Sports and Hobbies
Surf’s up! Not internet surf (if I hear that joke one more time I might punch a person in the face), but real surf. Pretty dumb writing a blog at the end of summer for surfing, right? Well ironically, summer is the only time here that we don’t get waves to surf. The season starts now and will last until, well, summer. Surprisingly, we have lots of surf areas here in the Philippines but most people have no idea how to start, or think that it’s too expensive. It’s really not.
Your first surf experience will cost you around Php1,000 for two solid lessons and some land training. If you’re sporty, you can pick up the basics in a couple of hours. Don’t be a fool like 80% of students and think the training stops there. According to Virgel Ramos of the Quiksilver Surf School Zambales, we break it into levels for you, and this is only the start of level 1. Virgel says that a good instructor will break every lesson down into steps for you, taking out all the hardest stuff, like paddling for yourself and getting back to where the waves are, so you can focus first on the fun stuff like standing up and taking pictures.
Most likely, you will be given a one-on-one instructor to push you into waves and all you really have to do is stand up. Kinda like your dad holding you up to the basketball rim so you can make the shot. Don’t be fooled, kid, the ball DID go into the hoop but you’re not ready to hit the playground by yourself just yet. If you do, you might find Luke Landrigan of the Stoke.inc Surf School in La Union coming out to tell you to make your way back to shore because it's not safe (which if you’re a girl was probably your goal anyway). Every surf student should be training with a proper instructor, at least until you can catch your own waves and get back out to the “lineup” where the waves are. At the Quiksilver Surf School, this is the goal of our level 2.
If you talk to Paolo Soler of The Philippine Surfing Academy, he will tell you that it's women that learn to surf fastest here in the Philippines. I, as well, as most other Surf-school operators, would agree with him 100%. This is because of two important things. First, the general rule is that the longer and bigger the board, the more waves you’re going to catch. Whereas women really focus on the learning, men are quik to wanna jump to the tiny little shortboard (generally 6’8” and below) because they think it's cooler. Mac Ramos of the Quiksilver Surf School says that making this mistake adds about 5 years (if you’re from Manila and only surf weekends) to the leaning process.
The second reason is that, statistically, girls learn so much faster that it is their tendency to continue with lessons. Women tend to continue into levels 3 and 4 well beyond the one-on-one instructor and will take classes for more advanced maneuvers, like the bottom turn and riding the wall of the wave, while their boyfriends are still fumbling on their little boards in everyone’s way.
Surfing is an awesome sport that keeps you fit and makes you, like, 10 times cooler. But there is a practical reason that EVERYONE here in the Philippines should take some surf lessons. Roy Angara of the Aliya Surf School in Baler would tell you that since local government in Baler, Aurora employs local surfers as lifeguards to protect the lives of local beachgoers, it has helped out tremendously with public safety. The fact is that most Filipinos have no idea what the dangers of the ocean are or how to deal with emergency situations.
Learning to surf teaches you how to be a strong swimmer and gives you a deeper understanding of the ocean and waves. So there, I’ve given you four reputable surf schools in this article and the people to look for. It's time you got out there, took a surf lesson, and had some fun! Be safe and, as we all say, “see ya in the lineup."
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