In the best wave conditions of the event, the final day of competition on Saturday the 24th of June was completed with Made Pajar Ariyana (IDN) and Willow Hardy (AUS) winning their respective Men’s and Women’s Open Divisions of the inaugural Nias Utara International Surfing Competition, which was held in the North Nias town of Afulu from 21-24 June, 2023.
3-4 foot glassy walls were running down the left hand reef point in the bright morning sun, offering a vision of perfection as the competitors were mixing it up with big turns, cutbacks, hacks along with the occasional barrel and airs. In the Men’s Division, Bali’s Made Pajar Ariyana was always the one to beat, scoring an almost perfect 9.50 points (out of a possible 10) and the highest total heat score of the event with 18.33 points (out of a possible 20) in his Semifinal heat for a series of barrels, turns and a straight air on the end section that was almost on dry reef.
He had three excellent waves in the semifinal, 8.00, 8.83, and a 9.50. He would go on the win the final against fellow Bali competitors Made Dera, Made Joi Satriawan, and Takuto Ohta from Japan.“The set waves were so good today, just perfect,” said Pajar.
“I just had to wait on priority, catch the good ones, and surf my best. My best waves were in the semifinal, I even got an 8.5, but in the final I got a few good ones also that I could do some snaps, a few carves, and other maneuvers. I really had a great time here, and can’t wait to come back next year to defend my title!”
In the Women’s Division, it was Margaret River’s Willow Hardy (AUS) who came into the beach the victor in a hard fought final with Anne Dos Santos (BRA), Giada Legati (ITA), and Hanasuri Jabrik (IDN). Anne Dos Santos scored the highest wave score of the final, an 8.33 (out of a possible 10), but Willow Hardy was always on the best waves during the final and put up great scores to come out on top.
Willow is just 16 years old and came to Afulu with her father after competing in the Krui Pro QS5000 and Pro Junior.
“Since I was already in Indonesia at Krui for the contest, and this opportunity came up, it was hard to say no to trying a new spot,” said Hardy. “ I had no idea what the place was going to be like, if we would be sleeping in tents or what the waves were like. We heard it was a bit like the jungle, but the wave looked really good, so we decided to come. The waves here are pretty similar to home, with beachbreaks and lots of left hand reefs, but the water much warmer here.”
“I feel so stoked, so grateful to be able to surf with my friends here, and to win in such great waves. The wave here can be so perfect…even when it was small it lines up really nice, with barrel sections, turns, a bit of rock dodging going on. In the final I got such a good rhythm going, I got so many good waves, it was amazing,” she concluded. Her father Gene also competed in the event.
Women’s runner up Anne Dos Santos was equally happy to come to Afulu and join the event, saying, “I’m so happy to be here, and compete here with only a few people out, it’s such an amazing place. The locals are super nice, and wow, this is what I come to Indonesia for. Bali is so crowded, it’s not really the place for my anymore, as I want to come and explore places like this to experience the culture, the food, the people, and the amazing waves. This was such a great opportunity, and you just have to take everyone you get, to explore a new place. Sure it takes bit longer to get to places like this, but when you get here it’s really worth it. From here at this beach I can look to the right and look to the left and see other beaches and other potential waves. I’m actually going to stay a few more days and explore around to surf the other waves too.”
Takuto Ohta from Japan was asked about his experience in Afulu to which he replied, “The wave is such a nice long left wall, so pumping it was so fun to surf. This is my first time here to Afulu. I saw the information on the ASC Instagram when I was in Krui and it looked exciting. I came alone, and shared a room with some of the guys from Bali, it was so fun. At my home in Japan, it can be very cold water, like I have to wear a thick wetsuit and even a hood, so surfing here in the nice warm water with great waves is like a dream for me.”
39 men and 8 women competitors competed in this first ever international surfing competition in North Nias, with Indonesians locally from Afulu, Sorake, and Gunung Sitoli and also from West Sumatra, Mentawai, and Bali, along with international competitors from Australia, Basque Country, Brazil, Canada, Canary Islands, Italy, Japan, Switzerland, and the USA.
PSOI Secretary General and ASC Director Tipi Jabrik was very complimentary about Afulu and the Nias Utara International Surfing Competition as a first time event, saying “I think this event has been very successful. We came here with no big expectations, as we never know how the waves will actually be. But we found it to be very contestable, and our international surfers told us this is one of the best events they’ve had. It’s really chill here, with everybody having a good time, and I do think we can upgrade this event in the future. It’s not too far from the airport, and there is another world renown surf spot in the south of Nias, although the local government needs to work on the infrastructure in order to be able to accommodate a higher level of international event. But everybody is happy with this event, and I see lots of potential here.”
Jabrik gave his surfboard to Afulu local Justin during the awarding presentation.
Bupati Nias Utara Amizaro Waruwu S.Pd is committed to supporting surfing and growing the infrastructure in the area, mentioning this in his closing speech and promising to keep the effort going.
Results and heat scores are on Live Heats at https://www.liveheats.com/events/138053 and you can see highlights of the 3 day event on YouTube at:
Day 1 highlights: https://www.youtube.com/shorts/nvyYS42jDdM
Day 2 Highlights: https://www.youtube.com/shorts/OlFDOW9Y_tk
Finals day highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yK4qQFAETQ
Contest Results: Men’s Open:
Contest Results: Women’s Open:
The Nias Utara International Surfing Competition was sponsored by the North Nias Regency and powered by the Asian Surf Cooperative (ASC) under the authority of the Persatuan Selancar Ombak Indonesia (PSOI)