(Wednesday 24th September, 2008): WITH inconsistent surfing conditions on offer at the remote island of Siargao in the Philippines today, the second annual Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational went mobile for day two of competition.
Tuason Point, a peeling right hand reef break situated 500-metres from the tournament break of Cloud 9, hosted the prestigious tournament with the 10 remaining non-elimination round 1 heats being completed.
Australian surfers Stephen Walsh (Lennox Head, NSW) and Dave Reardon-Smith (Yaroomba, Qld) dominated the day’s surfing, tearing up the clean 0.5-1-metre waves on hand, to storm into round three.
Walsh, who is the younger brother of renowned Australian big wave charger Anthony Walsh, stole the show, mixing up a variety of radical tail sildes, aerials and full rotation maneovures to bag both the day’s highest combined heat total and individual wave score en route to defeating Indonesia’s Marlon Gerber and local Philippines surfer Ronie Esquilvel.
The 22 year-old went for broke on each of his two scoring waves, nailing a tournament-high 7.7 and a 7.00 to finish with a two-wave combined total of 14.7 (out of a possible 20).
“I just went out there and surfed the heat like a free surf,” said Walsh.
“The more I pushed it the better I seemed to surf. I just didn’t seem to fall on any key moves.”
Reardon-Smith, who finished equal third in last year’s Cloud 9 event, was also on fire, executing three huge vertical re-entries to record a 6.5 on his second wave.
Going from strength to strength, Reardon-Smith backed it up with an even better 7.07 to defeat local Philippines surfer Zaldy Coldura and Australian expat Glen Rickson with a 13.57 total.
“Conditions seemed to improve in my heat,” said Reardon-Smith.
“The swell cleaned up a lot and the waves were quite glassy, so I just went out there and had some fun.”
Australians joining Walsh and Reardon-Smith as round one victors included Adam Bennetts (Main Beach) and Dylan Longbottom (Coolangatta) from the Gold Coast, along with Damien Wills of the Central Coast and Michael Hopkins of Wollongong.
Indonesian surfers had a mixed day with only Lee Wilson (Kuta) and Made ‘Raditya’ Rhondi (Kuta) recording a win in round one, while Mikala Jones advanced directly through to round three as the lone Hawaiian in the day’s draw.
Competition will resume tomorrow with round two expected to be completed before the opening round three heats are surfed.
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]