John Mark Tokong thrived in the long period swells off La Bocana beach and got good scores out of it in the fourth day of competition of the 2021 Surf City El Salvador ISA World Surfing Games.
The 25-year-old multi-titled local surfer from General Luna in Siargao made the right moves in the second round of the repechage heats as he collected enough points with his timely maneuvers to reach the third round.
His big efforts on both rounds allowed Tokong to reach the fourth round on Day 5, where he will go up against a tougher field, led by world no. 17 Matt Givillray of South Africa and Europe’s no. 2 Dylan Groen of Germany.
In Round 2, Tokong managed to weave his way inside a long swell twice before dropping down during the first of two attempts, giving him 5.5 points for a total of 9.03 points.
Tokong qualified to the third round with South America’s no. 16-ranked Leandro Usuna, who had a 9.1 point tally.
“Mark had the priority on the last wave. And he made use of his priority in the last wave so his opponents won’t be able to pass him. And he scored 5.73 points,” said national coaching staff member Adam Dufner in a message to the Manila Standard.
Tokong took a commanding lead after getting on top of one of the first waves that were coming in during a moment when there were long-period swells as the wave that he rode in moved faster than the ones that came behind it.
Southeast Asian Games gold medallist Nilbie Blancada joined Tokong in reaching the third round of the repechage in the women’s division over at El Sunzal.
The 29-year-old Blancada, who struggled and bowed out of contention in Round 3 of the regular round, will be up against Argentina’s Omella Pellizari, Canada’s Paige Alms and Gida Legatti of Italy in Round 4.
Eighteen-year-old Vea Estrellado and Daisy Valdez who had tough moments, were among the Filipino bets who finally fell out of contention, with Estrellado getting 7.36 points in fourth place in Heat 84.
Estrellado was bunched into an elite field, led by British surfer and world no. 25 bet Lucy Campbell, who advanced to Round 3 at the end of women’s action in El Sunzal with 9.9 points, and with Indonesia’s Kailani Johnson following behind with 8.77 points.
Valdez was in the same group with provisionally qualified Olympian Shino Matsuda of Japan, who earned the day’s highest heat total with 17.07 points, including an excellent 9.07-point ride in one of her two attempts. Peter Atencio
Vahine Fierro of France joined Matsuda in the next round after gaining 7.63 points in second. Jessica Anderson of Chile was third (2.73) and Valdez settled for fourth (2.53).
Veteran surfers Rogelio Esquivel Jr. and Edito Alcala also fell out contention in the men’s action.
The fourth day was defined by surprising upsets and powerful surfing through a strong swell at the breaks of La Bocana and El Sunzal, according to reports.
The defending world champion Sofia Mulanovich of Peru bade goodbye to her Olympic dreams when she exited the event early in Round 3 of repechage.
Mulanovich came up short by less than a point, eliminated by Canada’s Paige Alms and Panama’s Enilda Alonso.
Australia’s Ryan Callinan put up a great performance in men’s repechage Round 2, but also came up short in his following heat.
Callinan was defeated by Costa Rica’s Noe Mar McGonagle and Portugal’s Miguel Blanco.