Bad boy of surfing snares title

Californian surfer Chris Ward crowned champion of the 9th annual Rip Curl Cup Invitational in Bali.
Californian surfer Chris Ward crowned champion of the 9th annual Rip Curl Cup Invitational in Bali.

THIS Surf Scene column is coming to you from Bali, referred to by the locals as the Island of the Gods.

Bali is renowned for some of the best surfing locations in the world - namely Padang Padang Bali's Pipeline!

The 9th annual Rip Curl Cup Invitational featuring Indonesia's best surfers and a smattering of international legends was run-off as a one day spectacular in grinding 6 - 8ft barrels on the notorious left-hand reef break.

Former ASP top 16 professional Chris Ward of California ,who only just scrapped through his opening heat, powered on to bring out his A-game backhand turbe riding act when it counted in the final and take out top honours.

Surfing on the super popular Mayhem brand of surf boards, Wardy, who was banned from ASP competitions after being involved in a controversial assault charge, was back to his backhand best.

Before this bad boy of surfing was banished from the world tour he was runner-up to Hawaii's Bruce Irons at the 2009 Rip Curl Search at Uluwatu.

The beach at Padang Padang on any given day resembles a scene out of the Girl from Ipanema, brimming with Brazilians surfers.

The national flags flew over the nearby warungs (restaurants), the contest crowd was chocker-block to the water's edge and we were fortunate to enjoy the aerial view from the top next door thanks to long time expat Australian businessman, Mick Little.

In recent years the Bukit Peninsula, located on the southern tip of Bali, has experienced an unprecedented boom with new resorts and restaurants clinging to the fragile cliffs.

While real estate in the rest of the world has plummeted, not the same can be said for this much in demand peninsula going through a never-ending boom time.

Adventuring around Bali

Travelling with my wife, Megan, daughter Aimee and the grandgrom Lucas, we elected to head to the famous Uluwatu.

A new road in had only just been built and there are more restaurants perched on the fragile cliff line.

We set ourselves up in the Single Fin Restaurant, owned by former 80's pro Made Kasim who is now a munku or holy Hindu Priest.

The SSW west swell was in overdrive sweeping wide around the bay with solid 8 - 10ft sets breaking outside on the Bommie and linking up with Outside Corner, this only happens when you have a serious double overhead swell and there were only a handful of contenders taking on this iconic world break!

To say there's been a few changes since the days of Alby Falzon's Morning of the Earth in 1971 is beyond an overstatement.

Forty years later the waves remain the same but Bali has become overcrowded and bursting at the seams.

Environmental care of the beaches at Kuta to Seminyak sees a team of tractors and workers ensuring that the beaches are kept clean but when the onshore blows the pollution drifts in and out of the creeks and washes in from the ocean presenting a never ending problem.

A new super highway is to be constructed from Kuta to Sanur to alleviate the daily chronic traffic jams which should make some sort of improvement although the sheer volume of traffic is a huge concern for all living there and trying to get from A to B, especially if you are a surfer.

Australians love to visit Bali; it's so close, mostly cheaper apart from alcohol and is a great launching pad for so many other surfing destinations in Indonesia.

For instance I caught up with a few familiar faces on the flight over - namely Shane "Bevo" Bevan, who is president of the Snapper Surfriders and is a professional lifeguard now based on the Sunshine Coast.

Bevo had his family and mum in tow. Fearless wig wave maniac Ryan " Hippo" Hipwood was also onboard, obviously chasing this serious August swell and God knows where and how big was the surf he tracked down.

Mark Bennett's father of the famous Adam and Chris brothers of North End Boardriders, was keen to chat about his old mate Peter Drouyn, now known as Westerly Windina.

Mark informed that WW was doing fine and surfing as well as ever up at the Spit.

It's amazing who you will run into on a surfing holiday in Indo!

Topics:  bali indonesia rip curl sport surfing

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