Known as the surfing gateway of the Philippines, the town of Lanuza is definitely making waves in terms of being a prime tourist spot in the country. A province of Surigao del Sur, Lanuza is a simple town that could provide a memorable time as guests surf its local waves. Aside from surfing, Lanuza has recently added new sets of nature activities making it one of the most complete adventure spots in the country.
Anchored by its famous waves, what makes Lanuza stand out from other surfing spots are its diverse surfing grounds. Doot Poktoy is the most famous among these surfing grounds that has a soft sand bottom which makes it ideal for beginners. Yet it could also satisfy amateurs looking for a thrill ride. What makes it even more enticing is
how these waves are conveniently accessible in front of the town.
“Aside from Doot Poktoy, various surfing grounds are located adjacent to the town.
Around one or two kilometers away are seven reef breaks, namely, Castor Reef, Habag, Punta Left and Punta Right, Sibahay, Badjang, and Cagmino. The waves in these Reef breaks could reach up to 10 feet from October to April,” expressed Lanuza’s Mayor Algerico Irizari.
The waves in Lanuza have been host to national and international surfing events. In 2002, the town held a local surf camp and organized the first ever National Surfing Festival which has become an annual festivity. In 2004, Lanuza’s surfing festival added the International long board invitational, which is a three-day international event for surfers.
The National Surfing Festival also held competitions for short boards in different brackets, namely, for seniors, juniors, and grommet (below 12 years old). The event has been flocked by surfers coming form Siargao and mostly in nearby province in Luzon such as Bicol, Baler, and Aurora.
With his town’s most stunning feature of 10-feet waves, Mayor Geri Irizari cannot help but be a surf enthusiast himself. What makes the Mayor Irizari’s surfing story interesting is that he has an inborn condition that makes it difficult for him to walk correctly. Yet, he hasn’t let his condition stop him from enjoying the waves of his beloved Lanuza.
“Two years after the very first surfing festival, I was talking with the locals and looking for ways on how to improve surfing in Lanuza. Local surfers then had the idea of teaching me how to surf so I could actually experience what we were trying to promote. That’s when I started to surf, una paddling lang, then later on it became a regular activity, dinadaanan na nila (local surfers) ako sa bahay to surf as I slowly become part of their group.” Recalled Mayor Geri.
The Mayor’s passion for the sport grew through the years as he bought and tried different surf boards. “At first I bought a short board, which
I realized was not compatible with my body’s shape, so I bought a long board. I easily adopted to the long board, and I find it much easier to ride. Then after some time, I was given the bamboo long board,” expressed Mayor Geri.
The Mayor’s Bamboo board was a gift from an Australian resident who ventured into surf board making in Lanuza. The mayor’s long board has bamboo coat or banig on its surface, making his board very unique having a very emphatic nationalistic design.
The local residents of Lanuza have greatly benefited from the surfing industry. Local fishermen now have an additional income during the off seasons of fishing as surf instructors; some locals assisted in board shaping for the local surf shop named Lanuza Surf Company. While other locals enjoy the benefit of having tourist as they are able to sell their local products.