10 March 2018, Coolangatta, Queensland: At the Trials for the wildcard entry into the World Championship Tour’s first event of the year, the Quiksilver Pro at Snapper Rocks, Indonesia’s Rio Waida competed in a field of 16 professional surfers that included four surfers who previously competed on the World Championship Tour, Wiggolly Dantes (BRA), Stu Kennedy (AUS), Matt Banting (AUS), and Trials winner Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA).
Wave conditions at Snapper Rocks were nothing but challenging, with strong currents and tricky waves in the 3-5 foot range, and most often the surfers would paddle back to the beach after catching a wave and have to run several hundred meters back up to the point to jump off the rocks back into the lineup, as the sweep was all but impossible to paddle against.
In the first heat of the Trials, Waida placed second to South Africa’s Mike February to advance into the semifinals, where he finished in third place in a heat with eventual winner and Quiksilver teammate Leonardo Fioravanti.
“In my first heat I was really nervous because I really wanted to make it through the heat,” said Waida. “So I was stoked that I did well enough to get second place and advance. But in the semi’s it was really hard, as the current was even stronger and I just couldn’t get in the right position to get one of the good waves,” he explained.
“I’m so happy I had the chance to do the trials, and even though I didn’t get into the final or win the trials and a place in the main event, at least the guy (Leo) that beat me won, so I feel good with that,” Waida added.
To earn his spot in the Trials, Waida was selected by Quiksilver team managers in a surf off at nearby Duranbah Beach yesterday for his outstanding performance.
ASC Director Tipi Jabrik was on hand to support and cheer on the young 18 year old Waida. “It’s great to be here on the Gold Coast of Australia, with one of Indonesia’s best up and coming surfers, watching him compete in front of the world’s best surfers in the trails for a World Championship event,” said Jabrik. “ And it is my hope that with the Olympics coming up that now includes surfing, that the Indonesian government can put more focus on surfing and can give our surfers more support in the future. Indonesia has some of the best waves in the world and so many surfers with great potential, but they need more support in order to become top professional surfers and Olympians in the future,” he added.
Rio was the top ranked Asian surfer in the WSL Asian Region in 2017, and is showing great potential towards being the first Indonesian to compete on the World Championship Tour.