BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews / 02 October) – Following a three-year hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions, skimboarders gathered here on Sunday, October 1, to revive a local skimboarding competition in a bid to rekindle enthusiasm on the sport.
The event, dubbed 5th Masao Local Skim Jam, gathered 20 top and emerging young skimboarders from this city and Lianga, Surigao del Sur at the Masao Beach here.
Al Kristian Paquibot, head organizer, said the decision to revive the competition came after they noticed a remarkable decline in skimboarding activity in the city with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
“We observed that there were fewer people engaging in skimboarding compared to the vibrant scene we had before the pandemic hit,” Paquibot said.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. lifted the COVID-19 state of public emergency for the country in July.
Paquibot said that initially, it was just supposed to be a fun skimboarding session with fellow enthusiasts, but when they posted their plans to bring back the contest on social media, it blew up and received sponsorship offers.
“Despite having only two weeks to prepare, we decided to push through, and I’m glad to say that the event was a success,” he said.
Organizers imposed a registration fee of P150 for the players, which included a free lunch.
Paquibot, who has been playing skimboard for five years, expressed hopes the event will inspire new generations of skimboarders.
The competition was divided into beginner and advanced divisions.
Jusmil Cagape, 22, a resident of Barangay San Vicente here who started skimboarding at 12 years old, dominated the waves and emerged as the grand champion in the advanced category.
“I joined this competition because I wanted to have fun and stay away from vices. It’s not only enjoyable, but it also helps me bond with my friends,” Cagape said.
As part of his advocacy to promote the sport, Cagape and his fellow skimboarders are extending a helping hand to those who want to learn.
“They can come to us if they want to learn how to skimboard, and to those parents who want their children to learn, we’re ready to teach. It’s for free,” he said.
Cagape urged sponsors to support his participation at the 13th National Skimboarding Competition, which will be held in Bacuag, Surigao del Norte on October 6-8, 2023.
He particularly called on the local government of Butuan City to rally behind him and his fellow skimboarders.
“I am hoping for the support of the local government and potential sponsors in Butuan because I believe that with their backing, we can represent our city in other competitions and promote skimboarding in the region,” he added. (Ivy Marie Mangadlao / MindaNews)