Parkes on Cloud 9
BYRON BAY surfer Garrett Parkes has taken out the Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational in the Philippines, beating Hawaiian Makua Rothman in a man-on-man final.
Cloud 9 didn't quite turn on the epic conditions seen for the opening rounds of the unique, specialty event, with finalists having to mix innovative, new-school manoeuvres with aerials, on-rail carves and barrel rides in rising 3-4ft (1-1.5 metre) waves.
Parkes, who stitched up the Gold Coast's Joel Nantes in the quarters before taking down local Carlito Nogalo in the semis, made the most of the smaller conditions to bag two mid-range scores - a 5.50 and a 4.67- in the extended 35 minute final.
“It wasn't exactly the real cloud 9, not many barrels,” said Parkes, who collected US$7500 for the win.
“But I made do with what I had. I managed to get through a few heats this morning and just keep it going through to the final. I'm stoked.”
Parkes, who was a standout throughout the entire event, said he wasn't fazed entering the final after Rothman beat event favourite and former pipeline master Jamie O'Brien in semi one.
“I was trying not to think about,” he said. “I just knew I had to get a few scores on the board. It got to the 5 or 6-minute mark and I got a little nervous. But he ended up coming in a minute early so I knew I had it.”
Rothman, who waited patiently for set waves, lacked rhythm in the high-stakes final, breaking two boards to finish with a 2.66 total to Parkes' final winning tally of 10.17.
The first semi-final was quite a show, with Rothman netting a last second victory over fellow Hawaiian O'Brien.
What started as a slow-scoring heat quickly transformed into a tight scoring affair with Rothman nailing the semi's highest individual wave score - an 8.83 mid heat. O'Brien hit back scoring a 8.40 and 6.50 to hold the lead briefly.
But with 10 seconds reaming, Rothman pulled into Cloud 9 drainer, weaving through the barrel before cleanly exiting to book a spot in the final with a 6.80.
The second semi was just as thrilling with Parkes besting local Philippines surfer Carlito Nogalo. Parkes made the perfect start jagging an 8.00 on his first wave to setup victory - 13.33 to Nogalo's 10.77.
The 2009 edition of the Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational was blessed with some of most amazing conditions seen for an event this year, with perfect 6-8ft barrels rolling through the Cloud 9 line-up for the opening two days of competition.
Due to Siargao's proximity to the Philippine Deep, big swells from the Pacific Ocean roll in from the second deepest stretch of water in the world to create flawless, hollow barrelling waves.