Surfing contest to promote Pulau Merah

by Desy Nurhayati on 2013-05-07

An international surfing competition will be held in Banyuwangi, East Java, to promote Pulau Merah (Red Island) as one of the regency’s best tourist destinations.

In cooperation with Blue Fin Surfing Factory, the regency administration has turned to Bali in a bid to obtain greater impact from promoting the first-ever Red Island International Surf Competition that will take place from May 24
to 26.

“We are making Bali our main point of promotion in the hope of achieving a wider reach because the island is a tourist hub and also an internationally famous surfing location,” Banyuwangi Regent Abdullah Azwar Anas said Monday.

He shared his expectation that the surfing competition would not only improve the surfing community locally and nationally, but also make tourist destinations in the regency more popular worldwide.

“We also hope the competition will become an annual event in the coming years,” he added.

At least 25 surfers representing 15 countries have confirmed their participation in the competition that will be divided into three categories: local, national and international. Among the participants are those from Italy, Sweden,
Brazil, Portugal, France, Austria, the Netherlands, South Africa, Puerto Rico, Spain and Japan. At least 100 local and national surfers have registered to take part in the event.

Piping Irawan, the competition coordinator, said organizers had received good response from international surfers. “Many of them have shown great enthusiasm. We have only started publicizing this event for a week, but have received many inquiries about participating.”

Although this would be the first international surfing event to be held in Banyuwangi, he was optimistic that the event could be successful and make Red Island a famous surfing spot, which would in turn create a multiplier effect for the regency’s tourism.

On May 17, the participants will have the chance of trying the waves and adjusting to the conditions before competition day.

Located in Sumberagung village in Pesanggaran district, some 75 kilometers from the city of Banyuwangi, Red Island Beach has been selected as the location for the competition thanks to its scenic white sandy coast and a small hill with red soil in the middle of the sea.

Stretching to the south, Red Island also has three spots with waves that are perfect for beginner, amateur and professional surfers anytime through the year. With a fairly strong wind, the waves are relatively high, reaching 4 to 5 meters.

Jro Made Suparta Karang, president of the Indonesian Surfing Association, expressed his optimism that Red Island could develop into an internationally popular surfing spot, thanks to its natural potential and the commitment of the local administration to promote it.

“Red Island is like Kuta, Legian and Seminyak in the 1970s, with the whole area still remaining natural,” he said.

Red Island has been used as a surfing location since 2004. Some local surfers established the Red Island Surf Community to make the sport more popular among local youths. At present, some 20 local surfers have been actively taking part in the community’s activities.

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