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Philippine Surfing Championship Tour: The Beginning of Professional Surfing in the Philippines

Philippine Surfing Championship Tour: The Beginning of Professional Surfing in the Philippines

It’s been quite a ride for the surfing industry since the inclusion of competitive surfing in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan last year. For most surf enthusiasts like me, it’s a huge bait to actually go and witness this historical event personally.

Last October 2016, our very own Philmar Alipayo and Nilbie Blancada both from Siargao made it to the top ranks in the Asian Surfing Championship, gaining them the opportunity to represent the Philippines for the Rote Open 2016 in eastern Indonesia. With Nilbie Blancada emerging as champion in the women’s division.

In today’s age of digital media, surfing has become more and more a noticeable topic of interest online. More people now want to feel the sense of unadulterated elation that is popularly known throughout the surfing community as “stoke” or “froth.”

Surfers Ongster Montenegro and Wawa Delamide before heading out for a heat in Lanuza. Photo by Michael Eijansantos.

Surfers Ongster Montenegro and Wawa Delamide before heading out for a heat in Lanuza. Photo by Michael Eijansantos.

There is a special breed of surfers who have nurtured their love for surfing in a whole different level. Surfing everyday for these individuals is not just a way to get their daily dose of stoke; it is an integral part of their lives, their bread and butter. I would say, surfing is their life.

With surfing as the primal drive for these wave rider, the country’s premiere surfing league, the Philippine Surfing Championship Tour (PSCT), was created. Through the efforts of these former competitive athletes and now pioneers and leaders in their local surf communities- Luke Landrigan (La Union), Bjorn Pabon (Zambales and Bicol Region), Manuel Melindo (Siargao), and Mike Oida (Ilocos Norte).

These four men have seen the vast potential of Filipinos and shared a common vision of raising the standards of local competitions to push our athletes towards global competitiveness. Dedicating their time to learning the procedures of international surf judging, these men hold the highest level of International Surfing Association (ISA) judging certification in the country and will be the main officiating judges in the tour.

Surfer Martin Taniegra flies up the wave. Photo by Michael Eijansantos

Surfer Martin Taniegra flies up the wave. Photo by Michael Eijansantos

The PSCT is now ready to take on the daunting but highly gratifying endeavor of determining and ranking the best surfers in the Philippines through a series of national competitions while exposing them to the standards and format of the international leagues.

Patterned after the World Surf League, the PSCT is the country’s first-ever and only professional surfing tournamentwhere surfers from all over the Philippines will gather and tour around different surf spots to earn points and battle for a spot in the national ranking.

More than a competition, PSCT hopes to unite surfers from Luzon to Mindanao and promote a sense of “ohana” in the Filipino surfing community. Only through working together can we make the dream of making world champions a reality.

The late Mike Escoltura in one of the previous competitions in Lanuza, Surigao del Sur. Photo by Michael Eijansantos

The late Mike Escoltura in one of the previous competitions in Lanuza, Surigao del Sur. Photo by Michael Eijansantos

The schedule of events for this year’s Philippine Surfing Championship Tour starts this September in the world-renowned Cloud 9 in Siargao Island followed by Lanuza, Surigao Del Sur, then up to Luzon in Baler, Aurora and lastly, in the surfing capital of the north, La Union as the final leg.

It looks like the start of the surf season this year is opening with such excitement as we’re finally opening doors to discovering promising athletes that would represent the Philippines in the international arena.  Find out how you can help or be part of history taking place by heading over to www.psctour.com for more details about the schedule and for updates.

Read about what you can do in Siargao should you decide to watch the tour take off in September. See you there! 

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