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Surfers

Update: #RipCurlCup Trials are OFF for today. Stay tuned for next date to resume Trials Quarterfinals.

2019 Surfer Invitation List

Meet the 16 invited surfers vying to claim the 2019 Rip Curl Cup – including the 4 tube slayers selected by 3x world champ Mick Fanning:

International Surfers

Benji Brand (AUS) MICK’S PICK

When we first asked Mick Fanning who he wanted to see perform in The Ultimate Tuberiding Contest, one of the first names he said was, “Benji Brand.” Benji first blew up on our radar when he bagged some of the longest, craziest barrels ever recorded at Skeleton Bay (for which he won the GoPro of the World III in 2016). Since then, he’s been spending a lot of time in Hawaii and putting the North Shore on notice with Wave of The Winter Overall Performance and Heaviest Drop Awards this year for a successful psychotic Pipe freefall. Safe to say, Benji’s ready for Padang.

Taj Burrow (AUS) MICK’S PICK

Taj Burrow needs no introduction. Now that he’s retired from an incredible career on the WCT, Taj has the luxury of focusing on the best trips and events in any ocean. No surprise he’s accepted an invitation to surf in the Rip Curl Cup 2019. When he first burst onto the scene, the springy West Oz surfer was hailed as the future of the sport for his innovative lines and aerial surfing. But over the years, Taj has proven that he can hang with the top dogs when the waves get serious. After backdooring huge slabs from Hawaii to West Oz, Taj is ready to show the world what he can do at the Balinese Pipeline.

Mason Ho (HAW)

After missing out on the swell of the year hit Padang for last year’s Rip Curl Cup, the barrel hardened regularfooter from the North Shore is looking to claim the crown – and making sure he won’t miss any good swells to hit Indo this season. Surfing’s Ambassador of Fun finished third in his first Rip Curl Cup appearance in 2016. But competitors beware: While he may be the ambassador of fun, Mason’s skills in heavy barrels are no laughing matter.

Barron Mamiya (HAW) MICK’S PICK

At just 19 years old, Barron Mamiya has established himself as one of the leaders of the next generation of homegrown Pipe warriors, earning back-to-back Breakthrough Performer Awards at the Wave of The Winter Awards. Except this guy is by no means a one-trick pony. Barron will no hand out of a crazy slab and then pull a full rotation on the inside. Don’t believe us? Just watch his most recent Raw Cut edit. Or just ask Mick Fanning.

Kai Otton (AUS) MICK’S PICK

During his ten-year run on the WCT, Ottz was always a risky draw for the WCT elite, earning a reputation as a giant killer on the big stage by taking out Kelly Slater and other top dogs in clutch situations. Ottz earned WCT Rookie of the Year honors in 2007, won the Rip Curl Pro Portugal in 2013 and has finished as high as world No. 7. Although this is his first invitation to the Rip Curl Cup, Ottz should have no problem navigating his springy mop of blonde hair through some tall Padang caverns.

Sheldon Paishon (HAW)

A few years ago Sheldon was just another kid surfing on the West Side of Oahu. Mason Ho noticed his obvious raw talent and started bringing him on surf trips. Next thing you know, Rip Curl sponsored him and Sheldon is on The Search, going to Bells, surfing with his heroes. And now he’s ready to scalp some of those same heroes in the Rip Curl Cup during his first ever trip to Indo. Every new opportunity, Sheldon humbly meets the challenge. Padang rewards the hard workers.

Jack Robinson (AUS)

Jack will be back to defend his title at Padang in 2019. Last year he put on a backside barrel riding clinic at Padang during the heaviest swells to hit Bali in recorded history. Since then, he’s been keeping sharp by schooling the world’s best surfers at some of the most hollow waves on earth. Did you see Jack absolutely own the rest of the CT when the WSL came to the Box in West Oz recently? The fearless regular footer from West Oz is poised to take his seat on the thrown as the king of the truly hollow stuff.

Matt Wilkinson (AUS)

“I’ve been watching it the past couple years and wishing I could surf in it,” Wilkinson said of the Rip Curl Cup invitational. “I’m a big fan of the way they have such a long time frame for the comp to wait for a perfect swell and get the wave at its very best.” Well, Wilko, your wish has been granted. The technically sound goofyfooter sports an impressive trophy case that includes titles from Snapper, Bells and Fiji. Will he be able to add the coveted Cup to that shelf? Stay tuned!

Indonesian Surfers

Made "Bol" Adi Putra (IND)

It could be said that what Gerry Lopez is to Pipeline, Bol is to Padang. No other surfer has put in more time and is more synonymous with the wave. That’s why on the best days, when the set of the day steamrolls toward the reef, it’s reserved for Bol. He remains the only back-to-back champion of the Rip Curl Cup, a feat so improbable it probably will never be repeated (though defending champ Mega Semadhi certainly hopes to prove us wrong in 2018). It’s been over a decade since Bol last hoisted the Cup (although he made the final in 2009 and 2011), but to become the first three-time winner in event history would make it worth the wait.

Mega Semadhi (IND)

The 2x Rip Curl Cup Champion is the ultimate Padang local. He lives closer to the wave than any surfer in the contest and is on it any time Padang turns on. Mega is a 4x finalist at the Rip Curl Cup and a 2x champion. The last time he won it, Mega was the only local surfer to make the final, but he outsurfed Damien Hobgood, Mason Ho and Clay Marzo for the W. He’ll have the support of the hometown crowd behind him as always and the arguably the sharpest local wave knowledge of anyone in the event.

Garut Widiarta (IND)

Hands-down the fastest surfer on the island, Garut Widiarta’s lightining-fast surfing makes him one of the odds-on favorites at Bali’s best lefthand reefbreak, and his endless bag of tricks will surely be on display during the waiting period freesurfs. Some felt Garut’s lackluster performances at the Padang Cup early in his career were partly the result of the heavy expectations saddled on him as the heir apparent to the throne at Padang. After claiming The Cup in 2014 – an achievement some pundits felt was only a matter of time – the Padang monkey (figurative, not literal) is finally off his back, and Garut should continue his forte of making the impossible look effortless.

Agus "Blacky" Setiawan (IND)

As the son of legendary Uluwatu surfer and former Rip Curl Cup finalist Made Lapur, Blacky has some large shoes to fill. Fortunately Blacky has some big feet – and big balls when it comes to charging heavy reefbreak barrels. Blacky validated his wildcard spot last year by finishing runner – and nearly overtaking – Jack Robinson in the championship final. He posted one of the only perfect 10s of the event and one of the highest heat scores. Blacky is no longer a wildcard at Padang, he’s a favorite.

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