Blancada advances to round 3 as rest of PH surfing sinks to bottom bracket

Jun 1, 2021
Nilbie Blancada at the first round of the World Surfing Games.
PHOTO: Pablo Jimenez/International Surfing Association

THE DAY began with a glimmer of hope for the underdog Philippine surfing team.

Even the sea seemed to be on our side as silver SEA Games medalist Jay-R Esquivel took on Australian surf champ Owen Wright at the ongoing World Surfing Games in El Salvador. A testy second wave broke Wright’s fin, and the delay as he scrambled for a second board allowed Esquivel to take the top spot in his heat, with 10.23 points to Wright’s 8.10.

But then, soon after, Esquivel proceeded to his Round 2 — and promptly sunk to last as he faced surfers from Mexico, France, and Russia.

Fellow national surfers, who are all competing for remaining slots in the upcoming Olympics, also didn’t fare well in their respective second rounds.

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    John Mark "Marama" Tokong eked out a third place finish against an aggressive competition that included defending International Surfing Association champ Italo Ferreira and Indonesian wunderkind Rio Waida. Ferreira ruled the heat with 13.93, Waida with 12.26, while Tokong trailed behind with 6.57.

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    Edito “Piso” Alcala only faced two competitors as Brazil’s Gabriel Medina (who is already qualified for the Olympics) opted not to take the waves. But Alcala placed last in his heat 47 run.

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    Daisy Valdez, meanwhile, narrowly managed to avoid a last place finish, squeaking to 2.1 points against a heat that included Japan’s Mahina Maeda, one of the strongest women surfers of the first round.

    A spot of hope remains for the Philippine team with Siargao’s Nilbie Blancada. She emerged second behind Spain’s Leticia Canales, and advances to the third round. She will face Israel’s Anat Lelior, Germany’s Noah Klapp, and Chile’s Estela Lopez.

    The rest of the team joins rookie Vea Estrellado in the Repechage bottom brackets.

    Surfing correspondent Michael Eijansantos is the founder of My Life On Board.

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    Nilbie Blancada at the first round of the World Surfing Games.
    PHOTO: Pablo Jimenez/International Surfing Association
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