Growing up in a family with great passion for surfing, and having the San Juan Surf Resort in La Union as his childhood playground, Luke Landrigan’s love for the sport is a natural by-product of nurture perfectly melding with nature.
Now a world-class Filipino surfing champ, he travels around the country to encourage more Pinoys to share his love affair with the ocean and his surf board. “When I surf, my playground is the ocean, and I deal with Mother Nature. Every wave is different; there is no exact same experience,” says Luke.
growing up at the san juan surf resort, luke landrigan thinks of the country’s world-class waves as his playground
The popular surfing champion has been representing the Philippines with great success in elite competitions here and abroad. Luke recently added another jewel to his surfing crown when he joined the Billabong Southeast Asia Surf Team.
His remarkable victories include bringing home the silver medal for the men’s longboard event at the 1st Asian Beach Games in Bali in 2008, and finishing first place at the Global Surf Industries and Nike 6.0 Long Board Competition the following year. Luke’s surf-time in his younger years, around the family’s surf resort, has truly paid off.
Pinoy surfer on the road
Constantly traveling to chase the swells and uncrowded waves, Luke names Indonesia as a must-surf destination. Rivaling beloved local waves, Indonesia’s sandy beaches feature varying shades of white and black sand offering a unique surfing experience.
On the local front, there are five breathtaking surfing spots that he’s proud to share.
“I like Samar because it is not crowded and by far the best surf I ever had,” he says. “I also like Baler’s Cemento Reef Break, as well as La Union since it has a selection of beach breaks great for all levels of surfing. The uncrowded neighboring island of Cabugao, and of course, the Cloud Nine barrels of Siargao count as favorites, too!”
Helping Luke reach these world-class surfing destinations is Cebu Pacific, the country’s number one airline, as it offers trademark low fares, convenient flight schedules and on-time flights. With direct flights from Cebu to Siargao and from Manila to Jakarta, Indonesia, any surfer can easily catch a swell with Cebu Pacific and make the most out their surfing experience.
“We used to take a Surigao flight followed by a two to three-hour ferry ride to Siargao. Traveling surfers want to reach their destinations as soon as possible, and I can do that with Cebu Pacific,” Luke shares. “I also book with Cebu Pacific to go to Indonesia and Kuala Lumpur because they serve so many destinations around Southeast Asia.”
just last february, luke bagged the La Union Long Board Open against Filipino professional surfers and Japanese surfing superstars
Helping the Pinoy surf culture soar
The emergence of local surfing heroes like Luke, and the establishment of surfing schools boost the popularity of surfing as well as tourism in the country. Foreign surfers catching a wave here only have nice things to say about Filipino surfers and their hospitality.
“I remember how ten years ago, people looked at my surfboard bag with curiosity when I traveled from one spot to another. I would like to think that today at least they know I am carrying a surfboard inside the bag,” he jokes.
Apart from being a champion surfer who brings pride to his country, he also handles the San Juan Surf School and passes on the art of surfing to eager learners. But more importantly, Luke also advocates surfers to take on an important role in the preservation of the country’s waves: “I am encouraging surfers to take care of our oceans because they are our only playground. Picking trash after surfing is so simple and it does not take time, so keep them clean because they are ours.”
As Filipinos are islanders surrounded by 7,107 islands, Luke believes that it is only a matter of time before every wave in the country is expertly surfed by locals. Luke has faith that local surfers will work hard to keep getting better and help put the country on the world’s surfing map.