Skwala is the latest local custom surfboard brand in the Philippines. Although constrained into purchasing some of the raw materials from Hawaii and China because of no local resources for such, everything else is made in the Philippines and made by Filipinos and the quality of the products speak for themselves.
One of Skwala’s aims is to promote that very aspect of surfing culture that involves surfers riding custom shaped surfboards.
“Growing pains was never been an issue when we started the brand. We started Skwala with a low capital, in fact it made us humble and strive to find that right formula in making surfboards because here in the Philippines we don’t have the raw materials to produce a good quality surfboard,” says Paolo Soler, President of the Philippine Surfing cademy and the owner of Skwala Surfboards. ” We are aiming to establish Skwala as a company that will produce high quality custom made surfboards in the Philippines. We started to find ways, experimenting different methods to make a perfect surfboard. ” Paolo also added.
Surfing is a personal recreational activity and lifestyle that demands personal equipment made EXCLUSIVELY for the surfer by a shaper who truly lives, embraces and understands what surfing is all about. One of Skwala’s aims is to promote that very aspect of surfing culture that involves surfers riding custom shaped surfboards.
Paolo said that the most important part of Skwala is the shaper. Even though machine made surfboards are easily accessible in the market, nothing can beat the hard work and style of craftsmanship of the surfboard shaper. Din Litangan, a local surfer from Surigao, started his surfing career in 1996. He started repairing surfboards for the locals and foreigners when he was still young for a living. In 1998, Din started shaping his own surfboard from an old school surfboard from his aunt. “It was a thick surfboard, what i did was I removed the glass, then I started to reshape it. I was able to make a 5’6 surfboard out of that old school surfboard,” says Din-din. “I was able to glass it very well and used it in diffrent surfspots like in Cloud 9. then I let my American friend test the surfboard. He said it was a fine and perfectly shaped surfboard, I said to him, it’s my first ever shaped surfboard,” Din-din added.
Din-din stopped shaping surfboards for a couple of years to finish his studies. Then he was able to go to Manila with his friend and they tried to shape their first surfboard project hoping to make an impact in the growing surfing community. They weren’t lucky enough to hit the right formula because of the lack of raw materials needed to build a quality surfboard.
Pundaquit local surfer Reynald Kulot Liwarin testing out the new Skwala Surfboard.
Din Litangan returned to Mindanao and lived in Lanuza for 3 years. He honed his skills in ripping the waves of Lanuza. He also surfed the big barreling waves of Siargao Island. His experience helped him to become one of the best and skilled surfboard shapers in the country. In 2010, he tried to apply as a glasser in a surf company in Manila but he wasn’t lucky enough to land that job. Then Din-din was contacted by Paolo to work for him to start shaping quality surfboards.
A down to earth and humble guy, Din-din passionately gives his time and effort to make the customers of Skwala satisfied with their personalized custom made surfboards. “For me, I really love surfing and what I’m doing right now. I want to continue what I have started and pursue my dream in shaping the best surfboard for our clients” says Din-din.
Soon this surfboard will rip the best waves in the Philippines. Fluid Surf main man Bjorn Pabon’s new weapon of choice.
One of the top surfers in the Philippines, Piso Alcala from Siargao, now rides for the brand Skwala with his personalized shaped surfboard. Skwala Surfboards is a true testament of Filipino creativity and world class skills. Skwala’s passion and commitment in creating a growing surf culture in our country will continue to thrive as they pursue to shape the finest Filipino made surfboards that will soon mark a history in the Philippine surfing scene.
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