The Philippines consists of over seven thousand islands with a plethora of world-class surf breaks, but the jewel in the crown is Cloud 9. The stage is set for the 21st edition of the Siargao Cloud 9 Surfing Cup, that this year holds a QS1,500 (Qualifying Series) rating.
Small surf saw a lay-day called today on Day 1, but the local community celebrated the opening of the event and the arrival of surfers from 10 nations to compete at this prestigious event. The Mayor or General Luna, who's referred to as the Godfather of surfing in the Philippines was proud to upgrade this event to a QS1,500 and offer $50,000USD prize-money.
"We're proud to host a World Surf League events here at Cloud 9," said the Honourable Mayor Rusillion. "The wave is famous all over the world and with international competitors enjoying great surf the event is very good for the region which is largely built around surf tourism."
WSL Australasia Tour Manager Will Hayden-Smith was eager to thank the local surfing community for sharing their world-class break for the week and although the surf was small today, expressed that there's good waves on the horizon.
"Cloud 9 can produce long intense tube rides and when it turns on later this week we are in for a show," said Hayden-Smith. "The locals here are fantastic and really friendly and they know this break really well so it's always exciting to see them match-up against the international competitors. The surf is small today, but there's a small typhoon that will push some swell our way in the coming days."
Last year's event champion Piso Alcala (PHL) won the Philippines National Surfing Championships at Cloud 9 last week and is coming into this event in red-hot form and will be a tough draw in any conditions.
"It's good to surf against professional surfers from all over the world," Alcala said. "The event is bigger than ever this year with $US50,000 prize money and the field is probably the best we've ever seen so I know I must surf my best to defend my title here. I'm hoping for great barrels."
After the opening ceremony and right on dusk, forerunners to what appears to be a new swell hit the Cloud 9 reef and surfers were warming up in perfect shoulder high wave and expectations competition will begin running today.