Elaine Abonal, Surfista
Multiple Islands, Philippines
Hooked on surfing after her first taste of surfing culture in high school in Florida, Elaine chose the Philippines to set up Surfista Travels, a surf tour company that helps surfers and travelers arrange trips to the Philippine islands that include accommodation, transport and surf lessons and island hopping.
Elaine speaks English, French, Spanish and Tagalog. She has contributed her photos and articles to numerous magazines and newspapers. She is also available as a personal surf tour guide.
Follow Elaine and Surfista for surfing, fun, friendship and the most gorgeous islands imaginable now!
How long have you been surfing?
My first surf lesons were in La Union in 2002! So 13 years.
Why do you do it?
I do it because it has become such an integral part of my life. It is my exercise, my alone time, my meditation, my job. I love it so much and I can’t imagine my life without it!
Why do so many fall in love with surfing?
I learn something new every time I go surfing. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it weren’t for it. There’s knowing your limits but not being afraid to push yourself; realizing that it’s great to have a good ride, but it takes more to appreciate, even enjoy, getting back up after a big wipe out. I learn a lot about people; age differences disappear and languages become insignificant. You see that it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, or how much money you make. You respect each other’s differences and share a common passion for being in the water that called to you.
How do you train for it?
Surfing is a very physical sport. I eat healthy, surf as much as I can (daily if possible), do yoga so that I’m flexible, and get enough sleep.
How did you get started?
I was in Florida in high school and saw surfers and the whole surfing lifestyle. As soon as I got back home to the Philippines, I researched about surfing lessons, went on a trip with 4 boys (I was the only girl) and never stopped since!
You talk a lot about safety…
Surfing is not as hard as it seems but it’s not as easy as it looks either. Never underestimate the power of the ocean. Conditions change every day, every hour. It’s important to respect the ocean and know our limits. As surfers, we’re not only dealing with ourselves out there but also other people and their surfboards. Knowing basic safety is to protect others as much as ourselves.
Safety is so important. Surfista Travels organizes everything (transportation, accommodation and lessons) for people who want a safe and worry-free trip to the best surf spots. And this includes sun safety. Staying protected from the sun is a real concern because I live and breathe surfing. My lifestyle and job means that I am in the water and under the sun a LOT and at different times of the day. I try to avoid peak UVB hours but sometimes waves are too good to miss, or surf lessons get extended. I wear rash guards but my face, legs, and hands are still exposed. I make it a point to slather on sunscreen repeatedly and remind Surfistas to do the same!
Why do you like using Armada Sport as a sunscreen?
Armada‘s my favorite, I can rely on it to protect my skin while not having it get in the way of what I do. I love that it’s not sticky or thick. It doesn’t feel hot even if I’m not yet in the water. I won it in a surfing association’s raffle once, and all the surfers there said it was the BEST sunscreen ever, so I started using it. It’s been in my beach bag since.
I LOVE Armada Sport because of many reasons! It’s not sticky or heavy when applied so it’s not uncomfortable on my skin. It’s the only sunscreen that I’ve ever used that doesn’t only protect me from the sun but helps IMPROVE my skin condition at the same time. I had skin problems where my skin tone became uneven and I couldn’t be under the sun and my skin was too sensitive for other sunscreens. Ever since I started using Armada Sport it has slowly been healing!
What was your most memorable moment in surfing?
I can’t think of one particular moment since I’ve been doing it forever. It’s more like a mix of different moments that I treasure – surfing in beautiful conditions during sunrise or sunset with my good friends and good vibes and lots of laughter in the water, with a rainbow in the background for example – those are moments that I treasure the most!
You feel prettiest when…
My skin is SUCH a big part of who I am because it represents two major things about me — being a surfer and being Filipina. I always get complimented on my skin tone wherever I go in the world. 🙂
I feel prettiest when I am in my bikini, with no make up, barefoot and with a flower in my hair – AND surrounded by people who I love and love me just as I am!
Do you have any tips for fans out there for fitness, sun protection and/or training?
Always put VMV Armada Sport 70 sunscreen – ALWAYS – whether you’ll only be out in the sun for 15 minutes or an hour, eat healthy because anything that you put in your body will be your fuel, do something active everyday. It takes WORK to be fit, it doesn’t come from just looking at pictures. Also don’t forget to RELAX & HAVE FUN!
What’s your daily skin care and/or makeup?
I only use VMV Hypoallergenics products. I don’t use so much makeup on the island, except for blush and Ooh-La-Lash!. I pretty much use VMV Armada Sport sunscreen as soon as I get out of my room during the day. At night, I always wash my face & moisturize. I’m under the sun and in a lot of extreme conditions so it’s good to have a daily skin regimen.
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