Meet the Man, the Maker, and the Surfer Behind ‘Kahoy Surfboards’
Meet Vitci Suarez — a proud local from Tandag, Surigao Del Sur and the man behind ‘Kahoy Surfboards.’ We had the chance to get to know Vitci, his humble beginnings, his inspiration, and what ultimately keeps his passion for surfing and shaping alive all these years.
Vitci's personal quad fin wooden surfboard.
Surf Life in Tandag, Surigao Del Sur
Despite having waves all year round even during ‘habagat’ season, Tandag took a backseat behind other famed surf spots like Siargao, as well as Lanuza and Marihatag in Surigao Del Sur. In fact, their official surf club (Tandag Boardriders Association) was only recognized by the local government during the pandemic while Lanuza and Marihatag had theirs established for 5 to 10 years now. Vitci was among the local surfers who believed in the potential of Tandag to become a premier surf spot in the country, which is why he vehemently supports local surf competitions being held there as well.
He believes that local competitions help acknowledge and promote surfers who have what it takes to compete on a higher level, as well as raise awareness for the surf spot itself. Surf competitions are also their way of instilling discipline to locals and visitors to respect and take care of the seas by keeping it clean and free of trash.
His Intro to Surfing in Tandag
It was through an invitation of some friends that Vitci discovered surfing. Back then, they barely had any boards in Tandag and interestingly enough, his first board was from a fisherman who found it in the open sea. He bought it for 500 pesos and the rest was history.
Having limited access to surf videos and the lack of proper training, Vitci and his fellow Tandag surfers had to figure the waves and develop their skills by themselves. Their only surf visuals came from karaoke machines that displayed surf videos in the background of the songs, but of course, that wasn’t enough to teach them a thing or two about reading and riding the waves.
It was through their unrelenting passion for the sport that pushed them to continue harnessing their skills before even venturing out of Tandag and meeting other local surfers from Lanuza, Marihatag, and eventually, Siargao island.
How Kahoy Surfboards Came To Be
Vitci’s interest in shaping was born out of his curiosity of what it felt like to create his own board to use for surfing. With the help of some fellow artists, he started creating surfboards made out of locally sourced wood mostly for himself and his friends. It wasn’t until some foreigners took notice of his creations that he started creating more to sell to other people.
He admits that creating and shaping wooden surfboards is not an easy feat. The process is really different from your standard board shaping, especially since there’s so many things you have to do with the wood before you can even begin to shape it. But for Vitci, there’s an inner joy that comes from creating this kind of surfboard and that alone is enough for him to continue working on his craft.
To this day, however, most of his wooden surfboard creations are for his friends or to those who intentionally seek him out for a wooden board. Vitci still maintains a level of anonymity, avoiding going full commercial in promoting his boards. If you’re truly interested in getting your hands on one of his creations, you can find his contact details below:
Tandag City, Surigao Del Sur