THE CUP: Thinking Bigger Picture At Rip Curl’s Crown Jewel Of A Surf Contest

There are only three surf contests in the world where the whole idea is to crawl Inside a roaring jet engine. Or so they feel. Pipe Masters, Teahupoo and the Rip Curl Cup. But far more than just another tube fest, though each venue has its charms, the Rip Curl Cup really takes the cake when it comes to setting. Pipeline faces overpriced real estate and Teahupoo takes place on an offshore barrier reef. But the Rip Curl Cup takes place at the terminus of an enchanted, limestone cleft, complete with waterfall and golden beach sands under the shadow of an ancient, sacred Hindu monkey temple. Pipeline got its obvious name from visiting haole’s and Teahupoo translates to a very grim “Wall of Skulls”. Meanwhile, Padang Padang means “A big playing field”.

A fitting name considering the eclectic gathering of surfers that met to play in an absolutely field of surf. This to decide who would be the King of the day at Indonesia’s most prestigious event. Staring into the blinding reflection of set after set, line after line that swung in at precisely 211 degrees south. Watching the indicators up at the Temple of the Last Stone and beyond that, next stop, Antarctica. A surfing fairy tale diorama with real life heroes seeking howling moments inside the jet engine barrels of the day. But really, what mattered more than who won the Rip Curl Cup is how well the wave itself was surfed. All damn day long. This elegant wave that has poured itself over this exquisitely crescent shaped tropical reef for thousands and thousands and thousands of years. Padang Padang is a place of great truth. Truthful belief, truthful desires and truthful outcomes. And, as with all true places, a stunning reminder that though we may busy ourselves seeking what we want, what we actually need has an uncanny way of finding us. And it just keeps getting better and better. This year was hands down the best Cup ever.

The only thing that could have made it better in an islander’s eyes was if a local won. But no matter, we ended up with a deserving, charming champion from South Africa and the overall performances were both dynamic and nuanced. So actually, in a way, everybody won. The magic of Bali was in place and everyone, from the beachgoers to the competitors, hell, even the judges, could feel it. And a word that would of come to mind while taking in the whole scene was the word focus. All souls engaged and focused on what was happening out there on that mystical reef. And if you think about it, our attention, our focus, is the only thing we truly own in our lives. Our possessions fall apart and even our relationships can die. But the ability to choose what to focus on, that will always be ours. And on a day like this, well, the right choice was made.


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