CLOUD NINE, General Luna, Siargao Island (MindaNews / 27 Sept) – Two former Filipino surfing champions fell short in their bid in the 23rd Siargao International Surfing Cup here Wednesday morning.
John Mark “Marama” Tokong, who was highly expected to pull through after making waves in the earlier elimination rounds, lost in the hands of foreign rivals in the last round of the eliminations.
The 20-year-old surfer from this town, who was the 2015 champion, was outpaced by Tomas King from Costa Rica and Mitch Parkinson from Australia.
Tokong explained it was tough luck for him since there were no big waves that came in his turn. “I was waiting for my priority and looking for the best wave out there but nothing came out,” he lamented.
Despite the loss, Tokong will take home $1,250 and earned some points in the league.
Edito “Piso” Alcala Jr., who had been three-time world champion here, made it to the first place in the last round of the elimination with 11.44 points undistracted by the loss of Tokong.
“I just kept my focus,” he told reporters.
Alcala, who was champion in 2014, 2012 and 2008, was in top spot in his heat with 11.44 which was a narrow lead over Nick von Ruff of Portugal with 11.00 points.
“I would not dream of the crown but I will do my very best to make it to the finals,” Alcala said.
At the quarterfinals, he dueled with Tomas King.
The crowd favorite Alcala scored only 12.80 points against the Costa Rican surfer who garnered 17.07 points in a one-on-one fashion.
Nevertheless, the homegrown Filipino surfer still got $3,000 prize for making it to the quarterfinals.
This year’s world surfing competition was equally tough with 115 top surfers across the globe competing, the biggest in recent years. Only 15 Filipino surfers, mostly Siargao residents, joined but it was only Alcala and Tokong who rallied in at least five eliminating rounds.
Swiss-Italian businessman Gianni Grifoni, who owns the popular Kermit Resort and the major sponsor of Tokong, was pinning hopes on him since they have been through a hard training. Tokong was champion in the 2015 series.
The 2017 Siargao Cloud 9 Surfing Cup Qualifying Series 3000 points will run from September 24 – 29. It is a World Surf League sanctioned event. (Roel N. Catoto / MindaNews)