The 6th annual Monsoon Mayhem International Surf Challenge held on the golden sand beach of Desaru (Southeast Malaysia) from 6-8 January saw 13-year-old Annissa Flynn from Thailand surf her way to the top of the Women’s Division. She was the youngest of the women finalists that included runner-up Nur Herwani from Malaysia, third place finisher Michaela Partin from the USA, and Brenda Lee from Malaysia in the fourth place.
Young Annissa Flynn was both surprised and delighted when she exited the beach to find that she had won, saying, “Really? I couldn’t here anything but the wind and the pounding waves!” She was promptly hoisted up on the shoulders of fellow countryman Chatchai “Man” Samporn who carried her up to the judge’s tower.
After she had a moment to relax on the beach, she was asked about her strategy during the challenging final. “I really didn’t know what would happen out there, it was hard to know which waves were going to be the good ones. It was part luck and part skill I guess, and I’m lucky I got a couple where I could make a few turns. My beach break at home in Phuket can be like this, so maybe my experience there helped me out today.”
This is Annissa’s second win at an Asian Surfing Championship (ASC) event in Malaysia. She won the Women’s Division at another ASC event up in Terengganu on 4 December 2011. She also finished the inaugural ASC season as the runner-up Asian Women’s Surfing Champion. When asked about her plans for the 2012 season, she replied, “I’m going to surf as many ASC events as I can, as I want to be the women’s champion for 2012!”
Nine women from Indonesia, Thailand, the USA and Malaysia competed in the Women’s Division in windy two to three foot surf conditions.
In addition to the Women’s Division, the Men’s Open, Master’s Division and Bodyboarding events were held as well.
The highlight of the Men’s Open action came in Quarterfinal 1, with a head to head battle for the heat win between 2011 Asian Surfing Champion Raditya Rondi from Indonesia and Ismail Miglal from the Maldives. Both surfers took to the air and carved big turns in the windy and difficult conditions, to the delight of the crowd.
The loud cheers were heard above the wind, but only on the beach. “I didn’t hear any cheering, but I saw people clapping when I looked back at the beach to see how much time was left, so I knew they were enjoying the show,” said Rondi. “It was kind of hard out there for sure, but it was fun.”
In championship form, Rondi posted the event’s highest single wave score of 7.83 out of a possible 10 for completing a frontside air reverse, then followed it up with a backside air reverse for 7.5 points, which netted him the highest heat score of the day as well, 15.33 points out of a possible 20.
The swell forecast is predicting a significant increase in both wave size and wind speed, apparently to ensure that once again this annual event will live up to its name for the final day of competition.
The Monsoon Mayhem event is supported by the Malaysian state of Johor as both a tourism promotion activity and in support of the growth of surfing in Malaysia.
Monsoon Mayhem 2012 is organized by Bigfoot Industries, sanctioned by the Asian Surfing Championships with official event partners Tourism Malaysia, Tourism Johor, Pejabat Memeterian Pelancongan Negeri Johor, sponsored by UNKL347, Wavehouse Sentosa, Satu Suku Surf, Fatimah Mohsin The Wedding Gallery, SaltySkin Dive & Surf, JOHO and Journey, and supported by the Surfing Association of Singapore, Johor Surfing Association, and MRB.