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Rio Waida Takes Top Honors at Hello Pacitan Pro

Awards Ceremony The Awards Ceremony at the Hello Pacitan Pro resembled that of a JQS event. Along with Chris Zaffis WSL / Tim Hain

Indonesian prodigy Rio Waida has taken out the 2017 Hello Pacitan Pro QS1,000 event in pumping waves at Watu Karung in East Java. In its first year as a WSL event, Watu Karung didn't disappoint with barreling, 3-to-6 foot waves on offer throughout the competition window.

In a day dominated by the youngest competitors in the field, Waida came up against 15-year-old Kian Martin in the epic final matchup. After a phenomenal performance in the Semifinal, Martin was unable to get a in a groove while Waida began to drop excellent scores from the get-go. With a solid heat total of 15.25 (out of a possible 20) posted early in the exchange, Waida sat back while Martin tried to chase, something he was unable to do before the final buzzer.

Rio Waida Rio Waida on his way to the win of his career. WSL / Tim Hain

"I'm so happy to win this event," Waida said. " It has such an amazing field so to make a few heats was special but to win it definitely exceeded my expectations. We have been lucky with the waves we have had this week, it has been absolutely pumping; this just makes the win even better."

Having had a few solid results this year already, including a runner-up finish at Komune Bali Pro QS1,000, Waida sits on top of the WSL Asia QS rankings. If he is able to hold onto this position he will be awarded a seed into all of the 6000 and 10,000 QS events in the opening half of 2018. This is a massive leg up for someone with aspirations of qualifying for the elite WSL Championship Tour (CT).

Judges View The judges' view of the left at Watu Kurang. WSL / Tim Hain

"My biggest goal is to qualify for the CT," Waida continued. "These events is where all of that begins and to get a win at one is awesome for my confidence. There were a lot of older, experienced competitors from around the world here and to overcome them feels amazing."

Martin was born in Sweden but has spent the majority of his life in Bali and surfing around the islands of Indonesia -- meaning that his comfort in hollow reef breaks is no surprise. Martin put on massive performances all event, posting some of the highest combined and single scores seen throughout the week. Unfortunately for the stylish young naturalfooter, though, he wasn't able to continue his roll in the Final but still finished with the best result of his young career.

Kian Martin Kian Martin getting deep on a Watu Karung monster. WSL / Tim Hain

"I've had an amazing week here," Martin said. "Making it to the Final feels so good and has definitely boosted my confidence. I got some incredible waves in my semifinal but was unable to find a rhythm in the final. I'm stoked for Reo that he won. It's a great thing for Indonesian surfing."

On his way to the final Martin had to take down an inform Eli Hanneman, yet another teen who dominated the event. Fourteen-year-old Hanneman looked to be the competitor to beat, posting massive scores for his super stylish tube rides. However, during his Semi with Martin, Hanneman found himself in a combination situation (needing two new scores). He was forced to go for broke and ended up taking a horrendous wipeout and hitting the shallow reef. The young charger was forced to leave the water halfway through his heat with minor facial injuries. Hanneman was later cleared by medical staff and was commended on his solid performance at the event taking an equal 3rd alongside Aussie Chris Zaffis.

Eli Hanneman Eli Hanneman, with more composure than most surfers twice his age between a rock and hard place. WSL / Tim Hain

It was a big day at the beach with thousands of locals heading to Watu Karung to watch the action. One of the more notable Pacitan locals in attendance was former Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who was loving every second of the action from some of the world's best surfers. His attendance, along with the massive crowds, was a testament to the importance of this event to the local community.

Robbo and Ex-Pres WSL Asia General Manager Steve Robertson meets with former Indonesian President and Pacitan local Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. WSL / Tim Hain
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