The surfing season normally kicks off in September and continues until around March. However, you can catch a decent wave at any time of the year. The biggest and best months for surfing are November and December. One of the best known surfing waves on Siargao and the Philippines, with a worldwide reputation for thick, hollow tubes is “Cloud 9“. The wave was discovered by travelling surfers in the late 1980s. It was named and made famous by American photographer John S. Callahan, who published the first major feature on Siargao Island in the United States based Surf magazine in March 1993, and hundreds of his photos in many other books and magazines since his first visit in 1992. Callahan has put the island on the international map and has drawn thousands of surfers and tourists to Siargao Island. The Cloud 9 break at Siargao is host to an International Surfing contest which usually runs in the last week of September. Recent years have seen Billabong sponsoring the competition but after the change in government in 2010, a new sponsorship deal could not be agreed and so the 2010 competition had no big name sponsor nor were there any International pro surfers.
The Cloud Nine break is by far the most famous wave on Siargao Island but by no means not the only one. There are many other quality waves on Siargao and nearby islands, but Cloud 9 has received more publicity than any other, indeed in the Philippines as a whole. It is one of only a few waves which is easily accessible without a boat, leading to overcrowding and the nickname of “Crowd 9″ among surfers. Reason for there being some great waves around Siargao is that sea bed drops down to 500 meters, then to 1500 meters just a mile off Tuason Point and the reef. Thirty miles from General Luna, it is 10,000 meters deep (that is Mt. Everest plus another 3,000 feet). Typhoons in season pass General Luna to the north east, and they bring the big waves in from the deep water. Siargao is well known as The Surfing Capital of the Philippines with a reputation among surfers within the Philippines and the International scene.
Swell Consistency and Wind Overview
The graph shows the % of days that had a ridable wind swell (7 secs period or more) or groundswell (10 secs period or more) of over 3ft. It also shows the dominant wind direction. Not all of these days will necessarily give great surf, and very short lived wind swells or longer period secondary swells may produce surf not recorded, but it gives a clear idea of the seasonal trend and a rough guide to the chances of scoring something ridable.
These swell averages are calculated ONLY on swells of more than 7 seconds period. This means this is the average height of a swell that’s likely to produce ridable surf NOT an average of every wave heading toward the beach in a month. Likewise the period is the average period OVER 7 seconds. There will be days that have short period wind swells that won’t produce and ridable swell and these are excluded from the averages. The consistency figure gives the percentage of days that meet this condition. For example if the consistency is 50% you could expect the ‘average’ swell for about 15 days in the month. Of course an average tells only part of the story. A combination of very large and very small swells may produce the same average as a consistent medium sized swell.
surfing cloud 9
An overview on Siargao waves: Obviously we have left out some of the secret spots to try keep the waves for the locals ;-)
Tuason Point, easily accessible. There is a pier and tower located on the shore looking out at the break which makes life easier for paddling/walking out to it. The reef isn’t as brutal as one may think, it’s more mossy reef with the odd rock. Booties aren’t a necessity, just go easy. Best at high tide, pretty dangerous to surf at low tide it gets pretty shallow in places.
avoiding the crowd…let’s go to secret spot!!!
Jacking Horse A jacking peak that explodes on to a shallow reef, then tapers off and then reforms on the inner reef, mainly breaks right, with a short left, good to surf at 2 – 7ft, medium to high tide is about the best time to surf.
Stimpys A first class lefthander which wraps around a small island into a cove. Fun under 4 foot, but becomes a lot harder breaking over that size but still perfect breaking. Great tube and will handle large swells. Accessible only by boat, viewing distance from shore with binoculars.
Rock Island An excellent right hander that peels and barrels for 200 yards off Rock Island. Best with no wind, low to medium tide and can hold swells up to double over head. Accessible only by boat, viewing distance from shore with binoculars.
Shifty’s A right hand reef break just south of Pilar inside the river mouth of Pilar, near Santa Fe, best at low to medium tide, south to south west wind. Fun right hander at 2 – 4ft but will hold larger swells.
Pilar Left Handers There are 2 left breaks; one breaks in front of the wharf of Pilar and the other breaks close to the township of Pilar.
Caridad Left or Supertubes This awesome left barrel breaks on a jagged reef ledge, east to north east swell is the best, protected from north west to south west winds which are off shore.
Pacifico A world class left that breaks down and along a reef & rocky ledge. This is a long barreling left and towards the end a hotdog section.
Tuason Point A very hard breaking left that jumps up 200 yards off shore and comes in and runs down over a shallow rocky reef, with great big holes. This is a very powerful and hard breaking wave. Wave selection is crucial at this break, 4ft and over is the best.
Cemetery A left and right that breaks between a gap in the reef, directly in front of the General Luna cemetery. Northeast to southeast swell is the best for this break with a southwest to west wind. Best at low tide and possible to walk there on the reef during, careful of the tide change to high – it’s a fair old paddle back to shore.
Guyam Island Right in front of General Luna is Guyam Island. There are many breaks right behind Guyam Island. You pick and choose your own wave. No competition there to fight for the perfect ride. There is a mellow left hander off the island with a sharp reef north east to east swell with south to south west winds. 5 minutes by boat from General Luna.
Pansukian Reef Needs medium to large swell direct from the east to southeast with light, southwest to west wind. This wave looks like an up side down tear drop shaped barrel that runs down a reef. The wave jumps up out of the ocean from nowhere.
La Janoza, Mamon, Antokon, Anajauan Island There are another 4 or 5 perfect breaks and many others around these islands. Mamon Island has a beach break that can give you rides of more than 150 meters.
Cloud 9 boys
surf lessons with friendly and enthusiastic locals