As many as 129 surfers from 16 countries, a significant increase from last year’s 45 participants, have tasted the mighty waves of Sorake Bay in the 2019 World Surfing League (WSL) Nias Pro. The annual event lasts until Sunday.
Japanese surfer Kaito Ohashi ranked first in the qualifiers to secure Friday’s quarterfinal spot.
“I remember last year I had my heart beating so fast since many top world surfers were also on the list,” he told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
Seven Sawyer from South Africa, the 2018 World Surfing League trophy holder, acknowledged that Nias’ beaches have been listed as having among the best waves in the world.
“The waves here are very challenging,” he said. The annual surfing event is part of the 2019 Sail Nias, which is slated to be officially opened by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Saturday. A group of VIPs, including foreign ambassadors, are also slated to attend.
The head of the Nias youth and sports agency, Anggreani Dachi, said the event offered US$75,000 as the prize in the men’s category and $65,000 in the women’s category.
Sorake Bay is enclosed by the beaches of Lagundri and Sorake, giving it both left and right-hand breaks, according to indosurflife.com. Waves are typically 3 to 5 meters in height but have been said to reach as high as 15 m. Some start as far as 200 m from the beach.