21 March 2011, Banda Aceh-Indonesia: In the closely contested 30 minute final on Saturday March 19th, local Yudi Andika narrowly bested Frenchman Erwan Lafitte to claim victory with less than a point to spare at the Aceh Boardriders Series 11 surfing competition at Lhokgha Beach. Third place went to Sam Thwaites of Jakarta and fourth place was taken by Rully, another Aceh local.
“It feels great to win here at my home break”, said Yudi. “But I wasn’t thinking about winning actually, just trying to get some good waves and have fun. I was pretty relaxed and I guess that’s what worked for me today. It was a fun day of surfing with friends and I really want to thank Billabong and all the sponsors for their support of our small local competition. It means a lot to me and to all the surf community here.”
This two day event was organized by the Aceh Boardriders, and in addition to the surfing competition on Saturday included live bands and beach games on Sunday.
Saturday morning saw perfect surfing conditions at “the Peak” with 2-3 foot glassy waves on offer, so the organizers elected to run a full day of competition for the 30 contestants comprised of locals, expats, and traveling surfers. MC Lutfan got things started by first thanking everyone for coming, then introducing Aceh surfing legend Herliansyah who gave the opening speech. Herliansyah has the distinction of being the first Acehese surfer, and in his speech he first thanked Billabong and the sponsors for their support before stating how proud he was of the growth and progress of the local surf community. He closed by expressing his hopes that the growth would continue and that the local surfers would soon be able to travel and compete nationally and internationally to represent Aceh.
Before the first heat was called into action, MC Lutfan called all the contestants and crew on the beach to form a circle and send up a silent prayer in memory of those lost in the catastrophic tsumani that devastated the area in 2004, during which most all the locals present had lost family and friends. After this somber moment of introspection, the music was cranked up and the energetic first heat surfers piled into a waiting boat and headed out to the surf break.
Due to the wave’s location several hundred meters offshore from the beach, the surfers were ferried out from the beach by boat and the judges spent the entire day in another boat anchored in front of the break. It was a long hot day for the judging crew who were made up of Head Judge Erwan Lafitte from France, Eric Volpi from France, Andri Karna from Aceh and Luke Landrigan from the Philippines, but as Erwan Lafitte said after the final, “It was such a rewarding day today, seeing the improvement of the boys over the last few years that I have been coming here. I hope they keep it up, as I expect big things from them. The situation was perfect today, not to difficult but still challenging with the variety of conditions on offer throughout the day. It was really great to be here at this event and I’m very thankful I could be a part of it.”
As Billabong SEA’s representative at the event, Luke Landrigan from the Philippines was also thankful for the opportunity to come to Aceh for the first time, saying “This is my first time to Aceh, but certainly not my last. It’s a beautiful place with great people and everybody had such a good time, so for myself and on behalf of Billabong I’m really grateful for the opportunity to help the Aceh Boardriders and support the local surfers here. Looking forward to next year already!”
On Sunday it was time for the non-surfing locals and anyone else in the area to join in for some fun and games such as sprint races, tug-of-war, pillow fights, gunnysack races, and listening to the numerous live bands. Just before the sun went down, the surfing finalists were called up to the front of the beachside warung for the awards presentation. The results had been kept secret by the judging crew from the day before, so it was indeed a surprise when the winner was announced. After the trophies and goody bags from Billabong had been handed out to all the finalists, the judging crew were called up to the front and given special t-shirts as a token of appreciation from the Aceh Boardriders.
Last but not least was a special award of a custom made surfboard, given by the Coca-Cola Indonesian Surfing Championship Tour to the local surfer who had the highest wave score and whose level of surfing could be even higher if he had better equipment. That reward went to boat pilot and surfer Musriadi, who was without a doubt the most surprised of anybody on the beach when CC-ISC Media Director Tim Hain announced his name as the recipient. He will receive his custom made board in from 4-6 weeks after providing the CC-ISC with his preference of board size and measurements.
The Aceh Surfing Competition 11 wa proudly sponsored and supported by Billabong SEA, Coca-Cola Indonesian Surfing Championships, Yudi’s Place, Sunset Café, Antariksa, Nurma’s Losman, Joel’s Bungalow, Edi’s Homestay, Diana Rana Bungalows, PLN, Roy Style Music and Entertainment, Bank BRI – Lhoknga branch, Bank Mustaqin, and Water Park as well as other private donors that have kindly contributed to the event.
1st Place: Yudi Andika (Aceh) – 11.33 points (out of a possible 20)
2nd Place: Erwan Lafitte (France) – 11.00 points
3rd Place: Sam Thwaites (Aus/Indo) – 9.1 points
4th Place: Rully (Aceh) – 6.7 points
Coca Cola ISC Board Award – Musriadi
Tags: Aceh, Banda Aceh, Erwan Lafitte, Lhokgha Beach, Luke Landrigan, Rully, Sam Thwaites, Yudi Andika