Travels, Fun Activities, Aurora Province

Baler Series: Riding Baler's Waves (Again!) – The 4 P's of Surfing

Surfing has always captured my imagination, and has fueled my passion for a few years now. It is a water sport I not only fell in love with, but that I also want my friends and family to try.

My Surf Trainer and Myself at the Sabang Beach in Baler - My first ever.
My Surf Trainer and Myself at the Sabang Beach in Baler – My first ever – 2012

And when I first tried it out in July 2012, I got hooked. It was inexpensive (unless you make it a hobby) compared to Scuba Diving which I tried in Coron.

Needless to say, my friends heard nothing but excitement from me when I invited them to try it, until the planning stage. I did nothing but encourage them how easy it really is and that it is even good for non-swimmers.

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Baler Series – surf’s up! This is myself in 2016 on a different surf spot. Raw photo from iPhone 5s

Sabang Beach in Baler is teeming with surfers and surfer wannabes. In the morning, and late afternoon, it looks like the first photo above.

Surfing Baler - Mahdox along Sabang Beach
Surfing Baler – Mahdox along Sabang Beach (Photo by Goyt Sagun)

Two of my friends already surfed when they got to Baler that weekend, Saturday morning.

The rest of us surfed Monday morning, since Sunday was dedicated for the tour which pretty much ate up the entire day.

We prefer to surf with Bay’s Inn Resort, their surf coordinator is friendly, they have colored boards, and this time, they provided certificates. Their surf instructors are also friendly.

We start off with briefing the surfers for about 5 minutes. And because I had to get our GoPro Hero 3 (pardon the set-up – I wasn’t knowledgeable on the camera’s settings at this time) camera from the resort, I was late for the briefing.

Surfing Baler - Briefing with the Instructor - Kuya Lord (while the others are already trying to catch the waves)
Surfing Baler – Briefing with the Instructor – Kuya Lord (while the others are already trying to catch the waves)

FOUR P’s OF SURFING:

POSITION – There are two surfing stances: regular or left foot forward, and goofy or right foot forward.

Surfing Baler - Goofy Techique (Markee on his board)
Surfing Baler – Goofy Techique (Markee on his board)

The position on the board is also essential. The instructor will tell beginners where to position on the board, but ideally, one foot should be at the tip of the back end of the board.

Surfing Baler - Position on the Board (Jons while waiting for the wave)
Surfing Baler – Position on the Board (Jons while waiting for the wave)

POSTURE – The right posture may not be achieved right away on the first try. And that is why we have instructors who would correct our posture, if needed.  Knees bent, hips tucked out and toes pointed and almost perpendicular to the board.

 

PADDLING – while beginners are not required to paddle since the instructors will push them to get the start-up, surfers who want to take surfing seriously would want to pay close attention to paddling. It’s like pushing water as far back as you can in an alternating manner with the hands cupped. The more water you push back, the farther you and your board can go.

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Baler Series : The 4 P’s of Surfing

POP-UP – happens when you feel that the wave has taken over your paddling and should be done fast, that’s why it’s pop up. Usually, for beginners, one of the legs is bent to give the leverage for the surfer to stand up. More experienced surfers just pop up without bending the knee first. Hands should be underneath the chest while on the board to support the body for the pop-up, as if in a push-up.

Surfing Baler - Pop-up (DJ on his pop-up, about to stand up for the wave)
Surfing Baler – Pop-up (DJ on his pop-up, about to stand up for the wave)

And when you have finally stood up the board, enjoy the wave and stay on top of your board as long as you can, which is called a long ride.

Surfing Baler - one of Gracie's long rides
Surfing Baler – one of Gracie’s long rides

If you feel that you are about to fall, jump to the side of your board and not in front to avoid getting hurt. But don’t worry because beginners only use soft boards. Even once, my board hit me in the face after I fell, it hurt only a bit but no blood, cuts or bruises.

Keep distance from your fellow surfers and swimmers to avoid injuries.

Protect your head if the fall was bad and you feel that the waves are coming.

Watch this video by Billabong co-founder to get more ideas on beginner surfing.

In the hour that passed, all of us had fun. We got ourselves a bottle of water, a certificate, and a sachet of sunblock pre-surfing.

THE ESSENTIALS

BOARD SHORTS – while ladies can always wear their 2-pc swimsuits, the water may get cold, and exposed skin may get rashes (just like what happened to Gracie) which then leads to the next clothing essential..

Surfing Baler - Essentials (Me wearing Billabong board shorts - very comfortable)
Surfing Baler – Essentials (Me wearing Billabong board shorts – very comfortable)

RASH GUARD – not all rash guards are expensive. I shopped around and found some affordable rash guards (try olympic village). Although not as thick as the Roxy, Oneill, and Billabong rash guards, they would do for now. Rash guards can also be borrowed from Bay’s Inn. Otherwise, shirtless and shorts-and-shirt would do.

SURF BOARD – is provided by the surf camp along with the instructor. 1 hour of tutorial is PhP 350, and half a day rental of the board is PhP 400.

Surfing Baler - Essentials (Bay's Inn Collection of Surf Boats)
Surfing Baler – Essentials (Bay’s Inn Collection of Surf Boards)

INSTRUCTOR – listen carefully to the instructions and during the briefing. Ask questions in between waves to improve your craft.

Surfing Baler - Essentials (Jons and his Instructor)
Surfing Baler – Essentials (Jons and his Instructor)

SURFING SPOTS IN THE PHILIPPINES

URBIZTONDO, SAN JUAN, LA UNION – Have you heard of Luke Landrigan? He owns a surf school / resort there.

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Footloosetomcat, with THE ONE. In San Juan La Union for some sunset surfing
San Juan Surf School (La Union) Signage
San Juan Surf School (La Union) Signage

I surfed there once during my birthday and spotted him sipping a beer in the afternoon, and after he surfed, but was too shy to ask for a picture. Rate here is PhP 400 per hour.

Luke Landrigan in his San Juan Surf School
Luke Landrigan in his San Juan Surf School

Check my experience here.

SABANG BEACH, BALER, AURORA – Enough said. But you can check my 1st surfing experience here.

Surfing Baler - Leave everything behind
Surfing Baler – Leave everything behind

CATANDUANES – I haven’t been there but I heard from accomplished travel blogger Pinoy AdvenTurista that the waves there are great, too.

SAN NARCISO, SAN ANTONIO & SAN FELIPE, ZAMBALES –  I have been there a number of times but have not discovered surfing yet. I heard it’s more affordable there plus it’s the closest to Manila.

CLUB MANILA EAST – also offers in-door surfing in their wave pools.

Flow House Manila – is a new indoor attraction in Molino, at PhP 600.00 per hour inclusive of board and instructor.

We all had a blast that weekend. So much, that we even planned the next trip –Balesin, which happened in October 2013.

So on your next adventure, make it count! Do something that you haven’t done yet.

Better yet, why not do it AGAIN?

The sea is inviting, right guys?

Sabang Beach, Baler 2013
Sabang Beach, Baler 2013

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