Another day of classic conditions at the 24th annual Siargao Cloud 9 Surfing Cup has seen the field narrowed to only eight surfers to do battle in the Quarterfinals. Cloud 9 turned on clean 3-to-6 foot surf once again making it yet another brilliant day of Qualifying Series action.
Local star John Mark Tokong continued his head turning form, posting another excellent heat total of 16.30 including a near perfect 9.30 ride. After a couple of years without a good result at his home WSL competition, the 2015 event winner is looking like the one to beat in the epic conditions Cloud 9 has been dishing up.
"When the waves are like this I definitely have an advantage," Tokong said. "I feel like the last couple of years we have been unlucky with waves but this year has been pumping which suits my surfing much more. I've been preparing hard for this event, training and surfing a lot so making the Quarterfinals feels really good."
Another local favourite to progress into the Quarterfinals was Philmar Alipayo who took out his Round 5 heat, much to the delight of iconic Cloud 9 tower that was filled with screaming fans. Alipayo, who finished runner-up at the event in 2016, is hoping to match-up with good friend Tokong in the Final.
"Surfing in this event is such a dream for me and making it to the Quarterfinals feels unreal," Alipayo said. "Having the local knowledge helps so much out here and I hope it continues too pump in the Quarterfinals. It's cool having the fans here cheering so loud. I'd love to surf against John Mark Tokong in the Final."
Hawaiian charger Torrey Meister took out his close matchup with Skip McCullough Quinn Bruce and Manuel Selman. Meister locked in a mid-range score early in the heat before the ocean went quiet leaving him in a great position to win the heat.
"Whenever you lock in a lead early in the heat you always hope for it to go quiet, so you can hang onto it," Meister said. "My board caddy is local and he gave me some great pointers before the heat so he was definitely the guy for me during that win. I knew it might go quiet for our heat as it always seems to turn on for the local guys, and they were the heat before us. Even if it is slow they are still perfect when they come."
Other quarterfinalists include Skip McCullough, Leonardo Usuna, Nichlas Squires, Putra Hermawan and Ty Watson.