El Nido is a beautiful coastal town in the northernmost tip of mainland Palawan. The Town is surrounded by mountains and it feels like you are in the middle of Avatar movie. It is also an entry point to the popular diving destinations Busuanga and Coron Islands.
So this is the place where we spent last week of our journey.
Palawan is not known for surfing, but I knew that there is a small surfing community. So there must be something to be surfed. And sure there was – I was so stoked when I saw first whitecaps far away from the main beach. It was time to do `the search´.
On a second day we decided to go and check the Nacpan beach. The beach is located rather far away from El Nido. It took about 45 minutes to get there by Tricycle. Tricycles are asking 1500 pesos to take you back and forth, but we managed to bargain the price as low as 600 pesos.
The beach is a stunner. Lot of white sand, palm trees and just few people. We hiked to the right end of the beach and we were only people around. Besides this own `private´ beach, there was also decent swell generating some surfable waves. Not big ones, but big enough for surfing.
On the left side, next to the cliffs, there was a little left-hander. Waves are breaking into the shallow, knee-high water and the seabed is covered by small and sharp rocks. This is not a good combination considering my skill level, so after quick paddling I headed to the right side of the bay. There I found this weird, fat wave, breaking far away from the shore. And the water seemed to be deep. I think that during the big day this break can work extremely well.
There I was. Alone in the sea, enjoying these short rides that this fat wave offered to me. I have to admit that I was scared being alone out there. Not because of huge swell, but just because I entered to the unknown. After catching couple short rides I was stoked. Not exactly due to the great surf, but I challenged myself and came back with smile on my face.
The swell seemed to be still on a day after the Nacpan adventure, so we decided to walk and explore the nearby beaches. The next beach to El Nido is called Caalan and there is a surf break called Mike’s point. Actually there were couple surfers during the afternoon, but I just had the feeling that there is something better waiting around the corner. So we kept on going and walked 3 km to find a small and empty beach. I don’t know the name of the beach, but it turned out that it is just next to the airport (I figured it out when a plane was flying over me while surfing).
About 400 meters from the shore there are 2 breaks on the both sides of the channel. On the channel there is a super shallow reef, but on the sides the water seems to be rather deep. I underline the word `seems´, since I didn’t really want to find it out.
I think these two breaks can hold a big swell and are kind of the hidden gems. I don’t know if anyone had named them yet, but I will officially call them now on as AP 1 and AP 2. It can be either Airport 1 and 2 or then my initials. 😉
Mother Nature was threating me well: the wind was cross-offshore, the sun was massaging my sore back muscles and the crystal clear water provided a spectacular insight to the underwater life.
I stayed on the right side of the channel because it seemed a bit cleaner. I was lurking on the edge of the break and settled to take short right-handers. Therefore I ended up back to the channel and it was easy to paddle out again. It was a spectacular, but intimidating session at the same time. You are 400 meters away from shore, surrounded by razor sharp reef and alone. Or actually you are not alone, since the water is full of life. My session ended up when I saw a sea snake coming to the surface to take a breath. I think I did my paddling speed record after that…
I wish my friend Ben could had been there surfing with me.
That was my surfing adventure in Palawan. You can rent some kind of boards from El Nido, but I think you should really bring your own. Surfing in El Nido is definitely possible, but not easy. The surfing season is during November-January, but I think it is never really consistent.
Next and probably the last entry about Philippines is going to be about another epic kayak trip.