2 May 2012, Siargao Island – Philippines: Local knowledge proved key to a semifinals berth on Day Two of the Roxy Siargao International Women’s Cup at Cloud 9, with Siargao locals Nilve Blancada and Manette Alcala both besting a mixed field of international competitors in Round 3 and then winning their Quarterfinal women-on-women heats.
The Quarterfinals today were bookended by very tightly contested heats, with Nilve Blancada and Daisy Valdez from La Union (Northern Philippines) getting the crowd on their feet and cheering as both girls traded barrels and attacked the solid 3-4 foot waves in an all-out battle for the win in Quarterfinal 1. With only a minutes to go and Nilbie in the lead, Daisy needed a bomb and a big score to advance, but all that was on offer was a small inside wave, which she took and made the most of with a mini barrel and a couple hacks but it just wasn’t enough.
“I tried my best out there,” said the diminutive Daisy who is less than 5 feet tall. “But I just couldn’t get a long enough barrel for a big score.”
Nilve was all smiles and very excited to be advancing into the semifinals, but too shy to say anything other than, “I’m so happy!”
In Quarterfinal 2 it was Australia’s Philippa Anderson getting the better of Nilve’s sister Nildie Blancada-Reitenbach, who had her share of waves but couldn’t find the big score that would get her ahead of the Australian Number Two ranked Women’s Pro Junior.
Quarterfinal 3 saw Australian past-professional World Tour surfer Kim Wooldridge make easy work of her local opponent Nemia, who seemed very stoked at just having made it to the quarterfinals, the farthest she has ever gotten in a surf competition.
The day’s competitive surfing ended with local 28 year old Manette Alcala winning over Roxy Marketing Executive Holly Monkman from Australia. Manette was super excited with her win, saying, “I never though I would win that heat, especially against Holly because I saw her surf before and she is really good. I just tried to find the best waves and surf as good as I could, and at the end of the heat I still didn’t know that I’d won. I’m so happy I’m into the semifinals!” Turns out she will be matched up against her friend Kim Woolridge, which she has competed against before. “It’s great I get to surf against Kim again…I think it’s the 3rd or 4th time I have surfed against her and we always have fun. But hopefully this time I can beat her and get into the finals!”
With the quarterfinals completed Contest Director Gerry Degan held a brief consultation with the remaining competitors and the event organizers to decide of the contest should continue, and it was decided that with the strengthening wind and two more days left in the waiting period it was best to stop for the day and wait for tomorrow morning to assess the conditions. So with that it was announced that the contest would stop for the day and surfers and crew should be ready to go at 11 am tomorrow.
Semifinal 1: Nilve Blancada vs Philippa Anderson
Semifinal 2: Kim Wooldridge vs Manette Alcala
Tomorrow may see the conclusion of the event and the winner going home with a big fat winners check of $2,500, as the waves are predicted to be much the same as today with glassy conditions and 3-4 foot epic surf!
This historic event has the distinction of being both the first-ever Asian Surfing Championship event to be held in the Philippines and the first to receive the top Ultima rating for its PHP 300,000 (approximately $7,000 USD) prize purse in Women’s Division competition.
The Roxy Siargao International Women’s Surfing Cup is supported by the Philippine Department of Tourism, the House of Representatives, the Province of Surigao Del Norte, the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority and the Municipality of General Luna, organized by the Philippine Surfing Federation, and with sponsorship from the Primer Group of Companies, Rockstar Energy Drink the San Miguel Corporation, and media support by Thirty Six-O Media.
Words and photos by Tim Hain