Baler Surf Spots: Sabang, Lindy’s Point, Charlie’s Point and Cobra Reef
Baler, reputedly the birthplace of surfing in the Philippines, has something to offer surfers of every level of experience.
By KC Castillo
April 14, 2011
Baler Surfing History
Surfing in Baler, Aurora started early on in the 1960's--Caucasians would come to Baler to ride the waves. In 1975, Francis Ford Coppola and his team arrived in Baler to shoot scenes for the war film Apocalypse Now. Within the nine months that it took to shoot parts of the film, Coppola's crew would take time off to ride the waves and introduced the sport to the local community. The film crew would let some of the locals try out surfing for the first time. When the film crew left, they also left behind surfboards used on set. Baler local Raul Tolentino got one of these barnacle encrusted boards from some local fishermen, cleaned it up and has been surfing from then on. He is reputed to be one of the pioneers of pasirit (local term for surfing) in Baler, and perhaps the country.
At present, Baler is gaining popularity as a surfing destination in the Philippines. Board riders should be able to surf anywhere along the Baler coastline during the peak surfing season, from September through March. To catch the best waves, plan on surfing in Baler between December and February. While it is still possible to surf until the month of April at popular surf spots, by May the waters are relatively flat and calm. Those in the know however, say that it is possible to surf at Baler and thereabouts all year round.
Local surfers of Baler have their own favorite secret surf haunts, but here are some popular ones:
Sabang Beach features a long stretch of gray shoreline and is an ideal surfing spot for beginners, with a sandy bottom that is gentle on the backside at the event of a wipeout (wipeout: falling off the board). Good for both the regular footer or the goofy footer (goofy footing is a board riding preference wherein the right foot is placed in front of the left foot on the board; a regular footer would have his or her left foot placed in front of the right foot), the most popular surfing point is located right in front of Bay's Inn Lodge and Restaurant found nearly halfway across the stretch of Sabang beach. Here moderate waves of about three to four feet roll in for beginner surfers to try out and experienced surfers to practice with.
During the peak surfing months of December to February, surfers can expect glassy waves (glassy wave: ultra clean surf without ripples due to the lack of local wind, looks like glass) all day long that can be enjoyed by both novice and veteran wave riders alike. From March through June, the waves are relatively calm, providing good beachfront conditions for swimmers and an excellent challenge for experienced windsurfers.
Several surf shops can be found along its shores, including the Mahdox Surf Shop and Surf School, Charlie Does of Bahia de Baler, Baler Surf of Bay's Inn Lodging and Restaurant, and the Aliya Surf School of Aliya Surf and Dive Resort, all offering surfing lessons and renting out surf boards.
Located at Barangay Sabang for which it is named, Sabang Beach is a five-minute tricycle ride away from Baler town proper.
Lindy's Point was created when the government engineers opened the mouth of Baler Bay to the town river to prevent floods during the monsoon season. It is a recent discovery and a highly prized (now not so) secret by local surfers. Here tall waves are being generated from the clashing waters coming from the river and the Pacific forming short, sharp break waves that provide experienced surfers an exhilarating high.
Located at Barangay Sabang, Lindy's Point can be found farther north of Sabang Beach about 15 minutes on foot from Bay's Inn Lodging & Restaurant.
Charlie's Point, locally known as "Kagewad," derives its name from the movie Apocalypse Now where part of the film was shot in the late 1970's. It is known for its medium quality right-hand and left-hand break waves on a sandy and gravel bottom (left hand wave: a wave that breaks from right to left from the point of view of the surfer, requiring the surfer to turn left to catch the wave).
Charlie's Point, a rivermouth break, can be found where the Aguang River meets the Philippine Sea.
Located at Barangay Reserva, Charlie's Point is within a few minutes' tricycle ride from Baler town proper on the north end of Sabang beach. On foot, it is about a half hour's easy walk from Bay's Inn Lodging & Restaurant at Sabang Beach.
Cobra Reef in Cemento Beach
Cemento Beach is a long stretch of light creamy sand, crushed coral and seashells located in Sitio Cemento, Barangay Zabali, Baler. To reach Cobra Reef, locally known as "Dapa," one must walk from Cemento Beach through knee high growing mangroves--part of the local government's mangrove reforestation project--to get to the coral reef break.
At Cobra Reef, normal waves are usually five to six feet high. During high season, waves can reach from twelve up to fourteen feet high. Sought after by experienced and professional surfers from all over, these right hand reef break type waves make for excellent and challenging surfing (reef break: a wave that breaks over a coral reef or a rock seabed). Surfers are recommended to wear wetsuits for protection.
During the calm season of April through June, Cemento beach is also suitable for snorkeling and wall diving, and is a popular haven for lobsters and other marine species.
To reach Cemento Beach, take a tricycle from Baler town proper to reach the river outlet south of Sabang beach. From there, one can either hire a motorized banca for a 10-minute ride to the reef, or take a forty-minute walk.
There are other surfing spots all over Aurora, and these are but a small sampling of what the region has to offer. With its gorgeous beaches, verdant landscape and laid-back atmosphere, Baler is truly paradise for surfers and non-surfers alike.
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