(Tuesday 23rd September, 2008): INTERNATIONAL surfing action returned to the Philippines today with the opening round of the highly-anticipated Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational getting underway at the remote, island jewel of Siargao.
Cloud 9, once voted as amongst the ten top waves in the world, again took centre stage with 6 non-elimination round one heats being completed in clean 0.5-1-metre reef break waves before high tide conditions halted proceedings.
Reigning title holder Wade Goodall (Caloundra, Qld, Aus) made a perfect start to his title defence winning the day’s opening heat to advance directly through to round three.
But it was no easy win for the former Australasian Pro Junior Series champion, having to rely on his full bag of tricks to post a come-from-behind victory against local Philippines surfer Martin Tenegra and fellow Australian Adam Sharpe, who were both relegated to non-elimination round two.
After a slow start, Goodall kicked into gear, nailing a 5.87 before posting a heat high 7.07 in the final two minutes of the 25-miunte heat to finish on top with a 12.94 two-wave combination.
“It was good to get a win under my belt,” said Goodall.
“Conditions were quite marginal and the other guys seemed to be getting all the bigger waves in the first half of the heat. Luckily I was able to get some rhythm by heat’s end and advance to round three.”
Fellow Australian Laurie Towner (Yamba. NSW) joined Goodall in round three, after easily disposing of Israel’s Kobi Manzur and local Philippino Bonoficio Figuron in his round one heat.
Towner, who is more known for charging big waves around the globe, showcased his small wave trickery to finish in the numero uno position on 10.17-points to Manzur’s 7.97 total.
Hawaiian surfers Jason Shibata, Granger Larsen and Charlie Carroll also tasted success today, shredding the Cloud 9 line-up to pieces to all record convincing round one wins.
Shibata, who competed in the inaugural Billabong Cloud 9 invitational in ’07, led from start to finish, bagging a 6.33 on his opening wave before furthering his lead with an even better 7.07 to finish on a 13.40 total.
“It’s great to be back at Cloud 9,” said Shibata.
“It’s one of my favourite waves to surf, so a win today means a lot. Hopefully it’ll put me in good stead heading into round three.”
With favourable swell conditions forecasted tomorrow, contest organisers expect to complete the remaining round one heats along with round two.
What separates the Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational from standard competitive surfing is that invited contestants are involved in deciding what conditions they will surf in.
With only two full days required to finalise the competition and a seven-day competition window, organisers have the luxury to wait for ideal conditions in which to run the event during Cloud 9’s prime swell period.
Due to Siargao’s proximity to the Philippines, big swells from the Pacific Ocean roll in from the second deepest stretch of water in the world to create flawlessly hollow waves.
The Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational is proudly supported by the Provincial Government of Surigao Del Norte with support from the Department of Tourism Philippines.
Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational Media Manager
Ph. +61 422 987 069
Em. [email protected]