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Congratulations to Jack Robinson! Your 2018 #RipCurlCup Padang Padang Champion.

2018 Surfer Invitation List

Meet the 16 invited surfers vying to claim the 2018 Rip Curl Cup

International Surfers

Josh Kerr (AUS)

Once thought of as strictly an "air guy," Josh Kerr reinvented himself into one of the most well rounded surfers on the planet. Comfortable in both small and huge surf (he's the only CT surfer to have won a Big Wave Tour event, the Todos Santos Challenge in 2015), throwing aerials and grinding barrels, he spent a decade on Tour. And for a four-year stretch between 2011-2014, Kerr was ranked inside the top 10 overall (he finished No. 11 in 2015, No. 13 in 2016). Kerr’s competitive experience combined with his expertise in waves of consequence make him an especially dangerous entry to the Rip Curl Cup.

Jay Davies (AUS)

Freesurfers may be a dying breed, but a performer like Jay Davies will never go extinct. It doesn’t hurt that the 31-year-old regularfooter from Yallingup, Western Australia is built like a redwood tree. Bred in the rugged waves of West Oz, Jay is at home charging crazy coldwater slabs in shark-infested waters. His blazing freesurf path can be witnessed wherever the waves are going off, from P-Pass to Apocalypse to his beloved North Point, where you’ll also catch him rotating 10 feet above the lip when the wind turns side onshore. But Jay isn’t a contest virgin. In fact, he’s surfed in several WCT events as a wildcard, including at Margaret River in 2015 when he took down two world champions – Mick Fanning and Gabriel Medina ¬– on his way to a quarterfinals finish. Jay can destroy heats the same way he destroys lips, and the crazier the waves at Padang, the better the odds Jay will be coming out on top.

Christian Fletcher (USA)

The Rip Curl Cup loves its characters, and no invited surfer fits the bill better than the godfather of aerial surfing, Christian Fletcher. When Fletcher is in Bali for the comp, the island is abuzz with his exploits, from surfing Desert Point at night to hanging five in the barrel to slaloming his motorbike at breakneck speeds through Kuta traffic. Although most heralded for his pioneering skate-inspired aerial maneuvers in surfing, Christian’s tube prowess is world class. He grew up spending winters at Gerry Lopez’s house in front of Pipeline and cut his teeth out there earning respect from heavies like Johnny Boy Gomes, Marvin Foster and more, and surfed in the Pipe Masters as a teenager. This year, Christian has been surfing in Indo for a month prior to the contest, warming up his zombie tube poses deep in the belly of the archipelago’s barrels, preparing for the day of days at Padang and putting everyone on notice.

Nic Von Rupp (PRT)

You can call Nic Von Rupp a big-wave surfer, but the truth is he rips in all conditions. While still grinding regularly on the QS, Nic also finds time to put himself in some of the heaviest situations the seven seas can muster. Last year he was a semi finalist at the big wave event at Nazaré, and he’s taken his hard charging act to Maverick’s, Teahupoo and all sorts of cold, angry slabs that detonate on dry rocks in his native Portugal as well as Ireland. This is Nic’s first time competing at Padang, and while his knowledge of the reef isn’t as intimate as many of his competitors, his technical bag of tube tricks in hollow lefts is sure to serve him well.

Gearoid McDaid (IRL)

It’s no longer a secret that Ireland is a coldwater Indo. And when the world’s best surfers visit the Emerald Isle hoping to score piping lefts, Gearoid McDaid is the barrel assassin they look up. A couple years ago Mick Fanning even cruised with Gearoid on his home turf and scored epic waves. Gearoid blazes through impossibly deep pits and can down a Guinness in record time. And if you think the goofyfoot surfs fast in the bountiful left barrels of his homeland, just wait till he sheds the 6 mil, hood, gloves and booties and goes HAM in boardshorts.

Bruno Santos (BRA)

Outside of his native Brazil, few people knew of Bruno Santos when he entered the trials of the 2008 Billabong Pro Tahiti. Bruno quickly changed that by marching his way from the trials all the way to winning the main event in thundering Teahupo’o against the WCT’s best. These days, if you don’t know Bruno, you better ask somebody. From Skeleton Bay to Desert Point, Bruno’s paranormal vanishing acts into the barrel led Kelly Slater to proclaim him a perennial favorite to win in heaving left barrels. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Jack Robinson (AUS)

The fearless regular footer from West Oz has already established himself as one of the best in the world on his backhand in the truly hollow stuff. Jack has already graced surf mag covers across the globe, standing tall in angry pits from West Oz slabs to thundering Tahiti. In addition to several wildcard berths in WCT events already under his belt, Jack will be appearing in his third Rip Curl Cup at Padang Padang. Now that his competition experience is catching up to his fearlessness, expect Jack to do big things at Padang in 2018.

Jacob Willcox (AUS)

Jacob Willcox’s coming out party happened at the Rip Curl Cup 2013. At just 16 years old, Willcox put on a blistering performance, finishing a close runner-up to Mega Semadhi and expertly threading countless incredible tube rides on the day. He went on to use his momentum from Padang to defeat Kelly Slater at the Rip Curl Pro Portugal a few months later, helping to bolster his Rip Curl teammate Mick Fanning's 2013 ASP World Title run. These days, nobody is underestimating the smooth goofyfooter from West Oz, known to his mates as “Chippo.”

Indonesian Surfers

Made "Bol" Adi Putra (IND)

It could be said that what Gerry Lopez is to Pipeline, Bol is to Padang. No other surfer has put in more time and is more synonymous with the wave. That’s why on the best days, when the set of the day steamrolls toward the reef, it’s reserved for Bol. He remains the only back-to-back champion of the Rip Curl Cup, a feat so improbable it probably will never be repeated (though defending champ Mega Semadhi certainly hopes to prove us wrong in 2017). It’s been over a decade since Bol last hoisted the Cup (although he made the final in 2009 and 2011), but to become the first three-time winner in event history would make it worth the wait.

Mega Semadhi (IND)

The reigning Rip Curl Cup Champion is the ultimate Padang local. He lives closer to the wave than any surfer in the contest and is on it any time Padang turns on. Mega is a three-time finalist at the Rip Curl Cup and a two-time champion. He’s attempting to become only the second person to win back-to-back titles at Padang (Bol was the only other surfer to accomplish the feat in 2004-05, before international surfers were invited to compete). Last year Mega was the only local surfer to make the final, but he outsurfed Damien Hobgood, Mason Ho and Clay Marzo for the W. He’ll have the support of the hometown crowd behind him as always, along with the sharpest local wave knowledge of anyone in the event.

Garut Widiarta (IND)

Hands-down the fastest surfer on the island, Garut Widiarta’s lightining-fast surfing makes him one of the odds-on favorites at Bali’s best lefthand reefbreak, and his endless bag of tricks will surely be on display during the waiting period freesurfs. Some felt Garut’s lackluster performances at the Padang Cup early in his career were partly the result of the heavy expectations saddled on him as the heir apparent to the throne at Padang. After claiming The Cup in 2014 – an achievement some pundits felt was only a matter of time – the Padang monkey (figurative, not literal) is finally off his back, and Garut should continue his forte of making the impossible look effortless.

Lee Wilson (IND)

After taking a hiatus from professional surfing last year and moving to New Zealand to focus on his art and family, Lee Wilson is back. He’s got a new sponsor supporting his unpredictable brand of hi-fi surfing and his sights are now set on pushing the performance level of Indonesian surfing to new heights. Lee is a two-time Rip Curl Cup champion as well as a two-time Indonesian national champion. A third crown at Padang could cement his legacy as Indonesia’s best.

The Wildcards

Mega Artana (IND)

His name is Mega. He’s a goofyfooter. And he just schooled everyone to take first place at Padang Padang recently. No, we’re not talking about defending Rip Curl Cup Champion Mega Semadhi. There’s a new Mega in town, and he’s young, hungry and gunning for the Cup. At just 18 years old, Mega Artana is the youngest surfer competing in the 2018 Rip Curl Cup. The Kuta Beach local is making his rookie debut in the Ultimate Tuberiding Contest after winning The Clash Trials, held in firing Padang Padang in May. Mega is now shooting to become the first surfer ever to win the trials and the main event. And if you think that’s impossible, then you haven’t seen Mega surf.

Agus “Blacky” Setiawan (IND)

As the son of legendary Uluwatu surfer and former Rip Curl Cup finalist Made Lapur, Blacky has some large shoes to fill. Fortunately Blacky has some big feet – and big balls when it comes to charging heavy reefbreak barrels. Blacky won the Rip Curl Cup Trials, held at Uluwatu in 2015 and has only continued to work his way up the Padang totem pole since then. These days, when he’s not teaching backpackers and tourists how to surf on small days at Padang right, Blacky is one of the top dogs out at Padang on big swells. You could say it’s in his blood.

Mustofa Jeksen (IND)

Did you know that Spiderman is a local at Padang? And his true identity isn’t Peter Parker ¬– it’s Mustofa Jeksen. Yes, that man crawling deep inside the barrel at Padang in a Spiderman suit is Mustofa. The 30-year-old showman has been performing his act in scary hollow lefts since he was a pint-sized grommet – un-makeable slabs at Pacitan; huge rogue double ups at Padang. Mustofa is a two-time finalist at the Rip Curl Cup, most recently finishing equal 3rd in 2014. Although he had to qualify through the Trials in 2018 to receive his invite, Mustofa is even more hungry to be back in the main event for the first time since 2014. Rest assured his Spidey sense will be in full effect.

Alik Rudiarta (IND)

The title of Uluwatu’s Best Backhand Attack has been held by Alik Rudiarta for a while now. The stylish regularfooter has a world-class pigdog in his arsenal, honed over many years pulling in along low tide Racetrack. 2018 will be just his second time surfing in the Rip Curl Cup, but Alik is no rookie when it comes to Padang. He was a finalist in 2013 (after qualifying for the main event by winning the trials). If you hear all the Ulu boys screaming their heads off on the cliff during the Rip Curl Cup, odds are Alik has made it back to the finals -– or better!

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