Archive for April, 2012

SUP World Series in CamSur, Philippines – First ever major World Championship SUP to take place in Asia

The province of CamSur in the Philippines is the vacation destination of
choice for three reasons: the black and white sandy beaches, the frequent flyer miles
I have accumulated, and the upcoming Stand Up Paddle World Series, not
necessarily in that order. Hosting the SUP World Series is simple endeavor and
winning the bid among a long list of other beachy, utopian hot spots across the
world is anther golden opportunity for this once unheard of island peninsula to
reinforce its reputation globally as a top tourist destination. Already regarded as the
progenitor of wakeboarding, CamSur has catapulted into the limelight as the
hotspot for water sports and extreme sporting events. Hosting the SUP event is yet
another splash of jet fuel on Governor Luis Raymond Villafuerte’s already well
stoked vision of his province growing even more destination noteworthy. “My vision
is to make the Phillippines the stand up paddleboard capital of the world. We have
7.107 islands, beautiful lakes, and rivers and all we have to do is just host world
class events such as this to make the world know that the best place to paddleboard
is in the Phillippines.”
Villafuerte (fondly referred to as L-Ray) is not a novice to the creative
thinking and heart-felt investment that goes into fulfilling such a dream. CamSur is
already home to the world renowned CamSur Watersports Complex which has
become the premiere destination for watersports as well as international sporting
events in Asia. A great wakeboarder himself, Gov L-Ray’s commitment
to “promoting this new sport like we developed and promoted wakeboarding” is
just one more example of his deep appreciation of both the land and its economy.
Under his tutelage CamSur has already hosted the Wind or No Wind Board Jam kite
boarding championship, the ’09-’11 Cobra Philippines Ironman triathlon, the 2008
WWA Wake Park World Championship, the Ultimate Wake Championship last year,
and the WWA Wakeboard World Series. This man knows what he is doing.
When I am not recumbent in a lounge chair with turquoise sea-water lapping at
my toes, sipping a San Miguel and sucking down fried squid balls, I will definitely
be among the hundreds of sports enthusiasts lining the beach during this five-day
prime World Series event. Between April 19 and 23rd the best Stand Up Paddle
racers in the world will be battling it for those vital World Series points at the
first ever major World Championship SUP ever to take place in Asia. The $20,000
prize money is clearly an incentive, but I can imagine competing among the likes of
these top international stand up paddlers is an equally exciting. Zane Scwheitzer
of Hawaii (finalist in the Sunset Beach World Tour 2011), Kai Lenny (final event
winner in the 2011 Stand Up World Tour), and Australian Travis Grant (winner of
the 2012 World Stand Up Championship in Peru) are just a few SUP iconic names
who will be making a splash during this spectacular event. I might just have to
venture out of that lounge chair and into the pro shop. There are lots of ways to for
vacationers to get their feet wet in CamSur!


Mickey Munoz Mongoose Cup SUP Event

Baby Beach in Dana Point has never looked more colorful.
Saturday was the Mickey Munoz Mongoose Cup SUP Event but to the untrained
eye, it looked more like a rainbow of pick up sticks flung upon the harbor, with
people standing upon them and SUP paddles in their hands. Stand up paddlers from all
walks of life flocked to the beach to showcase their finesse and learn a few SUP tips from
the pros. It was the fun stand up paddle that kicked off the this family-friendly event and I
didn’t need more than a few minutes watching before I knew I absolutely had to try
this new sport that is apparently all the rage. Little kids packed into bright orange
life jackets, parents in board shorts and Ray Bans, a few dogs perched at the nose of
the board as they glided around the bay; is there a better way to spend a sunny
First I joined a SUP clinic to get acquainted with paddle mechanics and give me a
fighting chance to preserve my self-respect and not embarrass myself too much.
Ocean safety was first and foremost. Before anyone was allowed to get his feet wet,
we had to know how to be safe. “You need to know about the boats, that you should
wear a personal flotation device, and courtesy. You’re just like a boat out there,
practically,” said event coordinator Nyle Schafhauser. With 50 “safety paddler”
experts circulating throughout the booths and clinics, there was no escaping
learning the prerequisites that allowed entry into the thrilling world of stand up
paddling. Imagining myself on the open seas, SUP paddling along breaching whales and
flipping dolphins, I held position in the sand and practiced driving the paddle with
my top hand while generating force through the torso for a powerful stroke as
instructed. It was definitely different from the raking the yard maneuver and called
new muscles to attention. Finally the magic moment was upon us and the new fleet
of stand up paddlers were released to try out the new skill. Gingerly I stepped onto
my board and felt my legs find their balance upon the water. The sun sparkled upon
the water as my board through the gentle ripples. What a glorious feeling!
Back on shore I meandered along the various booths selling the latest
products and tempting me to consider joining the ranks of the serious paddlers.
Rationalizing that this event also served as a fundraiser to benefit the Doheny
Longboard Surfing Association and the Terry Martin Medical Fund, I collected
pamphlets and visited a few more clinics. Along the way I chatted with seasoned
surfer Kat Brickner, 20, who had just participated in an SUP yoga clinic where she
used the board as a mat on the water while balancing in downward dog, warrior
pose, and planks. “It was awesome,” she said after the first lesson. It was a lot
harder that I expected. Definitely different than being on the land”. Her surfing
partner, Chris Thomas was equally impressed. “You kind of combine your surfing
skills and balancing the board with yoga, so it’s really good cross-training, When you
get too hot, you put your hands in the water and splash your face.” I ended the day
in with a satisfying Namaste and a vow to try this sport again.

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April 2012
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