Philippines surfer Edito 'Peso' Alcala is the new king of Cloud 9 after defeating the world's best tube riders to win the prestigious Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational at the remote island of Siargao in the Philippines. Cloud 9, an ultra perfect right hand reef break, lived up to expectation, serving out epic 2-2.5 metre barrelling waves for the final day of competition surfing.
Local ace Alcala, who learned to surf at the revered break, rode barrel after perfect barrel to beat defending title holder Wade Goodall (Caloundra, Qld, Aus) in a tight 35-minute man-on-man final. "I'm so happy," said Alcala, who surfed away with $7,500 (USD) for his efforts. "It's a dream come true to win this event and beating the reigning champion in the final makes it that much more sweeter. I'm stoked."
But 20-year-old Alcala didn't have it all his own way in the final, having to fight back from a slow start to take home a last-minute victory over Goodall in front of a vocal Philippines crowd. Sitting in second with two minutes to go and with priority, Alcala jagged a set wave before weaving through the belly of a Cloud 9 cavern to jag a heat-winning 9.43 ride. Alcala finishing on a final two wave combined total of 18.16-points to Goodall's 17.77.
"I wasn't expecting that last wave to come through," he said. "I could tell it was a good one when it barrelled all the way down the reef. All my friends were in the channel watching and were hooting me after I flicked off. I just knew that I got the score."
Sunshine Coast star Goodall, who heads home with $4,500 (USD) for his runner-up placing today, couldn't replicate the barrel riding performance that saw him take out last year's event and was clearly disappointed with the end result.
"I wanted it really badly," said Goodall. "He was chasing me the whole final so I new if a good wave came that he was going to get it because he's so good in the pit out there. It's bittersweet really." Earlier in the day, Goodall posted the event's only 10-point ride in the first semi-final. Tucking into a Cloud 9 beast, Goodall came flying out before taking to the sky with a radical aerial manoeuvre to be awarded the perfect ride.
"When we woke up the heats were running super early and the waves were just pumping," said Goodall. "It was an unexpected swell. No one knew it was coming and it seemed to get better throughout the morning, especially in my semi-final." Finishing in equal third today was Hawaii's Granger Larsen, who was eliminated by Goodall in semi-final one, and Indonesia's Lee Wilson, who went down to Alcala in a closely fought semi two.
What separates the Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational from standard competitive surfing is that invited contestants are involved in deciding what conditions they will surf in. With only two full days required to finalise the competition and a seven-day competition window, organisers have the luxury to wait for ideal conditions in which to run the event during Cloud 9's prime swell period.
Due to Siargao's proximity to the Philippines, big swells from the Pacific Ocean roll in from the second deepest stretch of water in the world to create flawlessly hollow waves. The Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational is proudly supported by the Provincial Government of Surigao Del Norte with support from the Department of Tourism Philippines.