Cloud 9 Lives Up To The Hype
Surigao Island, Philippines (Wednesday, 21 September, 2011) - The inaugural Billabong Pro Junior Asia presented by Sony Ericsson got off to a cracking start at Cloud 9 in the Philippines today. With clean 3 to 4 foot (2 meter) sets on offer the competitors and spectators were treated to an amazing day of surf action.
Enrique Ariitu (PYF) showed the boys how Tahitians tube ride, taking out the first heat of the day with two clean barrel rides. Ariitu's set the bar quite high for the rest of the field to match up to.
"The tide was a bit low so it was hard to get the good ones," Ariitu said. "You've got to get the sets otherwise you wont get the score. It's tough with 4 guys out there, I was nervous watching the others catch waves. The local guy, Bebot Catulay got a really good one and I was worried that he might beat me."
IMAGE CAPTION: Creed McTaggart (WA/AUS) (pictured) scored the second highest wave score of the day, 9.17 (out of a possible 10).
Koa Smith (HAW) and Kaimana Jaquias (HAW), the pair of Hawaiians both advanced out of their Round 1 heat. Smith took number one position with Jaquias in second, with the pair showing how comfortable they are in barreling reef breaks.
"I had one six and pretty much didn't really get another good wave," Smith said. "You can easily get a 10 out there so I was a little worried. I think Kaimana (Jaquais) and I just surfed a smarter heat, we waiting for the sets and got the scores."
Creed McTaggart (WA/AUS) jumped from 3rd place to 1st with just a few minutes remaining in his opening round heat. McTaggart took off really deep, exited the tube and then unleashed a massive hack scoring a 9.17, the second highest single wave score of the day.
"I tried not to worry, I knew there were good waves, I just needed to find one," McTaggart said. "I didn't think I'd get a 9, but I'm stoked I did. I think they're scoring the deeper waves, I got one at the start that was bigger, but wasn't that deep. On that second one I took off behind it and I think that's what got me the score."
Alex Dive (NZL) and Mitch Parkinson (AUS) left their fellow competitors in their wake, leaving the pair to battle for 1st and 2nd. Dive took the number one spot with a couple of clean tubes and nice carves.
"Pretty stoked to win that heat, I've had a few heats this year that didn't go my way, so it's great to start off with a win," Dive said. "It's been small the last couple days, but it's pumping out there now. It's great to get barreled with just 4 guys out."
John Paul Alipayo (PHL) was one of the local surfers to cause upsets today. The local boys love to surf and really showed just how well they know the ins and outs of this reef.
"I feel good, I'm so happy!" Alipayo said. "I know which waves diction will be good for barrels and that helped me. I don't know what to say, I'm just so happy to get first place in my heat."
Kan Watanabe (JPN) advanced through to the next round after scoring a rare left hand wave and performing two solid turns to just net the score required.
"I love backhand tube ridging, but I couldn't really find any barrels," Watanabe said. "I had to change my strategy and took off on a left at the end. I knew I needed a decent score and I'd have to hit the lip a couple times, I'm so glad I got through that heat."
For more images from day 1 and full heat results click here: