December 9, 2018, Brgy. Sabang, Cabugao, Ilocos Sur – There was enough swell left over from yesterday’s epic showdown to finish the remaining shortboard heats in the Ilocos SurF National Surfing Championships. By late afternoon, John Mark “Marama” Tokong, Nilbie Blancada, and Gabriel Lerog were proclaimed champions of the Men’s Open, Women’s Open, and Juniors Shortboard divisions.
The wind had picked up considerably thus transforming Kido’s Point once more. A sweeping current was visible from the surface and the surfers had to work harder to get to the peak to claim priority. What was once an outstretched wall of perfection had become a puzzle of bumpy ramps and gaping barrel sections that tricked many surfers into believing that there was a way out.
It was in these conditions that Marama, Nilbie, and Gab Lerog proved just how skilled they were at navigating near-closeout waves and negotiating split-second situations. Lerog showed the true power of Catangnan, General Luna as his single-wave scores increased as he advanced further into the competition. In the Finals, he bested La Union’s young guns (Jomarie Ebueza, Perry Ventura, and Rj Chico Lopez) no matter how much they tried to snatch the lead from him.
Nilbie was a league of her own as she showed complete confidence and control each time she took off on a wave. She posted a total heat score of 12.75 in the Finals, easily finishing with wave scores in the 6.00 range while her opponents struggled to post anything above a 4.00.
The Men’s Shortboard Open Finals was a classic match-up between Marama and Piso Alcala. The two have been surfing neck and neck since the start of the Championship Tour but today, in a small fishing village in Ilocos Sur, Marama edged over his long-time surf brother by consistently delivering scores in the 7.00 range, amounting to a record-high 14.75 total heat score in the Finals.
Not only did Marama, Nilbie, and Gabriel earn the winning titles for the Cabugao leg of the competition, they were officially named the #1 ranked shortboarders in the entire Philippine Surfing Championship Tour. The awarding ceremony will be held tomorrow, Dec. 10, after the Longboard Division declares champions of their own.
Poised for progress
After hosting the final leg of the PSCT this past week, Cabugao is ready to open up to more development and tourism. The local surfers and their families who subsist mainly on fishing and simple commerce are excited to see if surfing can be the key to a livelier future.
“Sa lahat ng nagpa-comp dito, and PSCT ang pinaka the best dahil organisado lahat,” (Of all the groups who have done surf competitions here, the PSCT is the best one so far and also the most organized.), says local surfer Jeff Imperio.
“Sana every year na magka-comp na tulad nito para tuluy-tuloy na ang progreso sa aming lugar,” (Hopefully, we can hold a competition like this every year so that we can continuously experience progress in our place.), adds Joel Imperio, who wished to someday be part of surf tourism in his province.
These locals’ views are aligned with the vision of Ilocos Sur District 1 representative, Cong. Ronald Singson, who personally ensured that the PSCT leg in Cabugao would push through. Being an avid surfer himself, Cong. Singson knew that there was potential in developing a place with world-class waves given the right conditions and the right urban planning and approach to environmental care.
The exposure to the best surf athletes in the Philippines will only inspire the Cabugao locals to improve their surfing and ways of living. After all, all they need is to be shown how it’s done.
About the Ilocos SurF National Surfing Championships
The Ilocos SurF National Surfing Championships is the third and final stop of this year’s tour. This is made possible through the support of Ilocos Sur District 1 representative, Congressman Ronald Singson, who is also a businessman, a concert producer, and more recently, an avid surfer as well.
The Ilocos SurF National Surfing Championships is supported by the following sponsors and media partners: The Municipality of Cabugao, Gwapitos, Fat Lips Surfshop, Kudo Surf, Sky Jet Air (Official Airline Partner), ANC-X, My Life On Board, ABS CBN Sports + Action, FluidSurf, Marajaw Surf Company, INQPop, People’s Television Network, Inquirer.net, Be Siargao, Blunt Magazine, Phenom Fitness, and CNN Philippines.
The Philippine Surfing Championship Tour (PSCT) is the premier professional surfing competition where top surfers from all over the Philippines compete in multiple locations around the country, vying for a spot in the national surfing team.
Already on its second year, the PSCT celebrates the Filipino surfers, passionate fans, and dedicated partners that together grow the Philippine surfing community to what it is today and what it’s envisioned to be.
PSCT exists to set the stage and act as a platform for professional surfing in the Philippines, promoting Filipino surfers as world-class athletes, and uniting the surfing community and fans by sharing the story, drama, and adventure of Philippine surfing one tour at a time.