As the wave season steadily gets going in the South of Thailand, the beginning of this month saw the “Pearl Of the Andaman Sea” Surf Competition in Phuket. Two days of longboard and shortboard competition with locals and foreigners alike, held on the beach of Patong.
Hosted by Freedom Boardsports, this was an event organized for surfers, by surfers. Freedom Boardsports has been on the island for decades and anyone looking to get a board when in Southern Thailand would be wise to drop by Freedom, as they have a wide range of boards in their inventory, the entire staff are a bunch of dedicated beach boys who spend as much time on the water as they can.
Needless to say Freedom holds a special place in our heart as well, seeing that they sell NSP as well.
And they don’t just sell surfboards. Freedom sells kiteboards, apparel, bodyboard kits and accessories. If you’re in Chalong/Phuket, make sure to drop by.
Maybe Tom’s in the shop, or Jome is there to help you out; these guys know the island and will be able to tell you where there’s swell.
Buzz on social
With anticipation gradually growing on different groups like Happy Surf Thailand, Surf Step and Surf Monk the Thai surf community certainly looked forward to the start of the tour. Phuket is usually the first leg, followed by Kamala and a series of other events in the area.
Locals try to get in as many events as possible, so as to come out on top in the overall rankings, whereas tourists just take it as it comes. All-in-all it’s a regional tour but every year several foreigners participate and this edition was no different.
Getting to the main area of the event one day before, numerous volunteers were still putting the last touches to the PA-system. The overall atmosphere was chill and several surfers were in the water, casually getting in a few more rides before the next day’s contest.
Some locals from Naiharn, along with weekenders from Bangkok were relaxing in the shade, waxing their boards or simply looking what was going on in the water. A main stage flanked by two smaller stages and a judge booth were decorated with the flags of the organization, along with several banners from the different sponsors.
While there can be serious swell in Phuket, it is not Hawaii. The occasional drownings that are widely discussed in the papers are caused by a combination of freaky riptides, some very understaffed beach patrols and the majority of the South-East Asians not being able to swim.
On a good day, the waves are waist- to shoulder high and allow for some shortboard fun and classic longboarding, which is getting more and more popular in Thailand.
Day one saw heats for shortboard and longboarding, but after the last heat of the day rain set in overnight and negatively affected the swell for the next day.
Special thanks goes out to Decha Sithidej, VP of the Thai Surf association, Tom from Freedom Boardsports and Jome for helping out.