Yudi Andika: combed surfer

In an intense battle against his three fellow finalists and the pounding 3-4 foot waves of a seething South China Sea, Yudi Andika from Banda Aceh, Indonesia dodged the countless tirade of waves unloading on the Desaru Beach sandbar to outscore his opponents and retain his title of Monsoon Mayhem Open Division Champion for the second consecutive year. Andika received a trophy and 1,000 MYR (approximately $325 USD) for his win.

Andika and finalists Mamat (Malaysia), Yen (Malaysia) and Gilang (Indonesia), were challenged not so much by each other as by the conditions, with big waves and strong winds requiring superhuman efforts just to reach the outside and position themselves to catch a ridable wave.

"That was the toughest final I have ever surfed in," said an exhausted Andika back on the beach. "I'm so very stoked I won and really I'm surprised and thankful. It was a lot of work out there and I was just lucky to be in the right spot to catch a couple, ones that stayed up so I could make a few turns before getting hammered on the inside," he added grinning.

Runner up Mamat, who hails from Cherating in Malaysia, was still smiling as he accepted his runner up spot. "It was so hard to find a good wave, as I had to keep dodging those big close outs," he explained. "Near the end I paddled north up the beach because I thought I saw a couple lefts coming in, knowing I needed just one good wave to win, but time ran out on me. Next year I'm coming back to win this thing!"

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Alizee Arnaud: consistent surfer

Bianca Buitendag has conquered the final stop of the ASP Women’s World Junior Championships, at North Narrabeen, Australia. The South African surfer defeated Justine Dupont in two-to-four foot waves. Alizee Arnaud, equal 3rd in this stage, is the inaugural ASP Women’s World Junior champion.

"I’m so happy," Arnaud said. "This is what I’ve wanted since the beginning. Since I was 10 years old I’ve wanted to be World Champion and to do it in my last event as a Junior, what a feeling."

Without a doubt, Arnaud was the most consistent surfer of this first ASP World Junior Tour. "Entering Bali, I was sure I could get a result because those are the waves I like," Arnaud said. "I knew it was going to be hard coming here to Narrabeen, because I don’t usually do well in these conditions. This is my best result ever in Narrabeen, so to get my best result now, I’m just so happy".

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Jordy Smith: the South African Superman | Photo: RZSPhoto.com

At first there was a bit of uncertainty as to the waves being suitable. They were breaking fast and very close to the shoreline, but such fears were allayed as the invited surfers arrived, assessed the conditions, and started changing into their wetsuits.

"The conditions are fine," said one of the seven invited surfers, Rudy Palmboom from the Bluff in Durban. "Plenty of little ramp sections and enough water to land safely - just what we need."

The first surfer in the water was South Africa-born Australian surfer Craig Anderson. The sun was still in the sky as Craig took to the water and grabbed the tow-rope. Being a goofy-foot surfer (riding with his right-foot forward) Craig was looking for the left-breaking waves. He was whipped into a good set wave almost immediately for the first big ramp of the evening, setting the stage to the applause of the early crowd.

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