The Slippery Side of Slidetoberfest
How much fun can you stuff into three short days? well we’ll tell you… bucket loads. Today is day three of the Deus Slidetoberfest and we went early and got wet at Perenenan Beach. The surf was clean and consistent, with sets that were more than big enough to host any competition in. The beach was deserted when we moved our circus from the northern motor events into place in the wee hours. Building up our tents and structures as the light came up. Getting the coffee machine levelled in and the beers on beds of ice. The forecast was for a scorcher, hard to tell when the sun hasn’t yet broken the horizon.
The first competitors and spectators began to trickle in. Their going was slow. Last night’s concert by Sons of the East had been taxing for most. The coffee and mellow tunes seemed to be a sought-after duo. At just on seven our first heat quietly slipped out in the water. The wind was light offshore and the waves were queueing up to be ridden.
The spin we have on the Deus Slidetober Surf comp, we’ve always got one or two up our sleeve, is that we supply all the boards. And all of them were shaped here at the Deus Temple in Bali by a diverse cluster of shapers, People like Bob McTavish, Rich Pavell, Neil Purchase Jnr., Thomas Bexon, Jye Byrnes and Forrest Minchinton. There were Bonzers and single fins, Twinnies, quads, parallels and more. So, from the boards side of things, we were as happy as a pig in a puddle. But it didn’t stop there. As the contestants in a heat came up, we had them draw straws, with the longest straw getting the first choice or all of the boards on display. There were obvious favourites. We knew that. In fact, we were counting on it.
Riders were also bursting out of the woodwork. Besides all the Deus lads, Harrison Roach, Zye Norris, Lewie Dunn, Deni Firdaus, Ayok and Forrest Minchinton. We were also lucky enough to have a clutch of local and international crowd pleasers in town for the event. Craig Anderson, Rizal Tanjung and his son Varun, Marlon Gerber, Tai Graham, Dylan Haller, Cal Lanthrope, Masashiro Suzuki were the standouts in a riot of surfers filling out the field.
The early heats were glassy and as the water hit the submerged lava shelfs of the infamous Perenenan right, the wave lifted up and it pitched over into small barrels which our riders sought at every opportunity. The shoulder and wall leapt up as the wave neared shore and the riders made the most of it carving gracefully arcs and tucking into small spaces. Our Microphone maestros, Tom and Ian were especially entertaining as they had hit up an instant rapport even though they’d only met once before on the dance floor late the night before.
We mowed through the heats, the boards swapped and changed, some even doing it in the water. The competitiveness was there, you could tell by the way they milked every wave for turns but from the shore it felt like an afterthought. The camaraderie of the shared experience seemed to be the most important element.
The sun was out. Big in the near cloudless sky, heating the black sand to scorching hot. Those without footware danced across it at speed. Their course charted by sanctuaries of shade.
We moved into the finals, Harrison Roach, Cal Lathrope, Marlon Gerbaer and Dylan Haller. For the last time in the day they paddled out and put in a solid thirty minutes in the water before the final hoot was hooted. And then it was over. Anticlimactic, sure it was a bit but only because we’d been spoilt with a morning of finesse and we weren’t having any of the negativity. The results… well we are keeping them close to our chest until tomorrow night. Come back to see who won…