Surf Instructors are My Surf Heroes by Elaine Abonal

I just want to say that the real HEROES are the SURF INSTRUCTORS. I’ve seen some of them grow from surf bum kids to responsible hard working men and women who really LOVE their job, their students, and the ocean. They SMILE and push – not only themselves but their students – to stand up, SURF, and HAVE FUN – despite being tired or hungry because of many eager students, despite being under the hot blazing sun, despite being stung by jellyfish, despite shaking in the cold during sunset surf lessons, and despite watching beautiful waves break as they teach. I know many of them have SAVED SO MANY LIVES – children being caught in currents, panic-stricken surfers who lose their boards (like me), non-thinking drunk men who think swimming in their jeans would be cool. They are my heroes.


Me (Elaine) in the white Hurley shirt with the instructors of the San Juan Surf School in La Union, Philippines

“One more, one more.” It takes a lot of encouragement and patience to be an instructor in the water.


When you go take your surf lesson, please know the name of your surf instructor, talk to them, and thank them. They are people with names, lives, and surf dreams – just like you. Be thankful to the person who pushed you into your very first wave because you never know – they could already be changing your life.


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I feel honored to be working with you guys and see how professional – in surfing and in instructing – so many of you have become. Let’s keep it up, we’re changing the Philippine surf world. ♥ – Elaine Abonal


All photos by Nikka Corsino and Owen Ballesteros of

Private Surfista Group: LOVE Family, December 2012 La Union

The LOVE Family (what a great name!) is from New York, USA and was brought by their family from the Philippinesto La Union to surf with Surfista Travels for Christmas! The kids Jordy, Daniel and David – together with their mom Jennifer – must have been the cutest and bravest Surfistas we’ve had so far! It was a great 2 days with this family and an awesome way to spend the Christmas holidays. Check out the following photos to see how much fun we all had.

CONGRATULATIONS to these kids for doing such a great job and for being so brave despite the big waves!

The Loves went on a Surfista trip for their Christmas holidays – what a great idea!

Daniel & David Love ready for their surf lessons.

SAFETY is important especially with kids. Surfista Elaine Abonal explaining the basics.

Class picture before their first surf lessons in La Union!

The kids must be proud of their mom!!

It’s never too early to start surfing! 12 – year – old David Love getting his balance on!

10-year-old Jordana was a natural! Look at that happy Surfista girl!

7-year-old Daniel had no fears despite the big waves during surf lessons! He just wanted to “surf all day everyday” he said!

The kids getting freebies from our sponsors. David with his stickers from Hurley Philippines!

On our way home. CONGRATULATIONS to the newest, cutest & youngest Surfistas we’ve had so far!

Here’s a little video of the kids:


Hurley – Surfista Rashguards EXCLUSIVELY for Surfista participants

Hurley Philippines is one of Surfista Travels Philippines’ awesome sponsors and they have provided these classy, well – made and customized  rashguards EXCLUSIVELY for Surfista participants. The participants of the Sembreak Surfista Camp 2012 were the first group who used them and they’ve been kind enough to model for us! We must say… they (both them and the rashguards!) look goooood. Thank you Hurley Philippines!

Like them on Facebook: or follow them on Twitter: @hurleyph

Behind the Scenes with Ouisurf & Surfista Travels by Elaine Abonal

October 15, 2012

A couple of weeks ago, someone sent a message on the Surfista Travels Facebook page saying that they were producing a French-Canadian TV show showing 2 surfers looking for great spots to surf around Asia. They wanted to meet different and interesting people and that it was off-the-beaten-path kind of travel show. The show was inspired by the awesome surf website and they were coming to the Philippines. They needed my/Surfista Travels’ help to go around Luzon, help with fixing accommodations and transportation, have the connections to meet the right people, go surf with and have fun.

Check out their website – it’s in French but there’s a lot of good surf action in there!

It was why I created Surfista Travels in the first place – to help surfers and travellers – beginner or advanced – get to where they want to go and be able to share what I know about the beautiful surf spots and culture of the Philippines. So I said YES.

Cockfighting “Training” with Ben and Jean Michel

We were lucky to be allowed IN the cockfighting pit & have real 1st hand experience!

We spent a week filming, surfing and travelling with the crew of Ouisurf to film episodes about surf, people and culture in La Union and Baler, north of the Philippines. The locals in both places were kind enough to give us a portion of their time to share about Filipino culture – from food, cockfighting, skateboarding, secret and private surf spots, and just the beauty of the Philippines and its people. It was an amazing adventure and experience with these hardworking guys. It was really interesting, not just for me but for the locals that we interacted with, how much passion they have for surf, travel and the goodness of the other people. It’s true that the cameras helped (which Filipino doesn’t want to be in front of the camera?) but it was the sincerity and smiles of the entire crew that made filming fun for everyone.

At San Juan Surf Resort – visiting the more popular beach for surfing in Luzon
Ben, Elaine (me), Jean Michel & Luke

Interviewing Philippine surf star & Surfista brother Luke Landrigan

The guys from Ouisurf had a fun skate session with the Baler locals.

I had to be one of the guys & get over being a “princess” to surf Cemento reef!! Good training though and the locals took care of me so well.

Thank you to Roy Angara of Aliya Surf Camp Baler for personally driving us, showing us around & bringing us to the most beautiful surf spots!

It’s been an awesome experience with Ouisurf – behind the camera, in front of the camera, and while we weren’t filming. One great thing about TRAVEL is that even if you go to the same place, it changes depending on the people you are with and how you’ve changed yourself. My boundaries were pushed, I surfed the biggest waves I ever dared to (but won’t have photos til they start editing) and connected with new spots, new locals, and new experiences. I wish I could keep every amazing person I’ve met with me and put them in my pocket but I know our lives will go on and we’ll only get to keep the smiles and the memories.

Behind the scenes in La Union with Benjamin Rochette, Elaine Abonal and Jean Michel Peloquin

I wish I could keep every amazing person I’ve met with me and put them in my pocket but I know our lives will go on and we’ll only get to keep the smiles and the memories. Bon voyage!!

Can’t wait for how it’s going to turn out and I have no doubt that it’ll be great! We wish them luck as they continue their adventure to Siargao and around the world. Check them out at :)

Check out more Behind The Scenes PHOTOS on the Surfista Facebook page or click HERE.

Want to travel with Surfista and have the same kind of arrangement? We offer private and customized group tours. Click HERE or e-mail

Additional Comments from the September 2012 Surfista Trip!

A SMILE, LAUGHTER and NEW FOUND FRIENDS tell us that we’re doing a good job at Surfista Travels. But we also collect evaluation forms after every trip to know how we did. Sounds like we made everyone happy again in our last trip! Our TESTIMONIALS page is filling up, but we want to remember and share the KIND words from EVERY trip, especially from our latest September 2012 Surfistas. Here are the best comments and thoughts about what  our new crazy fun Surfistas has to say about their experience:

“You guys are the best when it comes to showing people (especially those from different kinds of lives) what surfing is about and I LOVE it!”

“Keep it up! You make people happy. : )”

“The Surfista trip was great! Too bad it was only for a couple of days. I’ll be back and stay longer next time. Bitin!”

“THANK YOU so much for this opportunity!”

“The whole trip was organized from an amazing perspective. It is important to have a personal touch to a trip because it will feel more real!” ~ Carlo Delantar

“Love you! Inspire more people!!” ~ Bea Puertollano

“I enjoyed the CAMARADERIE the most in this trip. We totally lucked out! Had a blast and thank you!! For sure you can expect me in future trips.” ~ Madeleine Singson

“This has been an incredible experience. Loved the food, the company, and the surf! I will never see WAVES the same away again – and for that I would like to thank my friends for bugging me to join and encouraging me to go, and to Elaine for making this trip possible. Muchas gracias people!” ~ Mickey Castano

Want to read more about what our other Surfistas had to say about their trips? Check out our TESTIMONIALS page.

Also check out our PHOTOS and VIDEOS! If you want to see more, please go to our FACEBOOK page to check out different albums from our trips.

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