Women surfers in Surf City 2021 call for more support

Women surfers in Surf City 2021 call for more support in sport as they hope to gain victory in this year’s surfing event. 

The fourth day of Surf in the City 2021 saw the first events of the women’s category in the national surfing competition. Two strong women competitors from Lanuza, Surigao del Sur and Daet, Camarines Sur are hoping to clinch titles while calling for more support for women in the surfing industry.

Twenty-one-year-old Emmalyn Ponte of Lanuza noted that the sentiment that women are inferior, weaker surfers is still prevalent in the sport. This is something that she is fighting to change with her performance.

Nada-down po ako sa sarili ko minsan kasi parang sinasabi ng iba na weak ang mga babae. Pero ibinibigay naman naming iyong best namin. Maraming magaling na women surfers. Maraming may future. Madadaan naman iyon sa skills ng isang tao, hindi sa masculinity,” Ponte said.

(Sometimes, I feel down when people say that women are weaker surfers. We give our best in the sport. There are a lot of great women surfers, and a lot of women surfers who have bright futures. Surfing is all about a person’s skills, not their masculinity.)

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The young surfer is advocating for women surfers to be given the same opportunities given to men surfers.

Kailangan ma-bigyan ng equal opportunities. Iyong pantay pantay lang ba,” Ponte said. (We need to be given equal opportunities. We need to have a level playing field.)

Challenges for women surfers

For 41-year-old Lolit “Mocha” Edusma of Camarines Sur, one of the challenges women encounter in the surfing industry is the lack of training support in the grassroots surfing communities.

Maraming challenge, kailangan talagang mag train kami nang sobra. Although, noon wala pa talagang ganon na nagtre-train saming mga babae. Ngayon pa lang talaga nagsimula ang mga ganito,” said Edusma.

(We still face a lot of challenges like the need to be trained. Before, we didn’t have anyone training women surfers. It’s only recently that they started giving us training opportunities.)

Edusma also noted that more work has to be done to encourage young girls to go into surfing.

Marami na ang nahihikayat. Ang dapat maihikayat ito sa mga kababaihan dahil napakagandang sports to para sa atin. Sana masuportahan pa ang mga sports na ganito lalo na sa mga kababaihan at kabataan na matulungan at mabigyan ng suporta ng mga local government natin,” the veteran surfer said.

(A lot of people have already been inspired to try surfing. What we need to do is encourage more women to join the sport because this is a very good sport for us. I hope local governments can support sports like surfing, especially for women and youth.)

Queens supporting queens

While these two women surfers are set to face each other in both longboard and shortboard categories, they still show their admiration and support for one another.

Inspirasyon ko mga kaibigan kong babae [sa surfing] kahit kalaban ko sila. Since noon mga kalaban ko na sila pero mga friends ko talaga sila. Although hindi ko kilala yung iba pero sobrang amazing nila,” Edusma shared.

(My inspiration are my fellow women surfers, even if I am competing against them. Even if they are my competitors, they are my friends. I don’t know everyone but I know they are amazing.)

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Both Ponte and Edusma aspire to be part of the Philippine Surfing Team, aiming to inspire more young women to join the sport.

Surf in the City serves as the first leg of the 2022 Philippine Surfing Championship Tour. Borongan has already committed to host the event in December 2022 to close the surfing tour. Surf in the City is the only surfing competition in the Philippines where competitors get to surf inside the city, along the shores of the iconic Baybay Boulevard of Borongan.

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Surf in the City is co-presented by the City Government of Borongan, the Surfriders Club of Eastern Samar, and the Philippine Surfing Championship Tour. The competition is supported by the Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta Partylist, Savepoint Plus Philippines, and Globe Telecom.

For more information, please contact Bong Santisteban at bong.santisteban@gmail.com or at 0966-983-2013.

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