SIARGAO ISLAND, SURIGAO DEL NORTE – A total of 75,000 US dollars in prize money will be up for grabs in this year’s Siargao International Surfing Cup men’s competition, which is expected to draw more interest from top surfing competitors after its international Qualifying Series (QS) ranking was upgraded in time for the event here in September.
“This year the Siargao International Surfing Cup will be the biggest after it has been upgraded to a World QS3,000 with the total prize money of 75,000 US dollars to be given to the top winning surfers. So far we are expecting around 90 professional surfers from all over the globe to come and compete this year here in Cloud 9, General Luna, Siargao Island which will open on September 23, 2017,” said Gerry Degan, event director for the surfing tilt.
Degan, who has been the surfing competition’s director for the past 15 years, expressed his enthusiasm for this year’s event.
“Since the QS ranking has been upgraded, surfers are expecting more WQS points, and with more points we expect more big names from the international surfing circuit, as they will be going after the higher WQS ranking points. Everyone wants a slice of the points, the prize money is more of an added icing on the cake,” said Degan.
Degan said that the top eight local surfers from the national competition will qualify for the international event, adding that “I do think three to four local surfers have the chance. They know the waves so very well and they are fantastic surfers. Who knows, with their knowledge of Cloud 9, they might be able to take home the top prize.”
“We are looking to have professional surfers competing here in Cloud 9 from countries such as Australia, Japan, Mexican, mainland United States, Hawaii, New Zealand, Indonesia, South Africa, Spain, France, England and Tahiti,” he added.
Carlito Nogallo, one of the local professional surfers from Siargao Island, shared both optimism and concerns about the upcoming competition.
“I’m sure this year will be bigger, more exciting and with far better international surfers that will be competing as the competition has been upgraded to QS3,000 but this means that it will be harder for local surfers and we have to work extra harder just to get into the top spot,” he said.
Nogallo added that, “it will be harder for us and a huge challenge but if we will be able to read the waves properly and ride the big waves, then we will be able to showcase the Cloud 9 surfing we have grown with here in Siargao.”
Mary Jean A. Camarin, officer in charge of the Department of Tourism (DOT) in Caraga Region, revealed that the DOT has allocated 10,000 million pesos for the entire year with several events in Siargao Island.
“This includes the recently concluded the 1st Siargao International Marathon, which was done last July. Then we has the 10th Siargao International Game Fishing Tournament back in April, the 10th Siargao International Women’s Surfing Cup 2017 last May and then right before the Men’s International Surfing Cup with be the Men’s National Surfing Competition,” said Camarin.
She explained further that the provincial government of Surigao del Norte has also been supportive in finding for local sponsors that would hopefully help out to further make the event bigger.
The World Surf League (WSL) announced on their website on August 15, 2017 that the Siargao International Surfing Cup on September has been upgraded from a QS1,500 event to QS3,000.
“Upgrading from a QS1,500 to a QS3,000 will mean not only more qualifying points on offer for competitors but increased prize money and a larger field that will be broadcast live on the WSL website. With this in mind, there will no doubt be a hungry pack of QS surfers heading to the famed peak of Cloud 9 for this year’s event,” as posted on their website.
Australian professional surfer Sandon Whittaker who took the 2016 Cup expressed on the WSL website his eagerness to return to Siargao and defend his title.
“I’m stoked the Siargao Surfing Cup is going to be a QS3,000 this year. I can’t wait to get back there it is an amazing place. Cloud 9 is an incredible place and is so much fun to surf in all conditions which makes it great for a contest. Siargao is a tropical paradise, the waters warm, it’s really clean, the food is so good and the waves are epic, plus the locals are really friendly and helpful. It’s going to be a great contest,” said Whittaker.