And this talented youngster not only bested his fellow groms in the Occy Grom Comp, but he also took a second place in the Billabong Pro Am Men’s Open Division, receiving a wild card into the event to try his luck against the bigger boys. On the podium he was asked to say a few words to audience, so the shy little shredder bravely took the microphone and said, “Thanks Billabong and thanks to my sponsor” after accepting his trophy and prizes. Jay-R won this trip to Occy Grom Comp as a reward for his second place finish at the Billabong Grom Comp in the Philippines in December of 2009.
Winning the Men’s Open in the Billabong Pro Am was Hussain Areef from the Maldives. Areef was also a standout from his very first heat, showing off his impressive dexterity in every type wave that came his way. In the final he had to overcome the challenge of a super grom Jay-R Esquivel, Cherating grom Didaqt, and Satu Suku’s Tunku Khairil, but he was well up to the task and earned the top spot on the winners podium.
Just after paddling in from a quick expression session before the Men’s Open final, MC Tai Graham called Mark “Occy” Occhilupo up to the microphone to say a few words to the competitors and spectators on the beach. “I’m so stoked to be here in Malaysia,” Occy said. “Everybody makes you feel so welcome, you guys are such amazing hosts. And we scored some great waves over this weekend too. I never thought there would be waves this good here in Malaysia, it was unbelievable. It’s really been a great comp and a fun time, and I want to thank all the locals and the Billabong crew for making it such a big success. The groms here are absolutely ripping…to be out there in the water with them and to watch them going for it was the best thing ever,” he exclaimed.
Then Tai asked him when he would be back, to which Occy responded, “If that’s an invitation, and it sounded like it was, for sure I’m coming back!” which got a big round of cheers and claps from the crowd.
Over the three day competition held at the seaside town of Cherating on the east coast of Malaysia, 115 contestants from 11 countries gathered to compete for fun, prestige, prizes and goodies including surfboards, Billabong boardies, shirts and backpacks, Nixon watches, Von Zipper eyewear, Kustom footwear and more, in the Occy Grom Comp and the Billabong Pro Am that run from the 8th to the 10th of January, which included Men’s Open, Women’s, Masters, Grommet and Bodyboarding division.
The Billabong Pro Am and Occy Grom Comp are sponsored by Billabong, Kustom, Von Zipper, Nixon, the Municipality of Kuantan, Visit Malaysia, Tourism Pahang, Satu Suku, June Stone, and the Residence Inn Cherating.
Check out the Billabong Asia website for webclips of the event at www.Billabong.com
Occy Grom Comp Results
1. Jay-R Esquivel (Philippines)
2. Nazrin “Yen” Nasruddin (Malaysia)
3. Didaqt Musaddiq (Malaysia)
4. Suhaimi “Semmy” Bin Hassan (Malaysia)
Billabong Pro Am Results
1. Hussain Areef (Maldives)
2. Jay-R Esquivel (Philippines)
3. Didaqt Musaddiq (Malaysia)
4. Tunku Khairil (Malaysia)
1. Art (Malaysia)
2. Raymond Chong (Malaysia)
3. Aaron Wright (USA)
4. Tim Brent (Australia)
1. Gemala (Indonesia)
2. Cheryl Tang (Singapore)
3. Brenda Lee (Malaysia)
4. Farisha Mazlan (Malaysia)
1. Ali Khushruwan Ahmad (Maldives)
2. Waqi (Malaysia)
3. Ahmad Rusyuddin (Malaysia)
4. Zarulaliff Bin Zulkifli (Malaysia)