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.
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.
Sabang Beach in Baler is teeming with surfers and surfer wannabes. In the morning, and late afternoon, it looks like the first photo above.
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.
FOUR P’s OF SURFING:
POSITION – There are two surfing stances: regular or left foot forward, and goofy or right foot forward.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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..
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.
INSTRUCTOR – listen carefully to the instructions and during the briefing. Ask questions in between waves to improve your craft. We always hire kuya Rommel when we’re there because he’s patient and has a knack at humor.
SURFING SPOTS IN THE PHILIPPINES
URBIZTONDO, SAN JUAN, LA UNION – Have you heard of Luke Landrigan? He owns a surf school / resort there.
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.
Check my experience here.
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?
Refresh after a good run, just like what Mary and I did at Costa Pacifica.