DECADES AFTER the Philippine surf scene was born on the beaches of Baler, two hometown bets are now part of the national team, joining the ranks of veterans who hail from Siargao and La Union.
Competing in two WSL qualifying series events in Indonesia this month are Neil Sanchez and Allen Magos, who both come from the seaside town that is considered ground zero of PH surfing when the film crew from the Francis Ford Coppola movie Apocalypse Now hit the waves and introduced locals to the sport back in the ‘70s.
In the recent Surf in the City event in Borongan, Samar, Sanchez won first place while rookie surfer Magos finished in the semis. Now, they’re part of the Philippine contingent that will be competing in the breaks of Krui and Nias, both in Sumatra.
“Masaya ako na napasama ako sa international surfing competition. First time ko pong lumipad sa ibang bansa,” said Magos to Spin.ph.
Baler pride rules among PH reps
“Actually first time kami nakasama for Philippine Team to represent in WSL QS event,” said Roy Angara, owner of the Aliya Surf Resort in Baler and a board member of the United Philippine Surfing Association.
“First time kami mag-compete na group yung Baler. Four decades namin inaantay ‘to e. Noon pa lang, sina Raul Tolentino, mga first surfers, pinag-uusapan na ang dream is makapagpadala ng local to compete abroad.
“Very historic talaga ‘to sa amin.”
Angara, who is accompanying Sanchez and Magos, dedicated their campaign to the pioneers of the scene.
“Para 'to sa mga Balers boys, mga locals. Marami nang nawala, yung mga naunang pumanaw na mga Baler surf legends... Sina Django, Edwin Namoro at marami pa. Para sa kanila 'to kasi matagal na nating dream 'to.”
Neil Sanchez, meanwhile, has a message for the youngsters in his hometown who also want to follow in his and Magos’ footsteps.
“Wag kayong titigil mag-surf. Pagbutihin niyo yung ginagawa niyo, and mag-practice kayo lagi.”
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