So after surfing Carille and the Point during the New Year weekend I was back again in La Union to catch some more of those sweet North Swell waves. I also stayed again at my new favorite place in LU – the laid back Circle Hostel (doing a feature on the Circle soon). Arrived with my friends kinda late in the morning and got word that most people went to Bacnotan. I haven’t been to that spot for a long time and the last time I was there I was really really stoked. So even though Carille had some nice peelers and the Point was a lil’ gnarly I decided to go a little further to surf the gentle, long peeling waves of Bacnotan. Hey, gotta relax right?
So I went to the beach break and asked friends about arranged trips going to Bacnotan. The first people you wanna ask are the local instructors. Bacnotan is a great beginner spot and that’s where the locals take their students if the beach break is unsuited for teaching. I went directly to the one and only Kuya Nano (read our feature about him here) and he immediately asked how many people are going. This is how our conversation went and this is also a lesson about trust:
Kuya Nano: “Ilan kayo? Tatawag na ko ng jeep pero kelangan malaman kung ilan kayo.”
TJ: ” Kuya Nano hindi ko alam pero may 5 pa kong kasama. Kulang yon pero promise maghahatak pa ako ng mga tao pupunuin natin yung jeep gagawin ko lahat makaalis lang. Gustong gusto ko na talagang mas surrrrrrf.”
Kuya Nano: looks at me in the eye. pauses. and assured me in a few words, “K wait lang. Magpapaload ako.” (enigmatically puts on shades and runs to the store. nagpaload.)
And so our jeep arrived. Thanks Kuya Nano the surf savior. A jeepney costs 700 per trip and you can split the expense between the number of people riding. So wanting to save money I asked every person I bumped with to come ride with us. I had a spiel that goes like, “Ah pangit sa Point mahangin magulo sumama ka na samin napakaganda daw sa Bacnotan kunin mo na board mo tara na cge na come on let’s do this.” It kinda worked and our jeep was full. Off to Bacnotan we go!
When we arrived the place felt new to me again. It’s been a while. But I know the drill and I went on it right away. Leave your things in one place where everyone left theirs, take off your sandals, wax your board, look at the lineup, stretch, put on your leash, go to the channel on the right where the pier is and paddle out. Paddle like you missed paddling, it’s a long one.
Then you meet your friends in the lineup. Isn’t that the best? The waves were consistent that day and there were even big sets but it was pretty much typical Bacnotan. Soft and peeling rights, long walls, close out sets at times, exhausting paddle back to the lineup. It was pretty memorable and good thing Lena McKenzie was taking photos of our session from the beach.
It was about in the afternoon till sunset and me and my friends and the beginners and even the instructors had fun. So I’m posting the pictures here so you’ll know how much fun this place is. And if you’re ready to go I can tell you this: yes, I can get us a ride and yes I’d love to go back to Bacnotan.
the spot beside the pier. Bacnotan is the town after San Juan, La Union
with sandy shore and a rivermouth
surfer Marla stretches and drops
Manila lovin’ Bacnotan: Manila surfers Ziggie, Kage and Mac stokin’
Lance and his fish, yours truly swaying the hips and good vibes from Ruth and Raymond
the photographer Lena hanging out with Marla, birthday girl Jam surfing till sunset. And above of course, the magical hour.
There you have it. Bacnotan session early in 2013. If this was an indication then it should be a great year ahead. Many many thanks to Lena McKenzie for the photos. Thanks to Kuya Nano who’s probably in his kubo right now. Thanks also to Anne Gutierrez for the jeepney photo. See you guys soon!
written by TJ LokalSoul
Watch out for our feature on the Circle Hostel La Union very sooooooon!