the Legend of Kuya Ed and Pawikan

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As of today most surfers are already familiar with the undying legacy of the film Apocalypse Now to Baler, Aurora. The famous “napalm” and “surfing” scene was shot at what would be known since then as “Charlie’s Point” and the crew left behind surfboards as the filming ended. After that everything else as they say, is history. Baler would go on as a hometown of brilliant Filipino surfers and one of the most sought after surf spots in the Philippines.

But what is that history actually. Now that everybody was gone, who were the locals that pursued the art of riding waves? Who were these pioneers that braved Baler’s pacific waves? Nearly 35 years ago and as we enter a new decade today, one question poses unfamiliarity as memory fades over time. Who started it all?

Enter filmmaker Marten Persiel‘s short documentary comedy Three Foot Charlie. This may answer that question.

“During the shooting of Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, two surfboards, intended to be used in the famous helicopter/surfing scene, are lost in an accident. A couple days later two rice farmers from the area were seen in their first attempts to surf themselves. This is how the sport got started in this remote part of the world.”

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Those two rice farmers were Edwin Namoro (still surfing, owner of surfer’s inn Kahea’s Lodge) and Pawikan (no info). Told in a candid and amusing storyline, the film follows the pioneers along their path toward Baler surfing as told by Kuya Ed. It is a path that’s clearly off the beaten path. Three Foot Charlie also features interviews with Sgt Cl. Tony Schnabel, Military Advisor to Apocalypse Now and local Kuya Rodel who was a child-extra for the movie and also a Baler surf veteran.

Is the film true and honest? It does present a very plausible origin of Baler surfing. Nevertheless Three Foot Charlie is a must see for all Filipino surfers. Stories such as this are forever part of Philippine Surfing and so must be told again and again. Read more about Charlie’s Point here.

screenshots


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lokalsoul

8 Comments

  1. who started it all? in all likelihood, surfers serving in the US military on leave from vietnam who had time to kill in clark & subic.

    countless vietnam-bound servicemen brought surfboards with them on their shore leaves, looking for and finding surf spots all along the northwest coast of luzon.

    you can ask around. locals who’d been around since the late 60s to early 70s can attest to this.

    cheers,

  2. Should be a cool movie, but shoulda stayed true to the times as there were no thrusters when Apocalypse Now was made.

  3. i guess there are some limitations when it comes to the movie production

  4. finally, a working link!

    something seems to be wrong with the clip though? it’s looped like a goldfish’s memory– resetting back to the first frame after it starts moving, hmm !

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