8 May 2017, Siargao Island, Philippines: The first-ever ISA Level 1 Surf Instructor Course was held yesterday with 17 Filipino surf instructors from four different areas of the Philippines doing their practical surf and surf rescue training within sight of the iconic Cloud 9 surf break and then finishing up with classroom and CPR training at nearby Kermit Surf and Dive Resort.
The island of Siargao in the province of Surigao Del Norte has rapidly become of the most popular areas of the Philippines for both foreign and domestic tourists, and due to it’s reputation for world class surf breaks and an idyllic island lifestyle, draws a mix of surfers and want-to-be surfers to the island, which has in turn created the need for skilled and knowledgeable surf instructors who can both teach properly and provide the necessary water safety/water rescue support to those beginning surfers keen to give the sport a try on their holiday.
Due to the physically demanding nature of the sport of surfing and the often unpredictable nature of the waves and ocean conditions, safety is the key to sustainable surfing tourism in Siargao, and the surfing instructors therefore play a key role in ensuring that their students learn not only how to physically stand up on a wave but most importantly learn how and where to surf safely and within their abilities.
ISA accredited Level 2 Instructor and Presenter Adrian Sorati from Australia was the presenter for the course, and he was very impressed with the level of skill the group exhibited during the course.
“The entire group’s skill level was definitely way above what I expected, and I’d say this is probably the most experienced group I’ve ever coached,” said Sorati. “Their fitness level and their way of teaching the “jump to your feet” was exceptional. They learned the first aid components very quickly and showed immediate comprehension in all the technical skills I explained to them. Very impressive!”
He was also impressed with their attitude, saying, “Through the course I found that they really understand that they have a responsibility to their community and to their environment, and are concerned and committed to keeping Siargao a unique and pristine place, and I think that is just fantastic. I had such a great time here, and on behalf of the ISA and myself personally, I want to thank Luke and Tim and all the sponsors and supporters that gave their time and resources to make this happen.”
The program was put on by the United Philippine Surfing Association, the ISA National Governing Body for Surfing in the Philippines, headed up by Luke Landrigan, an experienced surfer and surf instructor with his own surf school in La Union (Luzon).
As a surf instructor himself he’s very aware of the importance of the continual training necessary to be an effective teacher, saying, “I know that all these guys have been teaching for years already, but as Adrian told them at the beginning of the course you never stop learning, and I know they’ve all come away with higher level of knowledge than they came here with. For our Philippine surfing community it’s a big step forward in formalizing their experience and giving them new tools so they can be better surf instructors here on the island and beyond. Having ISA accreditation will also give them greater marketability for their business as the ISA has the highest standards of certification in the world, which will ensure they can continue to provide for their families in the future as well.”
Landrigan then added, “ It is our responsibility being the NGB for the ISA here in the Philippines to run development programs like this, so last year we ran our first Judging and Officiating course here in Siargao, and now we’ve followed it up with this Surf Instructor course. We are very committed to growing the sport of surfing here with ISA, as they have the highest standards of accreditation in the world.”
One of the students that came to Siargao from outside of the island was Pia Lopez from Sorsogon. When asked her thoughts upon completing the course she replied, “I really didn’t know what to expect, but I was surprised at how expansive the course was. I feel like now there is even more to learn and to refine, and I’m looking forward to taking this new knowledge back and sharing it, and the next time this course is offered I’ll bring more people from home to attend for sure.”
“And I learned not only from a technical level but it was great how Adrian explained how important being a good role model is for the community and how critical putting the safety of the student first really is,” continued Lopez. “I also liked how the environmental message was included as part of it, tying it all together for the good of the whole community. This creates a sustainable source of income for the locals by ensuring that tourists will have a safe and fun experience and keep coming back to a clean beach environment.”
Another of the students was the president of the Siargao Island Surfers Association, Manuel Melindo, who was asked what he thought of the course to which he replied, “For me, one of the biggest benefits from this class was that we learned about water safety and how to properly take care of the students, on the beach and out in the water. It was great that Adrian showed us all the technical things about water rescue and how to avoid dangers, and then we got to practice our CPR techniques to make sure we know the proper way to do it. A big thanks to Adrian and Luke and all the people and sponsors that made this happen, Selamat Karajaw!”
The ISA Level 1 Surf Instructor Course in Siargao Island was organized by the United Philippine Surfing Association and supported by: Greenhouse Siargao, Kudo Surf, Kermit Surf and Dive Resort, Harana Surf Resort, Hippies Surf Shop, Charlie Does, Café Loka, San Juan Surf Resort, Siargao Island Surfers Association (SISA), Gubat Sorsogan Surfriders Association, SEA Movement, International Surfing Association (ISA) and the Asian Surfing Championships (ASC).
For more information please contact:
United Philippine Surfing Association
International Surfing Association
Asian Surfing Championships