Puerto Galera Water Sports Festival
Image courtesy John Smart
Every year in February, Puerto Galera traditionally hosts the second leg of the Philippine Windsurfing Championships on the waters off Boquete Beach. In 2012 the event will be expanded into the Puerto Galera water sports festival, to include all manner of wind–powered and human–powered water sports.
In addition to the windsurfing championships there will be competitive kite–boarding, dinghy racing and paddle banka racing and potentially dragon boat racing. The goal is to make February the on–water eco–water sports tourism festival month in Puerto Galera and to provide a vacation–extension for windsurfers and kite–boarders who usually travel to Boracay for the Funboard Cup in January and then have nowhere else to go.
The core event at the Puerto Galera water sports festival is the windsurfing championships, organized by the Philippine Windsurfing Association in conjunction with the Sandbar Resort on Boquete Beach. In 2012, the Department of Tourism and the Puerto Galera Yacht Club have pitched in to organize the extension activities to make the overall water sports festival event larger and more interesting to a broader water sports audience.
The breezes off Boquete Beach are superb for all wind–driver water sports in February and most frequently deliver successive days of 15–knot breezes, under almost clear skies . . . great for windsurfing, kite–boarding & sailing, and the waterfront will be peppered with camera–people trying to capture that perfect action–shot on their treasured, long–lens Nikon or Canon.
The Philippine Windsurfing Championship is an open competition where as many as one hundred windsurfers, from all around the World, participate. Although only local windsurfers can have their performances accrued for the national title, there are plenty of prizes on offer for every competitor, and that is why the event is so popular. If you are novice, intermediate, advanced, man, woman or youth there are divisions for you and of course there is the overall open division for the best overall performance at the event.
The kite–boarding competition largely follows the windsurfing divisions format while the dinghy competition divisions are either, under/over–16 years, in two–person, Mirror–class Lawins or, one–person, Olympic class Optimists. The kite–boarding and dinghy competitions are open to everyone.
The paddle banka racing is primarily designed to encourage the participation of the local fishermen’s associations but there will probably be opportunities for anyone with a bit of muscle power to compete for the paddle banka racing.
If the dragon boat racing happens this year it will be because boats have been donated for the event by the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation. If it does not happen this year then it will surely happen in 2013. Stay tuned for confirmation of the dragon boat racing, which would be the first ever such event in Puerto Galera.
Whatever your interest in on–water sports action the Puerto Galera water sports festival aims to satisfy you from 17th – 19th February. Book your hotel and resort rooms early to avoid disappointment.
If you do not know Puerto Galera well then follow this link to find out where to stay in Puerto Galera.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author – Martyn Willes – based upon his own experience and do not necessarily reflect the experience of all people. If you have other experiences you would like to share then email them to The Editor – philippines@getwet–asia.com – for possible inclusion here