THIS IS NOT BAYWATCH
Surfing is no longer just for boys in board shorts. More and more wahines in bikinis have been paddling out and catching waves. In fact, last year saw the first ever all-women's surf competition held at the famous Cloud 9 break of Siargao. This was a landmark event in the local surf scene and its overall success hinted at the promise of more participants coming from various countries for this year's summer fest.
True enough, the 2nd Siargao Girls International Surfing Fest was held from April 29, 2006 until May 2nd. The event was organized by the Philippine Surf Federation led by Congressman Prospero "Butch" Pichay Jr.and the Municipality of General Luna led by Mayor Cecilia Rusillon and Attorney Jaime Rusillon, with the help of the Department of Tourism, Caraga Region 13.
Also on board to make the event happen were sponsors such as PAGCOR (Philippine Gaming Corporation), Duty Free Philippines, San Miguel Corporation, Asian Spirit Airlines and Maui & Sons.
The challenge of paddling out to the waves of Cloud 9 was sweetened by the possibility of taking home cash prizes. This year, the total purse amounted to a whopping Php300,000. To bring more color to the event, tropical discos with live bands, a bikini open cum fashion show, free surfing clinics, island tours, and a battle of the bands were held. These side activities lent an added air of excitement to the competition and gave the visiting surfers a taste of the Filipino fiesta spirit.
The international all-wahine event pitted the skills of our country's top female surfers against those of foreign competitors. Siargao locals Nildie Blancada and Manet Alcala along with Aubrey Namoro of Baler, Daisy Valdez and Joy Ishi of La Union held their own against visiting surfers Lyndsay Noyes, Sheridan Shields, Sarah Beardmore, Kylie Jones, Grace Hawkins, Jessica Selby, Shakira Westdrop and Misty Kercher.
The waves had dropped off to a smaller-than-ideal size. Strong on-shore wind did not help to create perfect competition conditions. At the end of the first two rounds, it was left to the local chargers from Siargao to carry the weight of Philippine pride on their shoulders as Daisy, Joy and Aubrey were knocked from the competition.
But not even a home break advantage could keep Manet Alcala from falling off the competition roster during the semi-finals. The only remaining Filipina surfer, Nildie Blancada put her familiarity of Cloud 9 to the test during an intense half-hour final heat. Unfortunately for the goofy-footed defending champion, it was Australian Lyndsay Noyes that not only scored a lion’s share of the waves but garnered the highest points. It came as no surprise when Lyndsay was later announced as the contest’s champion.
Results for the 2nd Siargao Girls International Surfing Fest:
Champion: Sheridan Shields, Australia
1st Runner-up: Lyndsay Noyes, Australia
2nd Runner-up: Sarrah Beardmore, Australia
3rd Runner-up: Nildie Blancada, Siargao Island
tied at 5th: Kylie Jones and Shakira Westdrop, Australia
tied at 7th: Jessica Shelby (Aus) and Manet Alcala (Siar)
For photos of the event please go to Kage's Photos