“I’m going on a SURFISTA TRIP for the first time!!!! What should I bring?!?!”

Don’t freak out. We’ve made a list for you of the things we recommend are needed when you’re going on a surf trip – whether it be for the first time or the 100th time.

  • COMFORTABLE CLOTHES ~ You need comfortable clothes that will let you do your activities under the sun! And no, people don’t do topless in the Philippines… (only men do ;)

Comfy, colorful, awesome Surfista shirts – ok, ok, we are biased ;)

  • SUNSCREEN PROTECTION ~ We live in a tropical country that’s very near the equator and surfing is a sport that exposes us to the harsh elements of the sun. Even if it’s cloudy, we NEED to apply sunscreen to prevent ourselves from sunburn or any future skin problems. We want beautiful golden tan skin – not peeling red! :)

We ONLY recomment the best: VMV’s ARMADA SPORT 70 sunscreen!

Surfista isa enjoying her VMV Armada Sunscreen she got during one of our trips!

  • A HAT ~ Hats come in all kinds, sizes and shapes now so just choose what makes you look schnazzy and comfortable and wear it! It’s another good way to protect you head and face AND excuse you from having to brush your beach hair.

Hurley Philippines sells different kinds of hat designs.

  • HYDRATION ~ Surfers forget that they’re thirsty because they’re already in the water but a lot of people don’t realize that they’re already getting dehydrated. Make sure you drink a lot (no, not alcohol) before your session AND after to replenish lost electrolytes from your body. You’ll surf longer and better if you just keep this in mind!

We LOVE Lightwater & Vitaminboost because they have electrolytes, potassium & other stuff that we need as surfers.

  • A CAMERA – or two – or three – Documenting your first Surfista trip is a MUST! Surfing also means travelling which also means that you will have a LOT of moments, beautiful sights, new friends that you would want to keep in memory and also show to your friends on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram!

Tip: Add a sticker on your camera so you won’t mix up yours with others’!

You can surf with GoPro cameras by mountaing them on your surfboard!

What GoPro photos look like – so much fun!

  • BEACH BLANKET ~ Choose a blanket that you can sit on, use as a towel, use as a blanket and you’re set.

We love Lagu sand repellant beach blankets. For sale in our merchandise section too!

  • BEACH BAG ~ You need to put all your things somewhere, right?? And a place to pick up rubbish in case you see unwanted ones on the beach!

My oh my, those bags look familiar and look super cute! Girls would love these ;)

  • READING MATERIAL ~ The surf won’t always be pumping & there won’t always be internet access, so grab interesting reading material and put it in your bag to brush up on you vocabulary or read up on your next surf destination!

The only magazine that features only local destinations in the Philippines!

  • REUSABLE BOTTLES ~ You can pretend to be a bartender at night and concoct all your drinks here ;) but it’s always a good idea to have sturdy reusable bottles that you can take with you on your trips.

Nalgene bottles are BPA free, impact resistant, can store boiling or freezing water and come in different colors. Do you have one yet?

  • WATER RESISTANT DRY BAG ~ Once you progress on your surfing, you will be taking boat trips and be going on different islands or breaks that are in the middle of the ocean. A normal bag won’t do in this case, you’ll need something water proof where you can keep your electronics and cameras.

Sea To Summit’s dry sacks are lightweight, durable and come in many sizes. Perfect for boat trips!

  • SURF WAX & ZINKAS ~ You need wax so you won’t slip off your board. ‘Nuff said. And if you want to have more fun and look like you were in the 80’s, Zinkas are fun to apply on your nose!

  • FOOT PROTECTION ~ Not all surf breaks will be on sandy bottoms, so research before you go to a new surf spot and ask if there are reef, sea urchin, rocks, etc that may hurt your feet when you walk to the break or when you wipe out.

Try Zem Gear Footwear – they’re lightweight & keep your feet protected both on land and under water. We use these for surfing!

  • FIRST AID KIT ~ In case you DO get hurt and get scratched by the reef, don’t just ignore it. Sanitize all cuts because you would NOT want to have an infection and just sit down while your friends are out there having fun and surfing!

  • BOARD BAG ~ When you decide to own your own surf board, you WILL be travelling and discovering new surf spots. Keep your surfboards protected by using proper-sized and well-made board bags.

Have your own customized board bag made by Frus Annaw only here in the Philippines!

  • YOUR GOOD VIBES & SMILE ~ The most ESSENTIAL thing to bring on EVERY trip. Things may go exactly as you planned, or they may not. Remember that each Surfista trip is a new experience and that you must be open to changes and surprises. Everything will be okay – as long as you keep the good vibrations rolling and you flash that smile.

Smiley Happy Surfistas!

We hope this list has helped give you an idea of things to bring when you’re on a surf trip. The MOST AWESOME thing about being a SURFISTA and joining one of our trips is that you may get a chance to get a couple of the things that are on this list! :)

We did it! First group to La Union was a SUCCESS :)

Surfista Travels Philippines had our first group and surf trip to San Juan, La Union last February 11 & 12. We had a little more than 10 participants, the ThirtySix-O film crew sponsored by GoPro Philippines, and a lot of excited smiles. We left Manila at 5 am and arrived at the San Juan Surf Resort just in time for lunch. The weather and wave conditions were perfect for beginners on Saturday when we had lessons with San Juan Surf Resort. Each person had a surf instructor and everyone was stoked as soon as they stood on their FIRST WAVE! And we must say, everyone was able to stand on their first try! :)

All set on a beautiful day! Surfboards, surf instructors, surf lessons

Each student had their own surf instructor

Already SURFING on the first day!!

Home base: San Juan Surf Resort

After taking a break in the afternoon and while waiting for sunset, we had a beach clean up. We want to emphasize the importance of keeping our beaches and oceans clean. After all, it IS our playground right?  The beach of San Juan is pretty clean and we thought we wouldn’t have to pick anything up, but we realized that there were literally hundreds, if not thousands, of cigarette butts on the sand. Some local surfer girls helped us pick them up and put all the trash we collected in biodegradable plastic bags.

After picking up trash at the beach, we were blessed with THIS BEAUTIFUL VIEW!

At night we had dinner, chilled, hung out at the beach and played models/actors/actresses while the film crew were filming. These Surfistas are artistas!

Hanging out at the beach

The next day, everyone was up and ready for their next surf lessons. The waves were bigger and more intense this time but the instructors from the surf school were very good in making sure that we had fun and stayed safe. Everyone really wanted to improve their surfing. Thankfully we had a lot of supply of Lightwater and Vitaminboost to keep us hydrated!

Lightwater & Vitaminboost kept us hydrated!

The crew of ThirtySix-O hard at work but still having fun!

With all the filming involved, the first group of Surfistas felt like super artistas!

The weekend went by really fast – time flies when you’re having fun they say – and at the end of the trip, everyone wore their Surfista Travels T-shirts sponsored by Agos Pilipinas. The quality of the shirt was very comfortable and the design was classy, colorful and fun – both boys and girls loved it! Then we had our group photo taken, got our certificates and said our well wishes and goodbyes to each other before our trip back to Manila. We didn’t want to leave and wished the experience was longer.

One of the best things about surf trips is making NEW FRIENDS. Laura (on the left) flew all the way to the Philippines from Thailand to join us on this trip!

Surfista Girls

Surfista Boys with Surfista Travels founder & coordinator Elaine Abonal

This is just a short jist of our pioneer group’s experience on our surf trip but to sum it all up, we were blessed with sunshine, waves, the gift of surfing and new friends, a lot of smiles and new memories. THAT is how we can say the trip was a SUCCESS. :)

Want to see more photos? Check out the Surfista Travels Facebook page!

Want to read what our participants had to say? Check out our Testimonials page!

The first EVER group of Surfista Travelers! So proud!!!

Want to join the next trip? MARCH 24 & 25, 2012 to LA UNION. Save the dates to make sure you have a spot! Details at the Tours & Packages page.

We would like to THANK our participants, our friends & families, Luke Landrigan & his instructors from the San Juan Surf School, the awesome film crew of ThirtySix-O media, the ocean for giving us the gift of sea, waves & sunshine & our sponsors GoPro Philippines, Lightwater, VitaminBoost, Agos Pilipinas, 7107 Island Travel Magazine, Yabang Pinoy, Philippine First Aid and My Life on Board.

Photos by Andrea Roxas, Mica Ferrer, Mike Nagrampa, Diego Virata

Surfista Travels Philippines Interview by 558AM Radio

Surfista Travels Philippines owner and founder Elaine Abonal was interviewed last January 20, 2012 on a local radio station 558 AM on the show “Bisnis ni Juan.” The show talks about different businesses in the Philippines – both small and big businesses. Here is an edited transcript of her interview translated into English. If you would like to listen to parts of it, we recorded the webcast and you can watch it here on


Our guest for tonight is the woman behind Surfista Travels Elaine Abonal. Good evening Elaine.

Elaine Abonal: Hello and good evening Mr. Raffy & Ms. Leo, thanks for inviting me to your show.

So tell us about Surfista Travels. What services do you offer?

Elaine: I just launched the existence of my surf tour company called Surfista Travels. What we’re going to do is we’re going to make packages for people who want to learn to surf or for those who want to go on a surf trip to La Union, Baler, or other spots in the Philippines. Surfing is getting more popular here in the Philippines but a lot of people don’t know where to go, where to stay, where to take lessons, and who to contact. I’ve been surfing for a while now and a lot of people have always asked me for help and I’ve brought so many friends on surf trips. So I was encouraged by my friends and my family to start this. If I know how to do it and I can help others, I should start my own company. And here it is.

Does Surfista Travels only have surfing in La Union?

Elaine: We’re going to start with La Union because that’s where we know a lot of people and have a lot of contacts. That’s where the pilot project is. The first tour is on February 11 and 12 this year. Then from there we can make other packages for other groups of people, for companies, and whoever else needs help and wants to go on a surf trip. That’s the plan for now.

Are you from La Union?

Elaine: I’m from Manila but I feel like I’m a local there because I’m always there. I even learned how to speak a little bit of Ilocano!

So this is your chance to greet people in Ilocos and La Union!

Elaine: Good evening to everyone listening from the North! Naimbag na rabii.

What inspired you and motivated you to start Surfista Travels?

Elaine: I’ve always loved surfing and traveling. It started as a hobby and I would surf on weekends as a student. Now I teach languages (I speak English, French, Spanish and Tagalog) so I always meet a lot of people who like to explore and who like to travel. Some of them are not really good with English and usually need someone who will help them coordinate and bring them to the place. I would do it just because I loved meeting new people and helping them out.

The idea of having my own company occurred when I went on an international trip with my good friend Luke Landrigan, a pro surfer who is sponsored by Billabong and owns San Juan Surf School and his dad, Brian Landrigan, owner of San Juan Surf Resort. We’ve all known each other for a while and they encouraged me to do it and even said, “If that’s what you like and if that’s what you’re good at (being around people), why don’t you make something out of it?”

So I thought about it and prayed very hard and with a lot of thinking and help from others, Surfista Travels was born.

Where do you surf?

Elaine: In the Philippines I’ve been to La Union, Baler, Siargao, Daet, Zambales… Have you tried surfing, sir?

Yeah I’ve gone surfing in the bathroom, on the internet. Haha. What are your other hobbies? Are you a student/employed?

I freelance and work as a language instructor for Berlitz Language Center and I teach English, French and Spanish. I also write and take photos for magazines.

So people can contact you just in case they want to learn those languages?

Sure they can!

So Surfista Travels is something that you really want to explore and do. When did you start?

The idea came last year but I just launched it this month and this year. Kind of like a Happy New Year kind of thing, let’s try something new, new year’s resolution kind of thing.

How do you see yourself five years from now with Surfista Travels?

This is my dream. This is my new dream. So hopefully I would already be going to different places around the Philippines. I’m not sure if in five years we would already be going outside of the Philippines and have international destinations but hopefully we’ve already gone to many places and have had a lot more tours. I would still be enjoying. In five years I want this to still be my passion and something that I will be doing for other people.

Are you not thinking of planning or organizing a surfing competition with Surfista Travels?

Eventually and hopefully in the future. We’re still a small company. Our target for now is to have smaller groups so that it’s personalized and I can see what my customers want, don’t want, what market I have, etc. I have friends who are in the Manila Surfers Association and other surfing associations who hold surf competitions in different surf spots in the Philippines. Hopefully in the future we can work with them and have events, outreach programs, or competitions.

So what you’re doing now is you’re networking and marketing your services?

Yes. We’re trying to get the word out there that we exist. I think what is helping me the most is that I already know a lot of people in the industry and I have the support of my sponsors. I am sponsored personally and as a company by GoPro Philippines (a camera that you can use for surfing), Lightwater & Vitaminboost, Agos Pilipinas, Yabang Pinoy, Philippine First Aid. So I think with my friends and my sponsors, we help each other get the word out on our products/services.

With that we can see that in doing business, we can’t do everything alone. We see that we definitely need support.

Totally. I wouldn’t be able to start this if it weren’t for the help of my friends, my family, and all the people that I know so I am VERY thankful for the people who support me and my new company. I see who my real friends are. It’s really cool. It’s amazing how God has given me so many blessings so I am very thankful for those who have been helping me.

I see that you have a very good asset – you are very positive and you’ve made your hobby into a more enthusiast project or a passion.

Yeah, you gotta love what you do!

How else are you marketing besides the help of your sponsors?

I think Facebook and Twitter helps a lot. People like interaction. You can’t just tell people to join your tour and give you their money. You have to show that surfing is beneficial to you and your life, that it’s a good way to make new friends, and all the other good things about it. There needs to be a personal touch – which is what I want to do anyway. I like getting to know my clients.

So you’re saying it’s not just about the money, but it’s about making new friendships and doing something good in life.

Yes and taking care of the ocean and keeping our beaches clean. It’s actually one of our advocacies. You can’t go on a Surfista Travels trip without going on a Beach Cleanup. It’s part of our itinerary to pick up trash on the beach.

Wow so with your passion with surfing and the environment and with your tours, you are offering your services as your product. What challenges are you facing now?

I just started so it’s at this time it’s getting the word out there. Surfing is not very popular in the Philippines yet and even if we’re a country surrounded by so many islands, a lot of Filipinos are scared to swim or of big waves. People need to be encouraged to try something new in the water like surfing.

So it’s like saying that it’s more fun…

Yeah, it’s more fun when you’re surfing!

Yeah people say, “Surfing? There’s no surf here.” People don’t realize that more and more people surf and foreigners even come all the way here just to surf.

So I guess this is what you’re saying: you should be where your heart is and where your passion is. Even in business, it all starts with your passion and then everything follows.

Yes. That’s something I should remember and I’m very thankful to hear that from you, sir.

Do you have an inspirational message or business statement to share with our listeners? You sound like you’re young.

I think my voice sounds young!

Young at heart but rich in the mind. Maybe you can give an inspirational message?

I’ll just repeat what my friends and other people have been telling me – Just do what you love. If you’re happy with what you’re doing and when you wake up in the morning and think, “I’m excited, this is what I’m going to do today,” then you’re good. Even if you’re tired or spending a bit of money, it’s okay if you love what you’re doing. That’s how it should be. If you believe in yourself and that what you are doing is for you, just do it. Just go.

So since you’ve tickled the interest of our listeners, maybe you could announce your contact numbers so people can reach you if they’re interested?

If you’d like to join our first tour this Feb 11 & 12, you can go to the Surfista Travels website or check out the facebook page We’re looking forward to surfing with you and going on a Surfista Travels trip with you soon!

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