With only two weeks left until the inaugural Mentawai Pro Presented by Rip Curl gets underway, the surfing world waits in anticipation to see just what the perfect wave of Lances Right will offer up for 64 hungry World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) competitors.
The event's No. 1 seed, Teale Vanner has never surfed Lances' or even travelled to the Mentawai Islands so he is extremely excited at the prospect of finally surfing in this mecca, particularly with only three other surfers out.
"I'm really keen to get over there as this will be my first time," Vanner said. "When you grow up watching all the best surfers in the world doing endless trips to the Mentaiwai's you know it's one place you have to tick off the bucket list. Lances is honestly No. 1 on my list of Mentawai's waves to surf, so hopefully I make a few heats and get my desired quota."
Growing up surfing the remote, hollow waves of South Australia, Vanner, who is returning from injury, is known for his composure and style in the tube. This was rewarded with his a 3rd place finish at the Cloud Nine Cup in the Philippines last year. This was his best QS result and at a fairly similar wave to Lances.
"My love for getting barrelled is my advantage. The biggest challenge I find surfing in hollow waves, is not getting too greedy and getting swallowed by the foam ball." I injured myself a week before the WQS run through Australia with a high ankle sprain. It's been almost three months and I'm getting my mojo back. It really woke me up to how much I need surfing in my life."
A competitor who has had quite a bit of experience in the Mentawai region, particularly Lances Right, is Dede Suryana, one of Indonesia's most successful competitive surfers. Hailing from West Java, Suryana has spent the last few years focussing on QS events all around the world but is most excited about the chance to show his fellow QS warriors what he can do at his beloved Lances.
"I've been to the Mentawai's several times now, and for sure Lances is my favourite," Suryana said. "A barrelling right-hander breaking over a reef with super clear water, I love this wave."
Suryana has had many experiences at Lances, whether free surfing or competing in Asian Surfing Championship (ASC) events he's done it all. The four-man priority system used during WSL QS events will mean less hassling and more waves for each of the competitors. A new experience that Suryana is looking forward to.
"When I've been there free surfing it can be a hassle if there are lots of people in the water, but when I'm there for a contest is great to only deal with a couple of other guys. Now with the four-man priority in the early rounds and two man priority in the later rounds, it will be much more fun, as you can get the really good ones with no hassle."
"Competing at Lances with this field will be a really cool experience. I've done a lot of QS and ASC events, so for me it's all the same, just me and the waves and having fun with the boys."
The Mentawai Pro presented by Rip Curl will run from April 21 to 24. Check back in the coming weeks at www.worldsurfleague.com or the WSL App for more information.