Invitees to the Rip Curl Cup Padang waited throughout its month-long event window for the conditions that warrant its reputation as one of the season’s premier tube-riding contests. A few near calls came and went, and after last weekend’s westerly swell left Bali without kicking up waves to event standards, organizers have decided to call off the event for 2017.
"There's been swell every day," said Dillon Perillo in a Rip Curl press release. "People have been getting barreled every day and there's been people on the cliff watching and cheering. It just wasn't good enough for this standard of a contest. When the waves did come, they were pretty legit, but there weren't enough waves every 30 minutes for a heat worthy of a global audience. This isn't a wave catching contest. It's a barrel riding contest."
With a few days left in the waiting period, the swell that passed through Bali on August 5th was likely the last realistic chance for the Bukit Peninsula to produce waves that met green-light criteria. The periodic bomb arrived at Padang on Saturday night, but only the prospects of a bonafide barrel shootout would do, and a lack of consistent quality closed the door on this year’s contest.
"Our standard is to guarantee 16 of the world’s best tube riders are competing on the best day of the year at Padang Padang," Rip Curl’s James Hendy said. "Anything less would mean compromising the integrity of the event."
Padang did have its moments thanks to a lively Indian Ocean the past two months. The Cup’s opening ceremony in July was later followed by a locals-only Expression Session, a stage for the lineup of Balinese surfers to show why only two non-Indo competitors — Chris Ward and Jamie O’Brien — have won at Padang in the event’s history. For now, the title still belongs to 2016-champion Mega Semadhi, and will remain so for another year, until an international surfer can make another run for the honor.
"I think it was a good call not to run the event on the mediocre days at Padang," Perillo said. "If you run this event, you want to have full guns blazing."
[Featured Image: Photo by Childs]