Riding the Perfect Wave

By Luke Landrigan as told to Excel V. Dyquiangco
Pics By Mark Dimalanta

My father being a surfer had surfboards lying around the house. He had wanted to see if I would get hooked to the sport. After a few tries and then getting the hang of it, I found the experience gratifying. So at the tender age of nine, the waters became my playground. My friends and I would spend all day hitching up to the board and searching for that epic wave. It was a whole lot of fun!

When I grew older, my father brought me to different places in the country such as Daet, Siargao, Baler, Samar, and Pagudpud, Ilocos Sur to experience their surfing spots. Trips out of the country became frequent as well for the same reasons. I find delight in searching and riding epic waves – not necessarily huge or small but unforgettable and beautiful. These waves have great forms and they are quite long. They don’t happen very often so you’d be lucky if you at least get ten in one year.

It was also during these days when I experienced several wipeouts. First few times, I kept scolding my dad. I told him that he shouldn’t have left me. He should have stayed where we both were.

But it was just recently when I suffered the two hardest hits. In Mona Lisa in La Union, the waves were already breaking at a far distance. As a competitor, I had to paddle where the waves were. As I was paddling, two or three successive waves were coming at us, and I had to duck dive the first wave so I could pass. Unfortunately as I did that the waves hit me at my backside, and pushed me even deeper under water. I held on to my board as long as I could in the hopes that my board would lift me to the surface. However that didn’t happen. So I released my board and kicked myself to the surface but another wave hit me alongside. I sank again but unlike the first wave that hit me, I went quicker to the surface. I was getting dizzier at that time, almost losing my consciousness. But I soon found myself washed to the shore, suffering several bruises and cuts.

The second one happened in Siargao at a surfing competition three years ago. A huge wave dumped on me and my board was cut in half.

The Epic Doors To Surfing

From surfing I became a surf instructor – for ten years now. I had my licensed certified in Australia which means that I can teach surfing anywhere in the world, being the only Filipino who has this credential. What’s more, they also got me to judge at a surfing competition in Indonesia middle of last year.

Soon enough I also decided to venture into modeling. Having a friend who models, I auditioned for one commercial and got in. I was twenty-two then. During my first try, I felt shocked and out of place – literally – since I came from the province. The people who were also auditioning with me had many yayas and alalays. But from that start came a string of commercials: C2, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and others. In my corned beef commercial, they called me up to inform me that they wanted an athlete into extreme sports who has a business.

San Juan Surf Resort, my surf school, started eight years ago at the prodding of my dad since he told me that I needed to do something worthwhile with my sport. This became an exciting adventure for me as I work hands-on with the operations. Just last month, we taught some special children how to surf. Seeing them ride the waves and allowing them to explain to me how they felt after was really short of amazing. I felt the joy that they felt. I had wanted to do this event two years ago and I wanted the street kids in Metro Manila to be a part of this but because of the travel constraints, I changed my mind and opted to go for these children. I don’t regret this decision not one bit.

In the near future, I like surfing to be part of the PE curriculum in school. I know this is somewhat hard but not impossible. I believe that because of such a move, students and amateurs will be granted opportunities to travel to different countries; compete and make us proud.

Lessons From Surfing

Surfing and my other endeavors have taught me to be persistent, courageous and more adventurous. I lost my first ever competition at thirteen. I felt down and vowed to myself that I will never lose again. True enough, when the succeeding competitions rolled around, the experience became unforgettable. In Baler in my second competition, I finally won the title.

So what’s great about surfing in San Juan, La Union among all of the surfing spots? Aside from it being my hometown, this is the only surfing spot where the beginners’ and the professionals’ surfing levels are just 200 meters apart unlike in some areas such as Samar and Baler where you have to go extra miles to reach one point to another. This province is also more accessible to visitors and guests – you don’t have to travel far to get to the surfing spot. It’s just along the highway!

But if there is one surfing spot I haven’t been to and I want to go to, Catanduanes it is. I have learned that the place has worldclass waves.

Growing up in the waters, I don’t see myself doing anything else. True, I sometimes play golf but it doesn’t give me much enjoyment as surfing. My love for this sport has extended even beyond my personality and character – everything I own and possess comes from surfing. This is my life and I don’t know who I am without surfing.

Surfing for Success

Surfer Luke Landrigan knows what he’s good at . He has channeled his love for surfing to include being an instructor , a model and an entrepreneur. Here’s how you too can rise to the top .

  1. Enjoy.

    • Enjoy the things you know you’re good at. Don’t do something you feel is dragging you down. Instead, find your niche.
  2. Don’t give up.

    • Challenges are part of life, and they are there to mold your character. When faced with things you can’t control, strive to push on.
  3. Be humble.

    • When you have finally reached your dreams, look back. Remember the people who have helped you along the way and if possible, help them also to climb their way to the top.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.