Padang Padang offers top surfers a glimpse of what's to come at Rip Curl Cup opening ceremony

padang-line-up-hamish_-hPadang Padang, Bali – If the waves at Padang on Saturday for the opening ceremony of the 2009 Rip Curl Cup are any indication, the 32 surfers invited to compete in Indonesia’s most prestigious surf contest are in for some epic tube rides.

Perfect two to three-foot barrels rifled over the inside section of reef on the afternoon low tide, offering the surfers and fans gathered on the beach a tease of the real deal. A few of the boys went out to sample the small Padang waves, some even scoring the odd double barrel.

“I think we’re going to get a good swell for this contest,” Rip Curl team rider and invited surfer Pepen Hendrik said, “because today is the first day of the waiting period and it was already breaking. It’s a good sign.”

Joining Indonesia’s 16 best Padang surfers for the festivities on the opening day of the month-long contest waiting period were Rip Curl International team riders Dean Brady (Australia), Bruno Santos (Brazil), Pablo Gutierrez (Spain) and Koa Smith (Hawaii).

A crowd of beachgoers and media packed the beach for the opening ceremony, which included a fish barbecue and traditional Balinese Kecak dance. But the highlight of the day was the official heat drawing presentation. Each surfer in the contest was called up to the stage to pick his heat out of the Padang Cup trophy. By the time the heat bracket was filled out, each opening round heat was so stacked with tube riding talent that it could have be mistaken for a final.

“Every heat is gonna be good,” said Padang invitee and 2008 Billabong Pro Teahupo’o champion, Bruno Santos. “I’m looking forward to watching everyone else’s heats almost as much as surfing in mine.”

Following is the official opening round heat draw:

Heat 1: Koby Abberton (Australia), Ry Craike (Australia), Wayan “Betet” Merta, I Komang “GoGo” Sujaya.

Heat 2: Timmy Turner (California), Takayuki Wakita (Japan), Raditya Rhondi, Made Lapur.

Heat 3: Tipi Jabrik, Bruno Santos (Brazil), Lee Wilson, Kane Faint (Australia).

Heat 4: Made “Bol” Adi Putra, Dean Brady (Australia), Marlon Gerber (Switzerland), Wayan Suyadnya.

Heat 5: Pablo Gutierrez (Spain), Bruce Irons (Hawaii), Made Lana, Ketut “Mega” Yoga Semadhi.

Heat 6: Koa Smith (Hawaii), Dede Suryana, Mustofa Jekson, Danny Fuller (Hawaii).

Heat 7: Ryan Turner (California), Pepen Hendrik, Rahtu Suargita, TBA.

Heat 8: Rizal Tanjung, Garut Widiarta, Mikala Jones (Hawaii), Jamie O’Brien (Hawaii).