Philippine Surfing Team Flies to Indonesia for 2 WSL Asia Events
The United Philippine Surfing Association (UPSA) has sent the Philippine Surfing Team to test their mettle against the best surfers in the Asia, Australia, and Oceania regions in 2 World Surf League (WSL) Asia QS 5000 events: the WSL Krui Pro 2022 (June 11 - 17) and the WSL Nias Pro 2022 (June 23 - 29).
The nation’s envoy to the WSL includes the Top 2 surfers per division based on the Philippine Surfing Championship Tour (PSCT) rankings. The lineup includes John Mark Tokong, Rogelio “Jay-r” Esquivel, and Neil Sanchez for the Men’s Open category and Nilbie Blancada and Daisy Valdez for the Women’s Open.
There will be a Juniors Pro division in both Indo events and Toby Espejon and Allen Magos will bear the nation’s flag.
The Krui Pro returns to Ujung Bocur in South Sumatra, where a 150-meter left-hander awaits, while the Nias Pro welcomes us to one of the world’s most iconic right-handers in Lagundri Bay.
The road to Indo
Daisy Valdez and Nilbie Blancada
Nilbie Blancada is no stranger to international surfing competitions as she won the 2016 Asian Surfing Championship title to become the first female champion from the Philippines. Throughout many rounds of competition, Nilbie has proven to be a driven surfer. Her family is her fuel and the birth of her son, Clyde, has only pushed her to new heights. Nilbie has flown ahead of the team to practice in Indonesia’s powerful waves.
Meanwhile, John Mark Tokong returns to competitive surfing after recovering from a head injury. Marama possesses a “Cloud 9 confidence” that has made him known amongst international competitors. Marama also participated in 3 QS events in Australia, bolstering his already dangerous competition skill set.
“It is my dream to represent my country in the WSL,” shares Marama. “I have trained hard for this. Crossfit thrice a week. Eating healthy food. I am excited and a little nervous but I like to be nervous! It keeps me moving and I learn how to deal with it.”
How will Marama perform against the Nias locals? We are excited to find out.
Marama Tokong, Jayr Esquivel, and Neil Sanchez
For Jay-r Esquivel, the wave at Krui awaits him like an open canvas. The goofy-footer looks forward to the range of maneuvers he can carve out on his frontside attack. To test his prowess in powerful waves, Jay-r spent a few weeks in the Maldives to sharpen his backside approach.
Jayr Esquivel smacking the lip.
“Maganda sobra yung alon sa Krui at Nias at siyempre ma-eenjoy ko lalo na sa Krui kasi left yung alon. Sobrang excited ako na makapunta sa Indonesia at makapag-compete kasama ang Team Philippines,” shares an elated Esquivel.
(The waves at Krui and Nias are beyond beautiful and I am going to enjoy surfing Krui, of course. Because the wave is a left. I am so excited to be going to Indonesia to compete with the Philippine Team!)
John Carby, Philippine Team coach, is excited to see how Toby Espejon and Allen Magos will perform in the Juniors Pro events. “The main goal for the juniors is to get international experience,” says Carby. “Through these experience rounds, they will learn more about competitions, travel, culture, and growth.”
The 16-year old Espejon possesses a quiet confidence that awakens into an “attack machine” with the right focus. Allen Magos wowed the crowd in the previous Surf in the City event in Borongan, Eastern Samar. Carby noted that Magos had quick reflexes that allowed him to adapt and adjust well to varying conditions.
Allen Magos and Toby Espejon
“Our goal is not just to grow them to become better surfers but better athletes and better people. The future champs of Philippine surfing start here.”
Southeast Asian spark
It is an exciting time for Philippine sports. Following the increasing medal wins by the Philippine Team across various South East Asian (SEA) Games events, our surf team hopes to make our country a household name in the realm of surfing.
Filipinos are known all over the world for rising in the ranks of global sports such as boxing, bowling, billiards, and more recently, even chess. Champions are born when institutions come together to support the athletes’ training, fund their travels abroad, and provide them with the tools and venues to further their talents at home.
With the UPSA and all of the major sponsors, Philippine surfing, a sport deemed to only be in its infancy, can grow as an industry.
This would not be possible without the support of the following groups, companies, and institutions. We would like to thank the following:
Thank you for constantly supporting the National Team and Grassroots Team:
United Philippines Surfing Association
MVP Sports Foundation
Philippine Sports Commission