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It's 6.21am and the light is seeping over the hill, Kuta is waking-up, and the Bali volcano is painted red with dawn. Sunrise on a new day fills you with high hopes for amazing Bukit waves. Good morning surfers.© 2014 Liquid Barrel
First set of the day rolls through at Padang Padang, a noise which quickens the step of arriving surfers.© 2014 Liquid Barrel
The heart of Padang starts to beat.© 2014 Liquid Barrel
James Hendy of Rip Curl Asia opens the show at Padang. He probably knows this little stretch of fringing reef as well as anyone. Which is handy given his job.© 2014 Liquid Barrel
Lombok local, Ousmane, is usually found deep at Desert Point. Here is screaming at the roof of Padang.© 2014 Liquid Barrel
Toyo Darmaputra guards the honour of Padang boys, snagging one of the largest tubes of the day. The clock is nudging 8.40am, it's just gone low tide and and the show is starting to catch fire.© 2014 Liquid Barrel
Yuri Borba provides a surf report every day for indosurflife. His professional attitude is typified by this through investigation of the conditions.© 2014 Liquid Barrel
Icaro Ronchi from Brazil put in many thousands of kilometres to slide a comparatively tiny distance.© 2014 Liquid Barrel
Wayan Gobleg knows how stay deep inside the wave, just waiting for a photographer to catch the perfect moment.© 2014 Liquid Barrel
Dedi Gun was one of the first surfers here and was rewarded with a set wave. His fluid style and relaxed stance make it all seem like a game.© 2014 Liquid Barrel
Riman, a Canggu local and Deus ex Machina rider getting on one of many tubes of the day away from his home reef. It is now 9.54am and tide is slowly rising.© 2014 Liquid Barrel
The forecasted 7ft at 15 seconds from 209° brought Pepen Hendrik running to Padang.© 2014 Liquid Barrel
This unknown surfer caught a lot of waves before the tide grew too much and surfers clocked-off for a few hours over the high tide.© 2014 Liquid Barrel
Bali grom Rio Waida from Jimbaran on a day when other surfers were afraid to go in the water. He came 4th at the Magic Wave La Plancha Surfing Championship in the Under 14 Division on Saturday, July 28th.© 2014 Liquid Barrel
The clock hits 3.23pm and tide is now dropping. All the Bukit spots start turning on. Here's Impossibles, perfect long walls without too many surfers. A dream come true.© 2014 Liquid Barrel
Two good friends mind-surfing the amazing waves running down the reef.© 2014 Liquid Barrel
Following the light we moved to Bingin, where the afternoon sunshine illuminates the wave from behind. This spot a is a good training wave for both barrels and turns.© 2014 Liquid Barrel
Agus Dag Sumertayasa, a Bingin local, knows what to do with the lip here: fins-out, flashing the audience.© 2014 Liquid Barrel
Marco Ranaldi has been settled in Bali for a long time and puts in long hours when the waves cooperate and the light looks like this.© 2014 Liquid Barrel
It's 6.15pm and the day's light is almost spent, in what was just another Bali day.© 2014 Liquid Barrel
IT was never going to go. This Padang event has some very explicit numbers which need to be hit for the wave to retreat around the corner and morph into the clawing barrels we have become so used to at the Rip Curl Cup. This swell was just shy of the required weight.
“This storm was unusual,” said MSW’s Ben Freeston. “Small and weak but relatively close, that is, in comparison to a typical winter season Indo swell. Its proximity made an early call tricky and it also meant this swell arrived (and left) far more quickly than a normal Southern Ocean winter blast. As forecast the swell arrived at a size under the standard set by previous competitions, offering some great surf but over a very limited window either side of an overnight peak.”
A solid dose of swell, enough to stir Padang without fully waking the Kraken. “This was the biggest swell to hit Bali during the event waiting period so far,” said Contest Director James Hendy. “Because of a variety of factors we were skeptical that this swell would provide enough size over a full day of competition, and that’s exactly how it played out, with the swell peaking overnight and dropping quickly throughout the day. It’s going to take a truly epic swell for us to give the green light to run the 10-year anniversary of the Rip Curl Cup. Hopefully we get it this year.”
It was however a perfect day to shoot that thing we all do when we’re not watching other people. Surfing. To get there amongst the perfect waves of the Bukit, sliding out in the first rays of dawn, long before the red bodies would pile up on the sand. Past the improving litter/sewage situation hidden in the half-light, and out to the reeling barrels of Padang, Impossibibles and eventually Bingin.
Two weeks now remain in the official Rip Curl Cup event waiting period, which runs from July 1st to August 15th. The full roster of surfers: 16 of Indonesia’s greatest and 16 of the world’s top tube riders are right now in Bali ready to put on the best barrel-riding show of the season at Padang Padang when the contest gets the green light. The forecast? Well there is something stirring for Sunday and Monday.
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