WORDS: Jason Wolcott
The wilds of the Java Strait are not the first place you think of when you imagine a kite contest… until now. The small jewel of an island is situated 20 km from Banyuwangi city east Java. Tabuhan Island covers an area of about 5ha. With crystal clear butter smooth water and consistent wind the stage was set for the 1st annual Tabuhan Pro.
Dan Sweeney, Josh Stephens and Shane Garcia made the trip up from Australia to compete against riders from 20 countries including some of Asia’s best riders. The day of the Freestyle main event could not have been scripted any better. Strong steady wind from the south east in the 20 + knot range and blazing equatorial sun set the stage for an epic battle.
Cabrinha Pro Dan Sweeney made the final along with North Kites Filipino Phenom Chritian Tio who happens to be 14 years old, as well as Kite Tour Asia stand out and Ozone team rider Narapichit Pudja AKA Yo.
The final was one of the most action packed heats I have seen in years with all three riders throwing some of the most advanced freestyle moves possible all with style, power, and creativity. Dan Sweeney sealed the win with a Blind judge 5 and last minute tootsie roll to over come the hard charging grommet and the inform Thai rider.
On the ladies side, Meiju Ketola took on Berenice Diveu in an intense battle which saw Meiju just edge out Berenice for the win. She also went on to take out the big air, and second place in the race winning lots of cash and two new twin tips for her effort.
Noosa’s own Josh Stephens (Star Kites-Axis boards) took out the speed challenge with a blistering run in the lagoon nearing 60 KMH whilst also making the semi finals in freestyle. Josh made a huge impression with his crowd pleasing freestyle moves and amazing attitude landing the covers of several major Indonesian newspapers as well as several television interviews that were seen across the Indonesian archipelago.
Special thanks to: Jeroen Van Der Kooij and Miftahul Jannah of Bangsring Breeze for putting all the time and effort to make this amazing event possible. The Government of Banyuwangi for supporting the event with everything from camping gear to pize money. And finally The team from Rip Curl School of Surf Bali for putting in the hours to bring this event to life! Joni and Luca, you guys rock!
This Event is already in the planning stages for next year so keep your eyes and ears open if you would like to join in 2016. http://www.tabuhanislandpro.com/