GENERAL LUNA, Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte – Professional surfers from 13 countries are joining this year’s 25th Siargao International Surfing Cup, a watersport competition held yearly on Siargao Island, one of the country’s top tourist destinations.
The opening ceremony will kick off at the Cloud 9 surfing haven in General Luna town at 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Last year’s champion, Skip McCullough of the US, will defend his crown against his toughest surfing opponents from the US, Japan, Australia, Indonesia, Hawaii, Argentina, New Zealand, Ecuador, Sweden, Israel, Venezuela, Brazil, and the Philippines.
Siargao’s best surfers — among them John Mark Tokong, Piso Alcala, PJ Alipayo, and Philmar Alipayo — will see action in the entire event, slated until October 9.
Tokong placed second in the 2018 international surfing competition. A total of 64 professional surfers from different countries will compete for this year’s cup.
Philippine Sports Commission chair William “Butch” Ramirez will lead the opening ceremony, together with Surigao del Norte Governor Francisco “Lalo” Matugas, Surigao del Norte 1st District Rep. Bingo F. Matugas, and Director Joseph Francisco R. Ortega of the Department of Tourism (DOT)
Matugas told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in a phone interview on Friday that the event would allow Siargao surfers to upgrade their skills to make them competitive in other international surfing competitions, such as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The annual sporting event also placed Siargao Island on the map as one of the top ten best surf sites in the world and the surfing capital of the Philippines.
Matugas’ office serves as the lead organizer for this year’s international surfing competition.
“This is a milestone for Siargao and the entire surfing industry since we are commemorating our 25th year,” he said in an earlier statement issued to the media.
Gerry Degan, event director, told reporters that this year’s competition would be part of the world circuit qualifying event.
A total of USD15,000 in prizes is at stake for the competition. The champion will receive USD5,000; the second placer, USD3,000; and the third placer, USD1,500, Degan said.
He also expressed appreciation for the support provided by the government and private groups for the event.
The cup will also serve as the last Qualifying Series 1,500 (QS1,500) events in the Asia region, Steve Robertson, Asia general manager for World Surf League (WSL), said in a statement. Alexander D. Lopez / PNA – northboundasia.com