The idea was simple: gather the best tuberiders in the world at the best barrel in Bali. And as Padang Padang pumped out perfect, smoking six-foot tubes the Rip Curl Cup Invitational delivered as advertised.
Jamie O'Brien took home the win in what will go down as one of the most spectacular displays of high-stakes tuberiding in Padang history. O'Brien battled through a field of 16 of Indonesia's best surfers and 16 of the world's top tube riders to meet legendary Balinese surfer and two-time Rip Curl Cup champion Made "Bol" Adi Putra in the final.
"This is right up there with my Pipe Masters and Teahupoo trials wins," O'Brien said after being escorted from the beach to the winner's podium on the shoulders of his friends and soaked with champagne. "I got so barreled today."
"It was as good as it gets today," said two-time champ Adi Putra after the final. "This is the first time I surfed Padang this year. I wish it was always like this."
Jamie O flew into Bali on Monday for the contest after a month and a half without surfing. The Rip Curl Cup is one of the only contests he's doing this year, aside from the Pipe Masters. Most people wouldn't think of surfing big Padang after going a month and a half without a wave, let alone in a contest in front of hundreds of people.
O'Brien scored an unheard of four perfect 10s during the event, including two in the same heat during Round 2 for a flawless total heat score. He earned $2,000 for the win, but the prize money was secondary to the countless memorable barrels he made during his five rounds of competition. He plans to donate all his prize money to a local Balinese charity.
"Everyone is a winner today," said contest director Pete Matthews. "It was a true tuberiding event."
1st - Jamie O'Brien
2nd - Made "Bol" Adi Putra
T-3rd Ryan Turner
T-3rd Laurie Towner