(Thursday 25th September, 2008): INTERNATIONAL surfing action continued at the out-of-the-way island of Siargao in the Philippines today, with round two and three of the prestigious Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational being run.
With a more favourable swell on offer at the host break of Cloud 9, contest organisers opted to complete round two before running through with sudden-death round three heats in improving 0.5-1-metre right-hand reef break waves.
In the heat the day, local Philippines ace Edito ‘Peso’ Alcala blew his international foes out of the water, rocketing through to the fourth round with a well-earned round three win.
After top scoring in round two with an impressive barrel-ride, Alcala kicked it up a gear in his next heat, jagging a 6.33 and 5.47 to beat Cloud 9 specialist Dave Reardon-Smith (Yaroomba, Qld, Aus), big wave charger Dylan Longbottom (Coolangatta, Qld, Aus) and fellow Philippines surfer Amel Hermosora.
Alcala finishing with a combined total of 11.80 to Reardon-Smith’s 11.57.
“I can’t believe it,” said Alcala.
“I’ve been waiting all year to take on some of the world’s best surfers in this event, so to win through to round four is just a dream come true. I’m so happy.”
Alcala will take on Australian Stephen Walsh (Lennox Head) when round four kicks off tomorrow, while Reardon-Smith, who progressed in second, will take on Dionisi Espejon (Philippines).
Hawaiian surfers Mikala Jones and Jason Shibata made their intentions clear heading into the business end of competition, featuring near the top of the day’s scorecard to cruise into round four.
Jones, who is more known for his free surfing exploits rather than his competitive savvy, pushed the limits from the onset, unleashing several fins-free manoeuvres to defeat fellow countryman Granger Larsen, Australian Ryan Hipwood (Mermaid Beach, Qld) and Philippine’s Fernando Alipayo with a 13.47 two-wave combined total.
“It was really rippable out there,” said Jones.
“Although it was small the waves still had a lot of push in them. It was ideal for airs and 360-degree manoeuvres.”
Jones will now meet local Philippine surfer Rodolfo Alcala in an exciting round four matchup.
Fellow Hawaiian Shibata was just as lethal, milking Cloud 9’s reeling waves for all their worth to record victory against Marlon Gerber (Bali, Indonesia), Jacob Gabbi (Israel) and Ronie Esquilvel (Philippines).
Meanwhile, defending title holder Wade Goodall is still in contention for back-to-back titles after winning on count back from Indonesia’s Made ‘Raditya’ Rhondi in their tight, round three affair.
Goodall, who celebrated his 22nd birthday yesterday, showed no signs of slowing down, mixing up some old-school carving manoeuvres with a touch of new-age flair to edge out Rhondi.
Both surfers finishing on 11.97-points, before Goodall was awarded the win for his single highest scoring ride of 6.17-points in the heat.
The action will continue tomorrow with round four expected to be completed.
Round 4 Matchups:
Ht 1: Wade Goodall (Aus) vs Michael Hopkins (Aus)
Ht 2: Kobi Manzur (Isr) vs Made ‘Raditya’ Rhondi (Ind)
Ht 3: Laurie Towner (Aus) vs Granger Larsen (Haw)
Ht 4: Mikala Jones (Haw) vs Rodolfo Alcala (Phl)
Ht 5: Jason Shibata (Haw) vs Lee Wilson (Ind)
Ht 6: Tipi Jabrik (Ind) vs Marlon Gerber (Ind)
Ht 7: Dionisi Espejon (Php) vs Dave Reardon-Smith (Aus)
Ht 8: Edito Alcala (Php) vs Stephen Walsh
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]