Buddha creates history with first night surfing event
TAI Graham knows how to run an event and throw a party.
The former Gold Coast Lifeguard and recent winner of the G-Land invitational created another slice of surfing history by hosting the first night surfing event at Uluwatu, Bali this week.
It's been a big week in Bali for the 10th anniversary of the Bali bomb and the Oakley World Junior title.
Tai, better known as Buddha, is a post Bali bomb expat success story.
He owns his own villa and is the owner-operator of the new Single Fin popular bar and café, conveniently perched on the world famous cliffs of Uluwatu on the Bukit Peninsula, South Bali overlooking the magnificent predominant left-hand reef break.
"Every Sunday we throw a sunset gig which can get pretty nuts - a sick reggae band with a drink or two... Or ten," he said.
"Last Thursday night with only a couple of days of planning, we took it to the next level."
'The next level', as it turned out, amounted to 50,000 watts of high-powered spotlights pointing at Uluwatu's 'Racetracks' inside section at night for the first time ever, and a raging pool party complete with international DJ's at the adjacent Blue Point resort, which is usually reserved for lavish weddings.
A selected group of surfers took part in the night-time expression session as throngs of spectators watched from the cliff's edge.
Prizes for 'Best Manoeuvre', 'Best Barrel' and 'Rider of the Night' were awarded to local star Mega Semadhi, Californian Noah Westridge, and South African sensation Berrick De Vries who was eliminated in the Oakley World Junior earlier in the day.
Berrick was quoted during the live webcast with one of the best analogy's on aerial surfing saying 'airs were invented for the days when it's not barrelling'.
The dry and quick-witted South African was duly rewarded for his night surfing at Ulu's scoring a gold watch, vouchers and a night in the honeymoon suite at the Blue Ocean.
The spotlights stayed on until midnight, allowing the public to experience the thrill of night surfing, although most people gravitated towards the swimming pool.
Former Gold Coast Pro surfers now turned DJs 'Adam and Eve' (Adam Bennetts) and 'Cut Snake' (Paul Fisher and Leigh Sedley) shifted gears on the decks while revellers bomb-dived the pool and chugged on beers.
Event sponsors Vestal and O'Neill peppered the crowd with free goodies.
Spotted poolside was American TV host and musician Sal Masekela, former World Tour surfers Tom Whitaker and Greg Emslie, Pro's Billy Stairmand, Eric Geiselman and Sage Erickoson, Music Group 'Kid Mac', numerous members of the South Sydney and Parramatta Rugby League squads on their end-of-season vacation, plus some of the globe's hottest junior surfers who are in town for the Oakley ASP World Junior Championships.
When the music faded out and the last of the merry men packed and shipped off to Kuta, Tai reflected on the breakthrough night: "With only a few days of promotion we've had an amazing turn out, it was really unexpected."
Earlier in the morning in perfect crispy Keramas barrels, Torquay's Nikki Van Dijik created surfing history by being the first Victorian surfer to win a World Title after claiming the Oakley World Junior girl's final from South Africa's Bianca Buitendag.
A surfers' paddle out to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Bali bomb was held at Kuta Beach on Friday afternoon.