Siargao Island Surf Trip

Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin’ the Islands Around Cloud 9



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Siargao’s most famous wave ‘Cloud 9’ is named after a candy bar. A damn good candy bar. I’m not going to try to think up a pun to tie this fact into the story, but let’s just say that Siargao is one of my favorite spots to visit in the Philippines. When my great buddy Sande mentioned we could do a surf trip there and stay with his friends Tom and Jay at their new resort we booked the flight and caught the ferry from Dumaguete to Cebu. This gallery covers some of the trip’s highlights:

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    First time flying into Siargao--normally take the overnight boat from Cebu. Here's our Pacific view on the approach, looks like there might be some waves out there.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    The view from sea level. We spent a lot of time checking out the reefs in and around the little islands of Siargao that are exposed to the open Pacific swells.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    Yes, THAT Pacific. Things were looking pretty flat from 10,000 feet, but in a place like Siargao there's always a wave to be found.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    The surf breaks around Siargao are pretty spread out so we hired a local fishing boat for the day to take us around.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    A pump boat like this one can feel pretty cramped (especially after spending all day in it), but the fact that they look so cool on camera more than makes up for it.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    The tide was pretty much dead low when we were starting our trip.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    Luckily the swell didn't really make it this far in but there were a few wave still sneaking through that gave our little boat a run for its money.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    One of the bigger waves hit us pretty hard and 'shuffled the decks' so to speak.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    Sande had to move fast to keep his balance on the deck of the rocking boat.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    Once we cleared the breakers we got out into the blue water. And by blue I mean BLUE. The water around us looked like it had been carved from pure cobalt.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    To avoid the near-shore breakers we went out about a kilometer into the Pacific. Here the water was the most amazing, endless, Pacific blue. Sande is doing his best impression of your standard-issue terrorist. Who said Osama don't surf?

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    Approaching Rock Island and Stimpy's to check out what's happening with the waves.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    Jay took some time out between sessions to hang from the boat's outriggers for a bit of rest. The water was so clear that this view from below almost looks like he's floating in air.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    Speaking of clear water, here's the view of one of Rock Island's waves from below. I always love to see what a wave looks like from beneath the surface--though the only places you can really do this are spots with really really clear water.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    Sande takes the jump to swim for Stimpy's.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    The late afternoon light was always beautiful streaming through the Pacific blue.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    Our guides mostly make their living from fishing, but now they're also learning to surf. Good move when you live near a wave like Cloud 9.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    Steve duck dives his single fin under the waves at Stimpy's Rock.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    Not sure if this tourist made the wave or not. My recollection says not.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    Late afternoon light in Siargao at Rock Island.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    The moon was already up by the time we finished our last session at Rock Island to top out a very full day of waves and water.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    When I was in the water with the camera, I was usually the last one in the boat so I could get some shots like this.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    Not perfect, but pretty good at Stimpy's that day.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    The surface view of Jay relaxing after a surf session.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    Pacific blue roller at Rock Island in Siargao.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    I swam out to the main rocks of Stimpy's where these HUGE waves were slamming against it. Nothing but open Pacific to the east and this swell just came out of the blue water and crashed into the rocks. I walked out as far as I could until a huge breaker landed on my head and almost put me flat on my back on the rocks. I backed away and got over to the quiter side of the island after that.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    Group photo of the surf brah's on the boat.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    On the way to check Rock Island for the afternoon swell. Sande seems to be texting with no worries about the salt water on his phone.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    Here we are traversing the blue water again.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    Over under self portrait with the wide angle lens. Guess those 'objects in mirror are closer than they appear' warnings really are true.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    Sande takes the plunge to check out another one of Siargao's right handers.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    The waves weren't really that big when we were surfing this day, but Siargao is definitely a very photogenic spot.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    Sometime I think I need to go diving in a place like this to just watch the waves from below.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    Sande adding a coat of wax to his new board that I brought from Bali. Somehow managed to ding it on a coconut while surfing around Dumaguete--how often can you say that?

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    Paddling towards the breakers at Rock Island.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    Steve waiting in the lineup at Rock Island for the next set waves.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    Another late afternoon on the water for us at Stimpy's. A thunderstorm was building on the far horizon as we were swimming back to the boat and created a beautiful background for this photo.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    The rays of the afternoon sun light up the looming thunderclouds near Simpy's Rock.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    Jay swimming back to the boat at the end of the day's surf.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    One of our guides was doing some fishing while we were out on the waves. Those goggles are made of wood and I'm always amazed that these guys can see as well as they do underwater.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    Sande taking a rest before we headed back to the resort for dinner.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    Not another boat in sight as we loaded up our boards for the day's surf trip.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    Certainly something optimistic about a rising tide, a boat full of surfboards, and four friends.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    The beach at Tom and Jay's resort is totally deserted.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    To launch we had to wade out to about chest deep in the water and then hope aboard the boat.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    Anchor's aweigh maties!

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    No two pump boats are exactly the same in the Philippines - and pretty much all of them are brightly colored like this one.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    Jay takes the lead to check the waves up close.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    I've always thought these boats looked a bit like big birds on the water - especially when you see them from this angle.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    A bit of sunburn for all of us after a full day in the sun.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    Out in the blue water again.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    An updated version of a photo Sande originally shot six years ago in Siargao as well.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    Stimpy's starting to work.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    Steve's single fin.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    The Pacific blue of the deep water is just amazing.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    Another reef check to see if we could find a wave with a little better exposure.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    Jay won the freediving contest that day.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    My Joe's Chicken shirt has seen better days.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    Swimming back to the boat after a good afternoon of charging Stimpy's Rock.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    And the reward for all of these adventures? Pizza. That's right, pizza.

  • Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9

    Siargao Surf Trip: Boat Trippin' the Islands Around Cloud 9
    And we ended the trip back in my home away from home, Dumaguete.


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