Janet Meinke-Lau

Art and Surf Blog

Conversations around the process of creating and being an artist and surfer.

On Cloud Nine

The Siargao Cloud 9 Surfing Cup is happening this week and it’s so cool to see photos and vids of waves that I saw in person just three weeks ago.  A new flight route (Skyjet Airlines) now directly connects Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport to Sayak Airport in Siargao. A 40-minute van ride for 300 pesos ($16) will get you to the Cloud 9 resort area from Sayak Airport. 

We hired a couple of surf guides, who took us to the following breaks – Jacking Horse, Quicksilver, Tahiti, and Cemetery – all within paddling distance of the famous expert-level Cloud 9 break. Seeing Cloud 9 spitting surfers out of the tube, towards my direction, from the view at Tahiti was incredible. And while I was taking the right shoulder of Tahiti, local surfers were taking the deeper, steeper drops for Tahiti’s barrel... like three feet away from me. The mental snapshots of a surfer inside the tube, or wetting his hair in the tube, always with an ear-to-ear smile, will forever be ingrained my mind.

This surf trip was good for me on a technical basis because while I’m regular footed, I enjoy and am better at going left (hence my go-to break Concessions). So then I become fearful when I take rights because I rarely take them, and when I do, I usually eat it, which makes me want to take less rights because I have less fun, and the vicious cycle continues. When I take a nice right, it feels like a whole new world. Quicksilver and Tahiti are both rights only – and taking maybe 20 rights in one day was more than I’ve taken all summer. Each right felt like a gift, a tiny miracle.. but also an accomplishment. Can you imagine how stoked I was?

My favorite session was on our third and last day – at Cemetery. Shoulder-high waves, rights and long long lefts and no crowd at all. It was so beautiful. Cemetery is wider so people can surf at different parts of it, and the waves were not as steep as the breaks near Cloud 9 so they were good for longer boards, though I still got some nice drops on the 6’ 5” shortboard I was riding. There was a pro-looking young guy doing multiple 360s in one ride. He was paddling out and I took a wave in front of him, and he complimented me with a “hey, nice drop”... man, my stoked level was through the roof LOL. All I could say nervously back to him was, “Thanks! Nice... spins?” {kook moment}. On my last wave of the trip, I stayed low when I made the drop (having made the mistake of not doing so on the wave prior) and rode a beautiful left along the wall, and then somehow I magically turned/carved into another wave that extended my final goodbye.

Well, let’s not say goodbye, but see you next time, Cloud 9!