8 November, 2013 8 November, 2013

Philippines Takes a Big Hit from Super Typhoon Haiyan – Tomcat takes cover

Animation of Super Typhoon Haiyan through 15 UTC Friday (NOAA)

Super Typhoon Haiyan has just hit landfall in the Philippines. With sustained maximum windspeeds swirling around at 315km/h, Haiyan has been described as the strongest storm to ever make landfall in modern times. Widespread destruction is expected.

It’s definitely not the best time to be en route to the legendary Cloud 9 – like Cape Town local Thomas Catlin and his business partner Gary currently are.

Well, not exactly, they’ve been grounded on Cebu, an island 590kms south of the capital of Manila. Cloud 9 will have to wait.

Cloud 9 features in ‘8 Discoveries That Changed Surfing’ in Zag issue 37.8 – © JS Callahan

We received the following message from Thomas, just as the typhoon was bearing down on the Philippines:

Just been in China for two weeks, eating baby pigeons and chicken feet. Gary, my business partner, usually plans a well scheduled work/holiday itinerary, (which means) if we miss one flight (the) knock on effect (is that) we can’t get to (our) final destination – Cloud 9.

(We’ve) been amping for the last four months since we booked our trip.

(We) landed in Cebu this morning to connect tomorrow to fly to Surigao. Ja lank, (we) just made it through the clouds. We (are) now land locked (and) can’t get out of here!

Local newspaper headlines read “Monster Typhoon”.

I’ve never been in a super typhoon before. I don’t think I will make it. But I love you guys, I love Black Rock, my dogs Lola, and Jet, and of course my wife.

But check the imminent storm behind those guns.


That was the last we heard from Thomas before the storm hit, and we’re hoping that he, Gary, as well as everyone in the Philippines will be safe.

Follow this report on the Washington Post for more from Super Typhoon Haiyan


UPDATE: Thomas has since reported back that they’re safe, and that the worst of the storm is over.

Sadly, three people have already lost their lives in the storms, and the death toll is expected to rise further once communications are back up with more remote areas.

Thomas sent in the video below.

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