Image courtesy Billabong Australia
UPDATE 7TH AUGUST 2010: THIS EVENT IS CANCELLED
[Originally published June 2010] The Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational surfing cup on Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte, is the most eagerly awaited surfing event in Asia – mainly because of the uniqueness of the Cloud 9 break but the idyllic tropical island location, combined with the laid-back Siargao Island lifestyle, has a lot to do with it.
An international cast of surfers from Australia, Bali, Japan, New Zealand, Indonesia, South Africa, Hawaii and the Philippines are the typical line-up for international surfing cup events at Cloud 9, Siargao, and if a typhoon happens to pass by then everyone will be literally on Cloud 9.
The Cloud 9 break is made exceptional by Siargao’s close proximity to the Philippine Deep – the second deepest ocean trench on Earth – where Pacific Ocean swells, that start their travels far beyond Hawaii, are suddenly stopped by the small angled coral formation on Siargao’s East coast, walking distance from General Luna town. The result is the flawless, hollow, barreling waves of Cloud 9; a typical Cloud 9 barrel is 1-1.5 meters high and can travel for 2-300 meters. Add a typhoon over the Pacific Ocean into the mix (as happened at the start of the 2009 Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational surfing cup) and the swells will consistently produce 2-3 meter high barrels.
Siargao Island is below the typhoon-belt, meaning it does not receive direct hits by Pacific Ocean typhoons. However, if a typhoon is brewing out near the islands of Guam or Yap, during the southwest monsoon season (June to October), then significant ocean swells roll towards Siargao. Siargao Island’s unique location, and Cloud 9’s unique topology, mean that the swells rise high and mighty at the Cloud 9 break and the southwest monsoon breezes hold the face of the waves up until the very last minute, creating the famous barrels that, for the aficionado, is a must-ride.
At the opening of the 2009 Siargao surfing championship the reigning Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational champion was Edito “Peso” Alcala (Philippines): Peso was barreled out by on-form Australian Jamie O’Brian (pictured at the head of this surfing news item) in the quarter finals; Jamie was in turn out-surfed by Australian surfer Garrett Parkes (Byron Bay, NSW, Australia) in the semi-finals; Garrett went on beat Hawaiian Makua Rothman, in a man-on-man surfing final (Rothman broke two surfboards during his challenge) to raise the 2009 Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational surfing cup.
The 2010 Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational surfing cup, 24th – 30th September, 2010, will offer similar spectacle and international talent. Whether there will be a typhoon around to spice up the barrels is the only variable that is impossible to predict at this time.
If you have any interest whatsoever in surfing, action sports photography, tropical island paradises, get-away-from-it-all vacations, island living then you need to visit Siargao during the 2010 Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational surfing cup.
To get to Siargao you can fly direct from Mactan Cebu International Airport (Cebu) or, fly from Manila or Cebu to Surigao airport (Surigao Del Norte) and then take the daily before-noon-ferry to Siargao Island – the ferry to Siargao offers a four-hour vista of tropical islands, coral reefs and local aquatic wildlife.
Accommodation on Siargao Island, between General Luna and Cloud 9, varies in price and form – from around Php500, for a basic off-beach-fan-room, to Php5,000+ for prime, air-conditioned beach-front villas.
Contact information for Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational Surfing Cup
The nearest webcam to Siargao is Cebu Yacht Club, Mactan Island