25 September 2015, General Luna – Philippines: After an early 6:00 am call saw only small waves on offer, a 12:00 standby was announced to allow the tide to bottom out and then start filling back in, and sure enough, with the rising, the Philippine’s most famous wave came to life and began to deliver it’s perfectly shaped 3-4 foot barrels over the shallow reef to the delight of the surfers, spectators and the WSL and ASC crews.
There were heaps of highlight from the international surfers gathered to compete for the $50,000 USD in prize money and WQS and ASC points on offer as the first day of competition saw all but two heats of the round of 64 run before the daylight began to fade.
The ASC contingent, from Indonesia and the Philippines, fared very well today, with only one failing to make it into the round of 32.
Defending event champion Piso Alcala advanced into the second round, taking the initial lead but then was overtaken by Hawaii’s Love Hodel, who used his priority to get a couple of deep pits and take the lead.
Garut Widiarta from Bali was the first Indonesian of four to win heats today, even though he wasn’t confident at the start.
“When my heat came up I started to worry about my board, because I knew I had the perfect one for those conditions at home, but I didn’t’ bring it, one just perfect for those smaller barrels, really fast,” he said. “But I just though what the hell, just go out and surf and don’t think about it. I was lucky to get that one good set wave on priority for an 8.25 and then back it up with that smaller inside one for a 6.65 to get the lead. It felt so good to win a heat here at Cloud 9, as I didn’t do very well last year, so now I’m hoping for more good luck tomorrow!”
Dede Suryana from West Java was next, winning his heat with local Donesio Espijon coming in second.
“On my first wave I got a really good barrel, but I guess I was enjoying it so much I relaxed a bit and got knocked off just at the last second,” said Dede. “Then I was really afraid that would be my last chance to get a big score, but lucky I did get another one, a 7.75 to start. But with Tim (MacDonald) out there and Dodo (Donesio Espijon) a local, I really needed a good back up score. So without priority I grabbed an inside one for a 6.15 and got the lead, and then ended up winning the heat. I really hope the waves get bigger tomorrow, I love this place when it’s big and pumping!”
Pepen Hendrik also advanced with a heat win, and local Arkipo Figuron coming in second. “There were a lot of guys surfing really good today, so I’m happy I won my heat but I know it’s going to be even harder tomorrow,” said Hendrik. “On my first couple of waves I just couldn’t make it out of the barrel, I just kept getting pinched, but finally a got that 6.75 and followed it up with that 7.17 that got me into the lead and the win. That last one was just a medium sized wave, but I got pretty deep and that’s why I got the good score. It felt really good out there!”
Lakey Peak’s Oney Anwar won his heat, with Bali’s Raditya Rondi advancing with a second place finish.
In heat 10, local ace John Mark “Marama” Tokong posted an 8.0 on his first wave, and then went on to take 8 more waves, 4 of which scored 6 points or above. This kid is magic to watch and is fearless!
Fellow Siargao local’s Carlito Nogalo, Philmar Alipayo, Martin Tanigra, Mark Canon, Mike Escoltura and Pete Catulay also will advance into the round of 32.
Catulay also posted the day’s highest single wave score in the final heat of the day, a 9.40 out of a possible 10, along with an 8.25, giving him the highest heat score of the day as well, 17.65 points out of a possible 20.
Tomorrow action is expected to resume early in the morning, with the organizers calling for a 5:45 standby in preparation for a 6:00 am start.
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