Stab Magazine | Jungle Boogie

Jungle Boogie

The Indonesian Surf Championship is one of the more enviable contest circuits in the world. In its ninth year, the Bali based organisation trundles around Indonesia holding events in the best waves in the world – the Mentawais, West Java, Sumbawa. These far flung third world atolls pose more than a few logistical tangles, however, […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Indonesian Surf Championship is one of the more enviable contest circuits in the world. In its ninth year, the Bali based organisation trundles around Indonesia holding events in the best waves in the world – the Mentawais, West Java, Sumbawa. These far flung third world atolls pose more than a few logistical tangles, however, and the ISC – a guerilla outfit of passionate grass roots administrators – need be given credit for their DIY initiative. The events themselves are a unique blend of club level camaraderie, though with some very talented surfers in the mix – Lee Wilson, Rizal Tanjung, Betet Merta, Oney Anwar. The winner takes home $10k and this weekend we attended the final ceremony at one of the ritziest bars in the southern hemisphere – Bali’s W Bar. Here are a few of the highlights.

1. You couldn’t have scripted it. Lee Wilson, the Australian born Indonesian star needed only make a couple of heats in the final event to wrap up the championship. The closest surfer and looking as though he would be runner up yet again was Kuta’s Raditya Rondi, who needed to win the event and Lee to lose early to take out the series. Adding to the theatrical climax was the fact the last event was held just a few hundred meters from the Kuta hive where Raditya was raised. When Lee did lose early word spread that the local kid was in with a chance. Heat by heat he continued his march toward an unlikely victory, meanwhile, the beach swelled with kids, families and holy figures from the Kuta village. In fading waist high peelers Raditya hacked and wiggled his way to a famous victory. During the acceptance speech his father rips the microphone from his hand and rattles off a passionate rant in Indonesian. Raditya says only: “Um, thankyou very much,” and flashes a big grin at the crowd. He’s $10K richer. That’s a lot of money here.

2. The Macaroni’s event. Man, what you wouldn’t give to see an ASP event here. In the meantime, you could do worse than watching the likes of Lee Wilson and Mega Semahdi pump through five-foot grinders in a contest singlet. As it happens the ISC jagged one of the swells of the year and all in the middle of Billabong’s big budget trip to the islands, preventing their chargers from surfing the wave. Zing! Lee Wilson arse-drags his way to victory in some of the best waves you’ll ever see for a surf contest.

3. Wayan ‘Betet’ Merta’s moustache. If you’ve done a couple of months surfing in Indo, you’ve seen the nimble, laser-fast Betet spinning through his patented frontside air reverse. These days the guy is rocking an exquisite mustache-bob-cut combo that has him looking like a miniature Balinese Mexican wrestler. A strange yet impeccable look.

4. The guy who won the masters. I’m pretty sure his name was Ketut. When it was announced he’d won, he gave a strange jungle yodel while shaking his chair above his head – all in the ritzy dining hall of the W Bar. Wasted on Dutch Vodka and with his hair all frizzed like some Indo Kramer he then seized the microphone for a good deal longer than the administrators wanted and gave this hilarious speech. “I just came down from the forest. I have no compass to get home,” he said to cackles from the other jungle brothers in the auditorium.  Eventually he was forcibly booted from stage but not before another cheeky yodel and a shake of his novelty cheque.

5. Team Rizal. The don of modern Indonesian surfing sat front and center throughout the ceremony looking serene and regal. Lee Wilson sat to his right telling him animated stories like a kid does to his favourite uncle. Betet and Marlon Gerber claimed him for a few giggles and gags while the young shredders approached him with an ancient respect that was duly given back to them. He left sharing hugs and backslaps with a group of tipsy young surfers – the heirs to this vast archipelago – and all looking very content. – Jed Smith

For the full gallery, head over to Life Without Andy, here.


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