A dream come true by most surfers' standards, the 2013 Oakley Surf Shop Challenge National Championship has arrived in Indonesia, bringing with it 28 surfers from seven U.S. regions.
These guys are stoked just to be here, but it's not all about enjoying the pristine coastline and enticing culture of the Balinese people. They fought hard to get here, competing in regional championships as four-man teams and the battle has only just begun.
Today, in front of the ASP top 34, the Semi-Final of the Oakley Surf Shop Challenge National Championship commenced. Keramas was firing - confirming why surfers the world over consider this reef break one of the most high performance waves in the world.
Over the course of two, one-hour long heats the field of seven teams was widdled down to four. The front-runner heading into the final was Sunrise, a local shop from the South East, who tallied the best team score at 32.90. Team Sweetwater, lead by Michael Powell, who dropped and whammied a near perfect ride in the 9 (out of 10 possible) point range to drive their team total up to 32.21 were in close pursuit and plan to carry that momentum into the final.
The remaining two finals spots were decided by fractions of a point, with 7th Street edging out Revolution by a painful 0.04 points and Surf Ride qualifying comfortably with a team total of 25.54 to complete the all East Coast contingent.
2012 runners-up in last year's National Championship, Sunrise has made it clear that they are here to win, but with three strong shops in their way they're going to need to be at their best when the contest resumes later this week.
Undoubtedly witnessing the likes of Jordy Smith and Bruce Irons take to the water in their wake for the opening Round of the Oakley Pro Bali has fueled the fire in of the remaining Surf Shop Challenge competitors to come back for a no-holds-barred fight for the Title that you won't want to miss.
Next call for the Oakley Surf Shop Challenge will be tomorrow, June 19, at 6:30 am local time.