selling autobiography entitledSoul Surfer, which was later made into a major motion picture.
Hamilton has competed in many ASP Women’s World Tour events since turning pro in 2007, but the 2012 Rip Curl Cup will be her first time competing against male surfers in a professional surf contest. In her opening round heat at Padang Padang, Hamilton will surf against Laurie Towner (Australia) and local surfers Mustofa Jeksen (Kuta) and Made Lana (Uluwatu).
Contest Director Pete Matthews also commented: ”We’re stoked to be in a position to award Bethany a wildcard spot into the main event, we’ve been discussing it for a few years now after seeing her charge the waves at Padang on each visit to Bali. With the opportunity of surfing with only 3 others in the water, I’m sure Bethany is keen to dominate the uncrowded line-up and with her incredible barrel-riding skils, she will be one to watch’.
WATCH BETHANY INTERVIEW AND ACTION AT PADANG PADANG
You don’t have to be in Bali to see the best barrel-riding show of the year. Check the Rip Curl Cup website to see the official event status and find out when “It’s On.” On contest day, Padang Cup fans around the world can watch round by round video highlights on the site. Also check the website for in-depth interviews with all the invited surfers and daily video features on all the hottest surfing, parties and happening in Bali during the waiting period. See it all at www.RipCurl.com.
About the Rip Curl Cup
Now in its ninth year, the Rip Curl Cup Invitational at Padang Padang is Indonesia’s longest-running surfing competition and the only ISC tour event featuring top international surfers alongside Indonesia’s best. The field of 32 surfers is split equally between 16 of Indonesia’s all-time greatest and 16 of the world’s best barrel riders. This invitational format, along with the allure of the wave at Padang and a $10,000 prize purse, makes the Rip Curl Cup the most anticipated event of the Indonesian surf season.
For 2012, Rip Curl has extended the event waiting period to a grand total of six weeks to ensure catching an epic swell for the “one-day, one-swell” event. This year’s window will run from July 15th through August 26th and the contest will be run entirely on the chosen day. When contest directors see an ideal “Padang swell” in the forecast, they will give the green light and the 32 competitors will have 24 hours to make it to Bali’s Bukit Peninsula.
Real-time contest status and updates can be found at http://asia.ripcurl.com/padangcup12
The Rip Curl Cup Padang Padang 2012 is sponsored by: Beach Hut, Uluwatu Surf Villas, Smirfnoff Ice, San Miguel Light, GUS, with media support by Magic Seaweed, ASL (Australian Surfing Life), Surf Time, MAXIM, JUICE, IndoSurfLife.com & BaliBelly.tv