THE 2021 Surf in the City, an annual surfing competition hosted by Borongan City in Eastern Samar, successfully concluded after a two-year hiatus amid the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are happy to have successfully concluded the first nationwide surfing event during the Covid-19 pandemic. This would not be possible without the full support of the City Government of Borongan, and without the disciplined participation of all our surfers,” said Surf in the City chair Rupert Ambil during the closing ceremony on Sunday, December 12, 2021.

“We offer our help to other surfing destinations interested to hold similar events, as we believe Surf in the City 2021 is a good model for such competitions,” Ambil added.

This year, the City Government of Borongan, together with the Surfriders Club of Eastern Samar, opened its door to 203 surfers from six regions to host the first leg of the Philippine Surfing Championship Tour's 2022 circuit.

“The successful event shows a big step towards economic and tourism recovery for Eastern Samar, and offers a model for other surfing hotspots in the Philippines,” Ambil said in a statement.

In this year’s competition, Baler-bet Niel Sanchez won the championship in the Shortboard Open Men's Division, besting Jay-r Esquivel of La Union during the finals.

Esquivel ranked second during the Men's Open Shortboard Division but was hailed champion for the Men's Open Longboard Division.

Meanwhile, Vea Estrellado of Gubat, Sorsogon was hailed overall champion for both the Shortboard and Longboard Women's Open during the final round.

Rommel Rojo of Baler topped the Master's Division, while Danica Lebrilla of Borongan City won as Best Local Surfer in the competition.

One of the main highlights of the 2021 Surf in the City fest was the appearance of Asian Games Gold Medalist and Olympian Margielyn Didal, who was declared an "Adopted Citizen" of Borongan City “for her exemplary resilience and show of sportsmanship.”

“We are declaring you as an adopted daughter of the city. You have all the rights and privileges of being a citizen of this beautiful city of Borongan,” said Borongan City Mayor Jose Ivan Dayan Agda during the special session with the City Council.

The professional street skateboarder visited the Skate Jam competition to witness the activity and meet her Boronganon skater fans.

She also advised the city on how to construct the soon-to-rise Skate Park Project to be built in 2022.

Borongan City and the Surf City organizing team also invited Philippine Wakeboarding Head Coach Carlo Dela Torre to conduct a site inspection at the Suribao River in Camada, Borongan City for the city's plan to construct a cable wake park in 2022 to further attract tourists.

“The successful Surf in the City 2021 shows that Borongan is well on its way to pandemic recovery. We welcome everyone to visit our city, learn surfing, and meet our locals to experience the charm of Borongan. We look forward to welcoming you back in December 2022,” Agda said.

Participating teams during the competition included Baler, Camarines, Catanduanes, Cebu, Davao, Eastern Samar, Ilocos Norte, La Union, Lanuza, Leyte, Northern Samar, Siargao, Sorsogon, Surigao, and Zambales.

The festival also hosted various sports activities such as beach football joined by 26 teams from Eastern Visayas region, Skate Jam competition joined by more than 25 skaters across the Visayas region, and Skimboarding competition for the locals of Eastern Samar.

Borongan City already plans to host the last leg of 2022 PSCT in December 2022.

Surf in the City is the only surfing competition in the Philippines where competitors get to surf inside the city, along the shores of the iconic Baybay Boulevard of Borongan. (SunStar Philippines)