Nilvie being celebrated after her win – photo by Lu Ganda Ali Sumaylo
19 year old Siargao local Nilbie Blancada took down Australian past world tour surfer Kim Wooldridge today in a tightly contested 30 minute final to the delight and cheers of the excited Filipino spectators gathered in the iconic Cloud 9 tower.
On the third day of the Roxy Siargao International Women’s Surfing Cup that started on May 1st, held at the world class surf destination of Cloud 9 in the Philippines, Blancada first downed one of Australia’s top Pro Junior surfers Philippa Anderson in the first semi-final before showing off skills and patience beyond her years to win her first ever surfing competition over Wooldridge and bring home a huge winner’s check of $2,500 USD (PHP 120,000).
Blancada has only been surfing for four years and was an obvious standout throughout the entire competition, during the final patiently waiting out the back for the best-shaped waves and then putting together great combinations of maneuvers. Wooldridge was also impressive on her backhand, throwing up big turns and going deep trying to score a barrel ride, but failed to find the wave that would allow her the high score with to overtake Blancada.
“I’m so happy, so really happy” gushed the excited Blancada back in the tower surrounded by her admiring friends and spectators. “I was so nervous out there, as I’ve never really surfed with just one other surfer in the water. But it was good because I knew I just had to find the good waves. So that’s what I tried to do.”
When asked what she was going to do with her winnings, she replied, “I’m going to buy a motorbike! Then I’m going to share the other money with my family.” Blancada comes from a family with 10 children, and says she learned to surf from her sister Nildie and brother Nickie.
Kim Wooldridge was smiling and happy as well, saying, “This was so much fun, much different that when I was competing on the world tour. Back then when I would put on the contest jersey I would feel the pressure and have to force myself to try and relax. Here it was so different, I was able to just go out there and have fun. I’m so happy for Nilbie, she has a great style and was ripping out there, and for her to win here is awesome!”
When Wooldridge heard that the event was happening again this year she immediately booked her ticket and began contacting the friends she made on her first trip her to the 2009 event. Her friend Daisy Valdez from the Northern Philippines wanted to come but was short of cash, so Wooldridge and 2009 event winner Serena Brook sent her the necessary funds so she could come and compete in the event. Valdez lost to Blancada in the quarterfinals, but at least receives $350 for her efforts.
An amazing event with great waves and an exciting finish, Roxy’s Marketing Executive for SEA Holly Monkman was delighted and impressed with the event and the level of surfing displayed by the local girls, saying “The level of surfing I’ve seen in this event was by far the best I’ve seen in South East Asia, and given a more opportunities I would say that they would soon be competitive at the international level. It’s rare to see such a unique and beautiful women’s surfing community anywhere, let alone on a small island in Asia, and I can’t wait to come back and surf here again next year.”
A total of 21 women from Australia, England, Germany, Indonesia, Thailand, Switzerland, and the USA competed in the Roxy Siargao International Women’s Surfing Cup from May 1-3, and the event was an absolute success according to the Primer Group of Companies Brand Manager for Roxy, Quiksilver and DC Shoes Dino Gilladoga.
“First off, we are really grateful to be part of this opportunity to help and support the women’s surfing scene here in the Philippines,” he said. “And we couldn’t have done this without the support of the Department of Tourism, the House of Representatives, the Province of Surigao Del Norte, the Tourism Infrastructure, Enterprise Zone Authority, the Municipality of General Luna, the Philippine Surfing Federation and Asian Surfing Championships.”
“We’re really stoked how the event turned out considering we had less than two months to prepare. This whole trip to Siargao showed us that there is so much potential from our local girls with Nilbie Blancada winning against tough competition. We can’t wait to come back and perhaps do something for Quiksilver next time” he added.
Roxy Siargao International Women’s Surfing Cup Results:
1. Nilbie Blancada (Philippines) $2,500 USD (PHP 120,000)
2. Kim Wooldridge (Australia) $1,500 USD (PHP 60,000)
Equal 3rd: Manette Alcala (Philippines) $750 USD (PHP 30,000)
Philippa Anderson (Australia) $750 USD (PHP 30,000)
See more photos, videos, and more on Facebook in the next couple of days: Look up Quiksilver Philippines, MyLife on Board, Surfista Travels – Philippines, and Asian Surfing Championship (ASC) !
This historic event has the distinction of being both the first-ever Asian Surfing Championship event to be held in the Philippines and the first to receive the top Ultima rating for its PHP 300,000 (approximately $7,000 USD) prize purse in Women’s Division competition.
The Roxy Siargao International Women’s Surfing Cup was supported by the Philippine Department of Tourism, the House of Representatives, the Province of Surigao Del Norte, the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority and the Municipality of General Luna, organized by the Philippine Surfing Federation, and with sponsorship from the Primer Group of Companies, Rockstar Energy Drink, the San Miguel Corporation, and media support by Thirty Six-O Media.
*press release taken from Surfline.com, visit the full news wire here: http://www.surfline.com/surf-news/contest-news/siargao-local-nilbie-blancada-wins-roxy-siargao-international-womens-surfing-cup_70040/