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Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational: Top tube guns shoot it out



Mark Visser : photo Jake White


Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational

Siargaro Islands, Philippines
24 - 30 September 2007

Tube Riding Gun’s Shoot It Out At Billabong Cloud Nine Invitational

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 26 September, 2007 : - - Cloud Nine, the hollow surf break located on the Island of Siargao on the Philippines has lived up to its reputation as one of the world’s premier surf destinations on day two of Billabong Cloud Nine Invitational, throwing out Hawaiian style tube riders to lucky competitors.

Despite a rouge tropical storm virtually demolishing the contest site over night, competitors were treated to absolutely perfect 4-6ft tube rides (1.5-2m) at the remote reef break. It was a day of upsets with former champions Ryan Hipwood (Aus, Mermaid Beach) and Ryan Augustein (Santa Cruise, USA) bowing out of competition at the hands of a new breed of local and international challengers.

One of those chargers came in the form of Coolangatta’s Luke Dorrington who posted the highest heat score of the event of 18.13 out of a possible 20.00. Dorrington’s smooth barrel riding style set up the victory after emerging from two impossible tube rides to lock down a 9.00 on his opening ride and a 9.13 on his second.

The 22-year-old exited the water at Cloud Nine claiming he had just surfed the best heat of his career. “That the easily the best waves I have ever surfed in a contest and with three other guys out just taking it turns, I can’t believe it, we had a great time,” said Dorrington.  “It was my turn when this set popped up and looking back I should have stalled more on the take off but luckily it had a second section and I managed to get barrelled through that as well.


Luke Dorrington : photo Jake White


“Coming to this specialty event is amazing, the local crowd really get into it and the setting is incredible, palm trees and perfect waves.”

The second charge of the new breed came from local Philippines surfer Carlito Nagallo who became the third local surfer to progress into round three.  Nagallo did it in fine style, using an obvious knowledge of the break to thread through the barrel and win his heat against top ranked Japanese charger Shinpei Huriguchi, Alejandro Moreda (Pt Rico) and fellow local Genelo Nagalo.

“The waves are really fun, they are very glassy,” said Carlito.  “It’s really hard you know, these guys are really ripping you know.  You know, this is really important for the Philippine surfers to see these guys surf. “I think one day we will have a local guy become professional.”

The Hawaiian contingent of surfers also dominated the epic afternoon “Hawaiian Style” conditions with Dustin Cuizon, Makua Rothman, Kamalei Alexander, Rico Jiminez, Jason Shibata and Stephen Koehne all progressing through. Shibata revelled in the challenging tube riding contest, locking in an 8.43 and a 7.93 to easily win into the third round ahead of Kasuya Sato (JPN), Martin Taniegra (Ph) and Edmond Mendoza (Ph).


Dustin Cuizon : photo Jake White


“The waves were seriously amazing and on par with any I have surfed in any other event I have competed in,” said Shibata.  “With only four guys in the water at once, I couldn’t be more stoked right now. “This wave is a lot more compact and a lot more perfect than what we surf at home but don’t get me wrong, it still packs a punch.  I’m just stoked to be through and able to surf another day of this.”

Countryman Dustin Cuizon was another comfortable winner, moving through into round four over defending champ Hipwood and fellow Hawaiian Kirby Fukunaga. “You just had to be patient out there and wait for the ones that break on the corner and that are going to let you out of the barrel,” said Cuizon.  “Fortunately I got lucky and found a couple of good waves.

“I have never been to the Philippines before, I really wanted to come out here and see what it was like.  The set up is good, you can just take off behind the peak and get barrelled the whole length of the wave, it is a dream for the regular footers like myself.”

Late in the afternoon, Hawaiians Alexander and Rothman put on a spectacular show for the local Philippino crowd, trading barrel for barrel in the final heat of the day.  While both progressed through to round four, Alexander took the heat win thanks to an almost perfect 9.10 and a back up score of 8.50. 


Ryan Augenstein : photo Jake White


In early competition, Sunshine Coast surfer Wade Goodall made use of the slightly cross-shore wind to put his tube riding and superior aerial abilities on show, racking up a high scoring heat total of 16.77 out of 20.00 to win directly into round three. Goodall scored a 9.17 on his third ride after stalling for a long tube ride and then coming out and completing one of his signature “Passion Pop” manoeuvres over seemingly dry reef on the end section.

The 21-year-old’s highflying antics were too good for Hawaiian competitor Rico Jiminez and local surfer Bonoficio Figuron. “I really didn’t expect to have a good heat then,” said Goodall.  “I went out early and had a shocking free surf but by the time my heat started it got really hollow out there.”

“I’ve really started to have fun on this trip,” he said.  “I have had a hectic few months travelling trying to do the WQS (World Qualifying Series) and it has been great to come to a place like Cloud Nine and just relax a little bit. The wind was perfect for doing aerials out there but I really wanted to get a few barrels as well.  I had to hold myself back from just flying down the line and trying a boost.”

Fellow Sunshine Coaster Mark Visser scored the highest single wave score of the event when he emerged from a solid 2m steam train in the second round.  The wave was easily the best one to come through during the whole day and Visser was in the right spot at the right time, making the most of the opportunity to score a 9.60.  Many spectators thought the ride should have been scored a perfect 10.

“I was testing out this new four fin board that went really well in the tube, I just sort of took off and the board picked the line, held it and I came out,” said Visser.  “I was glad to get through that heat in such good conditions and I think I’ll remember that wave for a long time.”

The tournament contest site is Siargao Islands ‘Cloud 9’, a powerful hollow right-hander that has been hailed as one of the ten best waves in the world and has been frequently compared to the renowned surf of Hawaii and Indonesia.

It is likely the Billabong Cloud Nine Invitational will finalise tomorrow with another epic day of forecasted surf.  With only one day remaining until a champion is crowned, organisers can wait until the 30th September if conditions are unfavourable.

The Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational is proudly supported by the Provincial Government of Surigao Del Norte with Support from Smart Communications, San Miguel, The Department of Tourism Philippines, Asian Spirit and Coca Cola.

Previous reports:
# 1
: Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational set for start in Philippines
# 2 : Australian riders dominate Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational
# 3 : Coming soon  
# 4 : Coming soon

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Jake White

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