From 1-9 December at Jinzun Harbor in Taitung County, Taiwan.
Rio Waida and Ketut Aditya, two of Indonesia’s strongest surfing talents, will take to the international surfing stage this coming December to compete against the best pro junior surfers in the world at the World Surf League World Junior Championships, which runs from 1-9 December at Jinzun Harbor in Taitung County, Taiwan.
32 junior men and 16 junior women from around the world will compete for the 2018 World Junior Men’s and Women’s title, for which the champions will receive prize money, trophies, and seeding into all Qualifying Series events in 2019.
Rio Waida earned his spot as a result of his recent win at the Ise Shima Pro Junior in Japan to top the 2018 WSL Asia Region Junior rankings (1,750 points) to join Yuji Nishi (1,275 pts), Roi Kanazawa (1,200 pts) and Joh Azuchi (955 pts) and complete the list of four WSL Asian Region Junior qualifiers. Waida is currently ranked 3rdin the Asia Region Qualifying Series and 128thon the International Qualifying series rankings, and wasthe top ranked Asian Region Qualifying Series competitor last year.
Rio expressed his satisfaction at winning in Japan and earning his place in the Junior World Championship and is looking forward to Taiwan, saying, “I felt really prepared for Japan because I had a lot of experience from all the QS’s I’ve done this year. But of course I knew it would be really important for me to win because this year is my last year as a junior, so I had work hard against all the Japanese guys, who were really ripping…so I took it it super serious and fortunately I did win. Now I’m really excited to go Taiwan because I had a good result there in last years QS 1500, and that wave is my favorite type of the wave, so I’m really looking forward to it. I think my chance to win there is good, so I’m going take it really serious and focus on it as it’s always been my dream to win the world junior championship. I’m going to try and not get nervous and just surf like I normally surf.”
Joining him at the Junior World Championship event is Ketut “Agus” Aditya, who, was given a wildcard due to his position in the WSL Asia Regional rankings, where he sits in the Number 1 spot having posted his first ever Qualifying Series win this year at the QS1000 Nias Pro.
Both Waida and Aditya have grown up surfing and competing in Bali and are products of the highly successful Asian Surfing Championship (ASC) and the Indonesian Surfing Championship (ISC) Junior and Open programs, together with their longtime sponsors Quiksilver and Rip Curl.
Waida started competing in junior events when he was just 8 years old, and won his first event at 9 years old. That started him on the competitive path, and at that time there was no shortage of events to join in, as Rip Curl, Quiksilver, Rusty, Oakley, Billabong, and Volcom were all sponsoring both junior and open surfing events in Bali and other parts of Indonesia under the sanctioning of the ISC/ASC.
Winning the 2016 Quiksilver Young Gun’s event in California put Waida well and truly into the international surfing spotlight, as he and 8 others, Sammy Pupo (BRA), Barron Mamiya (HAW), Cody Young (HAW), Sandy Whittaker (AUS), Malakai Martinez (CRI), Marco Mignot (FRA), Kyuss King (AUS) and Kael Walsh (AUS) were selected from 1,500 entries (in 19 countries) by more than 35,000 votes. Since then Rio has been flying around the world representing Indonesia and winning events on his way to his goal of being a World Championship Tour competitor, so having this chance to compete and win a World Junior Championship is one more step towards that goal.
Ketut “Agus” Aditya, now 17 years old, grew up in Kuta, Bali surfing and learning to compete under the tutelage of fellow Rip Curl team members Pepen Hendrik and Made “Garut” Widiarta and others, and was ASC Junior Champion in 2016. His sponsor Rip Curl in Bali has run GromSearch events for going on 15 years now, which gave Ketut ample opportunity to hone his skills in both free surfing and competition, in addition to also being able to hang out and surf with World Champions including Mick Fanning, Gabriel Medina and other pro’s when they stopped in Bali each year.
Winning the WQS 1000 Nias Pro this last September has exposed him to the international world of surfing and propelled him to the top of the Asian Region rankings, which now has him taking a trip to Taiwan in December to go up against the world's top junior surfers.
“I feel really excited to be able to represent my country as a wild card and to push myself to be a better surfer and sportsman, competing with the top junior surfers in the world,” said Ketut when he heard he’d gotten the invitation. “I feel grateful that the WSL has put together this World Junior tour, and I'm sure the event in Taiwan will be amazing. I’m really looking forward to it as I've never visited Taiwan before.”
ISC/ASC Founder and President Tipi Jabrik was very pleased to hear the news that not only one but two Indonesian Juniors would be competing in the World Junior Championships. “Personally and professionally I think this is really great for Indonesian surfing,” said Jabrik. “It shows that everyone needs to keep pushing so that junior events will always be there for the young ones coming up. One of the most important things for industry is to keep true to the sport and nurture the younger generations, so big thanks and credit to the WSL and ASC. I hope we can see more and more junior events around Asia to provide a pathway for our talented young men and women.”
In addition to these two young men's achievements, in women's surfing we are very proud to mention that 16 year old Kailani Johnson from Bali has just won the WSL Asia Region Women's Qualifying Series rankings race, ending on top of the points race due primarily to her two runner up finishes in Qualifying Series events in Indonesia earlier this year. Big congratulations to Kailani on an incredible achievement in her first year battling on the highly competitive QS circuit!
During the surf industry heyday in Bali from 2006 to about 2013, there were as many as 25 events per year, but sadly during the last few years with the downsizing and budget cuts, surf industry sponsored junior and open events in Indonesia have been reduced to virtually zero. The Rip Curl GromSearch series is down from 5 events per year to 1 this year, Quiksilver King of the Groms/Young Guns = 0 , Billabong = 0, Oakley = 0, Rusty = 0, Volcom = 0.
But fortunately boardriders clubs such as Halfway Kuta Boardriders, Padma Boys, Lembongan Surf Team, Medewi Boardriders, Bingin Boardriders, Uluwatu Boardriders, and other local clubs have stepped up and all have at least annual events, some with support by Bali-based surf brands, which give the up and coming juniors some competitive opportunities throughout the year.
But hopefully with the recent successes of surfers like Oney Anwar, Rio Waida, Ketut Aditya, Mega Artana, Kailani Johnson and others, the industry can justify increasing their support and nurturing the up and coming surfers of Indonesia with sponsorships and contests, thereby ensuring they have an audience to market their products to in the future.