D-Day is looming for an international cast of surfers with the Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational in the Philippines less than a week away from starting.
'Cloud 9', a powerful, hollow right-hander located on Siargao Island will again be the focus of the global surfing community with entry confirmations from some of the world’s hottest surfers including pipeline master Jamie O’Brien (Hawaii), 2007 runner-up Nick Vasicek (Coolangatta, Australia), 2006 champion Ryan Hipwood (Gold Coast, Australia), New Zealand's first ever World Champion surfer Jay Quinn (Gisborne, now Gold Coast, Aus) and Hawaiian surfing royalty Makua Rothman.
An invite to compete in the 2009 competition was made all the more attractive with USD $20,000 on the table and the allure of flawless, barrelling waves.
48 surfers from Hawaii, Japan, Australia, Indonesia, South Africa and 12 local wildcards will compete in a specialised format, which culminates in man-on-man heats from the quarterfinals.
Reigning champion Edito ‘Peso’ Alcala (Philippines), who rode barrel after perfect barrel to beat 2007 title holder Wade Goodall (Caloundra, Qld, Aus) in last year’s final, will don a competition vest to defend his title.
Local ace Alcala, who learned to surf at the revered break, will again prove tough competition for his international riders after putting in plenty of practice at Cloud 9 in the past month.
“It’s been pumping for weeks,” said 20-year old Alcala. “We’ve been experiencing plenty of typhoons that have created some great waves. Hopefully it’ll continue into next week.”
What separates the specialty event from standard competitive surfing is that invited contestants are involved in deciding what conditions they will surf in.
With only two full days required to finalise the competition and a seven-day competition window, organisers have the luxury to wait for ideal conditions in which to run the event during Cloud 9’s prime swell period.
Due to Siargao's proximity to the Philippine Deep, big swells from the Pacific Ocean roll in from the second deepest stretch of water in the world to create flawless, hollow barrelling waves.
The 2009 tournament will run from October 21-27,2009. The tournament contest site is Siargao Island’s 'Cloud 9', a powerful, hollow right-hander that has been frequently compared to the renowned surf of Hawaii and Indonesia.