IN A bid to professionalise the local surf industry and to provide more job opportunities to the coastal and surfing communities, the Philippine Department of Tourism (DoT) has implemented two programmes to develop surfing as a major tourism product.
One programme will focus on the classification and accreditation of resorts, surf camps or other facilities that provide surfing lessons to clients. These training facilities need to have certified surfing instructors to teach or supervise, and require them to have essential teaching equipment and gear such as soft training surfboards and rash guards, and adequate spaces for class lessons, lockers, toilets and showers.
Such resorts or facilities must also have emergency rescue and crisis response capabilities such as first aid kits and communications equipment to handle urgent conditions.
A national criteria for the certification and classification of surf training facilities has been completed and subjected to public consultation. It is now undergoing final refinement.
Another component in the programme is the help local coaches upgrade and become internationally-certified professional surfing instructors, and increasing the number of such certified instructors. To be certified, an instructor must undergo an intensive Surfing Instructors Certification Course.
The DoT has partnered with Australia’s Academy of Surfing Instructors (ASI) and its local chapter, the Academy of Surfing Instructors Philippines (ASIP), for this project. ASI is the world’s leading professional education, certification and accreditation standard for surfing, while ASIP’s role is to execute all ASI functions and conduct instructor certification courses in the Philippines.
So far, some 50 surfing instructors have received their ASI Level 1 certification and 15 more from Mati, Davao Oriental, will soon join their ranks. At least two more runs are scheduled this year – one in Baler, Aurora and another in Zambales – which are expected to produce about 50 more ASI level 1 certified instructors.