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The Kudo Surf Story

The Kudo Surf Story

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 productsRead More
5 Fun Films That Will Deepen Your Love For Surfing

5 Fun Films That Will Deepen Your Love For Surfing

These are the films that will make you ask life’s most important questions; the films that leave you feeling like you were meant for something more.Read More
Featured Surf Photographer: Jefferson Ganuelas

Featured Surf Photographer: Jefferson Ganuelas

We caught up with this cool surf cat from La Union and got inspired by his laidback approach in the water and in life.Read More
REnextop 2017 at La Union

REnextop 2017 at La Union

REnextop Asian Surfing Tour (RAST) Announces Final Stop of 2017 at La Union, Philippines from14-17 December


Jay-R Esquivel on the nose. Photo by Tim Hain

7 November 2017:  Bali, Indonesia.  REnextop, together with the Asian Surf Cooperative (ASC) announces the 3rd and final stop of the 2017 RAST Tour will take place in La Union, Philippines from 14-17 December.


RAST #3 will not only see winners in each of the four divisions, Men’s Shortboard, Men’s Longboard, Women’s Shortboard, and Women’s Longboard, but series champions will also be crowned for an exciting conclusion to REnextop’s inaugural RAST tour.


In addition to the $3,800 USD prize purse in each of the Men’s Divisions, and the $2,500 in each of the Women’s Divisions, there will be an extra $4,000 USD up for grabs, $1,000 to each series champion! 


Currently in the Men’s Shortboard Division it is Rio Waida (IDN/JPN) tied for the lead with Cooga Harada from Japan, and in the Men’s Longboards it’s Dean Permana (IDN) in the lead over Harley Ingleby (AUS).  In the Women’s Shortboard Division, Summa Longbottom (AUS) and Minami Nonaka (JPN) are even at the top of the rankings, and in the Women’s Longboards it is La Union’s own Daisy Valdez that sits on top with Jina Kim (KOR) in second spot.  


It should be an exciting finale at La Union as these surfers battle it out for prize money and the prestige of claiming the first RAST tour Championship titles.


La Union is arguably Luzon’s most popular West Coast surf spot, a beautiful stretch of white sand beach with the righthand pointbreak of Mona Liza Point the site of the RAST #3 competition venue.


Mona Liza Point in La Union. Photo by Tim Hain

Perfect for both shortboard and longboard, Mona Liza Point has been the side of hundreds of surf events over the past years, noted for its consistency and variety, not to mention warm water that never requires putting on a wetsuit! La Union a popular place for Manila’s surfers and beach lovers to come for weekends, as it’s just a 4-5 hour drive by car and boasts great restaurants, accommodations, and entertainment all in a 2 kilometer stretch of coastline.


“I'm so excited that this last stop of the RAST tour will be held here in the Philippines and it will be in my home break, yeahhh!!” said an excited Daisy Valdez.  “I’m so happy as well to share our waves and show to all the other competitors what kind of waves we have here. I’m of course hoping and praying that I will win again this time, but whatever the result I’ll still be happy because I was able to represent the Philippines, especially my home town, and I know I’ve done my best on this Tour. See you all soon!” she added.


The La Union Surf Club is REnextop’s partner in organizing and hosting the RAST #3 event, and President Menchie Parr is looking forward to welcoming everyone, saying, “The LUSC is very happy and grateful that REnextop has chosen La Union as the final stop of the RAST tour in 2017. As the host we feel privileged to get the chance to showcase the beauty of our place, our people and our culture, and to be able to work with a professional international team on an event like this. We are really looking forward to meeting surfers and spectators from all around the region, and I know we’ll all have a great time together."


REnextop CEO Lillian Chen is also looking forward to the final event of the 2017 RAST tour, saying, “RAST #3 in the Philippines is our final stop of 2017, so we are excited to see many of the surfers that joined in our previous stops in Bali and Japan coming to La Union, which is another very beautiful surfing spot.  It will be great to watch everybody coming together to surf, compete, and have a great time in the Philippines.  And we’re already looking forward to RAST 2018 and having more events in even more countries!”


As is usual for all RAST events, in addition to the surfing competition there will be evening entertainment events planned around the Lu Union area to give the surfers a opportunity to see everything that La Union has to offer, so come on and join in all the fun!


To register for the event go to this link:

or contact


Entry fees are $50 per division for the Men and $30 per division for the Women.


San Juan, La Union at golden hour. Photo by Tim Hain.


For more information regarding the RAST #3 event, please contact Tianxiang Wang


For more information about La Union, please contact Menchie Parr at


For information on the Asian Surf Co, please contact Tim Hain at


REnextop Asian Surfing Tour 2017, China’s first professional surfing tour, planned and organized by the Chinese extreme sports company REnextop. Through this series of competitions, REnextop will strengthen the integration of China's surfing community with the international surfing world to provide more opportunities, communication avenues and interactions at a higher level.


The top surfers from different countries in the Asia-Pacific region including Japan, Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Taiwan are invited to compete in these events.  REnextop is Asia’s first platform dedicated to helping extreme sportsmen and independent athletes to realize their dreams, and surfing is one of the most important extreme sports in REnextop. China’s top woman’s longboarder Monica Guo and top men’s longboarder TZ, are high-level surfers that are sponsored by the platform. Now they have become independent professional athletes traveling to surf and compete in the Asia Pacific region, setting an example for other Chinese surfers to follow and realize their dreams. 


Find out more about REnextop at:


Find out more about the Asian Surf Co at:

Life On Tour

Life On Tour

Lessons from a Life on Tour: What the Pros Know That You Should
Know Too

Mick Fanning at Hurley Pro Trestles

Everyone wants to pick the minds of professional surfers and get a glimpse of what they
had to overcome to be able to compete in the World Surf League. For most avid surf
fans, surf films and truncated online interviews are as close as they can get to learning
about the lives of these living legends. But a lucky group in Siargao Island got to listen
to Brad Gerlach talk about his journey to the big leagues over dinner at the Kudo Surf
Shop inside Greenhouse Resort.

Brad Gerlach giving the Life On Tour talk at Greenhouse Resort, Siargao Island

Gerlach, world-ranked #2 in 1991 and a renowned tow-in big wave rider, began surfing
when he was 10 years old; at 51 today, he continues to surf and provide coaching for
aspiring surf athletes. We rounded up some of his most valuable advice to surfers, both
young and old, whether they want to climb the ranks of the Philippine Surfing
Championship Tour (PSCT) or just want to improve their surfing in their own

If you’ve ever wanted to know what goes on in the mind of a pro, here’s your chance.

1) “You’ve got to make your own luck.”

Brad recalls how he made people laugh so they’d like him enough to bring to the
beach with them. Coming from a broken family, he didn’t have much financial
support for his surfing goals. However, he was determined to make it. He
repaired surfboards and provided good vibes to everyone he met on the beach.
Soon, someone took notice of his good-natured attitude and amazing surf skills
that he was eventually given his own surfboard.

“You’ve got to make your own luck,” he repeats. He knows that there are other
surfers on the WSL tour who come from less fortunate backgrounds. He makes
mention of one guy who would walk 8 miles to the beach just to surf, and when
he was done, he would walk the entire 8 miles back home. That man was
Adriano de Souza, who later won the world title in 2015.

2) “It’s not just about talent—it’s about desire.”

Undeniably, there are a lot of talented surfers all over the world. How do you
stand out when everyone can do the same airs and turns?

“You’ve got to want it more than anybody else,” says Gerlach. Just when you
think you want it bad enough, you’ll see someone who might just want it more.
“I’d tell my students you can’t be on tour if you’re sleeping in. Sleep in only after
you’ve won the tour!” He brings his students to the beach at 4:30 in the morning,
just before the sun rises, and guess who’s already there, done with their
stretching. Jordy Smith and John Florence.

“It’s not just about talent. It’s about the desire.” If you have that fire burning in
you, nurture it and let it grow. One day, it will make all of the difference.



John John Florence heading out to his heat at Trestles

3) “Get rid of mental blocks.”

Despite the connectivity that cellphones bring, Brad isn’t all that impressed.
“Cellphones are one of the biggest distractions in modern times.” Today, it’s so
easy to watch videos and see what everyone else is doing and you can get
caught up in all of that. Instead of focusing on your own game, you get fooled into
thinking that you have to beat whatever the other guy or girl just posted.

It’s all about learning real focus. There are many mental blocks that could hinder
your growth as a surfer and the key is to realize that they are exactly just
that—mental blocks. You can get rid of them whenever you want.

Another mental block is losing. Nobody likes to lose and it’s okay to get pissed
off. But you can’t let your losses take over—you can’t stay pissed forever.
Instead, relax, and don’t bring the frustration with you the next time you go out for
a surf.

“If I can go back and coach my younger self, I’d tell him to focus on myself.” Brad
asserts that there was no place for ego and arrogance in professional surfing. “I
lost a lot because I felt like I was better than other people. You got to clean that
[ego] up.”

4) “Your body is your vehicle.”
The one thing that’s more important than your surfboard when you’re out there is
your body. This is why you’ve got to take good care of your body. Don’t be
drinking too much or sleeping too little. “Surfing is a sport that is perishable,” he
reminds the crowd. “You can be great at it when you’re young but you can lose it
when you don’t take care of your body.”

When asked if Filipinos had a natural disadvantage for being smaller, Brad was
quick to disagree.

“You can’t change your genes, and besides, surfing is about timing—not strength
or muscle.” Brad emphasized that brute force doesn’t make a powerful surfer. He
makes an example out of Rob Machado, who is only 135 lbs., and is one of the
world’s most powerful surfers today.

“It’s really all about timing. The judges will be looking at how radically you can
place your surfboard along different parts of the wave.” Force has little to do with


5) “Be a collector of good people.”

A life on tour isn’t always about training hard and being competitive in and out of
the water. The truth is, traveling the world to surf the best waves will also open
doors for many beautiful friendships.

“You meet all sorts of wonderful people on tour and you’ve got to treat them like
plants—you got to water them.” Brad laughs. He takes pride in his collection of
good and healthy friendships from all over the world as he’s the type of guy who
makes friends easily and keeps all of them.

Go on, make more friends. After all, it’s what makes life amazing.

Fans at the Hurley Pro Trestles

To know more about Brad Gerlach and his latest surf exploits, follow him on Instagram: @bradgerlach. To catch the latest heats on the PSCT, follow the official account: @official.psct

Words by Camille Pilar, Photo of talk by Michael Eijansantos, Photos from Trestles by Sabs Bengzon

Surf Gallery: Bren Fuentes

Surf photographer and all around nice guy Bren Fuentes hustles like no other, waking up before daybreak for a surf, shoot, lesson, or all three within two hours. You’ll see him with his GoPro on the inside, cheering on his friends and capturing fun barrel rides. After a full day of work you might catch him in the water for a second session and then bump into him again at night when the weekend parties are in full swing, and surprise, he’s awake and in the line-up again at sunrise the next day.


Father and child duck diving, photo by Bren Fuentes

 He got hooked on surf photography by chance: “I did my first shoot when a friend of mine wanted me to take a photo of their group of [beginner] friends using their GoPro. I had some good lucky shots which encouraged me even more to shoot more ofen.”



Sunset at Cloud 9, photo by Bren Fuentes

Often a surf photographer who is also a surfer might be asked why they aren’t just surfing instead. Bren has a different take on that. “I love the fact that I get to capture that ‘stoked’ moment of a surfer when they're taking a wave, especially the ones in a barrel. Moreover, it's the feel of a thrill and excitement when you're in a gnarly position to take a specific shot.” 


Silhouette in a barrel, photo by Bren Fuentes

Being in the right place when the conditions align can be as rewarding as catching a great wave. “When I got my first ever perfect barrel shot of one of the really good surfers in Cloud 9, I was more stoked than him when I knew I was able to get the shot.” 



Longboarder Ikit Agudo on a fun one, photo by Bren Fuentes

The perfect shooting sessions for Bren are “when it’s pumping/barreling and of course perfect weather conditions.” Siargao would be one of the best places in the Philippines to shoot the surf. “The beauty of the island is undeniably awestriking. From sunrises, to sunsets, beaches, to mountains and most of all, the joy that you see in the faces of the people while surfing or who are about to surf for the first time or after having a really good session. Surfing just gives such unspeakable joy to everyone. I guess that explains the meaning of ‘stoked.’”



Sunny days and small waves, photo by Bren Fuentes

His advice for aspiring surf photographers? "Do what you love, and love what you do. You just gotta do it. Because effort, doing, feeds passion. And always give credit to God after taking such awesome photo.”

Photos by Bren Fuentes, interview by Sabs Bengzon

Burgos Born Boardshaper Pido Osares

Burgos Born Boardshaper Pido Osares

Born in 1987 and raised in Burgos, Siargao Island, Pido Osares has had a long love affair with surfing waves and shaping boards. Unbeknownst to many, there is a Filipino board shaper working out of his shop in the little town of Burgos, a few hours away from its famous sister town of General Luna, home to world-class reef break Cloud 9.


He started surfing because he loved to be in the ocean. “When I was in 5th grade, we had a neighbour with styrofoam who would rent it out to us for two pesos a day. In first year high school, there was an Australian at the time who shaped surfboards, he gave our neighbour one and I would just borrow it. By 2000, I was able to buy my classmate’s surfboard for 65 pesos, and I surfed on it so much eventually it broke.”

Early on, he met someone who would turn out to be his mentor and introduce him to board shaping. “An Australian who was building bamboo boards here in Burgos saw my broken board and offered to fix it in his shop, so I brought it to him. Because I didn’t have money to pay him, I worked off what I owed by cleaning his house, until I was helping him shape boards. 

His hard work paid off, but it was not without its own share of troubles. “After working with him so much, he gave me a board and I was always surfing after work. My mom was so mad at me because I was always surfing that she cut my board in half. Then I learned to make my own, and my mentor went home to Australia.”

Eventually, he went to General Luna and joined the Siargao surf team, Siargao Island Surf Company, along with Piso Alcala and a few other local surfers. “By then I stopped attending school because my mentor returned to Siargao. In 2005 they took me along to Lanuza, and we would make bamboo surfboards there, always joining surf competitions. I joined the Catanduanes competition and became the Junior’s Division Champion.”


The road to setting up his own surf shop was beginning to be clear. “In 2007 I was working in Cebu with Driftwood, also making boards. From there, I began to think that maybe I could have my own surf shop in Burgos. By 2008, I had already put up my own surf shop and my dreams had come true.” He dreams further, however, for his own community. “I would really love to make surfboards for the kids, so their dreams of having surfboards can also come true, but materials are so expensive.” 

Photos and Interview by Sabs Bengzon

First Philippine Pro Surfer: Carlito Nogalo

First Philippine Pro Surfer: Carlito Nogalo

Before surfing blew up all over the Philippines, before today’s young guns got sponsored and sent abroad to compete, before the exponential growth of fame and attraction of Siargao, there was Carlito Nogalo.


Carlito was the first Philippine professional surfer, and he was the country’s best before many a Filipino riding the surf trend ever picked up a surfboard. He’s been living the dream since he was born. He inspired many locals and paved the way for local professional surfing, with Siargao’s new breed of professional surfers following in his path and earning titles for the country and the little surf mecca they call home. 

He was born in 1984 in Brgy. Catagnan, when Siargao’s main thoroughfare was only a dirt road and surfing hadn’t even hit the island. As a Siargaonon grom in the 80’s and 90’s, he would have to deal with difficulties such as having no leash, no wax, and sharing one surfboard with four other kids. “My first experience surfing, I was surfing alone in Jacking Horse, I stood up and I was so stoked. I can’t even explain what my feelings were at the time. 

Despite the struggles of living in Siargao in the early days, Carlito was thankful for its simplicity. “I was so grateful to have grown up on this island because life is so simple and the people are all nice.”

Few can claim to be the first pro surfer from his country. “My dream before was to be a professional surfer and travel around the world, my goal was to be a champion and now it’s all happened. My dreams and goals were achieved. Being the first Filipino pro surfer, I feel I’m a very very lucky person because I traveled around the world, went to Hawaii, Australia, Indonesia, South Africa, Brazil, Sri Lanka, and I’m thankful to the people who helped me get there.” 

“Siargao has become so famous around the world, so many improvements and new resorts these days, so many guests coming in from different countries.” With Siargao’s accelerating development, Carlito only has one wish for Siargao: “I want the community to be peaceful, orderly, and without any trouble.”

His hopes for the younger generation are for them to “practice hard and even if they surf everyday they should always go to school.”


Carlito’s love of surf is uncomplicated. “I love surfing because it’s a really amazing lifestyle and it makes me happy all the time. The waves inspire me. When I’m watching the waves and when I try to surf by myself, I feel like it was the first time surfing again.”


Photos and interview by Sabs Bengzon

Siargaonon Shaper: Din Litangan

Siargaonon Shaper: Din Litangan

Living The Dream isn’t simply about moving from the big bad city to a paradise island—it’s really about living the life you want doing the work you love in a place you cherish. It’s about having agency over your life and your decisions and nurturing the community and environment you live in. Siargao locals know they have it good in this booming little surf town, and many of them, despite having options to live elsewhere, choose to return or stay and inject life and love into their growing hometown.

Din Litangan

One of the first local board shapers in the Philippines, Din Litangan now thrives as the premiere board shaper based out of Siargao Island. Born and raised in General Luna, he mentions that growing up in Siargao back then had its share of difficulties. Supplies were very hard to get and the town of Dapa was the only place to get many of the things they needed.

The surf bug bit him hard in sixth grade, with Din often skipping school without his parents knowledge just to go surfing. Like all the die hard surfers, he says, “I got addicted to it just like most people did.” The waves, variety of manoeuvres, and the fact that you never stop learning to surf better keeps him in love with it: “Every day is different. You try different moves even when you get more wipe outs and cuts.” 

On how he got his start with shaping boards: “It all started with surfboard repairs back in 1996. Then I tried to attempt shaping a board in 1998 from an old thick surfboard from the 70’s.” He worked for a few years with a local shaping company in Metro Manila, customising and shaping surfboards for a very small and young market of Filipino surfers.

Din Litangan

After his time in Manila, he decided to return to Siargao, for several reasons. “I think the reason why I decided to go back here is that Manila is way different and life in the city is no good. I like Siargao better. Plus the surfboard market here is much higher than in Manila. In Manila, one client will order one board only unlike here one client might order three or more.”  

These days, he develops boards and brings local shaping to new heights through his work in Cocosurf. What inspires him most in his work is his daughter. “I work hard for her.” The business is thriving and more and more surfers are turning to him to shape their boards. “My goal is I wanted Cocosurf to become more and more popular in the industry like foreign brands of surfboards. For sure if this board business grows, I want to employ more people to work for Cocosurf. It’s actually good, it gives jobs to a lot of people living on the island instead of them having to go to Manila to find jobs. Instead they can work here on the island.”

The simple life and on the island keeps Din’s heart in Siargao. “What I love about Siargao is that life is simple and away from the pollution of the city. Plus, I can go surf anytime if I wanted to.” 

Words and Photos by Sabs Bengzon

"The Good Just Keeps On Going"

"The Good Just Keeps On Going"

This creative couple knows what it means to go for your dreams. Camille Pilar and Harold Crisostomo have transformed their lives to reach the goal of living by the sea. It’s a commitment they had to choose over and over again, constantly adjusting to the demands of the life they’ve chosen to lead. They’ve undergone a few incarnations, as teachers in the big bad metropolis, baristas at a small coffee shop, now as budding entrepreneurs alongside their careers as a writer and designer. Through it all: surf. 

Harold and Camille

Their life in the small surf town of La Union is simple. “The south swell has begun so we wake up to rain in the morning. When it isn’t raining too hard, we walk to the beach to check the waves. If the surf looks promising, we hurry back and scuttle around the house, fixing breakfast, making coffee, checking the plants, and feeding the dogs. We surf and come back in time to prepare for lunch. After lunch is when we get settled in. There’s time to check emails and do some work. We play with our dogs. We run quick errands. We check the beach again and see if a sunset session is in order. If the surf is good, we go. If not, we hang out. We’re back home by dinner and we stay up late, depending on the workload. This is a typical day when it’s just the two of us. There are days when we have guests and the routine changes. Most days, it’s just trying to sneak in as much work around surfing and cleaning the house!”

Previously teachers in Manila, they found city life too stressful. “We spent so much time stuck in traffic, from Taft to Taguig to Kapitolyo. We would even stay out until it was past midnight just to avoid road congestion. We lacked sleep most of the time. Then, on the weekends, we would escape it all and surf. Come Sunday night, we drove back.” 

Surf, and shared escapes to the beach, brought to light the direction that the couple wanted to take in life. “We shared a goal. We wanted something simpler. We wanted to surf. It no longer made sense to live in Manila and exert so much time, money, and effort just to leave it every weekend.” Considering the risks they were taking and the resources wasted in shuttling back and forth between Manila and surf spots on the weekend, “it just didn’t add up anymore.”  


Continuing the simple life by the sea meant being flexible about how to sustain it financially, and working hard to open new doors. “We became open to any opportunity that came our way. We made use of our skills: I would write web content and various articles. Harold would design logos for establishments and make posters for events. I recently launched an online writing workshop with a good friend and we are looking at doing another run within the year. We’re not earning as much as we were in Manila, and there is no certainty whether the projects will keep coming, but somehow, we’re never not busy. We’re also working to put up our own business alongside reinforcing environmental causes. We’ll be busier this year and we’re really thankful for that!”

As always, leaving home meant having to go through the struggles of rebuilding it elsewhere. “We became distant from our family and friends, and when challenges arose, we were so far from our core support group. But we learned to build new connections and make new friends.” They consider the move and its difficulties in a positive light: “I see it as planting ourselves anew and we’ve only recently started growing new leaves. Soon, with enough care and compassion, we’ll get to flowering and bearing fruit.”

Sometimes the gift we give ourselves keeps on giving. For Camille and Harold, this is living the dream. “Everything changes when you live by the sea. It’s not an overwhelming change; rather, it is calm and nurturing. We’ve reconfigured our routines. We get more sun. We can exercise. We can play. For the first time in a long time, it really feels like we’re taking care of ourselves. We worry less. We love more. We become more mindful. We become more adaptable. And then we become better at helping others. We give more. We care more for the environment. And the best part is, there’s no turning back. Despite different trials, the good just keeps on going.”

Interview by Sabs Bengzon. Photos courtesy of Camille and Harold.

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