July 29th, 2011. Padang Padang, Bali - For the second time in one week, the Rip Curl Cup Invitational at Padang Padang is on "High Alert." This time, contest directors are targeting a potential Tuesday morning (Aug. 2) start to the Ultimate Tuberiding Contest.
A massive storm recently formed off the tip of South Africa and has proceeded to march east across the southern Indian Ocean, tracking towards Bali. The majority of the 32 invited surfers - 16 of Indonesia's best and 16 of the world's top tube riders - are already standing by on Bali's Bukit Peninsula, waiting to catch this swell. The rest, including defending champion Jamie O'Brien (Haw), Dean Morrison (Aus), Anthony Walsh (Aus), and Kalani Chapman (Haw), are scheduled to arrive this weekend.
"The swell is looking really good for Padang," said invitee Bruno Santos (Braz), who has been staying at the Rip Curl Team House in Uluwatu. "I think they are going to run the contest for sure."
According to the latest report from official Rip Curl Cup forecaster, Magic Seaweed, the forecast numbers on this southwest swell are reading a potential 11 feet @ 17 seconds, coming from an ideal westerly angle of 217 degrees.
"A significant high-altitude jet streak has developed over the Southern Indian Ocean, with perfect timing to coincide with the end of the Rip Curl Padang Cup waiting period," said Magic Seaweed Head Forecaster, Ben Freeston. "It's prompting the formation of a series of low pressure systems that are primed to create significant swell for Bali. The first system, while not the most intense, is creating a long fetch generating both large and long-lived swell due to arrive on the 2nd or 3rd, from a relatively favorable angle, comparing well with previous competition swells."
In another interesting development, Rip Curl has announced the addition of a Trials Heat, to be held at dawn the morning of the contest. Five invited surfers will compete in the 30-minute heat. The top two finishers will earn the remaining Wild Card spots in the main event. The five trialists are: Mark Mathews (Aus), Takayuki Wakita (Jap), Ryan Hipwood (Aus), Makua Rothman (Haw), and Travis Potter (Calif).
One challenge to running the Padang Cup on Tuesday will be the large tides - a high tide of 2.4 meters at Noon, and a low tide of 0.1 meters at 6 pm. Large tides generally aren't good for the wave at Padang. For that reason, contest directors are considering running the event over the course of two days - Tuesday and Wednesday. This would provide enough time to run heats only during the most ideal tides.
"Right now the swell is looking powerful enough to have Padang Padang pumping from Tuesday through Wednesday," said Rip Curl's James Hendy. "By holding the contest over two days, we could guarantee that the surfers are surfing their heats during the absolute hollowest conditions of the day. But this is a decision we won't be able to make until we get closer to Tuesday."
For now, the 32 surfers in this year's Rip Curl Cup have all been put on standby for a potential Tuesday morning start at 7 a.m.
Official 2011 opening-round heat draw:
Heat 1: Mikala Jones (Haw), *WILD CARD TBA*, Putra Hermawan (Nusa Lembongan), Made "Bol" Adi Putra (Bali).
Heat 2: Pepen Hendrik (Bali), Jamie O'Brien (Haw), Lee Wilson (Bali), Laurie Towner (Aus).
Heat 3: Raditya Rondi (Bali), Mega Semadhi (Bali), Dean Morrison (Aus), *WILD CARD TBA*
Heat 4: Kane Faint (Aus), Garut Widiarta (Bali), Morehu Roberts (NZ), Wayan "Gobleg" Suyadnya (Bali).
Heat 5: Flynn Novak (Haw), Mustofa Jekson (Bali), Anthony Walsh (Aus), Marlon Gerber (Bali).
Heat 6: Wayan "Betet" Merta (Bali), Tom Lowe (UK), Bruno Santos (Braz), Made Lapur (Bali).
Heat 7: Kalani Chapman (Haw), Made Lana (Bali), Oney Anwar (Sumbawa), Ryan Turner (Calif).
Heat 8: Rizal Tanjung (Bali), Chris Ward (Calif), Alex Smith (Haw), Dede Suryana (Java).