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Thread: Philippine Dream. 10 years ago.
07-15-2007, 11:48 PM #1
Philippine Dream. 10 years ago.
I was going through some shit and ran across an old photo album in one of my storage boxes. Here’s another memorable surf trip from my archives. Enjoy.
The Thrilla near Manila
I arrived in Manila for a month-long trip, not knowing what to expect. It was my first trip back here in eleven years and it was more crowded and polluted than I had remembered. Three days of cavorting around in Manila bars, clubs and strip joints was about all I could handle. Luckily a typhoon had formed off the Southeastern island of Mindanao.
I got on a bus, then a ferry, then another bus, a tricycle, a boat, then a motorcycle to get to this fabled place.
Would I get skunked? After a 2-day journey, I pulled up at my destination in time to see a 10-foot set unload with no takers.
I checked into my hut right on the point. $10/night gets you 3 meals and all-you-can–surf barrels. Did I mention there were about 5 surfers on the entire island?
Morning surf check.
“The reef starts here, goes all the way there. When the wave breaks here, don’t be there or you gonna get drilled”. Brett from Queensland, Australia finds out the hard way.
The first day getting this place sorta wired was brutal. Poundings into razor-charp, flesh-grating, body-mangling coral were the price you pay for fucking up the drop. Some guy got speared in the leg by his board and was taken into the local ER/veterinary clinic on the island. We never saw him again.
Luckily things had mellowed out when the typhoon moved further out to see. The conditions cleaned up, and I had perfect 6 foot A-frames all to myself. MINE!!!! ALL MINE!!!! Did you hear me? MIIIINE!!!!!
I proudly show you the equivalent of waking up as a man-sandwich between Allesandra Ambrosio and Maria Sharapova:
HOLY FUCK. I had to pinch myself every 2 seconds of every session, of every day for the next two weeks.
You couldn’t really see the sets coming as it pops up seemingly out of nowhere from deep water. Somewhere between me and the horizon lay the Marianas trench, deep enough to deep-throat Mt Everest if given the opportunity. This was the reason that the well was so magnified in this area of the Philippine Archipelago.
Every take-off was late. You had to paddle as hard as you can, survive the drop, and pull into the easiest barrel you’ll ever make. The crystal clear water seemed to magnify the size of the hungry coral that was waiting patiently to chew you up.
But the barrel…oh that beautiful, big barrel that curved around the reef. You can get as deep as you want…so deep you don’t see the opening, just a long curved barrel that spat you out 5-8 seconds later and send you paddling back out for more.
At low tide you pretty much don’t want to have anything to do with the wave as it broke on dry reef.
The swell picked up again. A low tide 10-foot plus session would guarantee broken board or broken body. Or both. The alternative was to find one of the local fishermen to take you to one of the many offshore islands.
Five of us pitched in a buck each to commandeer Joel and his boat for the day. He took us to Spot X, an island 15 minutes away that had a right hand point-like set-up that wrapped almost 180 degrees. Here was a Philippine version of J-Bay. Ake off…long solid racy wall as far as your eye can see, completely rip-the-shit wall followed by shallow inside barrel section. 5 surfers out. 5 wave sets every 5 minutes. 5 hour session. You do the math. Holy shit that was the best 5 bucks I’d ever spent.
Word got out that another typhoon was forming off the coast. Sure enough, the next morning saw overhead bombs unloading on the reef. Backdoor and Pipe immediately comes to mind.
Holy fuck was it insane. The left looks surprisingly makeable in the photos, but this ends up in a dry reef section regardless of tide. It gets you every time. Stick to the rights.
Unfortunately, all good things do come to an end. After a two week stint in this island paradise. I had broken both boards I had with me, a 6’4” and a 7’.
My arms felt like jelly, whole body was sore, and memories of barrel after perfect barrel filled my every thought. On the last day the back-to-back typhoon swells had become a distant memory.
On the last night, Martin Potter arrived with his entourage and were greeted by flat conditions.
“Hey Pottz! You missed it mate!”
[pic: 1989 ASP world champ Pottz, the Island Chief, and a feral-like Punani]
RIP Rusty 6’4” (June 30, 1997- July 17 1997)
You served me well.
[Postscript: This remote island had since become a clusterfuck of surf camps and yet another crowded spot. Another Paradise Lost]
07-16-2007, 07:32 AM #2
Good stuff. The water down here is clear as fuck right now but it doesn't make the ankle slappers seem any bigger .
07-16-2007, 07:55 AM #3Registered User
Elvis has left the building
- Join Date
- Oct 2003
07-16-2007, 11:04 AM #4Registered User
- Join Date
- Apr 2007
yeah to bad you dont actually have any pictures of you surfing.... might have made it a worthwhile thread. But uh, cool pictures of waves???
07-16-2007, 12:39 PM #5
Last edited by Shorey; 07-16-2007 at 12:49 PM.Not around much these days.
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