CLOUD NINE, General Luna, Siargao Island (MindaNews / 07 May) — Australian surfer Philippa Anderson reigned supreme in the World Surf League (WSL) sanctioned 9th Siargao Women’s International Surfing Cup Qualifying Series 1,000 which ended here on Saturday afternoon.
Anderson, last year’s defending champion, outplayed 24 top-seeded surfers across the globe at the perfect right-hand reef of Cloud Nine.
In the 35-minute final round, Anderson was vying against fellow Australian Mikaela Greene. The later drew first blood by flaunting her skills, earning decent scores in her sets at the perfect right-hand reef on Cloud 9. Greene controlled the heat for majority of the time, consistently posting mid-range scores to hold the lead.
Anderson waited patiently for a wave that would offer her the opportunity to score. With 10 minutes remaining, the opportunity arose as Anderson took off on a decent set wave and got to work. She posted the first excellent score of the final, 8.17 (out of a possible 10) and backed it up immediately with another excellent score of 9.00. Her heat total of 17.17 was the highest in the entire event and was too much for Greene to overcome.
“It was a tough challenge. Greene was terrific player but I got lucky to get good waves. My confidence was too high and I surf well,” Anderson told this writer before the awarding ceremonies.
The back-to-back champion said she will definitely come back in the next competition aiming to get another crown for an elusive grand slam.
“I want to defend my crown here. I love this place,” she said, adding “this has been a fantastic event, all the girls have been surfing great and I’m really relived to take the win here.”
On her way to the final, Anderson had to overcome local standout Nilbie Blancada, a tough task with the large home crowds cheering on the Cloud 9 specialist.
Blancada, the 2016 over-all champion in the Asian Surfing Championship, is one of the fearsome local surfers but failed to win her bid in the semifinal round against the defending champion.
“I was nervous in my semifinal competing against Nilbie Blancada who knows this wave so well and she had the crowd behind her and that was a tough semi to win and a really cool experience,” Anderson added.
“I gave all my best to the win the competition but my opponent was too tough. It was a good match though and I enjoyed it. All of us trained so hard for this competition but I was outsurfed this time,” Blancada said.
General Luna Mayor Jaime P. Rusillon, often referred to as the Godfather of Surfing in Siargao Island, has been a strong supporter of both men’s and women’s surfing at Cloud 9 for over 20 years, and this event will be the 9th women’s event under his patronage.
In his speech during the awarding ceremonies Saturday night, Rusilon told the crowd that he will raise the prize money for the next competition.
“The event was a huge success. I couldn’t thank enough, the WSL, the participating surfers who came across the globe and everyone who contributed to the success of this competition,” he said.
As the first ever WSL sanctioned all women’s event in the Philippines, it was regarded as a huge success by competitors and officials who eagerly look at returning to the paradise location of Cloud 9 in September for a proposed WSL QS 3,000 Men’s event. (Roel N. Catoto / MindaNews)