Winners at Coast Thru Life Single & Unattached Classic Single Fin Invitation - Philippines

17 February 2016, La Union, Philippines:  The 4th Annual Coast Thru Life Single & Unattached Classic Single Fin Invitational Longboarding contest presented by New Era Hat Philippines at Mona Liza Point in scenic La Union was completed yesterday in pumping 3-4 foot waves, with Indonesia’s Arip “Mencos” Nurhidayat winning the Men’s division, local Daisy Valdez taking her 4th Women’s title in as many years, the Philippines Luke Landrigan hoisting the trophy in the newly introduced single fin shortboard expression session, and local grommet Jomari Ebueza getting his first championship trophy in the Tiny Toes (18 years and Under) division.

The Men’s and Women’s champions received cash, a Stockman surfboard, a Nixon watch, products (hats, shoes, flipflops, boardshorts, sunglasses, bags) and store credit as from New Era, Vans and Stoked, and all the finalists received cash, products and store credit from New Era, Vans and Stoked.

After a three day delay from the planned start of February 12, due to the absence of surfable waves, Monday saw the first day of competitive action upon the arrival of the long awaited swell, with the “Tiny Toes” Junior division consisting of 18 competitors ranging in age from 9 year old June Esquivel to last year’s winner 18 year old Jhenard Fernandez getting in the water first to complete their first round, then let the 11 women competitors have their turn to get the contest well underway.

Tuesday morning dawned with solid 3-4 foot waves and occasional closeout bombs for the 32 men competitors starting their Round 1 heats.  It was a day full of action and highlights, from both the performance and wipeout perspectives, as in line with the rules of this event the competitors were not allowed to use and leg ropes (leash) to keep their board attached to them, so many wipeouts resulted in them swimming for runaway surfboards through the pounding waves. 

By mid afternoon the competition was completed and the winner’s were awarded their prizes on the beach, capping off a great long Valentine’s Weekend that was full of parties, live bands, DJ’s, bonfires, movies, and surfing that made for an epic finale to the memorable 4th Annual Coast Thru Life Single & Unattached Classic Single Fin Invitational Longboarding contest presented by New Era.

In the Men’s Division, 2014 Single & Unattached winner Arip “Mencos” Nurhidayat from West Java, Indonesia was over the moon being back in the Philippines and winning his title back after a one-year absence. 

“I’m so happy to be able to come back to the Philippines and join in this contest again,” he exclaimed.  “There are so many good surfers and people, which makes it really fun.  I love this place and the people, and I always have such a good time here.”

When asked about his experience in the final he replied, “I didn’t bring my own board to the event, so I had to adjustment and get used to a different board, so in the beginning I started out kind of slow at this competition.  In the final I was nervous, because I was looking for the perfect waves and it was hard to find them, and sometimes I chose the wrong ones and tried to force things, so I lost my board a couple times and had to swim a lot.  If it wasn’t for that one maneuver I did on my last wave I know I wouldn’t have won….but I’m so happy I could win again here.  For sure I’ll come back next year and I want to say thanks to all the locals and the people who supported me to come here like Villa Monyet, Smile, Andrew, Arya, and Luke, and everybody else…thanks!”

Women’s winner Daisy Valdez looks out at the point from her La Union home, and is no stranger to the podium now having chalked up her fourth Single & Unattached win. When asked how she manages to win so consistently she said, “I just surf every day, as much as possible especially before the comp, up to 8 hours a day, as I want to be prepared.” Regarding competing in the final she explained, “We were all nervous going out in the final because of the big waves, and when we got out there the waves seemed to get even bigger!  I got lucky as I didn’t lose my board, but one time I got dragged all the way from the peak to the inside section but managed to hang on and paddle back out.  I changed boards also during the final to one I was more familiar with, and that seemed to be the key to getting more points and winning the comp.  Hopefully next year I can do it again!"

A new addition to this year’s event was the Single Fin Shortboard Expression Session, which saw Philippines surfer/celebrity and La Union local Luke Landrigan take home the trophy.  After accepting his award he was asked to say a few words about the session. “In the final out there, all of us were using boards that we never have used before, so it was like we were all beginners.  I think the key to my win was….catch a lot of waves and don’t lose the board!  The waves were great today, with some nice walls and glassy faces which made it really fun.  I hope next year we can add this division to the event permanently, and get more international surfers to join in.”

Buji Libarnes, Coast Thru Life and Single & Unattached creator is obviously an ardent fan of logging and single fin surfing, and at the conclusion of the event was all smiles not that the event was wrapped for another year.  

When asked what he felt were the highlights of the surfing event for him, he replied, “Adding the new single fin unattached shortboard division, as it was really cool watching those guys style it out on their single fin shortboards.  We applied the same judging criteria for them, with the big factors being keeping your composure, having control of the board, showing style and with power.  We want to do it again next year as well, not as an expression session but one of the main divisions.”

Then he added, “Other things that really stood out for me this year was first the groms (junior surfers), as they were the most improved and keep getting so much better…it’s great that we can see the future of logging in their increased level of performance. And we really salute the girls, some of whom said that they couldn’t swim but went out bravely and challenged themselves against the big waves anyways, and without leashes!  Finally, thanks again to the ASC for always coming out and supporting us at this event.”

This was ASC Head Judge Arya Subyakto’s (Indonesia) third time attending the Single & Unattached event.  “I really enjoy seeing the improvement in the performances of the locals each time I come,” said Subyakto.  “Logging has different rules than normal or progressive longboarding, and I just want to encourage the locals crew to practice their logging style more in the future.  They are really good longboarders as they live in a place that has excellent waves for longboarding, so if they focus and use logs more, they will progress rapidly and become the best classic longboarders in Asia, of that I’m sure.”

What stood out most for him at the event?  “I was amazed seeing this 9 year old local grom (June Esquivel) on a 9 foot board, and that he was able to control it and do some great maneuvers.  If he got a board shaped exactly for him, wow, watch out!  I’m super impressed and confidant that the best classic longboarders in Asia will be coming from the Philippines in the future,” he said.

With the event all wrapped up, New Era’s Maritess See Lazaro said “We had such a great time here at this event, it was wonderful all around, and big success for us.  Thanks so much to Coast thru Life for inviting is to join this Single and Unattached event, and to the ASC for supporting it!”
 
Contest Results:
Men’s Invitational
1.  Arip “Mencos” Nurhidayat (West Java, Indonesia)
2.  JR Esquivel  (La Union, Philippines)
3.  Benito Nerida (La Union, Philippines
4. Mark Aguila (Baler, Philippines
Women’s Invitational
1.  Daisy Valdez (La Union, Philippines)
2.  Zyra Carbonell (La Union, Philippines)
3.  Seal Yates (Adelaide, Australia)
4.  Jina Kim (South Korea)
Tiny Toes (Junior) 
1.  Jomari Ebueza (La Union, Philippines)
2.  Perry Ventura (La Union, Philippines)
3. Jhenard Fernandez (La Union, Philippines)
4.  Daryl Esquivel (La Union, Philippines)
Single Fin Shortboard Expression Session
1.  Luke Landrigan (La Union, Philippines)
2.  Roger Casugay (La Union, Philippines)
3. Marven Abad (La Union, Philippines)
Nixon’s Sickest Trick Award – Mark Aguila (Baler, Philippines)
 
The 4th Annual Coast Thru Life Single & Unattached Classic Single Fin Invitational Longboarding Contest and Beachfest is presented and organized by New Era Hat Philippines, with main sponsors Vans, Nixon, THE Clothing, Flipstyle Squad, CTL, Reset and Globe, secondary sponsors Sebay, San Juan Surf Resort, Circle Hostel, Kahuna, Mad Monkeys, Surf Shack, Moonleaf, Fluid Surf, Grass Green Surf Garage, Balbo Balance Board, Stockman, Flowhouse Manila, J & S Surf Shop, Mexi Combo, Holcim, Redbull, Tagpuan, Elyu Classic, La Union Surf Club, Son of a Beach, and Jim Beam, with media partners Asian Surfing Championships, Indo Inc Productions, My Life on Board, Surf to Live to Surf, Blunt Magazine, Grid Magazine, and Solar Sports.


Reported by Arya Subyakto
Photo credit by Tim Hain