Thursday, January 26, 2006

Reef @ Manila Surfers' Cup

After months of hard work, false starts and seemingly endless meetings, we did it! The Manila Surfers' Association, in cooperation with The La Union Surf Club and with the support of Reef, our media partner MTV Philippines and media contacts at Solar Sports Desk, Saturday Super, Fudge Magazine, Pink magazine and others were able to launch the first annual Manila Surfers' Cup in San Juan, La Union.

Attendance and support were overwhelming as Manila invaded San Juan for the weekend. The good vibes kept rolling in from sunrise on Saturday to sunset on Sunday.

We had heats during the day and an awesome party on the beach at sunset. After filling our bellies with lechon, we watched as the more flexible among us tried to outdo each other in a Limbo Rock contest. Bands Cosmic Love and Reefer rocked til the wee hours of the morning, Planet Zips gave us a fire spinning performance, and the good vibes just kept flowing.

The next morning, there were a few casualties of the night's festivities that were slow in rising and taking to the water. But it was hard for even the most hung-over of us to resist the call of the ocean. Especially when it looked like the waves had picked up in size.

I was slated to compete in the Wahine Shortboard division but was having second thoughts about it. Mostly because they'd moved the comp to the Point, a break I had never in my life paddled out to. Ever. But Lara and Samantha talked me into it when I saw them on the beach. Plus Joncy mentioned that my heat wasn't until later that afternoon anyway.

So I spent most of the morning alternating between my board and Zeny's board... waiting for waves at the beach break... catching most of them... and also experiencing some heavy wipe outs. And then it happened: I was sitting in the line-up when I heard "Will all competitors in the wahine shortboard please check in with the judges." Patay.

Turns out they rescheduled all the heats to make sure we didn't lose the waves and my heat was up soon. Real soon. And what had I been doing the last three hours? Surfing. Uh-oh.

By the time I'd gotten my rash guard and then paddled to the line-up at the Point, I was tired. Pasta arms kind of tired. And a little freaked out because I was surfing an alien break on a kind of bigger-than-what-I'm-used to conditions. Tried to take off on two waves... didn't quite make it. It seemed like the only one of us not having any problems was Lara. But then again, Lara rips. They actually extended our heat by 5 minutes since we were having such a hard time out there. When the judges announced the last two minutes, I asked Jong (one of our water marshals) for a little help... and finally caught a proper wave. A long ride at that.

Then it was over. I waded back to shore, trying not to stub my toes on the reef. I got hugs from my 'kapatid' Ian Saguan, encouraging words from Archie and a little critique from Joncy ( in Joncy's words "you went frontside on a right-hand break!').

Mhay, Zeny and I left after that to grab some lunch so we didn't get to watch the other finals heats. I was too tired to really think much about the heat but too pumped from the experience to have a nap. Basically, I floated for the rest of the afternoon. Even when I was back in the water, I just sat on my board and didn't really try to do anything other than sit there.

At sunset, MSA called for one last beach clean-up before awarding. And how did awarding go? Well, results are as follows:

Grommet Division:
Champion: Benito Nerida
1st Runner Up: Roger Casugay
2nd Runner Up: Jr Esquivel
3rd Runner Up: Jeffrey Esquivel

Men's Shortboard Division
CHAMPION: Carlos Ray Sotto
2nd Place: Bjorn "FluidSurf" Pabon
3rd Place: Toks Isidro
4th Place: Joncy Sumulong

Women's Shortboard Division
CHAMPION: Lara Reynolds
2nd Place: Roxy Roxas
3rd Place: Kage Gozun
4th Place: Samantha Solon

Men's Longboard Division
Champion: Lui 540 Tortuya
2nd Place: Buji Libarnes
3rd Place: Toks Isidro
4th Place: Bjorn Pabon

Women's Longboard Division
Champion: Viva Olalia
2nd Place: Adda
3rd Place: Nikki Dela Paz
4th Place: Carla Suiza
Judges: The La Union Surf Club
Head Judge: Ian Saguan

Board of Judges:
Angel Villanueva
Anthony KawKaw Leuben
Anthony Valdez
Kuya Enteng
Archie Martinez

*personal thanks to Aya, Elaine, Vince , Sid & Andrew for helping out with PR…. to the girls of the Sunshine Squad for the good vibes… to Olin for rockin’ those white boardshorts… and to Bjornika for sorting out the room situation. Kim and Viva, we still owe each other those beers!

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Waiting for waves, Sunday morning. Photo by Mhay.

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Sunset, San Juan style!

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The Diwata and "VPPB" Pabon super stoked with Zen and Mhay.


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