Dubbed as “the Surfing Capital of the Philippines”, Siargao is home to some of the best surfers in the country. Situated at 242 kilometres from the equally beautiful Cebu, it’s blessed with a variety of mesmerizing islands like Magpupungko, Guyam, and Daku.
With its stunning, crystal clear waters, Siargao has become an undeniable hotbed for annual surfing competitions both locally and internationally.
Siargao’s National Surfing Cup is a yearly event that aims to bring the best surfers from different regions together for an epic showdown.
Its latest instalment (the 20th of its kind) was held last year in Cloud 9 located in General Luna, Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte from September 24-27.
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With a total prize pool of 323,000 PHP for two classifications and a crack at improving one’s national ranking, it’s understandable why a hundred of surfers from ten different regions in the country flocked to vie for the title.
Overseeing the event is the Philippine Surfing Championship Tour (PSCT), which keeps a keen eye on the best local surfing talents who have what it takes to represent the country in the Olympics and other international leagues. The Asian Surf Cooperative was also there too.
Surfing enthusiasts online were able to get live draw results and heat scores, thanks to the cooperative’s use of the Live Heat scoring system.
With a challenging four-foot surf in the way, the participants battled it out until two competitors remained.
It was a classic David vs. Goliath matchup, with PSCT No. 4 ranked John Mark Tokong going head-to-head with the country’s second best (as per PSCT), Edito “Piso” Alcala.
Surfers need both unwavering determination and some luck with the tides to win it all – two things that John Tokong had when he aced Alcala in total points (19.20 to 17.60).
Unlike other national sporting events that leave the place with heaps of litter, the Siargao National Surfing Cup always begs to differ. It always strives to leave the place unpolluted.
The 20th edition is no different, as the contest director, Joseph Olin, ordered to prohibit single-use plastics during the four-day event. No one would ever want to see the nation’s first-rate crystal waters go to waste, right?
Well, it seems that the National Surfing Cup was a primer for a grander event. The QS 3,000 event lasted for six days of gruelling competition (Sept. 28 – Oct. 4).
It served as an invite to over 150 cream-of-the-crop, professional surfers across the globe (Australia, France, Hawaii, South Africa, Tahiti, United States and more).
Here, a huge chunk of the $75,000 prize money awaited the eventual winner, Skip McCullough. The win catapulted him to the top 100 of the global rankings, from his previous 148th rank.
Local hero John Mark Tokong still put up a good show. Though he lost in the Finals against Skip, his display of manoeuvring brilliance really wowed the crowd; not to mention, he had the highest heat totals in the entire event.
With Siargao having one of the best wave conditions and some of the warmest people on the planet, it will only continue to attract local and foreign surfers alike.
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