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SURFING

SurfingAurora is a paradise for surfers, with its long coastline exposed to the Pacific Ocean. The sport was made famous in the Province by the classic film Apocalypse Now. The scene in which U.S. soldiers are surfing was filmed here, and the production crew left behind surfboards for the locals to use. The locals of Baler claim that the surf is sometimes so huge that they could hear it all the way from the provincial capitol building, some 1.5 km away from the coast.


Surfing Areas

There are numerous surfing points in Aurora, but the municipality of Baler offers most of the more accessible surfing areas with good accommodations.

Baler is also home to the country's largest Filipino surfing community, numbering about 50, although there are only some 20 surfboards in the entire town. The local surfers are always friendly and hospitable to visiting surfers, and it pays to learn from their experience with the waves in the area.

Here's a run-down of great places to surf around Baler:

Sabang Beach

Glassy right and left waves in the early mornings. Fun waves-not usually big, except during typhoons. A good site for beginning and novice surfers. The MIA Surf & Sports Resort, located by the beach, offers surfing lessons and rents out surfing, windsurfing and snorkeling equipment. They also offer tours to the best surfing, snorkeling and diving areas. More info...

Cemento Beach

To the south of an old cement pier is a reef break just off a large rock. The area produces excellent quality right breakwaves over sharp reefs. It is one of the spots most frequented by Australian, European and Japanese surfers in Aurora. The sight is recommended mainly for experienced or professional surfers. Surfers are advised to wear wetsuits. Cemento Beach is usually the site of the finals for the Annual Aurora Surfing Cup. Spectators have to traverse a swamp to reach two huge rocks that provide a splendid view of surfing action. More info...

Charlie's Point

Famous for being the setting for the surfing scenes in Francis Ford Coppola's film, Apocalypse Now, Charlie's Point is known for medium-quality right and left breakwaves on sand/gravel bottom. The waves are best from December to January. The place is within walking distance from Baler town proper, north of Sabang Beach.

Lindy's Point

Further North of Sabang Beach, Lindy's Point is a newly discovered surfing spot. The place is within 15-minute walking distance from Bay's Inn.

The tall waves were "artificially" created when local government engineers opened the mouth of Baler Bay to the town river to prevent floods during the rainy seasons. The clashing waters coming from the river and the Pacific form strong, sharp breakwaves that provide an exhilarating high among experienced surfers.


Surfing Season

Surfing waves are present all year round, but the best waves come in from October to February.

The typhoon season coincides with the wet season from mid-June to November, although there are occasional typhoons in December. The area of Aurora is visited by typhoons at least 3 or 4 times a year. The typhoons blow in from the Pacific brought by the South-West Monsoon, through the South China Sea.

From October to March, the North-East Monsoon blows down from China. This is the best surf season. The hot months of May through early June bring a relatively calm sea breeze. During this time, the waves are small and are ideal for snorkeling, windsurfing and diving.


Aurora Surfing Cup

Aurora Surfing CupThe Aurora Surfing Cup is an annual surfing competition held in Baler. The Cup was first held in September 1997. It is a three-day competition with several different events and an open-to-all surfing clinic.

There is a registration fee for the Cup (previously pegged at PhP 350 or approx. US$ 7), which includes welcome and closing dinners, a beach party, an official event t-shirt, and the chance to win extra prizes in raffles and games usually sponsored by

Governor Bella Angara-Castillo. Various gifts are also given away by the commercial sponsors.

Competitions

The Cup has four event divisions: Open Surfing Division, Youth Division, Grommet Division and Bodyboard Division. Competitors in the Open Surfing Division are seeded according to the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) format. The events take place on the beaches of Sabang and Cemento.

The format of competition is as follows: In each division, the participants are divided into heats for the qualification rounds. Each heat is given 20 minutes to ride ten waves, the best three out of ten scored. Two points are taken off one's score for every wave taken over the maximum of ten. The top two scorers of each heat go to the quarterfinal round. The same format of competition is used in all subsequent rounds.

After the finals, an Awards Night Dinner, normally sponsored by Governor Bella Angara-Castillo at her residence, is held where the winners are announced. One champion and three runners-up are awarded in each division. Only trophies are given out; there is no prize money. However, winners may receive special prizes such as surfboards from sponsors. The awards dinner is followed by a night of dancing, parlor contests, and celebrating.

Free Surfing Clinic

One of the Cup's biggest attractions is its free surfing clinic, open to anyone interested in learning the basics of the sport. Local Baler surfers conduct the clinic and even lend out their equipment for use by the participants. Lessons include bodyboarding and stand-up surfing.

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