File photo of Long Beach, San Vicente. (Photo courtesy of PGEC)

The local government of San Vicente will now add surfing as an attraction as it holds its 1st San VicSurf competition and festival in Barangay Alimanguan on February 20 to 23.

Tonino Habana, one of the founders of the SanVicSurf and president of the United Tourism Enterprise Association of San Vicente (UniTEA) said in a press conference Wednesday that surfing will be added to the many attractions in their town, including the 14.7-kilometer Long Beach.

“The waves we have in San Vicente are actually quite good for surfing. This is in addition to other attractions there such as Long Beach, island hopping, and others,” he said.

He said that SanVicSurf has enlisted the help of the Philippine Surfing Championship Tour (PSCT).

Professional surfer Mike Oida will join the panel of judges, which includes resident surfer Craig Smithurst, former UK surfing champion, and winner of several international surfing trophies, he said.

According to him, San Vicente will now officially be part of the surfing tour.

The prizes for the competition are state of the art electric motorcycles provided by international electronic vehicle manufacturer Star 8.

“The LGU wants to promote alternative modes of transportation and Star 8 offers a higher level of electric vehicles such as electric jeepneys or e-jeepneys, motorcycles, and tricycles,” he said.

The competition has the usual 4 categories — men’s longboard, men’s shortboard, women’s longboard, and juniors shortboard. The winner of each category will win a star 8 electric motorcycle.

“The event is not just about surfing. It is also a festival that will showcase the cultural aspects of Barangay Alimanguan,” Habana said.

The LGU and barangay will also have several activities on the beach to entertain visitors, such as the “Palarong Lahi” and Barangay Cultural Night.

Municipal tourism officer Lucy Panagsagan said that the event will be an opportunity for residents to generate income and to showcase their local products.

“Kapag nandiyan na po ang event, of course, magbubukas ka ng home stay para sa mga bisita o kaya kung wala kang ganon magtinda ka ng mga pagkain kasi siguradong maghahanap sila, ‘yong mga ganon na mga opportunity. We also wanted to make sure na mayroong engagement ang locals kapag may mga ganitong activities. Wala pong maiiwan,” she said.

Municipal councilor and chairman of the committee on tourism Lilibeth Uapal-Osorio also said that Barangay Alimanguan already passed an ordinance declaring the month of February as surfing month in town.

She said that Sangguniang Bayan will also pass the same ordinance.

“Actually, nakasalang na po ito sa next session for first reading. Kaya saktong-sakto ito para mainstitutionalized natin. Ang barangay po ay may ordinance na sila,” Osorio said.

The confirmed judges of the surfing event are Bjorn Pabon, PSCT) board of director; Daisy Valdez PSCT current women’s longboard champion of the Philippine Surfing Team and the winner of a SEA Games bronze medal, and Benito Nerida, PSCT Rank No. 3 in men’s longboard in 2019.

Roger Casogay, who trended for giving up the gold medal to save an Indonesian surfer, will not make it as he has a scheduled trip to Thailand.

To date, Cecille Caballes, founder of the SanVicSurf, said around 20 surfers have already registered to compete in different categories.