7 May 2015, Siargao Island, Philippines: The quarterfinals were completed this morning in wind affected 3-4 foot Cloud 9 at the 8th annual Siargao International Women’s Surfing Cup presented by Volcom, Skullcandy and Silangan, with two of Siargao’s best women surfers and two international women surfers left to battle it out tomorrow in the two remaining semifinal heats to see who will ultimately take home the big $3,000 USD first place prize money in the final.
Wave conditions permitting, as the swell forecast is predicting a 6-9 foot swell peaking tomorrow at noon with medium to strong offshore winds, the semifinalists will be called into action tomorrow morning at 6:30 am, says Contest Director Gerry Degan. “Today’s conditions were somewhat of a surprise, as the forecast had predicted light winds and the same size swell as yesterday, but when we checked at 5:30 am the wind was already quite strong onshore and the waves were smaller than yesterday. We’re hoping that the winds will switch around overnight and the swell that is predicted to arrive will not be too big, but just big enough. With the women remaining in the contest though, it shouldn’t be a problem as I think they can all handle sizable surf, so we’re looking forward to an exciting conclusion of the event tomorrow,” he explained.
With the strong winds early this morning the decision was made at 6:30am to hold off until 8:30, at which time Degan met with ASC Judge Billy Hangan and the quarterfinalists to make another call, and with enough waves still coming through the agreement was reached to go with 30 minute heats and finish the quarterfinals.
In the first heat of the morning it was Australia’s Philippa Anderson finding her rhythm early, picking off some good waves and executing some critical turns to win over 16 year old Pua Johnson from Indonesia. “When I was paddling out I saw the kind of waves I was looking for, and although it was a bit tricky I did manage to find a few, so I’m stoked to get through and win the heat. Hopefully we’ll have less wind and some great waves for tomorrow,” she said after the heat.
In Quarterfinal 2 it was a senior goofyfooters heat with Kim Wooldridge (AUS) up against long-time friend and Siargao local Nildie Rietenbach as the oldest women surfers in the competition. Kim jumped into the lead early but as the heat progressed Nildie gained momentum wave after wave and ended up with the heat win, even with her injured knee. “I really didn’t expect to win that heat against Kim,” said Nildie. “I really enjoy surfing with her so we were talking the whole time in between waves. There were still some fun waves out there, you just had to find the ones that lined up and would run all the way inside. I’m lucky I got through, I’m really blessed. Tomorrow looks like it will be really huge, if the forecast is right, so good luck to all the girls!”
Wooldridge was smiling and joking back in tower after her loss, saying, “Wow, I had a shocker out there!” She added, “I was kinda worried about Nilbie because of her injury, as I’ve had that same injury myself, so I was telling her to be careful and watch the chops…turns out I didn’t have anything to worry about, hahaha. But oh well, I think I’m still in contention for the best wipeout award, as I added another good candidate in that last heat…so I think I’m still in first place!”
In Quarterfinal 3 after a slow start, local champion Nilbie Blancada began to pick off waves with and without priority to post some solid scores with great turns and even a bit of above-the-lip surfing to eliminate Manilyn “Dayday” Argente. “I just tried to find some good ones out there. First I was waiting and waiting, and then I decided to just keep trying until I found a good one, so even though it wasn’t my best heat, I’m glad I got through and hopefully tomorrow will be better conditions for us,” said Nilbie.
Japan’s Rina Kitazawa is also hoping for bigger and better conditions for tomorrow after winning her heat against local Angieline Alipayo. Rina picked of a couple of the biggest set waves and had no trouble aggressively attacking them for high scores and the heat win. “I hope it will be bigger tomorrow, even if it will be a bit scary, I want to take it on, ” she said.
Angieline, who is studying for a university tourism degree when she’s not at home surfing, wasn’t upset with her loss at all, saying, “This is the first time I’ve made it to the quarterfinals in this event, so I’m really happy with my result. Next year maybe I can reach the semifinals!”
After the action finished up today, the semifinalists were all given a Volcom gift pack, presented by Mikey Punsalan from Volcom to end an exciting morning of surfing.
Tomorrow’s lineup will be:
Semifinal 1: Philippa Anderson (AUS) vs Nilde Rietenbach (PHP)
Semifinal 2: Nilbie Blancada (PHP) vs Rina Kitazawa (JPN)
Weather and internet connectivity permitting, you will be able to see live heat scores as well as a live cam of Cloud 9 during the mornings competition at: http://www.asiansurfingtour.com/events/siargaowomenscup
With a truly international field of 24 women from countries including Japan, Germany, Slovakia, Greece, England, Indonesia, Switzerland, and Australia joining the Philippines best women surfers at one of the world’s top 10 surf spots as rated by CNN and Surfer Magazine, the 8th annual Siargao International Women’s Cup is spectacular event for both competitors and the spectators alike.
The Siargao International Women’s Surfing Cup is funded by the Municipality of General Luna, together with sponsors Volcom, Skullcandy, Silangan Mindanao Mining Company, Kudo Surf, Sagana Resort, Surf Angels, Siargao Bleu Resort & Spa, Lux Siargao Boutique Resort, Hippie’s Surf Shop, Rock Island Sushi, San Miguel, Cebu Pacific Airlines, and My Life On Board.
Sanctioned by the Asian Surfing Championships and supported by the Philippine Surfing Federation, Philippine Department of Tourism, Province of Siargao Del Norte, and Philippines House of Representatives