19 August, 2019 – Uluwatu, Bali: In a magnificent climax to the 2nd annual Uluwatu Single Fin Classic at Bali’s iconic Uluwatu, Australia’s Ozzie Wright had the honor of hoisting the perpetual Championship Trophy from atop a stage set up at the Single Fin Bar, joined by his fellow finalists and the cheers of the thousands of spectators, friends, competitors and the event crew that gathered for this unique and vibrant event in celebration of single fin surfing.
Joining him in the finals were an amazing crew of surfers, five others who had been part of the 72 strong field that paddled out on Saturday morning, parsed down to the final 6, which culminated in a cliff-shaking and boisterous 40 minute finale.
In 6th place was Belgium’s Arpad LeClere, who won every one of his heats during the event and earned the day’s first perfect 10 point wave score in Heat 2, but just couldn’t find his rhythm in the final.
5th place went to Uluwatu local and Single Fin’s resident DJ Dex Scoot, and 4th place to Brazilian tube specialist Bruno Santos, whose last second heroics and 10 point wave score in Semifinal 2 got him into the final.
4th place was taken by Agus “Blacky” Setiawan, the son of Uluwatu legend Made Lapur, surfed a perfect heat in Semifinal 2, who posted two 10 point scores by pulling into and making it out of not only one but two impossibly deep Racetrack barrels just inches away from razor sharp reef edge to earn his place in the final.
In 3rd place was Australian Chippa Wilson, who is best known for his progressive aerial surfing and was fresh from winning a wave pool event in Texas. Wilson dropped into a hell pit on inside Racetracks and was rewarded with a perfect 10 points in the final, but couldn’t find the 8 point wave he needed to take first place away from his compatriot Ozzy Wright.
And so it is that Ozzie Wright, previously known as an innovative surfer, artist and musician, now has the honorable distinction of being known to all as the Uluwatu Single Fin Classic Champion! Entertaining both in and out of the water, Ozzie dropped a perfect 10 in the final for threading through not just one but three barrel sections in the treacherously shallow Inside Racetrack section, adding to his existing excellent score of 8.0 to post 18 out of 20 points for the win.
“It’s just nice to have this as a celebration of like, I don’t know, life and how much I love Uluwatu,” said Ozzie just before being called up to stage. “This is my most favorite place in the whole world…I really didn’t care about winning, just being out there with all the guys, good kinship, and being able to express myself, the froth that I feel for life, is what it’s all about really.” And he certainly did all of that.
During the final, Single Fin’s Tai Graham, together with Chris Binns, Jared Mell, Billy Hangen, Vaughan Blakey, and local lifeguard legend Toska, all were on the microphones revving up the crowd, calling the surfers into waves, and being both raucous and astute as they shared their views and experiences with the audience. At one point about 10 minutes into the final, when surfer after surfer took off blazing down the Racetrack line, pulling into to closeout after closeout and just getting smashed, Chris Binns called out “A wipeout fest never looked so good!” Followed by “Dare we say this is the best single fin event in the world?” Tough to argue with that. And it was truly a tough call to decide which was more entertaining sometimes…the commentary or the surfing.
“This has to be the most enjoyable contest I’ve ever commentated,” said Billy Hangen. “I know that all the other guys here that have commentated World Tour events in the past will back that right up, for sure!”
Surfing World Editor and Ain’t that Swell co-host Vaughan Blakey certainly agreed with that sentiment, as well as the judge’s choice of Ozzie as the event champion. “Ozzie came here when he was like 15, surfed Racetrack and has come to this bit of reef every year ever since, so I think something like this was destined to happen,” said Vaughan. “It’s so good, that someone that loves this place so much, as much as a local or anyone else that has been coming here forever, so for him to win is like poetry, the best thing ever.”
The grand prize for the event champion was an air ticket to join the 2020 Burleigh Single Fin Festival, now a sister event to the Uluwatu Single Fin Classic, but seeing how Ozzie is already in Australia, Tai Graham and Made Kasim from Single Fin made the generous decision to give air tickets to both Agus “Blacky” Setiawan and Dex Scoot for their amazing performances in the event. The look on the boys faces when he announced they were going to Australia was priceless.
Graham also called up some members of the Burleigh Boardriders Club that had brought some single fin boards over and competed in the event to thank them for their contribution.
After the trophies were handed out and the rashies put back on the rack, it was time for the party to begin! Ozzie’s band the Goon’s of Doom rocked the house with their live music antics to get the party started, which then lasted well into the wee hours.
Last but not least, the Uluwatu Single Fin Classic also had a Junior Division, which was taken out by young Bede Moyle earlier in the morning. Bede is originally from Queensland in Australia but calls Bali home as he’s been living with his folks in Bingin for the last 6 years. He went from being a last minute entry into the event when another junior didn’t show up, to the winner of the division in just a couple of hours. “I tried to get into the event before, but it was full already, so I just turned up this morning to see if a spot opened up. Luckily, I got in. It’s my first time ever riding a single fin so I’m so stoked to win!” said Bede.
Uluwatu Single Fin Classic Open Division Results
See all the heat scores on Live Heats at https://www.liveheats.com/events/2001
1. Ozzie Wright (AUS) – 18.0 points
2. Chippa Wilson (AUS) – 17.03 points
3. Agus “Blacky” Setiawan (IDN) – 15.63 points
4. Bruno Santos (BRA) – 15.33 points
5. Dex Scoot (IDN) 10.27 points
6. Arpad LeClere (BEL) – 8.0 points
Junior Division Results
1. Bede Moyle (AUS) – 10.65 points
2. Macok (IDN) – 10.33 points
3. Cinta Hansel (IDN) – 7.67 points
4. Dwi Putrawan (IDN – 6.30 points
5. Agus Juliandika (IDN) – 5.07 points
6. Eka Surabawa (IDN) – 4.50 points
The 2nd Annual Uluwatu Single Fin Classic was sponsored by Single Fin and Billabong, and supported by the Uluwatu Boardriders, the PSOI, and the ASC.
Water Photography by Trevor Murphy
Land Photography by Mick Andrews