New Champions Crowned in Guiuan, Title Race Continues in La Union
by Ferina Santos
Finals day of the 9th Guiuan Odyssey Waves surfing competition opened with an energetic atmosphere. The festive mood continued as cheers and yells of the crowd were heard as their favourites headed to the water for the semi-finals and finals of all categories.
It was breathtaking and entertaining to witness former champions battle it out in the water. Crowd favourite and Philippines’ top longboarder Jay-r Esquivel (La Union), by a slim margin, lost the title to Roger Casugay, currently ranked third nationwide.
“In the previous rounds, I’d go left, but when I rode right in the quarterfinals and was given a higher score, I started riding right more. Plus, it’s my front side,” explains Casugay.
It was a close fight between the two La Union surfers. Both would take off on the same wave where Casugay would go right, and Esquivel would go left.
“I became too complacent and a bit too confident during the final heat,” said Esquivel. “It’s a lesson learned, I’ll be more careful next time, but I’m still so proud of Roger, he’s a great surfer,” adds Esquivel.
Both Casugay and Esquivel hail from La Union where they surf together almost regularly; Esquivel adds that even upon arriving in Calicoan, they would send messages to each other to practice.
“The La Union surfing community is a tight group, and with PSCT now, touring the country and holding surfing competitions like this, it’s great to see the Philippine surfing community grow closer together as a whole,” said Esquivel.
Casugay bags the championship while Esquivel came in second while Jefferson Dela Torre (La Union) and Benito Nerida (La Union) share equal third.
The Women’s Open Longboarding Finals had veteran competitor and Philippines’s top one longboarder, Daisy Valdez (La Union) against younger, up-and-coming wahines. These were Angel’Lea Aguilar (La Union), Vea Estrellado (Sorsogon), and the lone surfer from Mindanao who made it to the finals, Debie Gumanoy (Lanuza).
The wahines showed impressive footwork and traditional longboarding, but it was a clean sweep a little towards the end of the heat when Valdez got her two highest-scoring waves, and there wasn’t enough time for the other competitors to score.
“It’s good that the scores are being announced right after we get a wave because then we’ll immediately know what we need to do to get the score we need,” says Valdez.
Using a digital scoring system scores are tabulated and posted through a computer system that updates real-time. “The waves today were very clean, perfect for longboarding. I’m just so lucky to have gotten the cleanest one during our heat.” Valdez adds.
Results for the Women’s Open Longboard are Estrellado in second place while Gumanoy and Aguilar share equal third.
Moving on to shortboard action, a little upset came in the Junior’s Shortboard as our recently crowned 21st Siargao National Cup junior champion Marbin Delamide lost the title race early in the semi-finals.
2018 PSCT junior grand champion Gabriel Lerog was up against 2018 Siargao National Surfing Cup champion Benjomar Canon. Hailing from Siargao, Lerog and Canon are no strangers to battling it out on the waves in the quarterfinals leading up to the finals.
“I’m so happy! I didn’t expect that I’d win. I was a bit nervous in my heat, but I’m glad I was able to score epic cutbacks and snaps,” said Lerog. “I was so tired coming into the finals. I felt weak but I got around and thought to myself I need to win,” Lerog adds.
Results for the Junior’s Open Shortboard are Gabriel Lerog bagging the championship, Benjomar Canon in second place while Lemar Delamide and Marbin Delamide sharing equal third.
Women’s Open Shortboard saw some epic surfing from the wahines. Standout surfer Jolina Longos from Pacifico, Siargao Island stole the show with her impressive performance, securing the championship title on her last wave in the heat.
Fellow Siargaonon Ana Mae Alipayo comes in second place followed by Vea Estrellado (Sorsogon) and Pinky Alipayo in equal third.
What would be a perfect way to end finals day was having the final heat of the Men’s Open Shortboard. It was a battle between goofy-footer Jay-r Esquivel and regular John Mark “Marama” Tokong.
Both equally skilled and members of the Philippine National Team, the championship was anybody’s game. Tokong, fresh off his win in the 25th Siargao International Surfing Cup is known for pulling off impressive airs.
“It was a close fight. I never expected to win a shortboard category in PSCT, and this is my first!” says Esquivel. “I’ve never been happier. I’ve always just been in third place,” he adds.
Pulling off an impressive reverse that rewarded Esquivel with 8.50 points, the highest single-wave score of the day and securing his win for the championship. Tokong comes in second place while Edito “Piso” Alcala Jr and Philmar Alipayo, both from Siargao, share equal third.
The rankings have shifted and it’s going to be an exciting title race as we head off to La Union for the final leg of the PSCT this November 16–22.
The 9th Guiuan Odyssey Waves is made possible by the local government unit of Guiuan thru Mayor Annaliza P. Gonzales-Kwan, Vice Mayor Veronica Cabacaba- Ramirez, the Sangguniang Bayan Members and the Department of Tourism Region 8. With the support of the Philippine Sports Commission, Guiuan Water District, Gwapitos, Kudo Surf, Cebu Pacific, Fat Lips Surf Shop, ABS-CBN Sports and Action, CNN Philippines, ANCx, Inquirer.net, Metro Channel, Inq Pop, Fluidsurf, My Life on Board, PAGCOR, VANS Philippines, Maui and Sons, Be Siargao Magazine, DWIZ, Balay Pacifico, ABCD Surf, and Calicoan Classics.
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 third year, PSCT celebrates Filipino surfers, passionate fans, and dedicated partners that together grow the Philippine surfing community to what it is today and what it was 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 and adventure of Philippine surfing one tour at a time.
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