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On the first weekend of April, The La Union Surf Club and the STOKEDinc-La Union Surf School, gave free surf lessons to over 300 super-stoked Filipinos and foreigners in the 1st Surfing Philippines GoSurPH! Weekend. It was a 2-day event kicked-off with a Land Rover roadtrip from Manila to La Union (the Philippine Surfing Capital). Lively surf lessons were provided all throughout the summer days, punctuated by a rockin’ Saturday night beach party, at La Union’s premier Kahuna Beach Resort & Spa, that ended well into the first light of Sunday.
A motorcade of 10 vehicles from The Land Rover Club of the Philippines (LRCP), headed by Robby Consunji, transported surfboards on the 260-kilometre trip from Manila to the northern province of La Union. “It was a great family weekend for many of us,” says Leo Dominguez of the Land Rover Club, “and I was happy to join the Land Rover surf roadtrip, especially since my 6-year old daughter Alaire is absolutely addicted to surfing.” The sight of Land Rover Defenders, Discoveries, & Range Rovers with surfboards on their racks made many stop in their tracks and take notice. Even Land Rover Philippines big boss Marc Soong joined the La Union expedition and beach party.
Amidst all the festivities, the free surf lessons were definitely the main draw of the weekend. “We were amped with the immense response to the GoSurPH weekend of free surf lessons,” says Gerard Sison, founder and president of Surfing Philippines, the go-to comprehensive website for surfing in this 7,107 island archipelago. Surfing Philippines is the lead organiser of the catchy-named GoSurPH campaign (PH is the country code internet domain name of the Philippines).
Gerard Sison continues, “This huge interest gives you a clear indication that Pinoys are keen to try surfing. The modern young Filipino and Filipina love the beach and the ocean. So, that positive surf lifestyle will be massive here in the Philippines.” Gerard’s optimism is pleasantly infectious and completely valid. Over 200 people signed up on the surfingphilippines.com website almost immediately upon announcement of the GoSurPH event. Out of a social media push quietly promoting free surf lessons, the GoSurPH campaign went viral.
“Surfing Philippines’ GoSurPH campaign has one simple mandate,” says GoSurPH Campaign Director Joncy Sumulong, “GoSurPH wants to get Filipinos to try surfing even just once in their lives. To achieve that, we make it easy. A GoSurPH weekend automatically means you get your surf lessons for free. If you want to try it, all you need to do is show up and have fun. On our end, our main task is to try to raise funds from interested partners which will be used to pay the local surf club to run the surf lessons and rent their surfboards. Should we accomplish that, a GoSurPH weekend is born.” GoSurPH’s Joncy Sumulong continues, “every person, partner, and company is welcome to sponsor and join the GoSurPH bandwagon. We’d like to take this surf and roadtrip to Baler, Zambales, and any other place where the GoSurPH campaign can benefit the local community.”
Given how easy it is to activate, more companies sponsoring a GoSurPH weekend campaign translates to many more occasions and surf spots where the awesome event can be held. And this is where partners such as STOKEDinc, the Philippines pioneer action sports company come into the picture. “Gerard approached me to help sponsor the first national GoSurPH weekend,” says STOKEDinc Managing Director JV Borromeo, “and I am honoured to be onboard. GoSurPH is a concept that’s perfect because of its simplicity. Give people surf lessons for free. Companies who sponsor the event subsidise those free surf lessons. And the sponsorship funds go directly into hiring the local surf club.” JV Borromeo continues, “the local community are the experts and the best surf ambassadors after all. And with that special human interaction that is so unique to surfing, everybody has an unforgettable time. It’s a great advocacy. It’s really back to the grassroots.”
STOKEDinc-La Union Surf School owner Jeff Ortega & La Union Surf Club President Lemon “SurfStar” Dines were all smiles welcoming the hundreds of GoSurPH participants. Gamely taking to the water and the surf were bank executives, laywers, their children, young professionals, students, backpacking foreigners, expats, entire families, and pretty much anyone who just wanted a shot at surfing. “Thanks to STOKEDinc La Union Surf School’s Jeff Ortega for teaching me,” says new surf-enthusiast Julia Quisumbing, “I love surfing now!”
It was a great weekend where positive vibes invigorated the newbies as well as the instructors. “Seeing smiles, hearing so much laughter, and witnessing that instant adrenaline rush of being stoked makes this GoSurPH campaign fulfilling for everyone involved,” says Stokedinc & La Union surf ambassador Jeff Ortega, “it’s great to have our local La Union surf crew as an instrumental part of all this.” The La Union Surf Club, fresh from professionalised surf instructor certifications, gave world-class surf instructions blended with that unparalleled Filipino warmth and immediate friendship. And so it was, that the waves rolled in consistently and smoothly all weekend. Surfing Philippines was stoked to GoSurPH. And everyone had a phenomenal time.
Surfing Philippines (surfingphilippines.com) and GoSurPH would like to thank our friends and partners: The La Union Surf Club, The La Union Provincial Government, STOKEDinc, The La Union Surf School, The Land Rover Club of the Philippines (LRCP), Kahuna Beach Resort & Spa, The Circle Hostel, Coast Thru Life, & San Juan Surf School, Photographers Allen Aligam, Ian Zamora, Charlie Gomez, & Joncy Sumulong.