20 Sept, Siargao, Philippines: A broken board? Has the contest even started yet? No, but the tradition here is to break a board at the opening ceremony to start off Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational, but strangely enough it’s been the same board for the last three years (so I was told).
Seems to be working alright so far, as they have a history of getting great waves, but personally I’d be breaking a new one each time just to make sure that the surf gods get a fresh gift each and every time!
Anyways,after the opening ceremony was completed, our Bali crew was beside themselves with joy to find a very familiar sight greeting them for lunch …a couple of big roasted pigs! That in addition to calamari, chicken, beef, crab, and of course big piles of white rice. Nice welcome eh?
The boys from Bali arrived here on Siargao (pronounced ‘Shargaw’) Island yesterday, Wayan “Kopling” Wirtama, Raditya Rondi, Rahtu Suargita, Marlon Gerber, Lee Wilson, Made “Bol” Adi Putra, and Tipi Jabrik. They will be competing here at Cloud 9 against surfers from Australia, Israel, Hawaii, and the Philippines.
The 48 man invitational format is set up for 16 heats with 3 surfers per heat. In addition to the 7 surfers from Bali, 12 local surfers are joining as a result of making into the quarterfinals of their national competition that was just completed here two days ago. Other international surfers include last year’s winner Wade Goodall (Aus), Mikala Jones (Haw), Laurie Towner (Aus), Dylan Longbottom (AUS), Adam Bennetts (Aus), and Dave Rearden-Smith to mention a few.
The heat draw lines up with Made “Bol” Adi Putra first to surf in Heat 2 against Charlie Carroll (Haw) and Alex Conondante (Phil). In Heat 6 Rahtu Suargita will take on Adam Bennetts (Aus) and Rodolfo Alcala (Phil). Marlon Gerber will compete against Steven Walsh (Aus) and the one-legged wonder from the North Philippines (who was just in Bali for a few weeks) Ronie Esquilvel in Heat 10, while Lee Wilson is up against Mitchburg Go and Genelo Nogola, both from the Philippines, in Heat 11.
Tipi Jabrik takes on Jacob Gabbi (Isreal) and Joseph Antipasado (Phil) in Heat 12, then Wayan “Kopling” Wirtama has Damian Wills (Aus) and Romel Rojo (Phil) in Heat 13. Finally, Raditya Rondi will compete against Michael Brennan (Aus) and Arnel Hermosora (Phil) in Heat 16 to finish off things in Round 1.
Now we just have to wait for the surf gods to get on the job and send us a macking big swell to get the action started!
Cloud 9 as a surfing destination is known to be full of surprises in terms of wave conditions. For the past week there has been just enough surf to run the national comp, which took 4 days. Wave size varied from dead flat to head high, but as long as there was some kind of swell, the boys were finding barrels each day. Amazing.
From out of nowhere solid 4-6 foot lines can mysteriously appear, smacking into the reef and launching perfect round barrels. And even when it is only waist high, are still as round, just a miniature version of the big boys. A very unique break, to say the least. The waiting period starts today and runs until the 26th.
I’ll keep you posted…Mabuhay from the Philippines!