An historic day at the Siargao International Women's Surfing Cup in the Philippines with the first-ever sanctioned WSL women's event at the iconic Cloud 9 surf break. Heats ran in super clean, two-to-three foot (1 metre) surf.
Four Round One heats were completed across the best of the incoming tide conditions, with eight surfers advancing into Round Two. Of the eight surfers who advanced, it was sensational to see that five of them were locals.
Not only were the local women winning some heats -- and advancing in second place in others -- more significantly, they were scoring great rides, with big rewards from the WSL judging panel.
Nilbie Blancada lives close by the Cloud 9 break and has been refining her skills in this wave- rich paradise for longer than even she can remember. As she won a heat on Day 1, that experience showed.
"I'm nervous surfing in such a high quality field but now I feel so good winning my heat" said Nilbie. "It's fantastic to be surfing against and with these international surfers, they are so good but also so friendly in our free surf warm-ups. We are learning from them as well as making good friendships and tomorrows heat will be amazing for me to surf in the top seed round."
Brazilian surfer Hayanna Iguchi was the day's highest scoring standout heat winner, enjoying the fun performance waves on offer today.
A large crowd of locals enjoyed watching the action today and will no doubt be out in force tomorrow to see their local women take on the top-seeded surfers.
WSL Asia Events Manager Steve Robertson commented on the day. "It's so good to see an historic moment when professional surfing for women begins in the Philippines today and the serious quality of the local Philippines female surfers. Recently the Philippine men surfers have been winning QS events here taking down high quality international WSL surfers and from what I've seen today, these women and the young girls cheering on the beach who are also developing their surfing skills will be winning WSL events in the near future -- surfing in the Philippines is a serious sport."
Increasing swells over the coming two days should make for a great final two days ahead an organizers will convene early to make the next call.