The final day has rolled around fast for the Deus Nine Foot & Single, but there was no letting up in the energy levels of the surfers.
The gracious local freesurfers cleared the Canggu Right lineup at 7am on the dot and competition got underway for the 2016 Under Nine Foot & Single. Highlighting single-finned boards of the more diminutive kind, this was a shortboarding event with soul and style. Boards ranged from close to the six-foot mark right up to mid-length boards, the only prerequisites being one fin and no leash – and the surfers unleashed in more ways than one
Conditions were impeccable, if a trickle smaller than previous days, and the wide, glassy faces made for plenty of tracking turns and sweeping cutbacks. But a few did find shade, stuffing themselves into the tight hollows of the curling lip. Among a plethora of highlights, Honolua Blomfield once again spanned the cross-gender divide and showed the boys how she does it back home in Hawaii. Styling on a borrowed McTavish Bluebird, shaped at the Deus Temple of Enthusiasm by Bob himself, she shredded against her male counterparts and even grabbed a few barrels, falling shy of advancement by the narrowest of margins.
Spectators thronged the beach, clamouring for the patches of shade from the warming sun. The Deus Bar & Grill fired up again for breakfasts, snacks, coffees and cold ones, and by 10am, the first beers had had their lids flicked and were sinking nicely.
Down from his Javan home of Batu Karas, Deni Blackboys celebrated his birthday in style. Known for his longboarding, he actually grew up on shortboards, and his reversion to the shorter craft showed his proficiency and exceptional all-round talent.
The big fellas, Luke Flanders, Tom Bexon and Josh Constable, were unshakeable, surfing powerfully through sections and holding their feet impossibly through dynamic end section manoeuvres.
Newcastle’s Lewie Dunn, no stranger to Indo waves, surfed with fluidity, sweeping off the bottom to clear sections and draw long lines all the way to the beach, but many weren’t so fortunate. Melvin, the festival’s guest Kiwi board caddy, was working overtime, retrieving boards the length of the beach for those coming unstuck on the outside and facing a long swim in. But there was no stopping them and, the second their board was back in their hands, they were stroking back to the lineup, as eagre to enjoy the perfect waves with only a handful of friends out as to chalk up more points on the board.
Japanese surfer, Yuta Sezutsu again showed his flowing style, and incredibly smooth surfer an all boards and any conditions. But it was the stars of last night’s ‘South to Sian’ premiere that battled their ways through to the finals, and it was an epic showdown.
Matt Cuddihy, Jared Mell, Zye Norris and Harrison Roach – four surfers guaranteed to put on a show. All experts on long and short, the quartet blew the door clean off its hinges, infusing a more traditional style of surfing with absolute contemporary dynamism. Mell left his tomfoolery on the beach, but was no less entertaining, his soul-arch bottom turns reminiscent of the time when it all began.
Matt and Zye showed consummate style and skill, making steep drops and accelerating round sections to blast off the end close-out. Matt disappeared for a while, swallowed by the ocean, but emerged from the screaming barrel to uproarious cheers from the beach. This was single fin surfing on the next level.
Harrison was simply sublime, perfect positioning offering him many of the sets. Consistently shacked – even twice on one particular wave - throwing floaters and even getting airborne, it’s clear to see why he is a finalist and the division’s defending champion.
If the reaction from the beachful of spectators was anything to go by, the final result was a four-way tie, but someone had to win, but that little gem of information would have to wait for this evening’s presentation and wrap-up party.
For more information on the Deus Nine Foot & Single, visit the website: deuscustoms.com/9ftandsingle