CONQUERING THE BIGGER WAVE: How La Union athletes fundraised their way to Surf in the City 2022

June Esquivel (R) and a friend in la Union, showing off his new board. (Photo by juneesquivel/Instagram)

By Sofia Christel Javier

BORONGAN CITY, Philippines – From an outsider’s point of view, there are only three elements needed in surfing – a wave, a surfboard, and a brave surfer whose fire for the sport burns hotter than the sun that shines above him.

In reality, however, the greatest obstacle a surfer has to hurdle is not conquering a wave or outscoring an opponent. For many Filipino surfers, it’s about finding the finances they need to be able to compete.

This is true for June Esquivel, an 18-year-old junior surfer from La Union. He shared how his team and himself conquered the bigger wave of gathering the resources they need to be able to compete in the Surf in the City 2022 in Borongan.

Esquivel, together with other surfers from La Union, came to Borongan two weeks prior to the competition. This was advantageous as it allowed them to practice and familiarize themselves with the waves of the city. However, this also meant that they needed to spend two additional weeks worth of food and accommodation.

To make this possible, the surfers from La Union started various fundraising activities. They sold shirts with the design “Elyu Surf Team” to gather funds so that they can sustain their stay in the city. While the team’s big number means they have to collect a bigger amount of money, this also means that they have more hands working together for a common dream.

Esquivel also shared how social media and money transfer platforms like Facebook and G-Cash allowed them to disseminate their cause to a wider audience and made it easier for them to collect money from donors. Through this, they were also able to gain private sponsors and boost T-shirt sales.

“Ginamit po namin yung social media para sa fundraising. Meron pong account yung Elyu Surf Team, dun po kami nagpopost. Tapos ise-share po namin sa sarili naming account para mas madaming makakita. Tapos gumamit din po kami ng GCash para mas madali.” 

(We used social media for the fundraising. We have an account dedicated for the Elyu Surf team where we would post about the fundraiser. Then we would share the post on our personal accounts to reach more people. We also use Gcash for easier transaction.)

For Esquivel, lack of funds is a real problem that all athletes, not only surfers, experience in any journey towards a competition. But this should not be treated as an unfathomable boulder that stops someone from doing what they are passionate about.

“Sa mga ibang surfers na may pagkukulang sa financial, eh ipagpatuloy lang nila pagsu-surf at pag improve kasi darating yung time na may mga taong willling na tumulong sa kanila. Lalo kapag nakitaan sila ng potensyal at pag nakitang interesado talaga sila.”

(For other surfers who are having financial difficulties, they should just continue surfing and working to improve themselves. Time will come that someone will see their potential and be willing to helm them. This would only be possible if people see their potential and real interest in the sport.)

This is Esquivel’s second time competing in Surf in the City. He is looking forward to visiting other surfing spots in Borongan.

Surf in the City 2022 is the 3rd leg of the National Surfing Competition sanctioned by the United Philippine Surfing Association (UPSA), the national sports body for surfing in the Philippines. This is the third time Borongan City is hosting the event. The event is made possible because of the City Government of Borongan, the Provincial Government of Eastern Samar, and the United Philippine Surfing Association (UPSA)