Billabong All Girls Surf Camp with Surfista Travels Summer 2012 by Steph Jarina

As I was browsing through the internet, mainly on Facebook, I came across a photo with a huge “Learn to Surf” sign on it. At first I wasn’t interested, I mean, who has the time, right? But then I always seem to find it on my newsfeed somehow. Out of plain curiosity, I clicked on the photo and took down the details of this all-girls’ surf camp that was set to take place in San Juan, La Union.

My first time to ever “catch” a wave and balance on a surf board was also in San Juan, La Union, last May 2011. A few months after that, I booked a ticket to Siargao just to, well, surf. But it did not push through because I decided to join the rat race instead. At that time, I was obviously unaware of what I missed. So when the Billabong All-Girl’s Surf Camp by Surfista Travels advertisement kept on persistently showing up on my news feed, I decided to go for it. And since I am based in Cebu, the fact that I have to fly out to Manila never even bothered me.

So I got on a plane and flew in to Manila just hours before Elaine (owner of Surfista Travels) was scheduled to meet us at a gas station and take all of the girls to La Union. When I arrived, I thought I was the only one who went alone. Luckily, I found out that there were quite a few of us. We got on the Surfista van and it took about 6 hours or so for us to get there. I was mostly quiet during the entire ride, as with the rest of the girls. We turned up by lunch time and I found myself in a table with the rest of the girls being briefed on the itinerary for the next couple of days by Elaine, Luke, Mika and Mark. Apart from the surfing lessons, I was also excited with the DJ lessons that were scheduled at night, simultaneous with the bonfire.

With Mika, Elaine Abonal of Surfista Travels, Steph (the writer of this post), Luke Landrigan of Billabong & San Juan Surf School & Mark

Billabong Pro Surfer & San Juan Surf School owner & head surf instructor Luke Landrigan giving personalized lessons to the girls

Steph (3rd from left) enjoying the beach with her new found surfer girl friends!

After we had lunch, we freshened up and got ourselves ready for the afternoon lessons. It started with us learning how to wax a surfboard, the basic pop-ups and how to balance with the dominant foot. There were not much waves, so we paddled into the waters instead almost the entire afternoon. I remember, Kuya Rey was my instructor that time. We tried our best to make do with the little waves that were coming. So as soon as we saw a wave approaching, Kuya Rey would push the surfboard while I try to balance on it and ride the wave. It took me a couple of tries before I was able to actually stand on my board. By the time I did, it was ecstatic! Even if this was the second time I came to La Union to surf, I knew in my heart that each surf trip is different. Each wave and each ride is a unique experience in itself.

The girls of the first Billabong All Girls Surf Camp with Surfista Travels and Luke!

As the sun was about to set, one by one, we went back to our rooms to dry up and prep for dinner. We had pizza, courtesy of Greenwich. It was a satisfying dinner after an afternoon spent at sea. DJ lessons were starting then, but the deck was getting a bit crowded, I opted to just stay at the back and listen to whatever they were discussing that time. When the DJ lessons were over, we walked back to the beach and propped ourselves on the comfy beanbags scattered in the sand around the big bonfire. At first all us were playing charades on Mika’s iPod, but eventually, the crowd dispersed into more intimate groups. More than everything else that happened that day, like learning how to surf and the delicious meals we had, that first night was my favourite. That was the night I created friendships with beautiful people I may never meet had I not gone there.

DJ Lessons with Niki Rojas and Joey Santos at night

Day two. I shared tables with my roommates, AJ and Rica, and the rest of the girls, and we had yummy breakfast by the beach. It was a wonderful and sunny day as we started to paddle again into the waters. Elaine, Mika and Luke taught us some basics, like paddling around and Turtle Rolls, while Mark was busy documenting the whole thing. It went on for a couple of hours until it was time for lunch. We headed out to this local restaurant that served heavenly halo-halo. I will never forget that halo-halo. While eating, Luke gave us cool souvenirs like ballers and keychains. Then, we went back to resort and continued with the surfing lessons until sun set. After the lessons, we quickly went back to the rooms to get ready for dinner where we walked to a little restaurant nearby. By the time we went back, there was another round of DJ lessons. I went straight to the beach for the bonfire though, until I heard Teen Daze’s Driving Home From The Beach being played from the deck. It was the perfect song. So I found myself on the DJ deck, a little lost with all the switches and buttons in front of me but at the same time very captivated with what I was doing. DJ Niki Rojas helped me out and taught me some basic techniques in playing and transitioning songs seamlessly. I was having so much fun and it felt so good seeing the rest of the girls enjoying the songs I played. I was at the deck almost the entire time, leaving once in a while just to get something to drink. At around 12 midnight, a few of us stayed and shared conversations under the stars.

Bonfires and marshmallows at night! Bonding time with the other girls!

Come Sunday, we were greeted by a lovely morning. It was too lovely, there were little waves to ride on, so we continued to paddle out and tried to catch whatever wave came at us. And that was the last of the surfing lessons. We then had lunch and a little ceremony for the surf camp to come to a close. Billabong was very generous for giving out GCs and a Sony mobile. Greenwich was also wonderful for handing GCs as raffle prizes. But the coolest goodies came from Elaine in the form of Surfista shirts and eco-bags. Apart from really cool freebies, there were Surf Camp certificates and awards, too. I was so happy being chosen the Most Promising DJ award by Billabong, DJ Joey Santos and DJ Niki Rojas. For that, I won Billabong GCs which could last me a lifetime! I kid, I kid. It was awesome enough that the girls appreciated the songs I played that night, but being recognized for it was a whole different kind of happiness. And it was truly unexpected since there was no mention of any awards at all right from Day 1.

Participants received so many prizes & freebies from Billabong & Surfista Travels!

Greenwich pizza provided pizza & pasta one night & also gave certificates for the girls

So after closing the event, we bid our goodbyes to the splendid and unforgettable times we had, at sea and in land, with really beautiful people. The experience was a bit overwhelming, considering how a lot of things happened in some 48 hours or so. During my flight back to Cebu, I remembered how I found the “Learn to Surf” photo in my Facebook newsfeed. It was then I realized how it was the other way around. Surfista found me, and I just booked, packed my bags and did not look back.

Steph proudly holding her certificate with Charl of Aloha Boardsports, Elaine Abonal of Surfista Travels & Luke Landrigan of Billabong & San Juan Surf School

What a great weekend full of memories for everyone! :)

Want to see more photos from the event? Check out our Facebook page or click HERE for the album.

Also check out the video from the Billabong All Girls Surf Camp with Surfista Travels Summer 2012 weekend!


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1 Comment

  1. that’s too wonderful !


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