Dandoy Tongco: The Journey of a Surfer and a Shaper
Before the name Dandoy Tongco was synonymous to locally shaped surfboards, the name was tied to Dandoy being a long time surfer and skateboarder from Northern Samar. Riding alongside his friend, Juan, since Dandoy was just 10 years old, his journey took a turn for the better from being a rider to a shaper in the years that came after.
We had the chance to talk to Dandoy and Juan about their humble beginnings, their vision for the future of surfing and surfboard making, as well as their upcoming Legal Logging surf competition.
Meet the Shapers: Dandoy & Juan
Despite gaining more popularity among surfers in the country, Dandoy still maintains a sense of anonymity behind the high performance boards that he shapes. For him and Juan, it was never just about making boards or building a business. It was about the journey and about the people and community they inspire along the way.
Dandoy was first influenced to shape boards when Juan and his family moved to Noosa Heads in Queensland, which is without a doubt one of the most popular longboarding spots in the world. From there, he got to know legendary shapers like Bob McTavish, Josh Constable, among many others. Dandoy came to visit around 2019 and also became immersed in the culture of surfers having a deeper connection to the people who make their boards.
In 2016, Dandoy and Juan decided to move to Cabacungan in Allen, Northern Samar mainly because of the breaks and the absence of anyone surfing the waves. It was like having a blank slate for them to build a community of local surfers and at the same time, start their journey of creating boards for that community and beyond.
Ethos Behind Dandoy Tongco Boards
“If you want to create a surf town, you have to create surfboards.”
Juan said it best, “the market of dealing with the shaper is very small in the Philippines.” This is something that both Dandoy and Juan wanted to change — people understanding the difference between buying a board off the rack and actually talking to a shaper to create a board suited for the rider.
This is the main ethos behind starting Dandoy Tongco Surfboards. The business itself is just a tool for them to put this vision into action. The business was just the platform on which they want to make their voices heard through generations of Filipino surfers.
“We’re so happy that people are choosing to work with us. Some are already on their third board. We’re just happy to create that long term relationship and be part of their surfing journey. All we want is to support the bigger (surfing) industry.”
It all begins and ends with the journey. The journey from Dandoy shaping the boards before a team who does the fiber-glassing, sanding, laminating, and detailing takes over — and up until the surfer gets a hold of the board and likewise begins their surf journey. This is what Dandoy’s boards are all about.
Legal Logging Surf Competition
Inspired by various longboard-focused competitions in the PH and in other surf towns across the globe, Dandoy and Juan came up with the idea to promote the “traditional way of surfing” through Legal Logging Surf Competition.
“We’re not trying to compete with the national tour. This type of gathering (competition) is more of a celebration.”
This invitational will be held on October 25 to 30 at Cabacungan, Allen, Northern Samar. It features several categories including women’s logger, men’s logger, mid-length category, longest noseride, and many more.
The term “legal logging” — aside from wanting to promote traditional surfing — is also their way of integrating an important environmental cause, which is reforestation. They want to bring more awareness to this cause and hopefully inspire younger generations to fight for the environment. During the competition, there will be one day allotted to activities that involve planting trees and spreading information and education about reforestation and the reality of illegal logging in the Philippines.
This long awaited longboard competition features the best of the best longboarders in the country and some prominent riders from other countries as well. Through this event, Dandoy and Juan both aim to highlight local surfing and all the connections, values, and advocacies that come with a thriving surf community.