Surfing is for everyoneBy Annelle S. Tayao
Philippine Daily Inquirer
For one weekend, they became surfers by day and DJs by night.
At the recent Billabong All Girls Surf Camp, 24 young women experienced the surf-and-music lifestyle on the sunny shores of San Juan, La Union. Held March 15-17 at San Juan Surf Resort, the girls worked on perfecting their surfing skills—under the watchful eye of pro surfer Luke Landrigan, and Elaine Abonal of Surfista Travels, a surf tour company.
The girls, ages 14-30, had four one-hour surfing sessions during the three-day camp. Luke, who’s also head instructor of San Juan Surf School (sanjuansurfschool.ph), started them off with the basics: the proper starting position, and from there, how to stand up and ride a wave.
This is how it’s done:
From lying down on your belly on the surfboard, one has to do a push-up, then “pop up”—a slight jump-to standing position.
Stand feet apart with the right or left leg in front (depends which is your stronger leg), body facing to the side (left or right, again, whichever you’re more comfortable with).
To maintain balance, spread your arms to the side and look forward, never down at your feet. Keep your knees bent.
Use the step-up technique if you’re having a hard time standing on the board: While lying on your belly, bend your right or left leg and use your foot to help you stand as you do a push-up. As you push yourself up, extend your other foot forward and stand up.
A surfboard leash is attached to your ankle to make sure you don’t lose your board.
Each girl had a local surfing instructor with them to help them catch waves. San Juan is an ideal place for beginners to learn surfing since the shoreline is all sand, no sharp rocks or corals.
While it was all about catching waves during the day, the girls enjoyed good music in the evening. Rock singer Franco provided Friday night’s entertainment.
On Saturday, the girls huddled around DJs Niki Rojas and Joey Santos, who showed them how to play different tunes using a mixer. The girls had a blast choosing their own songs (David Guetta was a popular pick) and trying to mix them seamlessly.
At the end of the camp, the girls each received a certificate of completion from Billabong. 14-year-old Samantha Santos, who was commended for taking the initiative to surf without the assistance of an instructor, was awarded the title of Most Promising Surfer. She received a Billabong underwater camera as a gift.
Last year, she won fourth place at the Beginner Surf Competition, which was part of the Aloha Boardsports Surf and Music Festival.
“In this year’s batch, around half of the group showed real potential,” said Luke. A couple of girls who apparently had not had enough of surfing even decided to extend their stay in La Union.
For those who are stuck in the city but are interested to take up the sport, Luke recommends a lot of paddling practice first. “90 percent of surfing is paddling,” he said. “Do laps in the pool to build your upper-body strength.”
This is the second year that Billabong has held an all-girls surf camp. It’s only for girls, so far, because “we want to encourage girls to surf, since now it’s still mostly guys,” said Luke.
“Surfing is for everyone,” he added. “You don’t have to be a macho guy. It’s for girls or guys—payat or mataba (of all shapes).”