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Feb 10, 2014
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While most of you relaxed somewhere nice and comfy over last week's long weekend, the hardworking guys (ehem!) here at FHM went to Vigan to witness something really awesome. No, we didn't watch how our cholesterol-loving Ilokano kababayans make bagnet and longganisa. We were there to witness the wet and wild action of the second leg of the first ICTSI Philippine Kiteboarding Tour!

kiteboarding philippinesPasiklab caption: 'They see me boardin', they appreciatin''

Kiteboarding or kitesurfing is an extreme water sport which involves the use of a kiteboard (similar to a surfboard in function) and a large kite. The kiteboarder controls the kite with his body and arms and uses it to go forward on the kiteboard. It's like surfing while flying a ginormous kite measuring as large as 16 square meters in area.

And, we tell you, it's not something anyone can do. You have to have a kiteboarding license first and, to get one, you have to finish lessons in an accredited kiteboarding school. It's not classified as an extreme sport for nothing

kiteboarding philippinesThe event organizers with a few of the contenders

The ICTSI Philippine Kiteboarding Tour's three-day Vigan stop was the second leg of the competiton; the first one was held in Boracay while the next two will take place in Caliraya, Laguna and Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

Aside from attracting the country's best kiteboarders, the tour, which is open to both men and women, also welcomed foreign bets from Sweden and Brazil. Why all this fuss? Well, a grand total of $32,000 (almost P1.5 million) in cash and kiteboarding equipment are up for grabs! That's why!

The tournament is also the very first event organized by the PKA (Philippine Kiteboarding Association). Formed just last year, the PKA aims to represent all local kiteboarders and introduce the sport to a wider local audience.

"We established this because of two objectives: to promote the sport of kiteboarding all over the country and to develop local talent," says PKA President Jay Ortiz, who adds that their group is also recognized by the International Kiteboarding Association, the world governing body for kiteboarding.

kiteboarding philippinesPKA head Jay Ortiz certainly knows his stuff

The Vigan leg was held on the white sand beach of Barangay Suso (we kid you not!) in Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur from January 31 to February 2. However, only the second and third days saw true kiteboarding action as the first day lacked enough wind speed to propel the huge-ass saranggolas. Yes, if there's something sucky about kiteboarding, it's the fact that you need a good amount of wind if you want some fun.

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kiteboarding philippinesNow that's a mean hang time!

A total of 33 competitors spread out over three disciplines/divisions joined the Vigan leg. The first division was called Hang Time. Here, the kiteboarders try their best to get elevation and "hang" on their kites with their feet off the water. Think of it as the kiteboarding equivalent of the slam dunk competition. The one with the longest hang time wins.

kiteboarding philippines'I call the The Bukaka'

The second division was the Freestyle and was, for us, the most entertaining part of the competition. In Freestyle, kiteboarders execute awesome tricks reminiscent of what wakeboarders and skateboarders do. Mas mahirap, mas maganda. You have to be darn athletic and in control of your kite and board to succeed. Aside from the tricks being hard, you also have make land perfectly. If you fall butt- or face-first or if you let go of your kite, your trick won't count, no matter how bad-ass you looked like in the air.

The third one is the Race. It's basically a flat-out sprint across a course marked by buoys. The kiteboarder with the fastest time wins (duh!).

kiteboarding philippinesOur first thought when we saw this: 'Yari pag nagkabuhol-buhol 'yan!'

Here are the official winners of the Vigan leg:

  • Hang Time: Doque Delos Santos (first place), Ronel Mateo (second place), Ryan Cahilig (third place)
  • Course Race: Bong Fernando (first place), Doque Delos Santos (second place), Ronel Mateo (third place)
  • Freestyle: Dong Manuel (first place), Roldan Astronaut (second place), Doque Delos Santos and Ryan Cahilig (tied for third place)

Aside from ICTSI, the competition was made possible with support from other brands including Cabrinha, Stoked, Aloha Boardsports, Tanduay, and Summit Water. The local government of Ilocos Sur also deserves a thumbs-up for being super hospitable to the kiteboarders and guests, including us! Binusog kami ng mga Ilokano!

Their next stop: Lake Caliraya in Laguna (February 7-9)!

For more information and tour details, visit the PKA's Facebook page! Hit the gallery below for more exclusive photos from the ICTSI Philippine Kiteboarding Tour.

PHOTOS Mark Jesalva
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