Meet the four local surfers looking to shake up the Rip Curl Cup
May 28, 2018 saw the first true Padang swell of the season hit Bali and 32 of Indonesia's top surfers duel it out in all-day barrels for the final four spots remaining in the Rip Curl Cup. When the barrel spit cleared, Mega Artana, Agus "Blacky" Setiawan, Mustofa Jeksen, and Alik Rudiarta were the last surfers standing.
All four finalists earned wildcard berths into the Rip Curl Cup main event. They now join former Rip Curl Cup Champions Bol Adi Putra, Lee Wilson, Garut Widiarta and Mega Semadhi in representing Indonesia and competing against the world's best tube riders at Padang Padang on the best day of spitting barrels.
Let’s meet the four winners from The Clash Trials who will be a force to be reckoned with in the main draw:
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.
Mega: “Padang Padang is the proving grounds for Balinese surfers and I can’t wait for my chance to show the world what I can do against the best surfers out there.”
Agus “Blacky” Setiawan
Agus “Blacky” Setiawan leapfrogged from third to first place with a literal buzzer-beating barrel in the The Clash semifinals to avoid elimination and secure a berth in the main event. The Uluwatu local, who won the trials back in 2015 when it was held at his home break of Racetrack, is now setting his sights on The Cup. 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.
Blacky: “The waves here in Uluwatu area favor the surfers with experience and local knowledge.”
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.
Mustofa: “The last time I surfed in the main event of the Rip Curl Cup was four years ago. Padang was where I first was recognized for my surfing when I was just a kid. So it feels amazing to get back to having another shot at my dream – to get my name on that trophy alongside Bol, Lee and Garut.”
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!
Alik: “I’ve surfed from the trials to the final at Padang before. I know it’s possible, so why not do it again – but this time, win it all.”