Skimboarders vie for 2011 Skimboarding Challenge in Mati

DAHICAN, Mati City (MindaNews/29 October) – At least 50 skimboarders from different parts in the country have converged here for the two-day 2011 annual Skimboarding Challenge that ends Sunday afternoon.

Amihan Boys president George G. Plaza, organizer of the competition said cream-of-the-crop skimboarders from the cities of Davao, General Santos, Tandag, Digos, Mati, Cagayan de Oro and Zambales are vying in two categories–  Neophytes and the Experts.

The competition started Saturday morning and will end Sunday afternoon.

Ace players flaunted their stunts and tricks to get a good score in the elimination rounds for them to advance in the semi-finals set on Sunday morning.

Plaza said they have been doing this for eight consecutive years.

He said an international competition was held here last January with skimboarders from Australia, Japan, USA, Singapore, and Taiwan.

Plaza added that they have at least three competitions a year  — in January, April and October.

In this weekend’s competition, other activities have been infused to add up more color: Frisbee, Henna Body Painting, Beach Volley Ball, Sand Sculpting, Bikini Contest and Photo Contest.

Foreign tourists come here not only for skimboarding but also for the area’s flora and fauna.

“Yesterday, a sea cow suddenly appeared just a few meters away from the shore, right in front of us and that made me say wow, ” Coco Birte Peterson, a German national said.

Australian national Richard Matthews, also known as Swami “Bambooman” Mandipo, said this is another paradise and he really enjoys the place and the activities.

Matthews owns a surfing company in Lanuza, Surigao del Sur. He builds surfing boards made of bamboo grass.

“This place has good swells that a surfer like me will really enjoy not just skimboarding,” Matthews said.

Sea turtles prepare to lay eggs along the seven kilometer stretch of Dahican.

Locals say sea turtles, whales, sea cows, and dolphins are an attraction here. (Roel Catoto/MindaNews)