20 July 2016, Sekongkang-West Sumbawa: In the dying seconds of the 30 minute finale to the 4-day West Sumbawa Pro 2016 at Supersucks, the Philippine’s Philmar Alipayo snatched the victory from Bali’s Mega Semadhi, locking into the best wave of the final and earning a perfect 10 point score from the judges to get his first ASC tour win, and bring home a beautiful traditional West Sumbawa sword and Rp 20 million (approximately $1,600 USD) in prize money.
“This is my first time to come to Indonesia, and I’ve been dreaming about it ever since I started surfing, so to come here and win this comp…I’m over the moon, I’m so happy!” said an ecstatic Alipayo, who had tears in his eyes he was so overcome with emotion.
Alipayo hails from the island of Siargao, home to the world famous Cloud 9, so is very much at home surfing shallow and critical reef breaks. “This is the best wave of my life for sure. I wasn’t thinking about winning the comp at all, just about coming here to enjoy the waves and the place. I’ve only ever competed in local comps as it’s quite expensive to travel from the Philippines, so I was just happy to be able to make the trip and enter the contest,” he explained.
Runner up Mega Semadhi was his usual smiling self after the final, even though sporting a nasty fire coral injury he got during the semifinals. “It was amazing to be back here to surf Supersucks and Playgrounds. I was really stoked to be back in this area and get to surf. I almost didn’t enter the comp as I wanted to just surf Supersucks on this swell, but when I found that the comp might be there I decided to enter,” he said.
When asked about his final experience he replied, “It was a bit slow for the first part of the heat, and even though I got a 9 point wave I still needed a good backup. I had priority, and that’s always hard at the last minute when you’re waiting and a set comes, so you just have to take the chance. Unfortunately I fell on my wave and the one behind it was better and Philmar got it. But I’m happy for Philmar as he surfed really well and came so far to compete, so he really deserved to win. I’m stoked, he’s stoked, everybody here is stoked, and so who can complain about that!”
Semadhi is a Pecatu (Bukit Peninsula in Bali) local who calls Bingin, Padang-Padang, and Uluwatu his home breaks, and has won numerous ISC (Indonesian Surfing Championship) and ASC event, in addition to being a Padang-Padang Cup winner as well. He’ll take home Rp 10 million ($800 USD) for his second place finish.
The quarterfinals of the West Sumbawa Pro 2016 started the final day of ASC men’s competition at the finicky and often treacherous barreling reef break of Supersucks, with 7 of Indonesia’s best pro surfers and one relatively unknown Filipino surfer taking on the challenge of getting the deepest and longest barrels to impress the judging panel and come home with the victory.
Though there were some long lulls during the mornings action and conditions weren’t perfect, but when the set waves came adrenalin filled the air as well as the whoops and hollers from the audience sitting on their boards in the channel, cheering both the great tubes and the wipeouts with equal enthusiasm.
It was a great end to the four day competition that saw 8 women from 4 countries (Australia, Japan, Indonesia, and Taiwan) and 48 men from 5 countries (Australia, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan and Japan) competing at 3 different surf spots in West Sumbawa: Yoyo’s, Playgrounds, and Supersucks.
On the 2nd day of competition at Playgrounds, Australian Claire Bevilacqua, previous World Tour surfer, took the ASC women’s division win over fellow Australian Denver Young and Indonesian-America sisters Kailani and Puanani Johnson.
“Sumbawa has been really dreamy since we got here, and everyday I’ve woken up here it’s more and more beautiful,” said Bevilacqua. “If the waves we competed in were this good back when I was on the World Tour, I’d still be competing! This is definitely my new favorite spot in Indonesia for sure,” she added.
The West Sumbawa Pro was sponsored primarily by the Government of West Sumbawa and PT Newmont Nusa Tenggara and organized by Lensa Pulau Sumbawa and the West Sumbawa Boardriders.
Mr. Wahid from PT Newmont was all smiles at the closing ceremony, saying, “ This event has been a great success, so we want to continue and raise it to an international level next year. We at PT Newmont need to support the government because tourism is very important to this area of West Sumbawa, and together with the government we want to ensure the future of this area is by helping to promote it.”
West Sumbawa’s Secretary of Tourism Mr. M. Saleh was also delighted with the event, saying “I’m very happy with the results of this event, as I know the waves of Sumbawa are a great resource for us, and I hope that the surfers that came to the event and all those that hear about the event will be interested to come here and enjoy West Sumbawa with us in the future.”
See the finals action by Sean Gilhooley.
West Sumbawa Pro Contest Results:
1. Philmar Alipayo (PHP)
2. Mega Semadhi (IDN)
3. (Equal 3rd place) Made “Bol” Adi Putra (IDN) and Dede Suryana (IDN)
1. Claire Bevilacqua (AUS
2. Denver Young (AUS)
3. Kailani Johnson (IND)
4. Puanani Johnson (IND)
The West Sumbawa Pro 2016 was part of the West Sumbawa Festival 2016, which included an opening ceremony with traditional culture art performances, the surfing contest, a parade, live music performances each evening, a beach volleyball tournament, and a photography contest.
The West Sumbawa Pro 2016 is sponsored by PT Newmont Nusa Tenggara, the Government of West Sumbawa, the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism and the Creative Economy, Wonderful Indonesia, the Government of Nusa Tenggara Barat, Bank NTB, Pesona Lombok Sumbawa, and Kabar NTB, organized by Lensa Pulau Sumbawa with the West Sumbawa Boardriders, and sanctioned by the Asian Surfing Championships.