The Kudo Surf Story
Siargao Island has long been envied for its perennially perfect waves and various depictions of paradise. Naturally, Siargao became home to some of the country’s most talented surfers, and year after year, they got better and better.
It was only a matter of time before local Siargao talents caught the attention of the international surfing scene. Big surf brands offered sponsorships in the form of free gear, surf apparel, and the occasional trip to Indo. In return, the local surfers had to become brand endorsers and merch models.
Despite these sponsorships, the local surfing scene lacked a vital element for growth. Aside from free clothes and surfboards every now and then, the big surf brands didn’t invest in building pros. The surfers were growing their businesses by endorsing their products but these surfers still lacked the proper training and support to become professional competitors of global caliber.
“Kudos”: giving back to Siargao surfers
Kudo Surf wanted to try a different approach. Our main goal was to give the “kudos” back to the community. After all, it was the local surfers who deserved the praise—not the brands.
Our humble beginnings started from having only one sponsor, the Cloud 9 Boardriders, which included the C9 Angels. Shortly after, Quiksilver Philippines also helped out and together they were the only companies who gave real support. We were all committed to the same goal of growing the local scene for professional surfing.
We then grabbed the opportunity to make event clothing for the Asian Surfing Cooperative (ASC) in exchange for sponsoring Siargao surfers on international competitions. Not long after that, we were able to send our top guns such as powerhouse sisters, Nilbie and Nildie Blancada, along with Piso Alcala to places like the Maldives, Indonesia, and Taiwan. In 2016, Nilbie Blancada became the #1 surfer in the Women’s Tour in Asia. Through these efforts to give back to the surfers, the Philippine Team is now one of the strongest teams in the Asian WSL Qualifying Series.
Kudo Surf hopes to continue sending talented surfers to the big leagues by becoming a world-renowned supplier of high quality and eco-friendly surf products. We use a material called Econyl®, which is made from 100% recycled post-consumer waste. It is the same material used by Kelly Slater’s sustainable clothing brand, Outerknown.
Fortunately, our efforts reached the World Surf League (WSL), and today, we create sustainable event merchandise and competition jerseys for the WSL.
In this competitive industry, rather than hold secrets, we ask other companies to follow suit and give back to the surf community as well. Whether you are a small or big company, there is no reason why you shouldn’t support the community you belong in. When they grow, you grow too.
Dream team building a dream home
The rapid rise in tourism and development in Siargao has posed many pressing problems for the community, top of which is waste management and pollution. Kudo Surf’s commitment as a brand is to protect our community through surfing. Under the leadership of one of our founding members, Marja Abad, we seized this opportunity to also teach others about the importance of “growth through preservation."
We do not just see and hear the problems of the growing population; more importantly, we take action. We formed the Siargao Environmental Awareness (S.E.A.) Movement to better plan how we can protect Siargao from the dangers of its waste management problems.
As a clothing brand, we know that no manufacturing company is 100% eco-friendly. Yet we strive harder and harder each time to lessen our impact on the environment.
We used to rely on “degradable plastic” for our packaging but we’ve now replaced that with a 100% renewable material: sugar cane.
Our boardshorts use only eco-friendly inks and materials from recycled plastic bottles.
Our rash vests are made from 100% regenerated factory waste and recycled ocean waste in the form of Econyl®.
Our tees are now made of 100% organic cotton, which is grown without chemicals and is built to last.
Our aim is to become one of the eco-friendliest clothing brands in the world and we want to be copied. We want large businesses to follow the trend and start educating consumers to protect our playgrounds.
We set an example to various residents of the island by holding regular beach cleanups and spreading messages about ocean health. This inspired a group of groms to keep turning up at beach cleanups, and so the S.E.A. Patrol was formed. This small gang of Siargao groms go around picking up trash while wearing rash vests and boardshorts made from upcycled event banners.
If the little kids can do it, so can you!
The Kudo Surf Team
At Kudo Surf, we are all about teamwork. We began with a few surfers with big talents. Today, we have over 22 professionally sponsored surfers who help us give back to the community we live in.
As we complete the final leg of the Philippine Surfing Championship Tour (PSCT), which we also sponsor and support, we would like to wish our team luck. With the help of the entire community, we were able to send our largest team yet to join the tour.
This couldn't have been done without the support and the Kudos shared back to our team.
We thank all of you for standing with us. May all the athletes perform to the best of their abilities in the final rounds of the PSCT.
It’s an exciting time to be part of the surfing community! We are proud of this shared journey onward to the 2020 Olympics.
Most importantly, we thank you for your support and hope everyone can remember to keep Siargao Green!
Words by Camille Pilar