17 July 2008

Subic Bay, the New Windsurfing and Kiteboarding Mecca

A new kind of water sports was introduced here over the weekend by sports enthusiasts, who sought to help promote Subic as a year-round tourism destination.

Aptly called kiteboarding because it uses kite for propulsion and surfboard to ride out the waves, this water sports promises to lure into this free port more sports and adventure tourists who want some challenging, yet safe sports activity.

According to Araceli Araneta-Bradley, chairperson of Windsurfing Subic Bay (WSB), kiteboarding is a popular sporting event in the island of Boracay, although not “properly recognized” elsewhere in the country.

She said, however, that with her organization’s ties to international groups, the WSB and the Philippine Windsurfing Association (PWA) hope to make Subic another kiteboarding mecca.

“Subic has beautiful waters, which is very conducive to water sports,” Bradley noted during the opening here of the PWA-SBMA Windsurfing & Kiteboarding Speed Dash Open on Saturday.

“The players themselves would see and feel that Subic is a good venue to showcase their skills. The event will be a bigger one next time,” Bradley added.

The event, which is the fourth of a five-leg tour in the PWA’s 2008 sailing calendar, was joined by some 70 participants coming from other water sports centers like Boracay Island, Puerto Galera, Anilao, Lake Caliraya, Bacolod City and Marinduque.

The Philippine windsurfing team, which was a gold medallist in the recent SEA Games, also participated in the two-day skills contest.

Bradley said the winners in the kiteboarding events were: Tyron Mangakahia of Team Caliraya, novice class champion from New Zealand; Fele Kyanko of Team Boracay, ladies class champion; and Jay Ortiz of Team Caliraya, men’s class champion.

The judges also declared Doque delos Santos of Team Boracay as overall champion for kiteboarding, and Reneric Moreno, overall champion for windsurfing.

Kiteboarding, which first saw action here in Subic during the PWA-sponsored event, is expected to help boost Subic as a year-round tourism draw, said SBMA deputy administrator for tourism Raul Marcelo.

“What’s good about kiteboarding and windsurfing is that they could be held here under whatever kind of weather,” Marcelo noted.(SBMA Corporate Communications)