NO ONE LOSES IN LANUZA
by Kage Gozun
The friendly town of Lanuza, Surigao del Sur once again opened their homes to the throngs of surfers and media that came down to participate in the 3rd Lanuza Surfing Festival. This was the second-to-the-last leg of the year-long circuit spearheaded by the Philippine Surfing Federation through its chairman Cong. Butch Pichay Jr.
The area’s beach break – and the sizeable cash prize – drew over one hundred participants this year.
The lure of a grand prize of Php70,000 was too tempting for Filipino surfers to ignore. At final count, there was a record 157 surfers listed for the National Shortboard division. Over forty (40) signed up for the first ever International Longboard Competition where a whopping Php100,000 grand prize was at stake for the champion.
The competition was made possible by sponsors such as Smart Communications, Pagcor and Duty Free Philippines, Five Forty Surf Company, Conquer Equipment, Adrenaline Boardriding Company and the support of Provincial Government of Surigao del Sur and the Local Government Unit of Lanuza.
It was the locals from La Union that dominated in the international longboard event. Heat after heat, the local surfers dropped international competitors in a true show of local skill and talent. The final was an all-La Union heat competing between Ian Saguan, Luke Landrigan, Jun Fietas and Anthony Valdez, all big names in the La Union surfing scene.
Baler’s seven man contingent seemed small compared to Siargao’s 50-plus delegation and La Union’s 30 man party. But their numbers proved more than enough as four of their deputation made it to the finals of the shortboard competition.
The Junior division was a showcase of the amazing potential and future of Philippine surfing. Of the fifty competitors, Jeff dela Torre and Joe Henry Tena of Baler competed against Zaldy Coldura of Siargao and Myrel Santos of Samar in the finals.
Baler once again showed their mettle in the intense Men’s Open Division where Sandito Alciso of Siargao, Argie Hugo of Baler, Luke Landrigan of La Union and Joel Faraon, also of Baler met head to head in a half hour heat that had everyone at the edges of their seats.
A special Wahine division proved that women have earned their place in the line-up alongside the men. The finals saw La Union’s Daisy Valdez and Mickey Galang competing with Siargao’s Neldie Blancada and France’s Rafael Dore.
Siargao also established itself as training ground for up-and-coming talent as three of the four grommet division finalists paddled out representing the island. Philmar Alipayo, Pete Catulay, Paul Juan Alipayo surfed under their Siargao’s banner but fell short of local Lanuza boy Hiram Ariate’s knowledge of his home break.
In between intense surf heats that lasted all day were nightly parties held at Doot Poktoy. Surfers and spectators alike enjoyed dancing under the stars with their feet in the sand.
The awarding ceremony was also held at the Doot Poktoy sandbar to much fanfare. It seemed as though the entire town had turned out to join in the excitement of finding out who among these talented Filipino chargers was going to take home the big money. As it turns out, Cong. Pichay made sure that none of the participants of the competition would be going home empty-handed! All the entrants would be receiving a cash prize of Php500 for simply taking part in the event.