KUTA BEACH, BALI, INDONESIA – The first leg of the three-part Billabong Grommet Attack 2016 series took place on Sunday, 29 May 2016, at Kuta’s infamous Halfway Beach. Originally slated to take place at Seminyak, however contest organizers decided on a late venue change to ensure surfers the best possible conditions for competition. Raju Sena and Taina Izquerdo took the top honors for round 1, and all the surfers will continue to accumulate points to fight for the title of Billabong Grommet Attack 2016 Champion and for a custom surfboard from Hansel Surfboards.
A stacked field of 110 competitors, the largest the event has ever seen, made the most of the clean consistent conditions on offer over the one-day contest. The U/14s division was bursting at the seams, resulting in top seed surfers such as Bronson Meidy and 2015 U/14 Grommet Attack Champion Ben Benson being allocated to the U/16s divisions A great experience for the young surfers given that they both appeared on the podium at the end of the day.
Blue skies and warm conditions attracted a strong crowd that was more than happy to battle the heat and join in the electric atmosphere, particularly when it came to finals time. This was made up of families, friends, tourists and not to mention the “who’s who” of Indonesian Surfing, including Billabong Brand Ambassador Tai Graham who commented “you could not ask for a better day to hold a grom comp, and these perfect conditions allow us to see just how good these kids are”, before adding, “I’m glad I don’t have to surf against them!”
The Boys U/16 Final, the last heat of the day, started just as the sun was setting and saw Raju Sena lead from the front and proved to be the man to catch. Raju found himself on the biggest and best waves, linking turns from out the back before taking to the air on the end section, only meters away from the cheering crowd. Rio Waida fought hard all event, as did Ben Benson and Bronson Meidy, but Raju was hard to stop.
For the battles taking place in the Girls U/16s divisions, it was Taina Izquerdo that proved difficult to beat. Despite some amazing surfing by all four girls, Taina came out on top with a strong display of backhand surfing to sneak past her good friend Cinta Hansel, as well as Taina Hinckel and Kailani Johnson respectively.
With 60 competitors and full heat sheet, it took some time to get through the early heats of the Boys U/14s. This gave the crowd an opportunity to witness first-hand the freakish talent of Indonesia’s best junior surfers. Danny Widanto and Tenshi Ishii, who both put up outstanding performances throughout the event, came up against Varun Tanjung and Fajar in the finals. Danny continued his incredible form to take the win despite Varun hunting the lefts and the rights, eager for one last wave to challenge Danny. Unfortunately the ocean had other ideas and Varun ran out of time.
The division that really sparked interest amongst the crowd was the Push-In Division. These Micro Groms got into waves early, thanks to a little assistance from a proud parent or a family member. The beach went crazy in the first Semi-final when young Nathan Bontje was pushed into one of the best right-handers of the day. He proceeded to draw lines that you would normally see from an older competitor, before parking himself on the beach. His proud father admitted that being out there and seeing that wave almost brought on the waterworks. “I saw that wave and knew it was a good one, and once he was off and I saw him do a few turns from out the back, I almost started crying”, he said.
Nathan would eventually take fourth position in a final that included Surya Ishii Ratif in 3rd place, steely competitor Kai Raymond in 2nd and newcomer Made Ballon, 2016 Halfway Billabong Grommet Attack Champion, in the top spot.
The next stop on the Billabong Grommet Attack will see the event move to Padma Beach on 17 July 2016, and we look forward to seeing everyone there for another day of jaw-dropping action.
BILLABONG GROMMET ATTACK, EVENT 1 FINAL RESULTS
Under 14 Boys
1. Danny Widianto
2. Varun Tanjung
3. Tenshi Ishii
Under 16 Girls
1. Taina Izquerdo
2. Cinta Hansel
3. Taina Hinckel
4. Kailani Johnson
Under 16 Boys
1. Raju Sena
2. Rio Waida
3. Ben Benson
4. Bronson Meidy
1. Made Ballon
2. Kai Raymond
3. Surya Ishii Ratif
4. Nathan Bontje
The Billabong Grommet Attack series is proudly supported by the ASC, Halfway Boardriders, Padma Boardriders, ASUS, Made’s Warung, Surftime, GUS Foundation, IndoSurflife.com, Paletas Wey Frozen Fruit Bars, Pondok Pitaya, and Hansel Surfboards.