SIARGAO ISLAND, Surigao de Norte: All are set for the opening of the 22nd Siargao World Surfing Cup in Cloud 9, Barangay Catangan, General Luna town, Surigao del Norte on Friday.
Around 6,000 to 7,000 foreign and local tourists are expected to arrive in Siargao Island to witness the event, Mayor Jaime Rusillon, of General Luna said.
The formal opening of the competition will be led by House Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez together with Governor Sol Matugas, Congressman Bingo Matugas and former Congressman Francisco Matugas.
Rusillon said that as of Wednesday, 51 professional surfers from all over the world have already arrived to compete in the surfing cup.
These surfers come from Hawaii, USA; Japan, Ecuador, Indonesia, South Africa, Hong Kong, Israel, Mexico, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Chile, Canada and the Philippines.
“Cloud 9 is considered No. 8 surfing Mecca in the world,” the mayor pointed out, adding that the most number of surfers to compete this year, 19, will come from Australia.
At stake is the 50,000-dollar prize that will be divided among the champion and the two runner-ups.
Last year, two Filipinos dominated the competition – John Mark Tokong and Piso Alcala were declared champion and 1st runner-up, respectively, while Lucan Chianca from Brazil was the 2nd runner-up. Both Tokong and Alcala are from Siargao Island.
This year, eight Filipino surfers will compete in the event, to include Tokong, Alcala, Philmar Alipayo, Jun Esqunel, Paul John Alipayo, Martin Taniegra, Mike Escoltura and Carlito Nogalo.
The eight Filipino surfers were the qualifiers of the recently concluded 18th National Surfing Cup also held at Cloud 9 last September 17 to 21. There were 153 local surfers from various parts of the country who competed during the local cup.
This year’s surfing competition is also being supported by the provincial government, the 1st congressional district of Surigao del Norte and the Department of Tourism (DOT).
Rusillon also bared that for the last three years accreditation from the World Surfing League and the Asian Surfing Championship had already been facilitated.
If surfing will be included in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the mayor said winners of the event for the last three years will gain points to qualify for the said international competition.