|Johnson and Jacob Willcox (AUS) will be this year’s Corona Bali Protected wildcards for the women’s and men’s events, respectively. The second men’s wildcard will go to the highest ranking Indonesian surfer on the Qualifying Series (QS) following the Gold Coast Open QS 1,500 in Burleigh Heads, Queensland, Australia.
Johnson’s entry will not only mark her career debut on the elite level but also the first time an Indonesian woman will compete in a Championship Tour event. Coming off a ninth-place finish at the Krui Pro, Johnson was awarded the wildcard as the highest-ranked Indonesian surfer competing in the 2019 Qualifying Series (QS).
“This is a dream come true,” said Johnson. “I remember being 11 years old like it was yesterday, daydreaming of representing Indonesia by competing in CT events. I look at this opportunity as a way to inspire upcoming Indonesian girls as well! I am so excited to be surfing such an amazing wave, uncrowded, with surfers that I’ve looked up to since I started surfing.”
Johnson is a goofyfoot known for her powerful backhand surfing. This approach will definitely come into play at Keramas when she faces seven-time World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) and Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) in Round 1 (Seeding Round).
“I’ve competed in a handful of QS events in the past, but I feel like competing in this event will be a whole new experience, whether it be in athletics area, putting the jersey on, or surfing on a wave in a heat,” continued Johnson. “Growing up in Southern Bali, my dad first taught me how to surf in mellow reef breaks. As I progressed I would venture out to more hollow and powerful waves. At the beginning of this year, I moved just five minutes away from Keramas, so I would consider Keramas my home break.”
“It’s important for us to support women in these local communities,” said Jessi Miley-Dyer from WSL Tours and Competitions. “And it’s exciting to give the chance to someone like Kailani to shine in her hometown.”