In just a few weeks, the Rip Curl Cup returns to the storied lefthand barrels of Padang Padang. With a non-stop barrage of swell lighting up Indonesia's world-class reefs this May and early June, it appears the Indian Ocean is kicking things into high gear just in time for one of the year's most anticipated barrel-riding showdowns. As a WSL specialty event, entry to the Rip Curl Cup is not based on qualification points or current WSL rankings. Ability, reputation, and track record at the heaviest, most hollow waves around the globe are the sole criteria for an invitation.
"We've had more big swells in the first two months of this season than we had all last year," said local Bali surfer and 2014 Rip Curl Cup champion Garut Widiarta. "It feels like Padang has been breaking non-stop. Hopefully this means we're in for a special swell at Padang for the Rip Curl Cup this year."
For the second year in a row the Rip Curl Cup Padang Padang will be a WSL-sanctioned event, bringing all the drama and unsurpassed action of the ultimate tuberiding contest to a massive global audience.
"It's always an exciting time of year when the Rip Curl Cup holding period opens," said WSL Australia/Oceania Regional Manager Will Hayden-Smith. "I know a lot of people keep an eye on the Indonesia swell charts waiting for it to be called on. It's an exciting event that sees Indonesia's best take on some international tube riding specialists. I can't wait to see Padang Padang fire up and put on a show. Thanks to the Rip Curl crew in Indonesia for all of their work making this prestigious event happen."
The holding period for the 2017 Rip Curl Cup runs from July 10 to August 10, a full month during the peak of Indonesia's prime swell season, providing the event with the best odds of scoring the cavernous jade barrels for which the spot known as the Balinese Pipeline is renowned.
Over its 14-year run, the Rip Curl Cup has seen some of the finest tube masters of the modern era compete in the spitting barrels of Padang Padang, including John Florence, Bruce Irons, Jamie O'Brien, Chris Ward, Anthony Walsh and Jack Robinson. Meanwhile, Indonesia's top surfers like Rizal Tandjung, Widiarta, Lee Wilson and two-time and reigning Rip Curl Cup champion Mega Semadhi, have consistently proven they can compete with the best in the world on their home turf.
The complete 2017 Rip Curl Cup surfer lineup will be released June 26.
"Last year only one of the four surfers in the final was from Indonesia, but he was the champion," Widiarta said, referring to fellow Balinese surfer Mega Semadhi. "When I won in 2014, it was me versus my cousin in an all-Indonesian final. As Indonesian surfers, we know we have a special opportunity to compete against some of the best tube masters in the world. We know the whole world will be watching. And we know we can win."