Typhoon Tisoy (Kammuri) will surely affect most of the outdoor sports in the 30th South East Asian Games. But not surfing, well, sort of. In coming typhoons, Habagat and Amihan seasons, high tide, mid and low tide, these conditions are all factors for a favorable epic surf session.
When we knew that surfing was officially included in the SEA Games, we know this will change the course of the surf scene and industry in the Philippines and in all of South East Asia. Six countries, Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand are vying for a podium in this historic moment for surfing.
Two days before Tisoy’s landfall, the judges, surf managers and organizers decided to run the competition. They started off with the men’s shortboard followed by the women’s shortboard where Philippines’ top surfer duos from Siargao, John Mark “Marama” Tokong and Edito “Piso” Alcala Jr. dominated their heat with flawless performance, securing their spots in the second round. Nilbie Blancada from Siargao and homegrown surfer Daisy Valdez from La Union also showed dominance over their opponents which gave them a secured spot in Round 2. The Men’s Longboard Division was also commenced in a windy condition. La Union local surfers Jay-R Esquivel and Roger Casugay showed their dominance over their homebreak and both of them placed first in their respected heats. After the final heat of the Men’s Longboard, Technical Director for surfing competition Mr. Glen Elliot called the surfers managers of for a short meeting to decided whether to continue the competition in the afternoon. They decided to stop the contest due to heavy onshore wind which considered to be a sign that Typhoon Tisoy is already coming.
Tisoy will surely make the surfing competition more exciting and challenging. Massive swell will surely generate big waves, from 8 to 10 ft wave size and will hit the shores of La Union as Tisoy is expected to pass by Luzon and exit through West Philippine Sea. This will give the SEA Games surfing competition a top-notch action as these top surfers are bred to perform their best in an epic surf conditions provided by Tisoy. Surfers are normally wave and weather forecasters. Constant monitoring of the swell using the latest wave and weather forecast apps and websites helped the organizers, which also most of them are surfers, predict and plan all the things to consider before the start of SEA Games surfing competition.
But this incoming Typhoon will also cost tons of problems and delays for the organizers. From constant planning, daily coordination meetings with the local government officials, security personnel and safety officers to early egress and set up. The SEA Games organizers planned this for a year and they already had contingencies whenever a Typhoon like Tisoy will make a landfall in La Union. Their experience in organizing national surfing competitions around the country is also a big factor that’s why this situation for them is already under control with the help of the LGU and all the government agencies involved in securing and making sure that the athletes, judges and organizers are safe.