Zambapalooza 3: Putting the fun in fundraising

- Nicola M. Sebastian -

MANILA, Philippines - As a surfer, spending a fair share of time in the ocean tends to lend one a very proper and considerable respect for the forces of nature — being churned by waves that didn’t look so big from the beach or getting burned by a sun magnified by global warming will definitely beat that into your saltwater-addled brain.

Maybe that’s why, when the worst storm in four decades decided to wreak havoc on Manila, its resident surfers responded to the call. You may have smirked at the headlines about Jericho Rosales paddling out on his surfboard in the floodwaters, but the truth of the matter is that a lot of people did their part in providing relief to those who desperately needed it — the boardshort-clad and all. Surfers, along with mountaineers and other outdoor enthusiasts, brought their equipment to the more submerged and remote areas of the Metro to deliver much-needed relief goods to those that refused to forsake their humble homes and life possessions for a cramped evacuation center — even if all that was left was a newly formed archipelago of tin roofs above a body of rubbish-filled, stagnant water.

As long as the waters refuse to subside in many neighbourhoods, the call to action will not die down either. Not to mention that Manila wasn’t the only place that was stricken in the recent series of super-typhoons. And so, a group of landlocked wave-addicts known as the Manila Surfers Association (MSA) — in partnership with surf-retailer Aloha Boardsports, with whom they had worked side-by-side during the relief efforts — organised a surfing festival to raise relief for its friends in the harder-hit surfing communities, namely townships in Zambales and other parts of Northern Luzon. Held a couple of weeks ago in Pundakit, Zambales, Zambapalooza 3 was a sun-and-fun-filled weekend of surf and stoke.

As surfers from Manila shared waves with surfers from Zambales in friendly competition (although the team event got pretty intense, thankfully the only incidents in the water were ridiculous at worst) to win bundles of gift certificates from hot brands like Volcom, Ripcurl, and Insight, surf newbies got their feet wet and their first taste of riding a wave, and beach-lovers relaxed under the sun, either sprawled out on the sand or exploring the coast and the beautiful, nearby islands of Camaras and Capones on stand-up paddleboards provided by Aloha Boardsports, the event reminded everyone that, just like any woman, Mother Nature can also be beautiful and generous, if we only give her a little respect and care.

At the least, Manila surfers could go home after an unforgettable weekend having accomplished something that most waveriders strive for: to share that curious feeling they call stoke. This time ‘round, it was by giving a piece of that sunshine to those whose lives had been shadowed by thunderclouds — very literal and really mean thunderclouds, needless to say.

And, just maybe, if we start looking after the neighbourhoods we live in and the oceans we play in, we’ll be able to keep those sun-kissed smiles on people’s faces a little while longer.

Wishing for that endless summer? Pick up your beach bag and pack up your car for MSA’s biggest event of the year, the Manila Surfers Cup, which will be held in San Juan, La Union, on the weekend of January 30 to 31. For the full scoop on surfing and MSA, drop by manilasurfers.multiply.com or MSA’s Facebook page, Manila Surfers Association.












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