Cloud Nine, Siargao Island, Philippines
This is not a spot for beginners. Rather, it’s daredevils who are looking for largest, most powerful, most breathtaking reef breaks that flock to this famous surfing spot. One false move and you’re going to pay the price in the form of gashes created by the razor-sharp coral formations in the area. The skill level is only one factor in sizing up the danger of reef surfing in this area. The ideal surfing season runs from November to April in which the ocean waves have more swell and raise the ocean level a few more inches above the coral reef. Especially during these times, thick surfing lanes make for more reasonable, if still dramatic, conditions. It’s one thing to be something of an adrenaline junkie, but don’t underestimate the potential for one bad decision and one bad fall to ruin your trip.
As famous a surfing destination as Cloud 9 is, it’s not easy to get to. You have to really want it. There are no direct flights to Siargao. Increasingly, many of the most beautiful and pristine places are hard to get to. Otherwise, they would be negatively impacted by tourism and development by now. Which isn’t to say, there’s nobody around. Plenty of people still make the sea voyage to this island. More than just the waves themselves, the backdrop and consistently warm and sun-swept climate make it a truly idyllic paradise.
Siargao Cup Week
At the end of September and beginning of October, 128 participants from the around the globe descend upon the island for the Siargao Cloud 9 Surfing Cup, a renowned surfing competition. These surfers make reef surfing look easy, so be careful how much direct inspiration you take from what you see if you happen to be visiting. This year, Skip McCullough won the 24 annual event against local legends and international surfing stars alike.