Thursday, April 18, 2013

Real girls ride the waves, especially at Billabong All Girls Surf Camp

Text and Photos by Ana Valenzuela, · Saturday, April 6, 2013 · 2:59 pm

A participant enjoys the thrill of riding the waves. Photo by Ana Valenzuela,
The exhilaration of being delivered by the board to the sand.
After how many tries, and after how many times the water just kept throwing me off balance. I did it! I stood, well more like squat, on the board, and did nothing but let the currents bring me to the shore.
Surfing champ Luke Landrigan shows the proper way to stand on a surfboard. Photo by Ana Valenzuela,
Listening to surfing pro and champ Luke Landrigan during the first day lesson briefing of the 2nd Billabong All Girls Surf Camp at the San Juan Surf Resort in La Union, paid off. “When paddling, chin up, and alternate left and right (arms), the instructors would push you from behind. When you feel the wave na pinu-push kayo from behind, yun na yung time na tatayo kayo,” I remember him saying.
More than that, shifting to a more basic position called the step up—where in you have one foot ready angling at the side of the hip and your arms alongside your chest to shift you up—helped me to get the hang of the board, especially of course with the help of my own instructor.
The raw beauty of San Juan beach in La Union. Photo by Ana Valenzuela,
Before attending the all-women surf camp, what came to my mind was the Kate Bosworth surfing movie, Blue Crush. Specifically, I remember the scene where she just battled a gynormous wave then afterwards slowly emerges from the said gigantic wave, which was ten times bigger than she was. Kate emerges standing, smiling, dimples and all. Impossible! I know.
Instructors at the 2nd Billabong All Girls Surf Camp line up their surfboards on the beach for the day's class. Photo by Ana Valenzuela,
Fortunately for me, La Union’s waves were much friendlier, there were no Godzilla-like waves to battle. September till March is the best time to surf, yet the currents that day were perfect for beginners and first timers. I was psyched to get on a board and even get wiped out.
A female surfer conquers some waves at the 2nd Billabong All Girls Surf Camp. Photo by Ana Valenzuela,
Much more than the waves, the people that you get to meet, are also not so bad.  Some of the girls were like me first time surfers, while some have already brought their surfboards to Baler and even Bali, and were just wanting to be trained and looking to meet new friends, specifically surfing buddies.
Franco wows the crowd with his acoustic set. Photo by Ana Valenzuela,
Girls get DJ tutorials from DJ Nikki. Photo by Ana Valenzuela,
The best thing about the surf camp, one girl did comment, was Franco and Luke. Franco who graced us with his awesome guitar playing that accompanied his deep and soothing voice, and definitely Luke, who also owns the resort. Landrigan had been a gracious host.
Apart from teaching us girls on how to handle the board—Luke was there in every session, assisting if one gets too weak, complimenting if one is making the right points—he also mades sure to interact with the participants during the lunch and dinner sessions, graciously giving advice and answering concerns about surfing.
Others share that the best part of their surf camp experiences are the extra lessons, this time in mixing music together, care of top DJs Niki Rojas and Joey Santos. Some, on the other hand, say that highlight of their experience was the place itself.  Yet, all of us seem to agree on one thing, we shall return—though we’re not just sure when.
Writer Ana Valenzuela with her adorable surf buddy. InterAksyon Lifestyle Section photo.
Honestly, I wasn’t prepared for the 2nd Billabong All Girls Surf Camp. I didn’t even know that I’d be surfing in La Union, all I knew was that I’d be headed there to observe and write about the surfing camp. But hey, I came, I surfed, and I conquered.
'We shall return!' The happy participants and organizers of the 2nd Billabong All Girls Surf Camp. Photo by Ana Valenzuela,