Surfing in Gubat, Sorsogon | Riding Waves & Chasing Dreams
Meet Vea, Yrron & Greg. They are 14 & now on Grade 8. And they’re neither the kids towed by chihuahua-trotting mamas, nor those who can get what they want by just firing tantrums. But these kids despite living in inadequateness are the stars of surfing in Gubat, Sorsogon.
Like other normal kids, they’re carefree, sometimes naughty & full of energy. After school, they snack on bahaw (leftover rice) or a plateful of pancit canton. Then, they hang around the beach to wait for the swell.
They too have dreams. Vea wants to become a police, Yrron an army & Greg, a pilot. But they do not seriously think about those ambitions yet. For now, they’re happy being able to go to school, occasionally afford buy-1-take-1 burgers & just chasing waves whenever the surf’s up!
At school, they’re ordinary students. At home, they wash dishes, help clean the house or feed the chickens. But at sea, they’re royalties. Vea, Yrron & Greg are national surfing champions whose amazing skills have brought honor to their tiny hometown.
Making Waves: Surfing in Gubat, Sorsogon
While the rest of Bicol enjoyed its tourism frenzy, Gubat lurked in anonymity for a long time. Not until around late 2000s when its surf scene came about & started to roll in with sparkling waves of attention.
Surfing in Gubat, Sorsogon actually existed since the 90s. But back then, only the pros rode its waves & guarded it as a precious surf break. The locals soon learned the sport & later came Gubat Bay Surfers in 2009.
But like the barrels of waves that break to the coast, the group went different ways & fell apart.
But one of its founders, Bidge Villarroya remained ashore. He rebuilt the sand castles washed away by tide & time. He midwifed Gubat Sorsogon Surfriders Association (GSSA) & breathed life to a brand-new surf community filled with air of free-spirited, hippie-like lifestyle.
Finally, the surf’s up!
GSSA is under the full tutelage of Bidge, a Gubatnon & a self-taught but laureled surfer. Along with other “kuyas”, they train about 70 local groms & run the Buenavista Surf Camp.
Scraping from scratch, they struggled to make ends meet. From lack of equipment to the upkeep of the camp, it was like pinning their future on the fragile sand.
These hard realities pushed them to shape their own boards & seek help from generous friends. It was difficult & sour. It was tiring & bitter.
But like the sea’s swell, it has its own peaks & troughs. And finally GSSA made a splashing introduction to the surfing world by winning in national surfing championships, not just 1 but 5 out of 12 categories!
Since they made their first wins in 2013, more golds rolled in validating their commitment to the sport.
Sustaining the Camp
Buenavista Surf Camp is not all about hanging loose & surfing in Gubat. It is also about helping the local community that surf tourism impacts on.
The camp supports about 88 families mostly that of the surfers. They rent out cottages, sell handicrafts, provide services like surf lessons, massage & looking after the needs of the visitors.
But more than what meets the eye, they are committed stewards of their land & sea. They preserve their coastal properties & influence others as their brand of sport rely heavily on a healthy ecosystem.
To many tourists, the beach is just a huge playground. But to the locals who live here, it’s where they create their dreams, build their lives & pinch pennies to survive.
But dreams are like waves—-capricious & fragile. And just like the aspirations of the children of Gubat, it could break if no one supports it.
Surfing in Gubat, Sorsogon? Be where the champions are.
Click here to get connected with Gubat Sorsogon Surfriders Association