Filipino surfers draw first blood in 2017 Siargao International Surfing Cup

CLOUD NINE, General Luna, Siargao Island (MindaNews) – Filipino surfers vying for the 23rd Siargao International Surfing Cup have drawn first blood in the series of elimination rounds while some foreign surfers from different countries have managed to advance for the next rounds here at the surfing capital of the country.

The opening day Sunday saw massive performances from the local competitors with the first three heats of the day being taken out by Filipino surfers, although their efforts were not enough as some were eliminated in the second round.

One of the best performances came from Edwardo Alciso, who scored the highest heat total of Round 1 with his 14.60 out of a possible 20, which he earned through deep tube rides.

Mark Ailer Catulay, Mark Escoltura, Arkipo Figuron, and 2015 champion John Mark Tokong also posted high scores in the opening rounds against foreign rivals.

But Australians Troy Van Vliet, Connor Lyons, Luke Condon, Joel Paxton, and American surfer Ocean Macedo from Hawaii have flaunted their skills in the early rounds to secure the spots to the later rounds.

Gerry Deagan, tournament director of this event, said that only 15 Filipinos joined the competition and now fighting against 100 international surfers.

He said Filipinos surfers have a great advantage in this competition because “locals know the waves here.”

But six Filipino competitors were eliminated early, including Alciso and Catulay. The others were Jefferson dela Torre, Carlito Nogalo, Martin Tanegra, and PJ Alipayo.

Alciso and Catulay were outclassed by foreign surfers in the second round.

Top-seed surfer Philmar Alipayo, another local fearsome surfer, is waiting for his heat Monday. Alipayo won the 19th Siargao National Surfing Cup the other day. He also won in different surfing competitions in Indonesia last year.

Alipayo said he has a lower back injury but this does not mean he will easily fall into the hands of his foreign competitors.

He will be facing against Hawaiian wave ripper Kiron Jabour and two other possible foreign opponents who will advance for their heat.

The crowd have been cheering the local surfers.

The event is being sanctioned by the World Surf League, and upgraded to a Qualifying Series 3,000 this year and has attracted the biggest and best field to date.

Foreigner surfers are apparently happy on this development and expected to attract more surfers from different countries. (Roel N. Catoto / MindaNews)