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SUMMARY
+ World-class reefs
+ Plenty of uncrowded spots
+ Tropical conditions
+ Cheap living costs
- Generally small surf
- Long flat spells
- Long transfer journey
- Political instability
Kustom



Siargao, Phillipines, EAST ASIA


Cloud Nine, John Callahan

Surf Spots

Pacifico
Caridad
Pilar
Stimpy's
Tuesday Rock
Jacking Horse
Quicksilver
Cloud 9
Tuason Left
Horseshoe
Barrio
Pansukian
Mabuntok

The Surf

Perfectly positioned as close to the plummeting depths of the Philippine Trench as possible, Siargao (pronounced Shar-gaw) represents the highest concentration of good surf to be found in the 7,107 islands of the archipelago. There are a number of world-class waves on the east-facing coastline, where many of the 32 documented spots are outside reefs and islets that can only be accessed by boat, while others break closer to the beach on a fringing reef. Cloud 9 is the most famous spot, located in General Luna, which is a good place to be based during the SW monsoon, while just up the coast, Pilar is a better bet during the NE trades.



When to Go

Seasonally, the Philippines is fickle and difficult to predict, because the only real groundswell generator is from irregular typhoons travelling W-NW towards Japan. They may form at any time but July-Dec is the prime time, peaking through Sept-Oct. There is an estimated 15-20 swells in each season, that provide several days of E-NE swells between 3-8ft with occasional 12ft days. The best time for clean conditions is during the SW monsoon from July-Oct when the wind is predominantly offshore but both swell height and consistency is low. After this the wind switches around to the NE, bringing onshores and much bigger NE windswells that peak in Dec/Jan. Oct/Nov should bring the best chance of swell and some lighter winds. The calm May-June transition period sees low winds blowing from a E-SE direction, while swell is almost non-existent. The tidal range is minimal, but most shallow reefs are better surfed from mid-high tide.

SURF STATISTICS
J
F
M
A
M
J
J
A
S
O
N
D
dominant swell N -E N -E N -E N -E N -E N -E
swell size (ft) 7-8 4-6 2-3 2 2-4 6-7
consistency (%) 94 86 23 6 39 97
dominant wind NE -E NE -E E -S S -W SW -W NE -E
average force F4 F4 F3 F3-F4 F3-F4 F4
consistency (%) 85 80 67 59 56 65
water temp (C) 24 24 24 25 24 24
wetsuit boardshorts boardshorts boardshorts boardshorts boardshorts boardshorts
Population
General Luna - 13,385

Coastline
Siargo - 122km (76mi)

Timezone
GMT +8hr

Travel Information

Weather

The Philippines is hot and extremely humid year-round. The Pacific side of the Philippines is subject to two monsoon patterns, the NE monsoon called amihan from Nov to April not only brings onshores and small windswell, but also huge amounts of rainfall. In July the SW monsoon habigat starts blowing, this brings less rain and better wind patterns. Typhoons rarely make landfall this far S, but if they are going to then July-Dec is the risk period. The water is warm all year, so take boardshorts, a rash vest and booties for the reef walks.

Nature

The SUP, kite-boarding, kayaking, diving, snorkeling, fishing and jet-skiing are all excellent and many camps/hotels arrange hire and tours. Jump in a banca boat and go explore. Siargao Island has some natural hot springs near Lake Mainit, giant caves on Hikdop Island or whirlpools in the Surigao straits. For night-time entertainment go to General Luna.

Hazards

Siargao is hard to get to. There is a growing band of competitive local surfers and quite a lot of foreign surfers, but everyone is spread out over plenty of different spots. Rain, intense heat and malarial mosquitoes are present.

Hints

Bring all your own surf gear, including a semi-gun, although rentals and essential kit is becoming more widely available. Filipinos are usually very friendly, but there is the occasional bit of localism at Cloud Nine.

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