Carrying the Torch: Indonesian Surfers Represent at the Oakley World Pro Junior Championship
When you grow up with some of the world’s best surf spots at your fingertips and sitting in the lineup next to an alternating roster of the sport’s biggest names, it’s no surprise that Indonesia has become a breeding ground for up-and-coming surf talent.
Last year the Oakley World Pro Junior witnessed history in the making, as Darmaputra Tonjo became a local hero, defeating 2010 ASP World Junior Champion, Jack Freestone in their Round 3 heat. His subsequent fourth round finish is the best result by an Indonesian surfer in the event’s history to date.
At 21-years old Darmaputra, is too old to compete again. However, this year three Indonesian surfers carry the torch. ASP Australasia awarded Hairil “Oney” Anwar with a wildcard into the event while his brother, Gazil Hamzah, and Nyoman Satria won entry by competing in the local trails for the final two wildcard spots.
Hailing from Lakai Peak, a famed surf break on the southern coast of the Indonesian island of Sumbawa, the brothers started surfing at an early age and site the influence of legendary Indonesian surfer Pepen Hendrix, Mick Fanning and their brothers as the inspirations behind their surfing.
“I started surfing when I was 10 years old,” Gazil says in an interview after his Round 1 heat. “I wanted to try to be a pro surfer.”
While WCT dreams prevail, it’s clear that both brothers love surfing for the sake of surfing. You can see it on their faces when they talk about their favorite maneuvers and feel it in their laughter when they realize their list of favorites includes just about every trick in the book.
“Surfing is the best thing in the world,” smiles Oney. “It’s given me the chance to travel and do things that I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to do.”
The Oakley World Pro Junior and other junior events hosted in Indonesia are platforms for these rising stars to showcase their talent on a global stage and these guys recognize not only the personal opportunity, but also the potential impact they can have on the future for other Indonesian surfers.
“We want to go hard for Indonesia,” continues Oney. “It’s a good opportunity for Indonesian surfers; we will show everyone how it’s done!”
Oney, Gazil and Nyoman all took to the water for their first heats in an elimination round in firing conditions. Nyoman and Gazil surfed the first two heats of the day, each making aggressive moves to take out Keanu Asing (HAW) and Jack Freestone (AUS), respectively. Unfortunately for both, the horn would sound with each chasing minor scores. For Oney however, the story continues with a commanding victory over Dylan Lightfoot of South Africa to the excitement of the local crowd.
Things are starting to feel a little reminiscent of last year. Needless to say, we think Darmaputra would be proud.
Tune into the live webcast on oakleyprojunior.com to watch the rest of Oney’s story unfold.