Inforial (The Jakarta Post)
Thu, May 19, 2022
The world’s most prestigious surfing competition, the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour, will be held on Plengkung Beach in Banyuwangi, East Java. The event will run for a total of ten days, starting on May 26.
The government continues to coordinate various parties to ensure that the event, which has one of the largest social media engagements in the world surpassing the Moto GP, will be successful.
The 2022 WSL Championship Tour has already been held on numerous beaches since January, and will continue to be held through August. Selected beaches are located in the United States, Australia, Brazil, South Africa, Portugal and Tahiti.
“Thank you to the Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Ministry, as well as the East Java provincial government, who continue to monitor and support the organization of this event. Along with other committee members. This is a mutual cooperation for economic recovery, especially in the tourism sector,” said Banyuwangi regent Ipuk Fiestiandani.
The WSL Championship, first held in 1976, has garnered a mass audience over the years as one of the biggest surfing competitions, attended by the most skilled surfers from around the world. This event is broadcast on hundreds of televisions around the world. While their headquarters is in Santa Monica, California, the US, they have regional offices across the world.
“WSL is a place to re-affirm tourism in Indonesia, East Java and Banyuwangi. [It is] the most prestigious surf league. Like in tennis, this is a kind of grand slam, where there are only four in the world, aka the tournament with the highest category of all tournaments on earth,” said Ipuk.
The WSL event was initially scheduled to take place in Banyuwangi in June 2020; however, it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Plengkung Beach, also referred to as G-Land, has been considered as a paradise for surfers for some time. The waves are in the category of one of the best in the world, with a wave height of 6-8 meters and a length of 2 kilometers. The waves at G-Land can often form almost perfect water tubes, where photos of surfers in action often go viral in various parts of the world.
“The location of G-Land is also in the Alas Purwo National Park Area which is so rich in flora and fauna, which has been designated as a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO-UN as well as a national geopark, and is now being submitted as part of the world geopark network or UNESCO Global Geopark (UGG), with Ijen Crater and Pulau Merah Beach,” explained the head of the Banyuwangi culture and tourism office, MY Bramuda.
Bramuda further explained that the Alas Puro National Park is home to 700 types of flora, 50 mammals, 320 breeds of birds, 15 amphibians and 48 reptiles. The main access road has been paved since 2018, along with other facilities, to add to the convenience of visitors and tourists.
“Entering the area, visitors are greeted by a grove of trees. There is the Kawitan Site, a Hindu temple. In Javanese, kawitan means ‘beginning.’ This refers to the belief that Alas Purwo is the land that first existed during the creation of Java,” said Bramuda. He added, “Tourists can enjoy the vast grasslands (savanna) to see peacocks, deer and bison. There are also rows of exotic beaches, one of which is Plengkung Beach (G-Land).”
Moreover, Alas Purwo is also home to many caves, one of which is the Palace Cave, believed to have eternal darkness, which is visited by many spiritual figures. Therefore, the WSL is not only seen as an athletic event for surfers and enthusiasts, but as an important way to increase tourism in the area.
“Coordination continues to be carried out between the PUPR Ministry, the Youth and Sports Ministry, PLN, Telkom, the Indonesian Wave Surfing Association (PSOI), Pertamina, immigration, customs and excise, Alas Purwo National Park, East Java provincial government and Banyuwangi regency government to make this event a success,” Bramuda concluded.