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Bali Legend, Made Switra Wins The Uluwatu Challenge 2017




In a fitting climax to the Quiksilver and Coca-Cola Amatil sponsored Bali Big Eco Weekend, Bali legend Made Switra barreled his way to victory and celebrated his win at Single Fin as the sun set on a day of epic waves. The event brought tourists, local surf community members and legendary local and international surfers together to surf Uluwatu in order to highlight its beauty and the need to continue to improve the environmental welfare of Bali.


For his win, Switra had the honor of adding his name to the perpetual Quiksilver Uluwatu Challenge trophy and having it presented to him at Single Fin by none other than 4-time World Champion Mark Richards and Simon Anderson, the inventor of the thruster surfboard.


Switra shared, “I didn’t think about winning the contest today, I just wanted to enjoy good waves with good friends and have some fun. I was winning already when I paddled out but it’s great to be the chosen winner of this event and I want to say thanks to God, thanks to the Ulu boys and to all the legends that joined in as well.



For just Rp2 million ($150 USD) entry fee, the lucky 40+ surfers paddled out in perfect 4-5ft Uluwatu to compete with Quiksilver legends including Mark Richards, Matt Hoy, Tom Carroll, and Simon Anderson. Joining the international legends were Bali legends that included Ketut Menda, Made Switra, Made Lana, Tipi Jabrik, Dede Suryana and Rizal Tanjung as well first time international competitors Dylan Longbottom, Ozzie Wright and professional snowboarder Matt Crepel for a total of 54 participants. This year’s Quiksilver Uluwatu Challenge was run in the Eddie Aikau 6-person heat format where each surfer competes in two 30-minute heats and their two highest scores from their four best waves were then scored and totaled. Switra was the surfer with the highest two-wave score total of 17.5 (out of a possible 20 points) with a 9.0 (out of a possible 10 points) in Heat 1, and then an 8.5 in Heat 2, both being deep Racetrack barrels.


The 5th annual Quiksilver Uluwatu Challenge this year was a fundraiser by Quiksilver and Coca-Cola Amatil Indonesia for the Uluwatu based NGO, Project Clean Uluwatu (PCU), to raise money that will go towards new infrastructure programs at Uluwatu that will keep the world-class wave clean and pristine for generations to come. Bringing world-renowned surfing legends to Bali helps to draw attention to the challenges it faces with accelerating tourism growth.


4-time World Champion Mark Richards (AUS) didn’t get to surf in the competition this year due to a back injury, but counts this as one of the most enjoyable and important events he attends each year, saying “Bali is being loved to death by tourism, so it is under an incredible amount of environmental stress, so I think it’s important that anyone that is trying to make a difference is supported, because we need to preserve the beauty and uniqueness of this place for future generations.”


Richards added, “I know there are a lot of people that still long for the old days where there was just a couple warungs here at Uluwatu and you walked in over the fields, but unfortunately that’s not the reality of life…when you find something special, it’s impossible to just keep it for yourself, and I guess Bali is the classic case of where people from all nations come and want to enjoy this place, not just for surfing but the culture and just general tourism as well, so its vital that each of us, to whatever level we can, do our part to preserve Bali for the future.”


2-time World Champion Tom Carroll (AUS) recently underwent a complete knee replacement so was unable to surf with a conventional surfboard, but not to be denied Carroll gamely swam out on a surf mat to take on the 4-6 foot Uluwatu barrels. When asked about his adventure out in the Uluwatu lineup he replied, “Even though I couldn’t stand up on a board, I knew I had to go out and have a go! I figured it is also really good rehab for my knee by activating the muscles… I’ve been doing some training in the pool with little trainer fins but it was a different story getting flogged by those sets out there today… it was great fun!”


Regarding the event itself, Carroll said, “It is so great to see all the positive energy around this event…engaging the locals, local businesses, and the government, Coca Cola Amatil and Quiksilver have built an amazing CSR program that shows what industry can do to have a positive impact in the areas it conducts business. With the Indonesian government planning to increase tourism numbers to Bali there will be even more ecological pressure on the environment, so it’s going to be even more important to be in the forefront, keeping the flame alive and keeping up the visibility, which is the aim of the annual Bali Big Eco Weekend and Uluwatu Challenge. I can’t wait to come back next year when I’ll be back on my surfboard and getting barreled again at Uluwatu with the boys!”


Former world tour surfer, Matt Hoy, also carried an injury into the event having hurt it in the recent swell that lashed the Australian east cost, but as with Carroll, it wasn’t enough to stop him from surfing perfect Uluwatu with only a few other guys saying “As I grow older the friendships I have made through 30 years of professional surfing become the most important thing to me and to be able to share in the Bali Big Eco Weekend with Indonesian and International friends and highlight the importance of keeping our oceans clean is an event I pencil into my calendar at the beginning of each year.”


World renown as the inventor of the Thruster style surfboard (three fins), Simon Anderson thoroughly enjoyed himself, and when asked what were his highlights from the weekend he replied, “The surfing here at Uluwatu was the highlight of the weekend for me…I was hoping to get one good wave today, which I did this year, so I’m pretty stoked. I’m traveling with my wife this trip and she enjoyed the turtle release where the Bali Beach Clean Up program has now released more than 140,000 turtles back to the sea.”



Photos by Tim Hain and Josh Symon

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