In the words of this surftown’s residents, it was the ultimate “family day.” The Shaka Kids Competition last February 6, 2020 was held in San Juan, La Union, one of the nation’s surfing capital—a home and a breeding ground for rising grommets.
It all began during a previous surf competition. Brianna “Bree” Ramos was signed up to join the Wahine Division. But on the event day itself, conditions were unfavorable: Waves were massive, and sets were overhead to double overhead. The 8-year-old was prohibited to join for her safety. Seeing her daughter heartbroken was the catalyst that inspired Mikee Ramos, a surf mom and painter, to throw a kiddie surf competition, where prizes and rewards came in the form of toys, school supplies, and surf accessories.
What was initially a one-day small event for 15 kids turned into a full-blown family day event for kids of around 70, their parents, their siblings, and their friends. Divisions were divided into Boys 5-7, Girls 5-7, Boys 8-14, Girls 8-14, and Tandem Surfing. Donations and support from sponsors from all over the community came pouring in. Venues were offered, goodie bags were packed, event t-shirts were printed, and media coverage was serviced— these were some of the bones that built the skeleton of the event. It was a team effort, to simply put it.
“One thing I learned after throwing this kids’ competition is that Bayanihan ain’t dead,” Mikee shares. “We didn’t ask for all this help; everything was given to us in kind. We’ve even had last minute sponsors!”
It’s true: There’s nothing quite like a young, fresh breed of surfers in the water. In grooming young surfers, we don’t only teach them the benefits of surfing, but the importance of community support, sheer inclusivity, and to have fun as we go. And an avenue such as the Shaka Kids Competition, confidence is instilled in the young. Through a friendly competition, La Union is further able to preserve the legacy of safe and enjoyable surfing.
“The kids were so thrilled. The parents were so proud. They didn’t expect much in return, but they had so much fun,” the surf-mom-of-one continues. “We were blessed with many people who loved to support the competition because it highlighted the surftown’s little ones. On top of that, we were blessed with perfect wave conditions, with glassy, long walls.”
Raising a child—or children, rather—takes not only a village, but a whole town. La Union’s Shaka Kids Competition proves that children are, indeed, the future. But maybe it’s not always about being the winner.
“In the end, walang talo. We’re all winners.”
When we let children flourish, they gain memories, lasting friendships, and far richer things that life has to offer. The best gift we can give to our children is the childhood of their dreams: A chance to taste the gift of the outdoors, together.
Follow @shakakidscomp.elyu for more updates.