22 February 2015, La Union – Philippines:  La Union locals Benito Nerida (Men’s Division), Daisy Valdez (Women’s Division), and RJ Lopez (Tiny Toes Junior Division) proved their mastery of the traditional longboarding at their home break of Mona Liza Point in La Union by earning the highest scores to claim victory in the finals of the Coast Thru Life Single & Unattached Invitational Classic Single Fin Longboard Contest presented by Vans on Friday, February 20.


In excellent 2-3 foot (1 meter) glassy waves, the finalists had the best waves of the two-day event in which to impress the judges with their logging skills, in the race for the top spot on the podium and the honor of being crowned a Single & Unattached champion.


The contest began on February 19th with 32 competitors in the Men’s Division, 16 in the Women’s Division, and 16 in the Tiny Toes Junior Division, and by just after 8 am on Friday February 20th it was down to four finalists in each division chasing the lion’s share of the $2,000 USD prize money up for grabs.


In the highly competitive Men’s Division, the perfect glassy walls had the four finalists going blow for blow on each wave with the crowd on the beach going crazy with each great ride, wipeout, and lost board.  Benito Nerida lost no time getting himself out in front with a great Hang 10 and Hang 5 on his first wave, then Jay-R Equivel went right after him.  It was a seesaw battle between the two for most of the heat, but towards the end Benito got the longest Hang 5 of the event to get the edge and hold it.  Ian Saguan and Moro Gandawali were the senior surfers of the final, and while their smooth and polished styles were certainly rewarded by the judges, the energy and creativity of the younger surfers earned them the highest points as they performed high- risk maneuvers in the critical part of the waves along with a varied combination of classic maneuvers.


“All the competitors were really good, so it was very hard to compete against them,” said Benito.  “That made it really hard, plus the waves were so good, so glassy, great for logging, so it was really up to each guy to show their best.  So happy I could be the winner!” he added.


In the Women’s Division it was last year’s winner Daisy Valdez taking her second Single & Unattached victory by not only choosing the best waves but cross-stepping up to a couple of noserides and also carving some beautifully executed turns.  Her smooth and in control style on combinations of maneuvers had her easily winning the final.


“This is actually my third time winning the Single and Unattached event,” said Daisy.  When asked what the key was to her success, she replied, “I surf a lot!  The break is just in front of my house, so each morning I will surf…when there are good waves and even not so good waves, I still surf. I surf shortboards, high performance longboards, and logs, bu logs are really the hardest for me.  But when competitions like this happen I use the log and try my best!”


In the Tiny Toes Junior Division it was the finesse of young RJ Lopez that earned him the win over the power and might of last year’s winner Jhenard Fernandez.  RJ got a great Hang Five to start the final, then followed it up with a Hang 10 to jump into the lead early, and while Jhenard showed off some great turns and also had some Hang 5’s, the volume and style of the young Lopez had him posting the biggest scores to get the win.


Before he helped announce the winners on the podium on Saturday night, ASC Head Judge Steven “Monty” Montell addressed the crowd saying, “Wow, what an event you have happening here, it’s been really amazing! I’m so stoked to have been a part of it and to see the incredible pool of surfing talent you have here…and to see that guys like Buji from Coast Thru Life and Vans Philippines are so supportive by putting together this event.  I’ve been to lots of logging events in my life, and I’ll tell you what…you guys can really hold your head high. Well done!”


Also addressing the crowd was Coast Thru Life’s Buji Libarnes, who first thanked Van’s for believing in him and this event, the competitors for their great performances, and the ASC for coming to sanction the event, and then tossed out huge surprise of his own by proposing to long-time girlfriend and business partner Nikki Dela Paz!


It may be the end of Buji and Nikki’s single and unattached life, but the Single & Unattached event will go on, assures Soc Alvarez, Supervisor for Action Sports at Vans.  “This has been such a great event, from the surfing to the beach party and everything in between…so yes, we’re already looking forward to doing it all again bigger and better next year!”


The Coast Thru Life Single & Unattached Invitational Classic Single Fin contest is a very unique event, the country’s one and only classic longboard contest where the contestants paddle out on traditional single fin logs minus their leg ropes to compete during a fun filled weekend with like minded “logging” aficionados and enjoy the surf, music, and good times!




Here are the highlights of the event by Indo Inc’s Sean Gilhooley:

Single & Unattached 2015/ Tiny Toes Finals


Single & Unattached 2015/ Open Finals


Single & Unattached 2015/ Women’s Finals



Single & Unattached 2015/ Day 2 Highlights



Single & Unattached 2015/ Day 1 Highlights/ Part 1



Single & Unattached 2015/ Day 1 Highlights/ Part 2




Contest Results:


Men’s Division


  1. Benito Nerida – PHP 35,000 ($745 USD)
  2. Jay-R Esquivel – PHP 15,000 ($339 USD)
  3. Ian Saguan – PHP 6,000 ($135 USD)
  4. Moro Gandawali – PHP 4,000 ($90 USD)


Women’s Division


  1. Daisy Valdez – PHP 20,000 ($452 USD)
  2. Menchie Par – PHP 10,000 ($226 USD)
  3. Azalea Valdez – PHP 6,000 ($135 USD)
  4. Rhea Ventura – PHP 4,000 ($90 USD)


Tiny Toes Junior Division


  1. RJ Lopez
  2. Jhenard Fernandez
  3. John Paul Bersamina
  4. Warren Lopez


Nixon Sickest Trick Award Winner:


Men’s Winner:  Jay-R Esquivel

Women’s Winner:  Daisy Valdez



The Coast Thru Life Single & Unattached Invitational Classic Single Fin Longboard Contest and Beach Fest is sponsored/supported by: Vans, Coast Thru Life, GoPro, Kahuna Beach Resort and Spa, San Juan Surf School, Nixon, VMV Hypoallergenics, Armada Sport 70, Fluidsurf, Mad Kahuna, Famous Surf Wax, El Union Coffee, San Miguel Beer, THE Clothing, Manila Surfers Association, La Union Surf Club (LUSC), La Union Surf School, My Life on Board, Blunt Magazine, Grid Magazine, Elyu Classic Surf School, Seventh Films, Moonshine & Saltwater, La Union Surf Cafe, Rappler, and Pioneer DJ.




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