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Monday, August 30, 2010
"I Surfed Cloud Nine"

Aussie Garrett Parks on his way to winning the 2009 Billabong Cloud Nine Invitational.

Come September 24 when Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay ceremonially flips the switch on Cloud Nine Night Surfing the world will have its first 24-hour, 365-day surf spot ... conditions permiting, of course.

Just when you thought it was safe to go on a surf trip to an idyllic, exotic archipelago, currently being built at the Philippine crown jewel of Cloud Nine on Siargao Island, the Cloud Nine Night Surfing operation is reported to be utilizing 50-foot towers with floodlights to keep the dream alive even when the sun goes down. Launched by Australian Scott Down, the surf resort will also feature a full armada of lifeguards and surf instructors, as well as board rentals and accommodations ranging in price from $15 to $100 a night. Everything is planned to be in place and completed by mid October.

"The municipality is totally behind the project and we are getting indications of interest from both Philippine and international sponsors for the various elements," says Scott in a story on the tragically titled surfing website

It's hard to figure what this means for the sport of surfing. Will we see more spots go nocturnal? Is it a solution for overcrowded lineups around the world? Will the once glorious Cloud Nine become an incubator for kooks? We'll have to wait until the lights get turned on to find out, but as Cloudbreak goes public and the last strongholds of localism become increasingly gentrified, it's an interesting talking point.

"If you surf Cloud Nine in the September to December period you will find the conditions most suitable for intermediate and experienced surfers," tells Scott. "But at other times of the year both beginners and intermediate surfers can practice their skills at Cloud Nine and wear an 'I surfed Cloud Nine' t-shirt with pride ... doing it at night is something that is totally unique and something that will put the Philippines firmly on the global-tourist map for surfing."

Here we go, next stop Disneyland.