CLOUD NINE, General Luna, Siargao Island (MindaNews/26 September) — Two of the country’s surfing stars on Tuesday continued to shine in the 23rd edition of the Siargao International Surfing Competition by eking out convincing wins against foreign rivals.
The Filipino duo of John Mark “Marama” Tokong and Edito “Piso” Alcala continued their dominant run on day three of the competition, both taking convincing wins in the early heats of round four.
Alcala, the 2014 champion, looked to be the man to beat after posting yet another round high heat total of 16.20 (out of a possible 20).
He remained formidable in his heat by beating Indonesian surfer Rio Waida and Hawaiian surfer Barron Mamiya.
Tokong seemed to be able to will waves that no one else can, finding some of the best waves of the morning to take out in his heat 2 of round four just above Portugal’s Nic Von Rupp.
“Experience definitely helps on days like today,” Tokong said.
“Yesterday was so perfect that anyone could have got a perfect score, but today you really had to know which ones would open up. They aren’t always the biggest ones and it turns out my scores came on the medium-sized waves. I’m stoked to be one step closer to the finals,” he enthused.
Tokong, who will turn 22 on Friday said he will have to rest to prepare for round five on Thursday.
He hails from this surfing capital town, was the 2015 champion, and showed no mercy against his tough foreign rivals that included Gabriel Farias from Brazil and Harley Ross from Australia.
From 115 surfers that included 15 Filipinos, the field has narrowed down to 16 players, two of them locals.
Alcala will vie against Australia’s Blake Thornton, France’s Nelson Cloarec and Portugal’s Nic von Rupp on heat number 5 in the last round of the elimination.
Tokong will face strong contenders in the first heat for the last round of the elimination — Jhonny Corzo from Mexico, Mitch Parkinson of Australia and Tomas King from Costa Rica.
The 2017 Siargao Cloud 9 Surfing Cup Qualifying Series 3000 points which runs from September 24 -29, is sanctioned by the World Surf League.
Filipino surfing fans were hoping for the best of the two local surfers as the competition neared its climax.
“We are praying that Filipino will win this competition,” said Swiss-Italian businessman Gianni Grifoni, the major sponsor of local surfing star John Mark Tokong.
The event has a total prize money of 75,000 US dollars with the champion taking home a whopping 12,000 US dollars. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)