Missing Indonesian surfer reappears…on a podium…as the first Indonesian to ever win an ASP event. How did this happen?
Oney Anwar hails from the surf-drenched jungles of Lakey Peak. A village boy who old school Indo surfers might remember fetching their boards and serving their noodles. He eventually started surfing and stopped fetching noodles. The kid was a natural. And suddenly he was everywhere. Living in Bali. Surfing for Rip Curl. Taking boat trips. Winning contests. Oney Anwar was being hailed as Indo's "next big thing."
And then, about three years ago, he disappeared. Poof! Gone. No SurfTime awards. No ISC contests. No annual "Bali Issue" courtesy photos. Oney Anwar — the "next big thing" — was gone.
Well, yesterday, Oney reappeared on a Gold Coast podium as the first Indonesia ever to win an ASP event, claiming the 2010 Dripping Wet Pro at Palm Beach, Australia. Turns out, Oney's been Down Under for three years now, learning to speak Australian, surfing crowded beachies, and blend in with bogans.
It's all part of a master plan.
Last issue, SURFING told you about Javanese surfer Dede Suryana, the only Indonesian currently attempting the WQS tour (or whatever we call that thing now). Dede is backed by Quiksilver and Coca-Cola in his world tour efforts — hoping to score a win surfing's favorite archipelago. Well, Oney is backed by Rip Curl on a different sort of program. Integration. Infiltration. Aussiafication.
Rip set Oney up in an Aussie homestay (people he previously knew from Bali), set him up in a school (he takes his studies quite seriously), and weened him off his daily all- consuming noodle habit.
When his benefactors deemed he'd finally kicked the nasi for good, he took a short flight to the Sydney to compete at South Curl Curl's Dripping Wet Pro Junior event. Coming back from a combo situation against Aussie super-groms Tom Wood and Mitch Crews, Oney breaks out back-to-back air reverses for a Perfect Ten and the big trophy. The waves were pretty crap, but maybe that's the most telling bit of all.
Oney's also just won $3,000, which is 30-million rupiah. More than the national champ wins and whole boatload of noodles. —Nathan Myers
SURFING: Where have you been all this time?
ONEY ANWAR: Rip Curl sent me to Australia to improve my surfing and my education. I've have been going to high school here for three years now.
Looks like you've also learned to surf in shitty waves?
Yeah, I’m used to wave like this on the Gold Coast ’cause I live at Palm Beach and the waves are pretty much just like this. Living here has helped me a lot with surfing beach breaks and point breaks. I don't have those back home.
A lot of Australians come to Bali to get away…but you're there to get away fromIndo. What's the difference?
Yeah, it's interesting because all my Aussie friends ask me why would I want to live in Australia? But I've chosen to stay in Australia because I have better opportunities here than I would have in Indo for education and for surfing.
How's your Australian coming?
It was already really good before I moved here, but now I speak really good slang. ”Hey g'day mate.” Plus, thanks to my homestay dad for teaching me how to fart and burp like a real Aussie.
Living in Oz, do you miss your nasi goreng?
When I’m in Australia, I do miss nasi goreng, but now when I’m back in Lakey peak I miss my baked leg of lamb.
Do you now get urges to braid your hair and wearing a Bintang singlet?
Yes, I love getting my hair braided and I wear hardened up princes t-shirt. Mate.
So, this is all part of Rip Curl's master plan to get you onto the world tour someday.
Are you inspired by Dede Suryana's efforts so far?
Yeah, definitely. Dede is one of my heroes and I would love to do as well as him.
Is it hard leaving Lakey to live near cold, beachbreak waves?
It's hard because it's cold and because the waves aren't very surfable for me. But if you want to be a pro surfer you have to surf this kind of wave. I'm pretty stoked to be the first Indonesian to win a pro junior. So stoked!
So you're next in line for the world tour?