Beau Nixon recently travelled to Bali, Indonesia to compete in the Longboard SUP Revolution event held from the 7-10th April, 2023. Beau brings you a recap from the event, so sit back with your favourite drink, learn about the event and watch all the longboard SUP action from finals day in the video below.
All photos credited to Michael Williams.
About The Longboard SUP Revolution (LSR)
The LSR is a movement that started in Australia with a mission to promote and add a 10ft SUP longboard division to all SUP competitions throughout the country.
Michael Jenkins is the brainchild behind the LSR movement and is always speaking with the surfing organisations, clubs and community to push this category of SUP. His unwavering devotion to the cause has seen its success right throughout Australia. There are now 10ft divisions at club level right through to nationals titles, with multiple age categories for both men and women.
The Facebook group has a strong following with over 6000 members to date from across the world.
Cosmic Bali Experience Event
The Cosmic Experience was initially set for 2020 and would have been the world’s first standalone SUP longboard contest. Of course, something happened in 2020 that put this event on hold for three years. A lot happened in between that time in Australia with the movement and there are now SUP longboard specific contests. The Bali contest was put together to showcase the best surfers in the best waves and to solidify SUP longboarding as a credible division. They did that, and more!
Michael Jenkins along with Scott McKercher from SMIK SUP and Jonni Deaker from the Ripcurl School of surf in Bali helped organise the event. A big shoutout also goes to Michael Williams the photographer and videographer of the event who captured so much of the weekend from the water and the land, providing a lot of photos for this video and news piece.
This event in Bali was initially a 10ft board length minimum, however with airline travel getting harder and harder with longer boards, the event directors changed it to 9ft and over, which meant it was much more accessible for everyone.
The event consisted of four divisions which included the Weekend Warrior and Elite categories for both men and women. The LSR Bali Cosmic Experience attracted over 50 competitors from around the world.
What this event so memorable and different to a lot of other events, is that it wasn’t all about the competition. The competition was merely the reason to get everyone together who shares this common interest in longboard SUP. The stoke was high!
There were group dinners with over 70 people in attendance, groups of people heading out for surfs on the boats, people hanging out at bars, restaurants and cafes together. Everyone was included and we all felt part of something bigger.
All competitors and spectators had to get boats out to the surf, although some people did paddle the 2.5km to the breaks. There was a pontoon boat which carried all of the judges, media and commentators to the break and it anchored inside the reef to offer the best viewing for the competition. The Ripcurl School of surf provided Jukung boats which are balinese outrigger canoes for all of the surfers to get across to the break for their heats.
The surf forecast leading up to the event was turning out to be a pretty lacklustre. However, the best thing about this event, unlike any other SUP surfing competition, we were on longboards! So even if the surf was small, we were on the perfect craft for it. And yes, the surf was small for the first couple of days. But the winds were favourable and we saw a gradual rise in swell into the finals day.
Some of the big names to enter the event were current APP World Tour surf Benoit Carpentier from France, former APP World Tour champion Iballa Moreno from canary Islands, ISA World Champion Zane Schweitzer from Hawaii, alongside Australian rippers Steve Morley, Skyla Rainer, Dylan Henry and Dimity Faulkner. It was a real pleasure to watch everyone surfing and Benoit scored the only perfect 10 of the event in his semi final with a combination of big turns and critical nose rides.
SUP Longboard Finals
Weekend Warrior Women’s
Madeline Rayner, Kylee Kay, Dimity Faulkner and Bonnie Gea were competing in the Weekend Warrior Women’s division. These four ladies surfed three rounds together and the winner was decided based on their placings for each heat.
Bonnie won the first two heats and was looking to be the favourite for this final. Madeline had some great waves in this final and was leading the heat for quit some time, however Dimity managed to catch some of the set waves and worked her magic to take the lead. Kylee also caught some great rides as well in all of her heats. After the final had finished, the ladies weren’t sure of who had taken 1st place overall as it was a tie between Bonnie and Dimity. It went to tally of their heat scores and in the last final final, Dimity beat out Bonnie by 7 points to take the overall win in the Weekend Warrior Women’s division.
Weekend Warrior Men’s
Trafford Harris, Wayne Deane, Ollie O’Reilly and Trevor Tunnington battled it out for the win. This category had the most entrants at nearly 30 competitors so it was a long road to the final for these competitors.
Trafford, from South Australia, was riding really nicely. He had some great turns and linked together moves really well. Wayne Dean put on a strong showing too. Starboard Product Manager, Ollie O’Reilly, had been ripping all event and was very deserving to be in the final. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find the waves in this final to secure the scores he wanted. Trevor Tunnington, who has been crowned the fastest male paddler on earth and long time starboard team rider took real control of this final. He connected through sections and turned the longboard like it was a shortboard, the judges were loving it. Trevor eventually won the final.
Skyla, Iballa, Brea and Lorraine who were elite women competing in this division. This was run similar to the Weekend Warrior Women in the fact their were only four competitors and their placings were tallied up.
Lorraine, originally from the Phillipines and now residing in Bali has such a nice longboard style and surfs a SUP really well. Brea Wright, the youngest competitor in the event took charge of some great looking waves throughout the final. Her smooth and classy style wowed the judges and spectators alike. Skyla and Iballa took the more aggressive approach to turns and laid some serious rail carves throughout all of their heats. Skyla would nudge some of the highest scores of the heat to try and beat Iballa, but it was Iballa Moreno who took the win in the women’s elite, adding another victory to her already stellar resume.
In the final was Wes Fry, Ben Carpentier, Zane Schweitzer and Kai Bates. The mens Elite was the last final in the water and high scores had been flying around all week.
Benoit was the man to beat in this final. He really is the epitome of longboard SUP surfing. The smooth style, critical nose rides and committed turns are so nice to watch, but it just wasn’t his day in this final. Wes Fry was going completely vertical on turns all throughout the contest and in free surfs, and the final was no different. His power and radical surfing was rewarded highly. Kai Bates went to turns as well and went nuts on his 9’0 SMIK. Super critical surfing from Kai put him in the lead for the majority of this final and even with 5 minutes remaining. But it was Zane Schweitzer who out surfed everyone in the final to take home the win in the last minutes. Critical noserides and powerful turns won Zane this event.
Another trophy handed out at the event was for the highest placed Over 60’s surfer. Richard Wain from Western Australia took home this trophy. What was really cool about this event was that there were entrants aged from 23 to 79!
There was also the board brand award. Starboard, SMIK, Kalama, and Deep were the big name brands at the event and the points were tallied up for the placings of each brand from the riders in every division. SMIK took the win, with Starboard in second place.
Massive congrats to everyone in the event. Not just those in the finals as it was everyone who really made the event so special.
To everyone that I had a beer with, shared meals with, took the boat out surfing with, explored with, sat next to or shared some coaching tips with, you all made this experience one of the best for me personally. I’m sure this is the same for everyone else at the event as well. Let’s hope to see you all at next year’s event!