Bali Legend Made Switra Wins the Quiksilver Uluwatu Challenge to Conclude the 10th Annual Bali Big Eco Weekend

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.


54 surfers participated in this year’s Quiksilver Uluwatu Challenge, which 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.


Tipi Jabrik had the honor of posting the day’s highest scoring wave of 9.5 in his Heat 2 effort for an impressive barrel ride, but couldn’t post an additional big score to overtake Switra.  “After not surfing for weeks, if felt so good to get that barrel, it was worth every second being out there.  Thanks to everybody that made this event happen and for the Uluwatu crew for sharing their place with us today,” said Jabrik.


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!”


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.”


Now that the Bali Big Eco Weekend has completed it’s 10th year, Coca-Cola Amatil Indonesia’ Bruce Waterfield stated, “The Bali Beach Cleanup program is a little bit like one small drop… that inertia can build up into a big wave, and I think that’s what we see here.  We started with something small and had a mission for an everyday activity, and here we are 10 years later.  It’s great that we see a lot of the original guys still doing it, only now it’s along with their extended families. The kids and everybody are a lot more aware of what their responsibility is here in Bali, and that’s to keep the beaches clean.  We’re really proud of this and the good news is…we’re not going to stop, we have plans to make sure this program stays in place for at least another 10 years,” he added.


Sammy Gosling from Quiksilver Indonesia summed up the weekend saying, “It’s been great to bring the Indonesian surf community and tourists together with local and international surf legends to enjoy the best that Bali has to offer and highlight the importance of looking after Bali’s oceans and environment for future generations.  The waves were world class today and it has been a perfect way to close out the celebrations for the 10 year anniversary of our Bali Beach Clean Up program….See you next year!”


Photos by Tim Hain and Josh Symon