After a groundbreaking Day 2 of surfing at Cloud 9, conditions on Day 3 of the Siargao Cloud 9 Surfing Cup backed off a touch to a clean, 2-to-3 feet. There were still plenty of epic waves on offer for competitors to rip into as the field was narrowed and Round Four was completed.
The Filipino duo of John Mark Tokong and Piso Alcala continued their dominant run on day three of competition, both taking convincing wins in the early heats of Round Four. Alcala looks to be the man to beat posting yet another round high heat total of 16.20 (out of a possible 20). Tokong seems to be able to will waves that no one else can, finding some of the best waves of the morning to take out Heat 2 of Round Four just above Portugal's Nic von Rupp.
"Experience definitely helps on days like today," Tokong said. "Yesterday was so perfect that anyone could have got a perfect score, but today you really had to know which ones would open up. They aren't always the biggest ones and it turns out my scores came on the medium-sized waves. I'm stoked to be one step closer to the finals."
Nic von Rupp opted to keep to his rail game to progress in second behind Tokong, posting his heat total of 12.90 with some big backhand snaps. Von Rupp has been enjoying his first visit to the Philippines and has been suitably impressed with the local talent. After a short hiatus from the QS, the stylish goofyfoot will be looking for a solid result here as he looks to gain precious qualifying points.
"This place is amazing -- such a sick wave," Von Rupp said. "It is definitely some of the best waves I have scored in a QS event. Coming up against the local John Mark Tokong was cool, he is an incredible surfer and has such a good read on the waves here. I'm hoping for a good result here as I want to try and get back into the higher rating QS events next year -- for now I'm just having a great time here at Cloud 9."
Former CT competitor Raoni Monteiro has made a comeback to the QS this year after not competing since he fell off tour at the end of 2014. Monteiro is seriously driven to make it back to the WSL's top tier and it shows in his commitment during heats pushing buckets of water everywhere on each turn. The powerful naturalfooter has been enjoying this QS event in tropical paradise.
"I can't get over this place," Monteiro said. "I want to stay longer but I have to get back to Brazil for more QS events. I'm really happy this is a QS3,000 event as I want as many points as possible. When I came off tour I lost my sponsors and had a baby so took some time off traveling. I'm back competing now and it really feels good -- especially when you get to compete at places like this."
Known for incredible skill and courage in barreling waves of consequence, young Central Coaster Riley Laing was forced to turn to rail turns during his Round Four encounter. This didn't seem to phase him to much as he belted his way to a heat total of 11.34 and the claimed the heat win over Hawaiian Kiron Jabour by 0.23 of a point, who also advanced in second position.
"The waves are smaller today but still so much fun," Laing said. "Obviously it would be sick to still be getting those epic barrels like yesterday, but it's still an epic wave at this size. This is my second year here and last year I had a shocker, not even catching a wave in my heat. It is great for my confidence to comeback to the Philippines and makes a few heats; especially in all conditions using both barrels and turns. I'm feeling really good at this event."