West Sumatra

SurfAid speedboat Sibex arrived back in Tuapejat late yesterday with a team of eight people from various government departments following an assessment visit to the East Coast of Siberut – the northernmost Mentawai island.

Reports from the sub-districts of Muara Siberut and Sikabaluan, the areas that were presumed to be worst affected by the September 30 earthquake, are that there is no significant damage of infrastructure. The team said “one or two schools have collapsed and also a church in Malancan village near Sikabaluan”. Many houses have shifted from their foundations but are still habitable.

The three islands to the south of Siberut (Sipora, Pagai Utara, Pagai Selatan) reported no serious damage. One mosque and an elementary school in Sido Makmur village collapsed. A number of goverment buildings in Tuapejat have sustained moderate structural damage. There are no clear reports from many of the more isolated villages.

Mark Loughran from Macaronis Resort on Pagai Utara stated that he “barely felt the quake” and reports that the nearby village of Silabu “is ok”.

There are no reports of deaths or serious injuries across the Mentawai.

A large portion of the population were reported to have evacuated to higher ground following the earthquake. It appears most people have returned to their houses, possibly prompted by incessant rainfall since the earthquake.

People in the villages are traumatised and are reluctant to return to day-to-day livelihood activities such as fishing and going to their fields.

Handphone reception has been inactive since the earthquake. Power in Tuapejat and the subdistrict remains on.


Silvana Lima

Silvana Lima (BRA), 24, won the Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic this afternoon over reigning two-time ASP Women’s World Champion and current ASP Women’s World No. 1 Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 21, in stormy three-to-five foot (1.5 metre) conditions at Dee Why in an action packed Final, marking back-to-back wins for the hungry Brazilian after claiming the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.

Gilmore jumped out to an early lead in the sea-saw battle for the 2009 Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic title, but Lima fought back throughout the heat, collecting a 7.77 and eventually securing the win with an 8.83 for a lengthy forehand barrel to post the highest heat total of the event, an impressive 16.60 out of 20, en route to her first victory at the event after three consecutive Final appearances.

“I can’t believe it,” Lima said. “I’ve been in the Final in this event three times and I finally won. I was feeling really confident. The waves here today were like the waves in Brazil and I’m always surfing in these conditions. The final was really good. Steph (Gilmore) got some good waves too and I was able to get two good ones.”

The back-to-back ASP Women’s World Tour wins secured by the hungry Brazilian have significantly tightened the ratings for this year’s ASP Women’s World Title and although Gilmore still holds on to the ratings lead, Lima is following closely in the No. 2 position.

“I’m definitely looking at the title, but it’s too early,” Lima said “There are still four contests left this year, so there is more work for everyone, but I feel so much more confident after my first win at Bells.”


Joel Parkinson

With the first stop of the 2009 ASP Dream Tour’s European leg behind them, the world’s best surfers are heading south into Euskadi for the Billabong Pro Mundaka where some of the best sandbars in years provide the perfect setting for potentially some of the best waves ever.

Event No. 8 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, the Billabong Pro Mundaka plays a pivotal part in the surfers’ seasons, with ASP Top 45 members scrounging for requalification points and the hunt for the 2009 ASP World Title still very much alive.

Joel Parkinson (AUS), 28, current ASP World No. 1 and last year’s event runner-up, reiterated the fact that if the appropriate swell comes, the current sandbar at Mundaka is poised to deliver some of the best waves in years.

“The sand looks incredible and if we get some waves here it’s going to be a really special event,” Parkinson said. “I love coming to Mundaka. The town is really cruisey and I’m able to slip right into the pace of things. I’ve always felt comfortable here and I’m looking forward to a good event.”

Despite seeming to run away with the ASP World Title after blitzing the first half of the 2009 season, Parkinson has stumbled in the last two events, collecting back-to-back equal 17ths in California and France. Even with the slip in performance, the Australian still remains in the ASP World Tour ratings’ lead and will look to rebound at the famed lefthander.