Padang Padang, Bali – Takayuki Wakita won the Trials of the 2011 Rip Curl Cup, held in four-to-five foot Padang barrels on Wednesday. The Japanese surfer has earned himself a spot in the main event, to be held on the biggest and best day of the year at Padang this season.
Also qualifying for the main event were Hawaii’s Makua Rothman and Bali local Rahtu Suargita, who finished second and third respectively. Rounding out the six-man Trials heat were Makua’s younger brother, Koa Rothman (Haw), Dedi Gun (Bali) and Tipi Jabrik (Bali).
“Surfing with my little brother in a heat out at Padang is something I won’t forget,” Makua Rothman said afterward. “We were all just stoked to be surfing one of the best swells of the year at Padang for a full hour with just a few of us out. To make it into the main event was the icing on the cake.”
With less than two minutes remaining in the 60-minute heat, Wakita was in first place in front of Rothman with a narrow 1-point lead, when the largest set of the morning came marching in from the Indian Ocean towards the Padang reef. Rothman went for the first wave of the five-wave set and bobbed and weaved his way through the bending tube on his backhand, all the way across the reef. He escaped through a detonating lip on the shallow end section, and finished off the ride with a flourishing claim on the inside.
“I got the first wave of the set and was so stoked when I made it out,” Rothman said. “Then I looked back and saw three or four more waves just stacking up perfect and guys getting pitted.”
Rothman earned an 8.0 and the lead for his wave, but it would be a short-lived lead. On the final wave of the Trials, Wakita pulled into a gaping Padang cavern and didn’t re-appear until he was spat out in plumes of spray all the way on the inside.
“I could tell it was the last wave of the set,” Wakita said, “so I knew I had to make it out to win. Lucky I was able to sneak out at the very end. I can’t wait to surf this special wave again in the main event.”
Bali’s Rahtu Suargita also scored a beautiful tube ride on the last wave of the decisive set, leap-frogging him past Koa Rothman for the third and final Wild Card spot in the main event. “This morning I was on the outside looking in,” Suargita said. “I didn’t even know if I was going to get to surf in the Trials. Now I’m in the Padang Cup. I’m so excited to be part of this event.”
Meanwhile, in the afternoon Expression Session, former WCT standout Dean Morrison (Aus) wowed the crowd with his deep backside tuberiding magic, and ridiculously deep double-barrel. Morrison was victorious in the 60-minute Expression Session, which featured 11 of his fellow invitees seeing how deep they could ride on the low-tide foamball and still exit the barrel. Morrison was rewarded with a classic channel-bottom pintail, hand-shaped by legendary surfer/shaper Allan Byrne, who also picked the winner of the session.
“The guys were putting on a show out there,” Byrne said. “The best part was, they all got the idea of the Expression Session. They weren’t hassling each other and pushing each other too deep. They were sitting in the right spot and cycling waves so they could surf the barrels out there as well as you possibly could. It was an honor to judge the surfing out there, and a real treat for everyone who came out to the beach today.”
2011 Rip Curl Cup Trials results:
1st – Takayuki Wakita (Japan) 13.75*
2nd – Makua Rothman (Hawaii) 13.00*
3rd – Rahtu Suargita (Bali) 10.75*
4th – Koa Rothman (Haw) 5.50
5th – Dedi Gun (Bali) 4.25
6th – Tipi Jabrik (Bali) 4.25
*qualify for main event
Expression Session Results:
1st – Dean Morrison (Aus)
2nd – Mustofa Jekson (Bali)
3rd – Garut Widiarta (Bali)