Soul Sisters and Surf Suits
Saturday, 4 March 2017
I met Aping and Ikit at the start of the year but I’ve been following them on Instagram for much longer. Their pictures were magnetizing. Everything always looked so effortless, not a hair out of place. When they visited La Union, I was most excited to meet them.
There was a big and almost blown out swell that day and the odds didn’t look favorable at the popular Point break. Surfers scurried around in tricycles and motorbikes, looking for cleaner waves. I—along with fifty other people—waited for set waves at a world-class right-hander that stretched on beyond 100 meters if you made all the sections.
In the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of a slender figure making her way to the nose of her longboard— but instead of cross-stepping, she did what looked like a pirouette. It was a full 360-degree turn with her board under her feet, not once missing a beat. It was Ikit! She wore an all black long-sleeved surf suit that made her look even taller. Sitting on the inside in a short-sleeved version of the surf suit was Aping, and she caught my eye and smiled. I paddled over to say hi, and when Ikit paddled back, we were all introduced.
“Aw, Bisaya!” The sisters were more reserved when speaking in Tagalog but their personalities unraveled when chatting in their native tongue. Aping was also quick to position herself on her shortboard, and she caught the punchy rights that others couldn’t make. Ikit flowed seamlessly in and out of the peak, her signature turn lighting up the lineup.
Sharing a wave with the soul sisters. | Photo by @buddhasiargao.
It was such a good session even though the waves were nothing more than leftover wind chop. I realized how refreshing it was to meet new girls who surfed. Likewise, Aping and Ikit were delighted to share the lineup with girls from Manila and La Union.
Feminine form and function
Over the next few days, we shared more waves. Over milk tea, we talked about our favorite spots and what kind of bikini stayed on best while surfing. I learned that the girls donned Kudo Surf’s latest line of surf suits, which are all proudly made in Siargao.
The Borneo one-piece. | Photo by @leagoeson.
The Kudo Surf suits are designed by Mia del Mundo, whose notable background in fashion helped her design these stylish pieces with elegant cuts to compliment the female form. All surf suits are chlorine-resistant, UV-protected, and composed of slick nylon and spandex material. When she isn’t supervising the production of the surf suits in Siargao, Mia likes to cruise on her longboard.
Two-tone Amaia. | Photo by @leagoeson.
At this point, I imagined the future of Philippine surfing and saw that women indeed had a prominent place in it. Just a year ago, it was impossible to find the perfect surf-friendly bikini or suit that catered to form, functionality and style. Today, any local wahine can order from the Kudo Surf page or buy them straight from Greenhouse Resort in Siargao.
Surf like a girl
Every year, we see more girls in the lineup and it is important for brands to cater to the unique needs women have in the water. Gone are the days of flimsy straps and awkward pads. Instead, Kudo Surf suits like the Borneo and the Amaia help girls focus on their form in the water without fearing a wardrobe disaster.
Lace detail on the Hydra. | Photo by @leagoeson.
The Hydra is a lace-trimmed suit that is safe to surf in but also sophisticated enough for eveningwear. The Watermelon rashie, when paired with the olive green cheeky bottom, is the perfect balance between functionality and style.
Aping and Ikit are naturals in the water and it is enjoyable to watch them surf together. They possess a grace and confidence that only ladies can pull off. It’s in the fine arc of the arms and the subtle swing in the hips. This is what surfing like a girl means, and they make it look so good.
Ikit hanging five. | Photo by @gapssabuero.
One late afternoon, we walked to the beach to catch the revered La Union sunset. It had just finished raining gently and the clouds were thinning out, exposing a warm orange sun. The waves were unbelievably glassy. Head-high sets rolled in like silk. I looked at the sisters and wondered if they were thinking what I was thinking.
“Would it be such a waste of shampoo and lotion to surf again?” one of them asked.
We laughed at how only girls would worry over a thing like that! We changed quickly and headed out just in time for a mind-blowing sunset session. We surfed with a skip in our steps, like the girls that we were. The sun shone on our hair. The waves danced with us.
All suits, rashies and bottoms are available at Greenhouse Resort in Siargao. For inquiries and orders, send a message to the Kudo Surf Facebook Page. Watch out for the online launch of the Siargao-made surf suits on the website, www.kudosurf.com.