Surfing Cloud 9 in Siargao

Yesterday we went out to catch the beginning of the late high tide in the late afternoon. Actual high tide was around 7, which is a bit late since it’s already dark, but we managed to catch a few waves. I didn’t do too well, guess I could say I stood up for a second or so on one single wave… This morning I went out at just after 7 and stayed until 10 and today everything worked much better, I actually stopped counting my succesful runs!

Almost all the breaks here are reef breaks and previously I’ve only surfed beach breaks, which is sandy bottom. This place has several nicknames; The Cheesegrater, Madness and so on, so of course we were a touch apprehensive when we first went out but it was actually not that bad. I guess the fact that the waves were fairly small and coming at a relatively slow interval had quite a bit to do with it!

There’s a long wooden jetty with a observation deck on the end that serves as judges lookout for the annual international surfing competition that’s held in late September each year. So you walk out this jetty, down some really flimsy steps into the water and then paddle a few hundred meters out to where the breaks start. You spend a lot of time lying down on your board paddling, and already this morning the bottom of my ribs were absolutely killing me , and that was after just an hour of surfing yesterday! Right now I’ve actually got bruises over my ribs…

Quite a bit of time is also spent sitting on your board on the outside of the breaking point gazing out at sea looking for that promising swell. When you see a wave you like the look of you quickly, ahem, turn your board around, lie down and start paddling as hard as you can, let the wave catch you and then push yourself up and then try to stand up. If you manage to get up and ride it you’ll be grinning from ear to ear, otherwise you just try to hide your shame, get back on your board and paddle out again.

On the subject of ‘quickly turning’ your board, and also about getting out of the way when someone else is hurtling towards you at rather high speed on top of a wave, well, let’s just say I’m learning, and saying sorry a lot to the more experienced guys whose ride I just screwed up…

If you manage to get out really early you can beat the crowd but at around 10 it’s starting to get rather crowded, easily 30 or more people hassling each other for the same wave. The area with decent waves is only about a hundred meters or so wide so sometimes it gets a bit hectic. This morning some guy just managed to dive under this little kid who didn’t manage or possibly wasn’t trying to get out of the way.

During the next two days I’m going out there as many hours as I can manage, aching ribs or not!

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