All You Need to Know About Surfing - Isla Story

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Thursday, August 1, 2019

All You Need to Know About Surfing

Currently, surfing can be considered as one of the hottest sport in the Philippines. Aside from having naturally amazing surfing spots all over the country, more and more locals are interested in trying out this sport. Well, who wouldn't, right? With surfing you get to be on the beach, wait for the next wave, then surf freely only to worry not falling from your board. Oh! And allow us to warn you, it's kinda addicting...but in a good way.
If you're planning to make surfing a new hobby of yours and now you're searching for everything you need to know about it, then you're just on the right track! We prepared this comprehensive guide to help surf enthusiasts just like you before riding those real waves! Read more below:

What is Surfing?

In today's world, surfing is no longer just a sport but it's already a culture that unites every surfer wherever part of the globe they may be. So, before you start buying your own surfboard and going out there to catch waves, make sure to understand first what is surfing.
Surfing is a complex sport wherein a person stands up on a surfboard then navigate through a moving wave that's in an upright position and almost parallel to the beach. The main goal is to ride through the unbroken part of the wave but the tricky part is that no waves are the same because of various elements such as the tide and wind.

We’re not gonna lie, surfing is both exhilarating and amazing, that's why a surfer must have balance, strength, and endurance which can all be achieved by exercising and practicing.

What is the difference between Surf Break and Surf Spot?

In the surf slang, waves are also known as Swell. These are a series of waves that are generated by storms and weather systems then start to break once it reaches the shallow waters. The strength and size of the swell depend on the distance the wave traveled and the strength and duration of the wind blowing.
Then there are also the so-called Surf Break and Surf Spot. Most people tend to confuse these two but, here’s what you should keep in mind.
Surf Break refers to the obstructed zone where waves break either over sands, curved shorelines, or coral seabed.  There are three major types of surf breaks that produce a different style of swells. First is the Beach Break, an area where the waves break on the sandy seabed. This place is perfect for beginners since it has a softer and safer bottom. Second is the Point Break wherein the waves hit a headland or jetty that was created by an extended shoreline. In here, waves are longer and well-formed. The third is the Reef Break, an area where waves break on a coral reef or rocky bottom creating predictable yet powerful and steeper waves. These waves are also considered to be more dangerous since the coral reef below can be sharp which is why surfers must use extra caution. On the other hand, Surf Spot is simply the area where the Surf Break hits.

Why is Surf Etiquette Important?

Surf Etiquette is simply a set of rules that allows surfers to be in harmony with each other and improve their surfing experience. People will also tell you that it's the most important thing that you should learn before you surf and that is true. It's more like a "code of conduct" wherein a surfer must be considerate, communicates well, and respect others in order to gain respect as well. Below are the major NO-NOs that both beginner and expert surfer must always remember and follow:

#1 Observe Right of Way- This can also be referred to as wave priority. One must know that whoever surfer is the closest to the breaking wave has the right to ride the wave. Communication is also important here. If you're paddling to the right and the surfer on your left is paddling for the wave, then you must yield. Here are the surfers who get the right of way:

- Furthest Out
- Closest to the Peak
- First Feet or on the Wave

#2 Do not Drop-in- When someone in the right of way is already riding the wave, do not take off on the same wave in front of him/her. Not only you're going to block his ride thru the line but it's also dangerous for the both of you.

#3 Do not Snake- Unpleasant as it may sound but "Snaking" is when a surfer paddles himself around another surfer to get into the right of way of the wave. He is like making a big "S" around the other surfer.

#4 Do not Throw your Board- This rule can be difficult for beginners who easily panic when they fell into the water. Remember that surfboards are hard and heavy, if you let it fly around it might hit someone.

#5 Apologize- If you accidentally break these rules or messes up someone's wave, make sure to apologize. It's very much appreciated!

#6 RESPECT THE BEACH AND ENJOY YOUR TIME! - You know this already! ;)

What are the different Surfer’s Skill Levels?

Surfing is also a dynamic sport which means anyone regardless of their age can try it. Just like any other sports, the more practice you make, the faster you progress. It does take time but it's definitely worth it!
A surfer's skill level is commonly classified into three levels: Beginner, Intermediate, and the Expert.

The Beginner is obviously the first-timers. It may be their first time to attach fins to a surfboard, don't know yet the proper surfing pose, has no idea yet on what to do when riding waves, or someone who just finished their first surfing lesson.
Then there's the Intermediate or someone who is able to take off a shoulder-high wave smoothly. They know how to duck dive, bailout, maintain a linear trajectory on the surf line, and even read a surf report and plan sessions ahead of time. The Intermediate surfer also knows the bottom-turn and the cutback maneuvers.
And the last is the Expert or a person who's comfortable in all types of waves and able to pull off various tricks such as aerial maneuvers. This person knows where they should be at the right time, rarely gets wiped out, and studies the behavior of the wave for him to be able to adjust smoothly.
If you "feel in-between" these levels or not confident enough to surf, always remember that everyone starts somewhere and that practice makes perfect!

What kind of Surf Board should you use?

Often times, getting the correct surfboard is the trick to learning fast on how to surf.  Aside from the waves, Surf Board is essential when surfing.
There are various elements to it that you must consider if you want to purchase one such as material, style, and type. One must also consider your skill and fitness level, height and weight, and the types of waves you'll be surfing. Why? Because these factors are the one that'll affect your performance!  
For Beginners, make sure to opt for a big and longer board since it offers more room for stability and helps you to float easier. Choose a surfboard with a soft top that's around 7-8 foot mark, 22-23 inches wide, and 3 inches thick.

Where is the best Surfing Spots in the Philippines?

To be honest, there are several awesome spots in the Philippines that offers great waves that you can surf to that's why it's really kinda hard to choose where is the best one. But, we don't want to leave you hanging in there that’s why we’ll tell you where the best of the best is!
Also known as “Surfing Capital of the Philippines”, Siargao Island is located at Surigao Del Norte that earned its moniker because of its strong waves coming from the Pacific Ocean. This place attracts both foreigners and locals since it offers various types of waves (left and right-hand breaks) for all level of surfers. There are about 12 surf spots and here are some of the surfer's favorites: Jacking Horse, Tuason Point, Rock Island, Stimpy's, and Pacifico.
But the most famous one is Cloud 9! A right-hand surf break that is ranked as one of the best surfing spots in the world. From the beach, you'll find numerous surf shacks where you can rent a surfboard and hands-on local surf instructors that'll help you with the world of surfing. You can also find here the iconic Cloud 9 boardwalk, a 3-story wooden walkway that allows spectators to have an unobstructed view of the area, especially during national and international surfing cups. Although the waves here can get up to 7 feet and not really a recommended place for newbies, still, Cloud 9 is a great place to watch experts and learn from them!
Oh! And before we forgot, you might also be wondering when the best time to surf here is? Well, the best time is from the month of August 'till the month of November since that is the time when the Southwest Monsoon or the Habagat generates offshore winds creating barreling waves. If you want to watch the Surfing Cup make sure to visit here in September. ;)

How to Surf?

Here’s our Bonus for you! If you want to try surfing but still in doubt if you'll be good at it, we're here to give you an easy step-by-step guide on how to surf!! Watch our video below:

Doesn’t have any idea what’s your itinerary should be? Fret no more we got you cover, check our blog: SIARGAO TRAVEL GUIDE FOR BOTH SURFERS AND NON-SURFERS
Don’t have a hotel yet? Check out our recommended hotels & resorts: NAY PALAD HIDEAWAY: YOUR LUXURY HOME FOR YOUR NEXT VACATION
Looking for a good dining place, check out this link for our recommended restaurants: SIARGAO FOOD CRAWL


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