KUTA BEACH, BALI / IDN (Wednesday March 9, 2022) – Indonesia’s Championship Tour hopefuls Rio Waida and Kailani Johnson have claimed victory at the inaugural Vans Bali Pro Presented by East Ventures World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 1000 event. The pair had to overcome a massive field in two-to-three foot surf at the break known as ‘Halfways’ at Kuta Beach with Johnson making it a clean sweep, taking the Pro Junior win as well along with Kian Martin who took the men’s win.
Indonesian Olympic Team representative Rio Waida was always going to be the one to beat at Kuta Beach and he let that be known in the Final, where he posted the highest two-wave total of the event with a 14.53 out of a possible 20 to clinch victory. Waida’s score included an 8.00 point ride which was one of only two excellent scores of the event and was enough to give him the win and guarantee him a spot on the 2022 WSL Challenger Series (CS).
“I had a lot of confidence coming into today,” Waida said. “I had a good feeling I could win the final because in the Semifinals I got good scores, an 8.5 and a 7.00, so that gave me big confidence I could win. So then I just focused on strategy, went out and did my job, and that earned me the win. Last year on the Challenger series was hard for me, and this year I know it will be hard also, so I’m going to focus, stay fit, be healthy and keep chasing my dream to get onto the CT. I’m really excited for the future.”
Runner up Ketut Agus had a very slow start, sitting in 4th place for over half of the 20 minute final, but eventually found his rhythm to overtake both Kian Martin and Raditya Rondi.
The Women’s Final saw Kailani Johnson lock in her CS spot for 2022 taking the win in solid style. Johnson’s power and finesse was unmatched throughout the event and it saw her take the win over Ziggy Mackenzie who finished in second place, making the women’s QS Final a carbon copy of the Pro Junior Final.
“This is way more than just my first QS win, as I really wanted another chance to get back on the Challenger Series,” Johnson said. “I’m so grateful we could have this event, and I really felt I clicked in during the final, which is the best feeling ever. I’m so thankful, having that connection with the ocean and doing what I love to do. The junior win was so much fun..the girls have all been ripping and it was so good to see. When I was growing up we didn’t have a community of girl surfers like that when I was their age, so it was really inspiring for me and I hope I can be a good role model for them.”
The Pro Junior boys was taken out by Kian Martin, who was one of the most in-form surfers of the entire event. On forehand and backhand, he delivered a smooth and radical performance and looked to be a candidate to win both Juniors and the QS. In the final seconds of the heat however, Kuta local Dhany Widianto who needed just a 5.84 locked into a wave that looked like a buzzer beater. It was some tense moments for Kian as he waited for the judge’s decision. Lucky for him the score came in at 5.47 and he was chaired up to the beach as the winner.
“Thanks so much to my sponsors and all the people that made this possible, everybody that came out to the beach for the event,” Martin said. “It was a great two days and I don’t have words to describe how happy I am. It was tough, as all the boys were ripping, it was one of the best challenges I’ve ever had. I learned so much, and am still learning. This is the last year I can compete as a pro junior, so I hope to be in the World Juniors.”
Willson Cuaca, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of East Venture0, the event’s presenting partner says, “East Ventures is beyond happy to support this WSL International surfing competition happening in Bali, the Vans Bali Pro presented by East Ventures. We believe that Indonesia is an amazing place for local and international surfers to nurture their talents, and see surfing as a sport sharing the same philosophy as the early-stage investment decision process. To catch a good wave or make a good investment, you need to look ahead and be ready before the wave or trend emerges. We hope our support is beneficial for our nation’s talented surfers and for the overall growth of surfing activities in the region. We look forward to further excitement from Indonesia’s surfing ecosystem ahead.”
The 2022 Vans Bali Pro Presented by East Ventures QS1,000 and Pro Junior event will run from March 8 – 9. For more information head to www.WorldSurfLeauge.com or download the free WSL App.
The 2022 Vans Bali Pro Presented by East Ventures is supported by Vans Indonesia, East Ventures, Bintang, Mamaka by Ovolo, Earth Island