Having been involved with Adaptive Surfing for a couple of years now, I won’t bother to talk about the inspiration, bravery or positivity that comes from working with these surfers. By now it should be pretty self evident.
What I will chat about is that this event changed the game for the sport. Red and Milo, the organizers, told me they wanted to do an adaptive event that pushed the surfers and the sport. That is why they chose Bali as a location, they wanted to to show that adaptive surfers could compete in real waves and that they would rise to the challenge.
Rise to the challenge they had to. Day one was pretty challenging at 3-4ft and heaving over the Echo reef. Day 2 was called off due to it being way to big and the finals day required the use of a jetski for water assist, as the venue at Old Mans in Canggu was well overhead. Never mind the insane shore break the surfers had to get through, just to reach the ski and get out into the lineup.
The guys and girls rose to the occasion. No longer will they be happy to compete in “safe”, small and lets face it, pretty boring beach break conditions like those found at the World Champs in San Diego. These are real surfers, that want to compete in real waves. The Bali Adaptive Pro proved that the sport is ready for it and that these surfers not only can handle themselves, they excel in these conditions.
With a couple of other events being held around the globe and a growing crew of hard charging adaptive surfers, I would not be surprised to see a new world tour arriving on the surfing calendar very shortly.