19 February 2015, La Union – Philippines: It was a loggers dream today at Mona Liza Point in La Union for the first day of the third annual Coast Thru Life Single & Unattached Invitational Classic Single Fin Longboard Contest and Beach Fest presented by Vans, as literally hundreds of toes curled around the tips of classic longboards as they slide down the glassy 2-3 foot faces of the excellent waves on offer.
Due to start tomorrow February 20th, the organizers put the call out to commence a day early due to a swell forecast that predicted a pulsing 1.0 – 1.5 meter swell kicking up on Thursday and lasting into Friday before going virtually flat on Saturday. Right on schedule, this morning’s sunrise revealed a significant bump in the swell and near perfectly shapes waves peeling down Mona Liza Point for the 64 assembled competitors, 32 in the Men’s Division, 16 in the Women’s Division, and 16 in the Tiny Toes-Junior Division.
Coast Thru Life’s Buji Libarnes
The horn blew the first heat of the Men’s Division into action at 7:45 am, and by 3:45 pm the 32 man field was parsed down to 8 semifinalists, the Women’s Division down to 4 finalists, and the Tiny Toes Junior Division down to 4 finalists, all of whom will not spend the night tossing and turning as they fantasize how they will capture their Single and Unattached championship trophy.
There were plenty of surfers coming “unattached” from their surfboards as they drop knee turned, cross-stepped, hang 5’d and 10’d, while trying to impress the judging panel with their traditional longboard moves, but a bit of swimming was all part of the fun and the challenge. But impress the judges they did, especially ASC Head Judge Steven “Monty” Montell, who exclaimed, “Wow, the standard of surfing I saw today certainly both met and exceeded my expectations. Although this logging is relatively new here in the Philippines, the standard is very high and they surfers showed a full repertoire of maneuvers. And another surprise was the judging. They were all very much up to the job, and showed that they really knew what to look for. All in all, a very impressive day here at La Union, and really looking forward to a great conclusion tomorrow.”
In the Men’s Division it was local Jay-R Esquivel that was on fire all day, pulling off a variety of difficult maneuvers while showing impressive board control. He posted the highest single wave score of the day in Quarterfinal 1, 8.5 points out of a possible 10, for a beautifully executed Hang 10 nose ride, and finished the heat with a two wave total score of 15.30 (out of a possible 20), also the highest heat score of the day. He will surf in Semifinal 1 tomorrow morning at 7:30 am.
Hang ten by Jay-R Esquivel
Local Marven Abat had a close call in his quarterfinal heat, coming from dead last to win the heat in the final seconds. “I knew I had to really do something with that wave,” said Marven. “I was watching the other guys catch some good ones, and I’d only had a couple of average waves so I felt behind, you know, started to feel that pressure building up. I just focused on making every move count, and when I got finished I knew it was a good one. So happy to make it!”
16-year-old Winnie Fuller was born and raised in La Union, and just missed getting into the finals. “I just tried to have fun out there and was hoping I could make the final. I’d have been really happy to win the comp as I think it would make my Dad proud. But it was great anyways, being able to surf and have fun with my friends here at my home break.”
Making it into the Women’s final are last year’s winner Daisy Valdez, along with Menchie Par, Rhea Ventura, and Azalea Ducusin.
In the Tiny Toes Junior Division last year’s winner Jhenard Fernadez will be trying to defend his title against Warren Lopez, Jean Paul Bersamina, and RJ Lopez.
Soc Alvarez, Supervisor for Action Sports at Vans was nothing but stoked at the end of the day’s competition; “This the first surf contest like this that we have been the presenting sponsor for, and it has been an exciting first day! Yesterday was almost flat, so having such great waves today was so great as it gave the surfers a great forum to compete. I really like classic longboarding myself, so seeing all those noserides and other traditional maneuvers was something special. I had my camera out and couldn’t stop taking photos,” he said grinning. When asked how he rated the overall event today on a scale from 1-10 he replied “I’d give it a 9 for sure…the only reason I wouldn’t say 10 is because there is always room for improvement…So next year maybe it will be a 10!”
$2,000 USD and heaps of goodies, plus the honor of being the 2014 Single & Unattached champs are what’s at stake during this unique two day event, the country’s one and only invitational classic longboard contest where the contestants paddle out on traditional single fin logs minus their leg ropes. Nixon will be giving a special watch for the winner of the sickest trick award too, so if you’re anywhere near La Union tomorrow, come on down to the beach at 7:30 am to watch the Philippines finest loggers in action!
In addition to the surfing competition there will also be a free Off the Wall Beach Concert on Saturday night, with a great lineup of performers including Coffee Break Island, Flippin Soul Stompers, Brigada, Rod Mijares Combo, and Pingkaw, so get ready for not stop action all day and all night!
The Coast Thru Life Single & Unattached Invitational Classic Single Fin Longboard Contest and Beach Fest is sponsored/supported by: Vans, Coast Thru Life, GoPro, Kahuna Beach Resort and Spa, San Juan Surf School, Nixon, VMV Hypoallergenics, Armada Sport 70, Fluidsurf, Mad Kahuna, Famous Surf Wax, El Union Coffee, San Miguel Beer, THE Clothing, Manila Surfers Association, La Union Surf Club (LUSC), La Union Surf School, My Life on Board, Blunt Magazine, Grid Magazine, Elyu Classic Surf School, Seventh Films, Moonshine & Saltwater, La Union Surf Cafe, Rappler, and Pioneer DJ.
About the Asian Surfing Championships (ASC)
The Asian Surfing Championships was established in 2010 as the progression of the highly successful Indonesian Surfing Championships that began in Bali, Indonesia in 2004. The mission of the ASC is to develop and progress the sport of surfing in Asia by assisting in the organizing and sanctioning of professional surfing events, which will help their growing surf communities and draw more attention to their areas for the progression of surfing locally, nationally, and throughout all of the Asian Region.
See more at http://www.asiansurfingtour.com
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