The question above haunts me every time I leave a certain surf spot I have visited.
I just came from three off-the-beaten-spots of surfing in the Philippines: Dahican Beach in Mati City, Gubat Bay in Sorsogon and Majestic Puraran in Baras, Catanduanes. All these spots have a common denominator apart from the warm local surfers who just want to share the ocean with you- LOTSA LOCAL TALENT BUT LACK SURFBOARDS AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT SUPPORT.
In my homebreak in Dahican Beach, we only have 2 longboards (one super heavy that was given 5 years ago given by a Japanese surfer and a bamboo board given by an Australian shaper Richard), about 4 plastered shortboards and four repaired leashes. But we have one of the best skimboarders in the Philippines- “Bayugyog” Aporbo.
In Gubat, they have no more than 15 surfboards- 4 given by DOT Region 5 and the others bought at a Japanese surplus most either lacking fins or needf a lot of repairing. But most kids learned surfing even without leashes and wax.
In Majestic Puraran, I have seen reef-sheered-fiber-cloth-coated-shortboards still being used to get some world-class barrels. Some kids take turns using boards. You will not see a single white board (brand new) being used there. But the locals are wave hunters and chargers!
I can go on and talk about the surfing communities in Ayoke Island and Cantilan; in Bulusan, Sorsogon; even our well-known surfing spots like La Union, Baler, Zambales and Bagasbas have stories of hand-me-down-or-bought-from-surplus surfboards used by local surfers most not fit for their height.
And I would say, teary-eyed, RESPECT to these local surfers who still promote and make surfing known in the Philippines. Sharing whatever they have to the community they are in.
And so I ask,
“Why doesn’t surfing get support like basketball do?” To think that we have waves all-year-round and talents that don’t need height requirement like basketball do. Why do politicians keep on building multi-purpose buildings and coliseums (aka sabungan) instead of purchasing surfboards or building skateparks so our surfers can practice when there is no swell
Why do we keep on raving bout the Azkals and forget about those who are in LU or Siargao or Baler?
Have you heard of the story of Manoy, Arjun and Ian when they tried to ask for help from Philippine Sports Commission when they wanted to represent Philippines in California’s United Skim Tour (They were denied of support because one idiot in PSC said that skimboarding is not a sports)?
Did people celebrate when a local talent, Bayogyog Aporbo from Mati City became the two-time champion at the International Skimboarding Festival at Penang, Malaysia?
While it’s so easy for our government officials to have a Lakbay Aral tour in HongKong or Singapore, it’s almost impossible for our deserving and worthy surfers, skimboarders and skaters to join national competitions because they don’t have budget for transportation and food. Would they even compete in other countries with this kind of support?
And when a congressman makes something to “support the local break” its actually more for his advantage. Take this whooping Php5,000,000 floating boardwalk a Catanduanes locals told me; I heard that it’s actual cost is Php500,000. I think this owes an explanation from the one who created this project. To whose pocket did the additional “0” ended up? I hope he surfs too!
More questions form in the mind whenever I converse with locals and I keep on asking myself what can I do to help?
I’m someone who is proactive and I want to do something. Very soon I know God will guide me to do the next steps to help but for now I want to share this through this blog and hopefully those who read will contribute and help these kids.
We have so much potential in surfing than in basketball. Yes, take that from someone who’s in love with shooting hoops since age 9.
Hope you can pass this blog on. Thank you in advance!
Team Amihan, Longboard Surfer