Get to know Dahican’s pride, professional skimboarder turned competitive surfer, Sonny Boy Aporbo a little bit more than what the headlines have already told us.
It seems like 2018 could hold a lot of promise for the up-and-coming surfer, Sonny Boy Aporbo. The Dahican local, who just turned 24, has been on a good streak since joining the Philippine Surfing Championship Tour’s first year starting from the 19th Siargao National Surfing Cup where he made it until Round 5 in the Men’s Shortboard Division.
Much has been said about Aporbo’s achievements in skimboarding in the past five years. You could go google his name, and you’d see that he’s done almost everything in skimboarding yet, that wouldn’t give the whole picture of the person behind the name.
We’re sharing seven things that you should know about Dahican’s pride and we’re sure you won’t find this anywhere, yet.
It was his first time in Siargao last year.
Already a household name synonymous to Dahican itself, Bayogyog has made a name for himself in the realm of skimboarding and now, his love for surfing has gotten him a few little ripples. Coming off from the 19th Siargao National Surfing Cup which was his first foray into competitive surfing and also his first time to surf in Cloud 9.
“The welcome I had in Siargao was warm. I didn’t expect it. I didn’t even expect I’d make good friends there. It’s an amazing place with amazing people and amazing waves.” Aporbo says almost a year after.
Competitive surfing definitely posed a lot of challenges for Aporbo. Having been his first time surfing in Cloud 9, he was quite nervous during his heats. “There’s always a certain pressure during the heats in the competition. It was nerve-wracking.”, he says.
“I’ve learned so much about the ocean and about myself from the short time I was in the competition.” The stoke was unforgettable and getting barreled in Cloud 9 was the main highlight of his trip.
He’s never lost a skimboarding competition.
His very first competition was back in 2005 where he bagged his first championship in a locally-organized competition in his home break, Dahican. Despite his inexperience, he kept joining contests as long as he had the resources to. It was his way of improving his skills and supporting his family, as he was sole breadwinner at that time.
From 2012 to 2016, Aporbo participated in various international skimboarding competitions in Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Singapore. When asked what he felt about his accomplishments in skimboarding, Aporbo would respond in a hushed tone saying “I feel weird that I’m being interviewed about these. Who am I? I’m really just a simple person.”
Walking along the white sand shores of Dahican, local kids would shout his name fondly, and he would always respond with a smile or a jest. Tourism campaigns showcasing Dahican would never fail to have his photo performing an aerial or a kickflip with the blue waters of his home behind him.
To date, he is the champion of four international skimboarding competitions and also the winner of over 28 national and locally-organized skimboarding competitions. Aporbo isn’t keeping tabs on the figures, but he makes sure to bring something new to the table with each one he joins.
He loves surfing and skimboarding equally.
Before the introduction of surfing to Dahican around 12 years ago, you could say that Aporbo grew up skimboarding the waves of his coastal town as far as he could remember.
Aporbo was one of the local kids that were gifted a skimboard by a visiting Australian that shaped the boards himself. He was six years old back then, and since then, he would always be seen with trying new things with a skimboard.
“Surfing may be different, yet it’s also similar to skimboarding in a lot of ways. But the stoke the waves give you is the same,” he says when asked about surfing. “I love skimboarding and surfing the same. One isn’t favored less than the other. They’re equal to me.” Aporbo replies to a question about which sport he likes more.
He can’t live without water.
Beyond being just a physiological need, you’d wonder just how much times a person like Yogi spends in the water. For somebody who needs the ocean to help him improve, Yogi spends as much as 8 hours a day in the water, only going out to change his board, grab lunch or take in a student or two if duty calls.
For Yogi, being in the water is life. It’s his lifestyle. He can’t imagine not being in the water for any other reason, other than being sick. And even when sick, I know he would still surf. Chuckling to himself, he says he feels weak when he’s not in the water.
“It’s a balance of both worlds when I’m in the water. It’s both skim and surf. I can’t choose between the two of them.” For Yogi, that’s also the balance between training and fun; he adds “It’s always a fun time in the water. It’s a perfect marriage of you getting stoked from riding the wave, and the wave has a heart and mind of its own, also gets joy from you riding it.” He believes that statement pretty much.
And if it’s not enough to know that he lives just a stone’s throw away from one of Mindanao’s beautiful beaches, he wakes up every single day to the sound of the waves pounding the shore. And I haven’t even mentioned the sunrise views at this side of town, it’s breathtaking.
He doesn’t have any formal training despite his track record.
It’s a little-known fact that Aporbo trains himself. The discipline he has to train every day is admirable. There’s no set formula to follow when asked about his training regimen. All he says is “To have fun, get the exercise and push yourself. I just follow what I know I should do and insert some fun in between.”
Getting up at the crack of dawn to maximize the day, Yogi always starts off by helping keep Dahican Surf Resort (DSR) in order by cleaning up along with the other DSR boys. After an hour or so, depending on how much there is that needs cleaning up, the boys do a quick wave check and get there ready for a morning surf session.
You’d find Yogi by the shore sipping coffee and checking out the waves. It would depend on the season if he’d take a skimboard out first or a surfboard but most often than not, one would see him either heading out to the familiar beach break or start his motorbike to a further out spot with much bigger waves.
His favorite surf spot is still home.
After all his travels, I asked what his favorite spot was. He would always go back to where home is and for him, that’s 215 in Dahican. “When you get there, I can’t explain it, but it’s like the waves are calling you.”
Notorious for washing machine-like wipeouts with a gnarly reef bottom, and a lot of other horror stories of surfers surviving nasty mishaps, 215 actually is a spot for everybody (considering the season, of course). Yogi adds that “There are waves for here everyone. A peak for beginners, one for intermediate and one for experts.”
Aporbo explains how nature has a soul. The ocean has a heart and mind of its own. It goes to show how unpredictable the waves can be and a person who lives and breathes by the sea, there’s just no stopping of appreciation about it.
He goes on explaining that the waves have a mind of their own and a heart of their own. His favorite spot, he swears, always gives a wave for everyone regardless of skill just as long as you know where to go. Reminiscent of past seasons, he mentions how the ‘waves call out to me.’
“They’re like their telling me to ride them. Waves have their own happiness or “kalipay” in Bisaya. They invite me to enjoy and have fun on them and in turn, they bring you fun. That for me is stoke.” Aporbo continues on.
“Kung nalipay ka sa balod, nalipay pud ang balod sa imoha”, he said in conclusion: If you were happy riding the wave then know that the wave feels the same way.
His thoughts on the future.
As the sun sets, darkness starts crawling until you can’t see the waves anymore, that signals the end of the day for Aporbo. After helping his family fix dinner or if he has friends staying over at the resort he frequents, he goes to help prepare the meal. The usual fare of rice, grilled meat, and fish which is then laid out on a clean skimboard or surfboard, and everybody stands around it ready to eat.
“That’s the simple life for me,” Aporbo adds. “It’s where you can be with people you love, the place you love and doing the things you love over and over again.”
The remainder of 2018 holds a lot of promise for Aporbo, and with PSCT opening this September in Cloud 9, we’re all looking forward to seeing another year of action-packed days in different spots around the Philippines.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing more surf spots in this year’s PSCT,” Aporbo says in response to his expectations this year.
“I’m not expecting to get into the finals because there are just so many great and talented surfers here and I haven’t scratched the surface of surfing as I did with skimboarding where I go invent my own tricks but I’m stoked to continue competing, learning and making new friends.”
“Oh and hopefully make it past Round 5 this time!” He laughs.