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25 Years of International Surfing

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The first ever International Cup in Siargao was held in 1995, when the local government together with some expatriates from Australia organized the “Siargao Surfing Classic Competition” in Cloud 9 break. Now, 25 years have passed since it all began. What started as a fun competition between the few surfers that were around is now a World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series event.

Through this quarter of century, the competition has been evolving constantly: change of name, the prize awards and its participants, but Cloud 9 continued to show the world the type of waves the ocean gives us here in Siargao. Every single detail on this list paved the road to what is Siargao today. Let us relive the competition from its start in 1995 until the present day.

photo by Martin Howell. www.rafsworld.com

*Prize moneys are indicated in the currency we kept track of, be aware that the value of Filipino pesos and dollars have varied throughout these years.

1995

Winner: Travis Pyle

Country: Australia

Name of the competiton: “Siargao Surfing Classic”

Travis Payle, from Australia, won the first ever International Competition in Cloud 9. At that time, Payle used to spend long periods in Siargao and was a good friend of Fernando “Yok Yok” Alipayo. He started mentoring him in 1996 when Alipayo was still a kid. In return, Alipayo taught him Bisaya. At that time, only very few foreigner surfers were around.

1996

Winner: Neal Purchase Jr

Country: Australia

Name Comp: “Siargao Surf Cup”

Neal Purchase Jr, from Australia, won the second Siargao Surf Cup in 1996. He is known to the locals as a barrel master . Nowadays, Purchase is a worldwide famous shaper based in Currumbin, Australia.

1998

Winner: Dave “Speg” McKinlay

Country: Australia

Name Comp: “Quicksilver Siargao International Surfing Cup”

Dave McKinley, from Australia, won the “Quicksilver Siargao International Surfing Cup”. It was the first year that an international brand sponsored the event.

1999

Winner: Rodolfo “Osot” Alcala

Country: Philippines

Name Comp: “5th International Siargao Surf Cup”

Surfer Cash Prize: PHP 100,000

The first ever local to win the International Surfing Cup was the notorious Rodolfo Alcala at only 16 years old and armed with a borrowed board from the Australian, Stewart Caden. At this competition, Alcala gave his PHP 100,000 cash prize to his grandma and bought a motorbike. This was the first year that the competition was given a number: it was named the “5th International Siargao Surf Cup”.

2001

Winner: Drew Courtney

Country: Australia

Name Comp: “7th Siargao International Surf Cup”

Drew Courtney, from Australia, “won the trophy in 2001 with his powerful tube riding style, handling the biggest barrels Cloud 9 produced with heaps of style and flair”, as explained in a report. This veteran competed from 2008 to 2010 on the World Champion Tour (WCT). Today, although he still participates in local competitions, he is nearly retired from surfing and has been more focused in judging these past years.

2002

Winner: Steve Hughes

Country: Australia

Name Comp: “8th International Siargao Surfing Cup”

Number of participants: Over 100 competitors

Surfer Cash Prize: PHP 550,000

Steven Hughes, from Australia, won the 8th International Siargao Surfing Cup, taking home a total of PHP550,000. "I’ve had a great week of surfing here. I had no idea the waves in the Philippines were so good!", Hughes explained to the Philippine Star Journal.

In 2002, the first plans of including this event on the Official ASP World Qualifying Calendar were being studied, according to ASP Austral-Asia Tour director Matt Wilson. That year’s competition was the longest running event held in Cloud 9.

2003

Winner: Jay “Bottle” Thompson

Country: Australia

Name Comp:“9th International Siargao Surfing Cup”

Surfer Cash Prize: PHP 225,000

Jay Thompson, from Australia, emerged triumphant at the 9th Cup winning PHP225,000. That cup was accredited as a 2-star surfing competition by the Association of Surfing Professionals - Australia / Asia Region (ASP-AA).

The 2003’s competition was a world record breaking event because 18 surf boards were broken by the powerful waves of Cloud 9. Australians came up with four winners that year. “Siargao is becoming a surfing paradise in the world because of its world class waves and ecotourism wonders,'' said Sunny Abberton, an Australian surfer.

2004

Winner: Mark Matthews

Country: Australia

Name Comp: “10th International Siargao Surfing Cup”

After finishing 2nd in 2003, Mark Matthews came back to Cloud 9 and claimed the title in 2004. Mark Matthews is a well known surfer as he is a professional big wave rider. “One of the world’s most committed heavy-water surfers, there isn’t much out there Mark Mathews hasn’t done, explains his sponsor Red Bull.

2005

Winner: Ryan Augustine

Country: United States

Name Comp: “11th International Siargao Surfing Cup”

Ryan Augustine was the first American to win in Siargao during the 11th International Cup. Augustine has also ventured himself into riding legendary waves such as Mavericks in California.

2006

Winner: Ryan Hipwood

Country: Australia

Name Comp: 12th International Siargao Surfing Cup

Ryan Hipwood won the 12th Siargao Cup. Hipwood was part of the Billabong Team at that time. Hipwood has had a successful surfing career and won awards for his skills on riding Big Waves.

2007

Winner: Wade Goodall

Country: Australia

Name Comp: “the 13th Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational Surfing Competition”

Number of participants: 48 competitors

Total Cash Prize: $30,000

Surfer Cash Prize: $7,500

In 2007, Billabong with Surfing Australia held a special T event which lasted for three years, inviting 48 renown surfers such as James O’Brien, Wade Goodall, Luke Igan and more to compete in Cloud 9.

That year, Wade Goodall claimed the first place and won $ 7,500. "In as far as the quality of waves is concerned, Siargao has the best waves in the world,'' Goodall said. This year, Siargao had the highest profile surfers ever.

2008

Winner: Edito “Piso” Alcala

Country: Philippines

Name Comp: “14th Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational Surfing Competition”

Number of participants: 48 competitors

Total Cash Prize: $30,000

Surfer Cash Prize: $7,500

Edito “Piso” Alcala won the 14th International Cup presented by Billabong International Southeast Asia and won $7,500, his biggest prize won until now.

The event attracted once more nearly fifty foreign surfers who travelled all the way to General Luna to compete in the magnificent waves of Cloud 9 in Siargao Island.

Among the participants were some of the world’s most prolific tube riders including 2006 Pipeline master James O’Brien and professional big wave rider Makua Rothman, both from Hawaii. Also present in the event were fearless Australian chargers Laurie Towner and Dylan Longbottom.

2009

Winner: Garret Parkes

Country: Australia

Name Comp: “15th Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational Surfing Competition”

Number of participants: 60 competitors

Total Cash Prize: $30,000

Surfer Cash Prize: $7,500

Garrett Parkes won first place at the 2009 Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational Surfing Championship over Hawaiian Makua Rothman. Parkes, defeated Gold Coast’s Joel Nantes in the quarters before taking down local Carlito Nogalo in the semis.

2010

Winner: Rodolfo “Osot” Alcala

Country: Philippines

Name Comp: “16th Siargao International Surfing Cup”

Number of participants: 36 competitors

Total Cash Prize: PHP 350,000

Surfer Cash Prize: PHP 150,000

“Osot” Alcala came back strong in 2010 and placed himself in first place for the second time, bringing home PHP150,000.

2011

Winner: Enrique Ariitu

Country: Tahiti (France)

Name Comp: “17th International Siargao Surf Competition”

Number of participants: 40 competitors

Total Cash Prize: $10,000

Surfer Cash Prize: PHP160,000

Enrique Ariitu won the 17th International Cup and became the first and only Tahitian to take over Cloud 9.

2012

Winner: Edito “Piso” Alcala

Country: Philippines

Name Comp: “18th International Siargao Surfing Cup”

Number of participants: 36 competitors

Total Cash Prize: $10,000

Surfer Cash Prize: P150,000

In 2012, Piso won his second International Surfing Competition presented by Quiksilver. “According to Piso, he was able to achieve his victory through self confidence, experience and believing that he will take home the title”, as reported in Mindanews.

2013

Winner: Komang Putra Hermawan

Country: Indonesia

Name Comp: “19th International Siargao Surfing Cup”

Number of participants: 48 competitors

Total Cash Prize: US$10,000

Surfer Cash Prize: US$5,000

Komang Putra Hermawan, a 20-year old surfer at that time from Lembongan Island in Bali, won the 19th Siargao Cup after conquering the waves of Cloud 9 against Rodolfo “Osot” Alcala. That year, the Siargao Cup became a 6 star sanctioned event of ASC.

“For four days, 48 men from 11 countries namely the Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Israel, Russia, France, Holland and Hawaii (USA) surfed it out in the ASC 6 star rated circuit competition with a total price purse of US$10,000”, as reported in Mindanews.

2014

Winner: Edito “Piso” Alcala

Country: Philippines

Name Comp: “The 20th Siargao International Surfing Cup”

Number of participants: 48 competitors

Total Cash Prize: $15,000

Surfer Cash Prize: $4,000

“Piso” made his way to the highest step on the podium once more and won what was the first ever Association of Surfing Professionals Qualifying Series event, on a man on man final with Carlito Nogalo. Piso scored a total heat score of 19.45 out of a possible 20 points.

After his victory Piso declared: “I’m very proud to win here today. This win is for everyone, for me, my family, the locals and surfers from around the world who continue to visit” he said. With the support of the local government units the event was upgraded to an ASP 1-star World Qualifying Series event with a $15,000 prize purse.

2015

*Winner: John “Marama” Tokong**

Country: Philippines

Name Comp: 21st Annual Siargao International Surfing Cup

Number of participants: 64 competitors

Total Cash Prize: $50,000

Surfer Cash Prize: $8,000

At only 19 year old, “Marama” won the 21st annual Siargao International Surfing Cup at Cloud 9 against Piso Alcala and brought home his biggest paycheck ($8,000) in this WSL-ASC sanctioned QS1,500. This was the year that WSL QS started in Siargao making it the biggest prize purse in Philippine surfing history of $50,000 USD. Alcala took a decent $4,000 home for his runner-up finish.

2016

Winner: Sandon Whittaker

Country: Australia

Name Comp: 22nd Annual Siargao International Surfing Cup

Number of participants: 63 competitors

Total Cash Prize: $50,000

Surfer Cash Prize: $8,000

The 2016 Siargao Surfing Cup was once again a Qualifying Series (QS) 1,500 event. Sandon Whittaker conquered the 2016 Cup in Cloud 9. "This is a dream come true. This is only my third QS event, so I had low expectations, especially being a 16-year-old with all the older guys. It doesn't feel real. Coming up against Philmar was scary because local knowledge is very important here" explained Sandon Whittaker to WSL.

2017

Winner: Raoni Monteiro

Country: Brazil

Name Comp: 23rd Annual Siargao International Surfing Cup

Number of participants: Over 90 competitors

Total Cash Prize: $75,000

Surfer Cash Prize: $12,000

The former elite Championship Tour (CT), at that moment, Raoni Monteiro from Brazil came up against Costa Rica’s Thomas King.

2017, was the biggest surf event as it was upgraded to a World QS 3,000 with a total prize money of 75,000 US dollars. Since the QS ranking were upgraded, surfers were expecting more WQS points “and with more points we expect more big names from the international surfing circuit. Everyone wants a slice of the points, the prize money is more of an added icing on the cake,” Degan said.

2018

Winner: Skip McCullough

Country: United States

Name Comp: “24th Siargao International Surfing Cup”

Number of participants: 128 competitors

Total Cash Prize: $75,000

Surfer Cash Prize: $12,000

Skip, from Southern California, won last year’s competition in Cloud 9, against “Marama” Tokong. Scoring a total heat score of 12.17 (out of a possible 20). That was by far the best result in McCullough’s career and it rocketed him from #148 on the WSL QS rankings to the top 100.

This year’s event “will play as the final chapter in a run of three events across Asia at some of the most iconic waves on the planet [...] Being one of the last QS1,500 events of the year in the Asia region, the 25th installment of this iconic event will be more important than ever for the huge international field it's expected to draw.”, as reported by WSL.

Good luck to all surfers!

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