Bali, Indonesia – Wednesday, 18th July 2018: The largest swell to hit Indonesia in years is about to rock the island of Bali just in time for the Finals of the 2018 Rip Curl Cup at Padang Padang.
Event directors are preparing for a likely Thursday morning (July 19th) start at Padang Padang to complete the final rounds of competition. Competitors will be on standby Thursday morning for a potential 7AM (local Bali time) start to the Semifinals of the Ultimate Tuberiding Contest.
According to official event forecaster Surfline, an exceptionally large and intense storm has plowed through the Indian Ocean over the last 24-48 hours. Satellites have measured a broad area of 40-50 knot wind, with multiple readings confirming seas in the 40-50 foot range, and one pass indicating seas close to 55 feet. At this point, Surfline is calling for Padang Padang to see “solid double overhead surf (10-12 foot faces) through the day Thursday, with max sets of the day possibly pushing 15 foot faces.”
After completing Rounds 1 and 2 in draining Padang Padang barrels on Sunday, eight surfers remain in the running to claim the 2018 Rip Curl Cup and become just the ninth surfer to hoist The Cup in the event’s storied 15-year history.
Defending champion and Padang Padang local Mega Semadhi remains one of the odds on favorites to win the event and will attempt to become the only three-time champion in Rip Curl Cup history. However, according Semadhi, the impending super swell is unlike anything anyone has ever seen at Padang Padang before.
“This next swell looks scary,” Semadhi said. “I’ve never seen a swell that big on the charts – 4.1, 4.3 meters of swell at 20 seconds? I’m just worried about my beach house at Bingin getting washed out!”
In addition to the crazy swell, several international semifinalists are also standing in the way of Semadhi and a record third Rip Curl Cup trophy.
One of the standouts of the opening rounds was Jacob Willcox, 21, of Western Australia, who won both of his back-to-back heats by successfully weaving through several long barrels across the low-tide Padang reef. With only the Semifinals and Final left to complete at Padang Padang, Willcox says event directors will have the luxury of picking the ideal window of swell and tide to wrap up this year’s Rip Curl Cup in optimum wave conditions.
“I’m not sure if it’s going to be Thursday or Friday,” Willcox said of the elusive ‘Green Light’ to run the Finals. “The swell is looking massive, so we have a bunch of days lined up and I definitely think we’ll finish this thing on one of them. It’s just a matter of finding the right day and the right tide and hopefully it all comes together.”
For semifinalist Josh Kerr, 34, (AUS), it was a dream to surf Padang Padang for the first time with only three other surfers in his opening round heats. Kerr is now hoping he can keep the dream run going and change his departing flight home from Bali in order to stick around and surf Padang Padang for his semifinal heat in what looks to be one of the scariest Padang Padang swells in recent memory.
“Sunday was my first time surfing Padang Padang,” Kerr said. “I don’t surf very good waves very often now because I live in California. I got some tunnnel visions and some beatings. The swell coming looks like a millenial swell, so it could be crazy. We’ll have to wait and see.”
The surfing world will be able to punch its ticket to the barrel-riding show of the year when the Rip Curl Cup webcast goes live to the world on Thursday morning. Watch it LIVE at RipCurl.com
Following are the upcoming semifinal heats:
Jacob Willcox (AUS)
Bruno Santos (BRA)
Agus “Blacky” Setiawan (IND)
Made Adi Putra (IND)
Jack Robinson (AUS)
Mega Semadhi (IND)
Josh Kerr (AUS)
Garut Widiarta (IND)