“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! :)

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!


Surfista Travels Private Group Tour Experience by Shirley Aromin

July 2012

My husband and I had our first surfing experience with Surfista Travels & San Juan Surf Resort. I wasn’t sure about whether it was a good idea because of the weather, but I figured I might as well try surfing once in my life. After a 6 hour drive to La Union, we rested for a few hours before surfing. We were briefed by Ms. Elaine Abonal of Surfista Travels. We were very fortunate to learn the basics from a Pro-surfer, Luke Landrigan. Instructors were assigned to us individually. My instructor kept watching me and giving me encouragement and feedback to help me out.

Shirley & her husbands’ first time to try surfing!

Private instruction by Billabong pro surfer Luke Landrigan

I wasn’t in a good shape for surfing and because I lacked sleep because I was too excited about our surf trip so I struggled a bit to get up. It was maybe an hour of lessons before I got up the surf board. After swallowing mouthfuls of salt water after wipeouts, my arms were so sore and I was a bit tired of falling off. I just kept trying one wipeout after another. It was hard but once you catch that wave, just as I did an hour after my first surfing experience, it’s all worth it. I was still having fun with my husband and friends and I was able to get up several times and rode a few waves.

Clifford making it look super easy!

Shirley with her instructor from the San Juan Surf School

One of the perks of joining Surfista Travels for a surfing trip is having lots of freebies! We were given Armada Sport 70 Sunscreens by VMV HYPOALLERGENICS Philippines. I love the Armada Sport Suncreen because it’s not greasy and it’s gentle for sensitive skin. We even got free facial cards from VMV! Our trip was also sponsored by Lightwater & VitaminBoost and we had a supply of drinks to keep us hydrated & energized!

Surfista perks: Sponsor freebies!

Armada Sport 70 sunscreen from our new sponsor VMV Hypoallergenics Philippines!

I seemed skeptical to try surfing at first but in the end, I had a shared experience with my husband and friends and great memories. Thanks to Surfista Travels and Sponsors for the awesome experience. I will definitely surf with Surfista Travels again.

New group of Surfistas! We’ll be back!

The Good Life: Surf Life & Friends in Siargao

Here’s a tidbit of Surfista Elaine Abonal’s surf life & clips of her friends and favorite surfers here in Siargao island filmed by the awesome Kyron Rathbone. Learning a lot about life & different kinds of realities here and am thankful for that opportunity :)

Thank you to VMV HYPOALLERGENICS Philippines, GoPro Philippines, ZEM GEAR Philippines (Official), Lightwater, VitaminBoost, Lagu, and the staff of Buddha’s Surf Resort – Siargao, Philippines & all the friendly locals of Siargao island for the support and great experience!

Surfista will be bringing groups to Siargao sometime next year. We hope this video excites you and inspires you for then!

“Bleep Surfing” by Tricia Suguitan

Bleep Surfing

by Tricia Suguitan

A funny, honest, and well-written description of Tricia Suguitan’s first time surfing and what it REALLY felt like to be in the water.


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