10 Things To Pack for a Surf Trip by Gretchen Que

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While packing itself is a tricky art to master, traveling with a surfboard demands more attention than the usual underwear-count concerns. Just like any other skill, you’ll get better over time as you learn from mistakes. But here at Surfista Travels Philippines, we’ve gone the extra mile by making (and learning from) all these blunders for you, so you can skip through the hassle.
You might want to bookmark or print out this list for your next surf trip, to ensure that you’ve got everything together. After all, borrowing might not be an option as your friends could already be at the line up by the time you figure out you’ve left something. Let’s start with things you absolutely must not leave behind, then work our way down to things you might be able to make diskarte for.
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Gretch (far right) on a surf trip with her friends and fellow Surfistas!

10. Key to your tie-downs/roof rack
When you leave this behind, the trip is over even before it begins. You can always cut your way through your tie downs, but that creates the new problem of how you’ll drive your board home. Turning to sampayan strings won’t do, as the drag created by your accelerating car will surely flip your board off the roof. Personally, I secure my tie-down key with my car key so I only keep track of “one” thing.

Tie downs are very important for a surf trip. A couple of macho surfer boys don’t hurt either! ;) Mark Mabanag & Luke Landrigan being wonderful caddies on a surf trip!

9. Fins, Fin Key, Back Up Screws 
Your friends love you to death, but there is absolutely no way they could get you out of this one, short of lending you their board. And that means, one sits out while the other rides. Store your fins in your board bag to ensure that they always come with your board. Know what type of key your fins require: FCS keys are shaped differently from Futures keys, and even within the same brand the models could vary. Just as there are different keys, there are different screw sizes. Make sure you have the correct back ups in case the sand decides to eat up your teeny screw. To keep them all together, I use a Sticky Bumps fin bag where I also store my wax.
8. Leash
The locals and the surf schools could probably cover your ass on this one, but you might not be able to surf at your optimum. Surfing with your own leash that meets your body and board length specifications ensures your safety and of those around you. Using your own leash also means that the length is suitable for the types of maneuvers that you’re practicing for.
7. Foil Tape & Duct Tape
It is heartbreaking, but dings and cracks happen even to the best boards. After silently weeping, you can perform a “first aid” to save your session until you get your board properly repaired. Use your hands to feel your board through. Once you find the ding, dry that part with a towel. Cut/tear off a section of foil tape and fully cover the ding. This layer temporarily waterproofs the crack. Then, cut off a slightly larger piece of duct tape to stick over the foil tape as foil easily tears. If in La Union, you may seek out Aki San for his board repair expertise.
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Dings, broken boards, injuries are always part of the surf adventure. Be prepared!

6. First Aid Kit (for yourself)
We love our boards but we’ve got to love ourselves too! Remember, safety above all else. A little scratch here and there is inevitable, but fin cuts and deep reef cuts require professional medical attention. And NO peeing on jellyfish stings. Just no.
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5. Wax
Because otherwise, shame on you.
4. Dry Bag
Getting in that last surf session right before heading home is totally worth it. But that leaves your clothes with no time to dry. Bring an extra bag made of canvass to store your wet stuff in.
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3. Treats for the Locals
This entire list is written under the (duh) assumption that you already have your own board. Which means that you’ve been surfing for a while. Which means you KNOW the locals. Never forget those who pushed you into your first wave. The guys who cheered you on as you dropped in on THEIR wave. The people who shared their food, their beer, and their secret spots with you. Chips and drinks are always welcome. Sometimes, I bring them free stickers and shirts I get from surf brands I support. :)

Locals love stickers!

2. 90s Music
If I’m driving and you’re not, you better start singing.
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It’s always good to have good vibes and good music with you on your trip.

1. Underpants
This item makes the bottom of the list, but important still. You are expected to bring at least one more pair apart from the ones you’re already wearing on your way there.
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We know you don’t need to wear a lot to go surfing and the hot weather makes us want to take our clothes off, but yes… bring extra underpants. ;)

The best tip I can offer is to keep everything together as much as you can. I have a bag that’s dedicated to surfing and nothing else. This way, I simply have to return all of my gear in the same bag after they dry. Best of all, I don’t have to pack and unpack for every trip. Do yourself a favor and spend more time surfing and less time looking for things. See you at the line up. :)

JOIN OUR FUTURE SURFISTA TRIPS!

Check out our TOURS & PACKAGES.

http://www.surfistatravels.com 

 surfistatravels@yahoo.com

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10 Things I Love about La Union by Gretchen Que

Surfista Gretchen Que is a big fan of La Union and has been there many times with and without us. She writes her top 10 reasons why she loves La Union and why YOU should join us on our future Surfista trips too! ;)

 

Surfista Gretch – All smiles with her surfboard at her favorite place to surf !

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April 2014 Surfista Trip to Baler Video Highlights

Check out this video of Surfista Jonathan Lanuzga of our trip to BALER last month! It’s always awesome to see our Surfistas happy!

He documented the whole trip – from our van ride, to his surf lessons, while staying at the Aliya Surf Resort, on our hike to the waterfalls and to the biggest Balete tree in Asia, and hanging out with his new Surfista friends. Check it out!

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Surfista Travels’ 2nd Year Anniversary Party!

SURFISTA TRAVELS PHILIPPINES is 2 years old!!!!!  Last February 28, 2014 a party was held for the Surfistas, sponsors, friends & fans at Skippy’s Bar in BGC to celebrate the past 2 awesome years and a chance for Surfistas to have a reunion. It was a chill night with the awesome band Tempestuous Jones. THANKS for all those who came, dropped by, and celebrated with us, to our SPONSORS for giving prizes to our loyal Surfistas, to Xavier D’Souza for taking these awesome photos and to Moireen Espinosa for helping reserve spots for us.

Congratulations and happy birthday to all of us! 

Tempestuous Jones
Elaine Abonal of Surfista Travels giving her Thank You speech and giving awards and prizes from our sponsors like GoPro Philippines, Hurley Philippines, VMV Hypoallergenics Philippines to loyal Surfistas
Surfista Travels’ Elaine Abonal and loyal Surfistas Chris Romero and Jovanne Lagman

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Rockin’ out to Tempestuous Jones
with our talented photographer Xavier D’Souza
Skippy’s Bar and Grill at BGC
Loyal Surfistas JK Beltran and Trina mundo get freebies from GoPro as well as a stay at Aliya Surf Resort! Woohoo!
Scott Judy and his red pants to signify Surfista love!
Pretty Surfistas Tats and Andrea
Great reunion for old surf friends: JP Ong, Rob Chase from California, Elaine Abonal and Chris Romero
Elaine Abonal with our friends and amazing surfers that we worked with last year: Surfboard shaper and photographer Ian Zamora and The Surf Institute’s Carla Rowland

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For other dates for Surfista TOURS & PACKAGES, click HERE.

Questions? Concerns? Read our FAQ page or e-mail us at surfistatravels@yahoo.com

Thank you very much and we are looking forward to surfing and travelling with you soon!

Surfista Siargao by Nette Guevarra

Over a year ago, I made a conscious decision to live by three things: 1. Get out of my comfort zone 2. Let go of things, situations and people I cannot control 3. Listen to my intuition and let it lead the way. It wasn’t easy at first.  But once I learned to do these, my world totally changed.

All these Surfistas actually travelled solo and went home with a set of new friends!

Our first day and first meal at the Sagana Resort in Siargao: Nette, Frances, Jannelle, Camille and Jovanne

Because of these three simple mantras, with the help of a positive attitude, the Universe hurled me into situations and people that made my heart sing.  And SURFING is definitely one of them.

Siargao is a surfer’s paradise!

I have pretty much engaged in different sports and extra-curricular activities since childhood, but I must say, SURFING takes the cake!  I have a tinge of regret I didn’t learn this sport sooner, but as they say, it is never too late.  Traveling solo on a remote island for 6 days to try surfing (on the reef breaks at that) sounded like a bold and unconventional sabbatical to some people.  But to me, it was the BEST thing I have ever done for myself this year!  I have always wanted to surf, and I really think that the Universe was kind enough to make it happen. I stumbled upon the Surfista Travels Philippines page on Facebook, then saw cheap airline tickets to Manila & Siargao, and realized it was a public holiday/long weekend in Malaysia during that Surfista trip.  Thank you, Universe!

So glad to have stumbled upon Surfista Travels Philippines on Facebook!

Soooo much freebies from Surfista sponsors!! Every peso spent on this trip was worth it!

I thought about it for a few days and I cringed at the thought of me falling off my board and hitting my face or head on the reefs, rocks or other people’s surf boards. But despite my daunting thoughts, I listened to my gut.  You’ll never know until you try.  So I went.  Carpe Diem, baby!

Carpe diem! THIS is what my decision has brought me to: paradise, beautiful waters and beautiful people.

It was my first time to visit Siargao Island and I totally fell in love with it!  The clear blue sea, the inviting waves and Cloud 9 tower alone was just magnificent.  I speak for all beach lovers out there when I say that there’s definitely something about the sea that calms people down, humbles them, heals them and puts things into perspective.  To me it clearly explained why the Siargaonons exuded nothing but genuine warmth, kindness and compassion. Working and living in a busy raucous city in Malaysia, I greatly appreciated the simple island life and the kindness of its people.  Our surf instructors were patient, happy-go-lucky and by far, the most humble mentors I have met.  They were quiet and gentle with us, but these people are fearless in the water and even charge epic 10-foot barreling waves in international surf competitions! Amazing!

Nette and her instructor and also champ Filipino surfer – Carlito Nogalo

Each Surfista instructor was handpicked because Surfista Travels only works with the BEST! All these Siargao surfers are amazing – both in and out of the water.

The six days spent surfing taught me a lot of things as compared to other sports I’ve engaged in.  It taught me the value of patience and resilience.  It constantly reminded me to go with the flow, to let go, to rise back up, and repeat.  I was so tense in my first 2 tries to ride the waves with my 9-foot soft top longboard, struggling to stand up and all.  “Keep in mind that it is okay to fall off your board.  It’s okay.  Just let yourself fall.  What matters is that you quickly rise up on that board to strike that balance with the waves.  It will be all over in a matter of seconds, so you have to be quick to rise and feel it.  When you fall off, paddle back up here and then repeat.”  Those few words from Carlito, my surf instructor, and for some reason it got to me because it not only referred to surfing, but those words reminded me so much about life. 

Finally surfing!!!!!!!!!

True enough, the next few rides after that were absolute FUN.  I couldn’t get enough of it!  I found myself paddling around the impact zone, braving those sets of crashing waves one after the other, and paddling back to the lineup to catch more waves.  The surf stoke is pretty much an amazing and overwhelming feeling, that I didn’t mind paddling back and forth, even if my arms felt like jello and even if I was so freakin’ tired from all that paddling (yeah, I’m outta shape haha).  In our last 2 days, I was having so much fun that I lost track of time and didn’t notice I was surfing for 2 hours straight.  

Photo shoots, island hopping, new friends, good vibes, eating freshly grilled seafood – other highlights of the surf and island life.

Surfing isn’t always competitive.  It is also something that you do just for the fun of it; It is something that gets you on a natural high (a.k.a stoke) which only the ocean and the waves can give you. It is something you do on your own, and yet you feel so connected to everything and everyone. It is a sport which very much resonates Life’s metaphors.

Playing volleyball and soccer when not surfing – how beautiful is our playground?

IMG_0040 Not only did I enjoy the surfing in my trip, but I loved the company. I had no idea that the rest of the group were solo travelers, like me!  The Surfistas were a diverse group – everyone was open to anything and despite our varying backgrounds, professions, ages and races, we all found ourselves laughing and enjoying each others company.

At night, we tried different restaurants around the island. Here we were having the best pizza  in the island – probably in the Philippines – haha at the Kalinaw Resort.

Here’s what else I loved: those warm “Good Morning” greets, at ANY time of the day.  Hopping to Dako, Guyam and Naked Islands.  Crazy photo and video shoots everywhere we go.  Volleyball and football games on the sand.  Climbing limestone rocks.  The medium-sized green snake we met along the way during our trek.  Making that proverbial jump into Magpupungko’s tidal pools.  Fun habal-habal rides to and fro Cloud 9.  Elaine’s crazy pickup lines.  Those long refreshing walks in Boardwalk before surfing.  Red wine and five enormous pizzas, over good conversations and hearty laughter in Kalinaw.  Yummy 15-peso bulillit burgers. Yummy pancit and veggie burgers in Sagana Resort with Sue.  Early morning surf lessons with our surf heroes – Carlito, Piso, Chongky, Manette and Marama.  Jangol juice and disco-dancing at Jangol Disco.  Gianni’s sumptuous pasta and sun-dried tomatoes.  Complimentary wine and Tanduay rhum shots in Kermit.  Hearty post-surf breakfasts in Kermit.  Eloy’s famous Kinilaw.  Hammock snooze sessions.  Relaxing body massages after surfing.  Yoga classes with our Lagu blankets.  Sentiments, chikas, laughter and random life stories shared on the island.  Hermit crabs of different shapes and colours.  Bahay kubos. Dream catchers. Siargaonons’ genuine kindness and compassion.  Humble surf champs as our instructors.  The simple laid-back island life.  My first surf.  My first time to jump off a huge limestone rock formation (wearing a bikini).  My first tattoo.  

The trip and surfing left such an impression that a tattoo had to be made!!

Enjoying local life by having 40 peso burgers by the boulevard – they were pretty good too! :)

So what happened when I followed my intuition?  I got back home more suntanned, bruised all over, with jelly arms and an aching body from all the surfing and traveling.   Despite those things though, I couldn’t care less.  What mattered is I went back home rejuvenated with a surf stoke that would last me til my next surf, a smile plastered on my face and precious memories of surfing, Siargao and all those free-spirited new found friends I have met along the way.  Frankly, I would not have done it any other way.  And I will definitely go back for more ;)

All smiles at the Kermit Surf and Dive Resort with owner Gianni – where we stayed

with Surfista Travels’ Elaine Abonal, my certificate and PROOF that I surfed, and Gianni of Kermit Surf and Dive Resort in Siargao

JOIN US ON OUR FUTURE SURFISTA TRIPS! Check out our TOURS & PACKAGES.
http://www.surfistatravels.com 
 surfistatravels@yahoo.com
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twitter: @SurfistaTravels     instagram: @SurfistaTravels
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