Connect with us

Phuket

Surf’s up in Khao Lak

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

 on 

image
image

PHUKET: After crossing the bridge off the island, the sense of immediacy, impatience and the hustle and bustle of Phuket fades quickly. The pace of life slows to what is expected of a tropical island.

Dozens of people experienced this as they made their way to Khao Lak for the first annual Khao Lak Surf Competition last weekend. They drove to Khao Lak and passed Nang Thong, Bang Niang, Khuk Khak, and all the way to Pakarang, where they crept along looking for the small dusty sign marking Memories Bar and the surf competition.

After turning left to head due west, they passed some elephants and abandoned rubber plantations on the long and winding dusty road that leads to Pakarang beach. Looking south from the end of the jarring road was an idyllic scene of long flat beaches reaching down into clear blue waters, all of which were almost completely devoid of people. However, looking north, you could see where all of the people were. Surfers congregated between buoys marking the competition zone and Memories Bar and Pakarang Surf Shop were overflowing with water-lovers sprawled about under the protection of any scrap of shade they could find.

Surfboards were everywhere – laying in the sand, standing in racks and hanging all over Memories Bar to make it clear what kind of beach bar you were at. Reggae music set the vibe and contestants gathered around the results board to see if they made it through their last heat to proceed to the next round.

Organized by the owner of Memories Bar and Pakarang Surf Shop, Montree “Ching” Natakuatung, along with help from his long-time friend and local surfer Matt Blauer, the first surf competition to grace the shores of Khao Lak exceeded their expectations with over 100 entries in six divisions.

Although the contest enjoyed sponsorship from many, including Elleciel Custom Surfboards, Saltwater Dreaming, Andaman Sea and Surf, the Kata Krew Firewire, NSP and more, it takes more than sponsorship to have a successful surf comp.

“The thing that you need is the goodwill of people to come up and be a part of it. We went to Phuket and tried to get people excited and it worked,” says Matt of their efforts to spread the word.

As the surf season in Phuket approaches at a seemingly lethargic speed, surfers from Nai Harn to Nai Yang jumped at the chance to head north, where bigger swells were hoped to be found. Sadly, Saturday’s waves were an uninspiring one to two-foot and choppy, leaving surfers struggling to squeeze in any miniscule maneuver before the wave closed out.

Saturday saw round one heats in men’s longboard, open shortboard and women’s division.

The following morning had stoke meters reading high when hungry eyes fell upon glassy two to three foot waves breaking fairly clean at Pakarang. Many families were in attendance as well as local kids taking part in the contest or just hanging out enjoying the friendly scene.

Heats and quarter-finals were held all day, with longboarders squeezing out the longest rides, rushing to the nose to try and get five toes over before the break cut the ride short. Shortboarders were trying to generate enough speed to pull off a maneuver before the section closed-out with reasonable success, this can be attributed to the fact that they normally have to surf with small and sloppy conditions.

Dubwise Phuket was representing with DJ Unity Selekta, who was serving up free-flow reggae and dub for spectators and beach goers, and as a soundtrack for the surfers.

Matt explained that the idea for a competition stemmed from a way to get locals more excited and involved with surfing.

“For me, it’s about the kids; for Ching, it’s about the community – Phuket and the different surfers, everyone coming up and having a good time together. This surf contest is about getting kids stoked because when they see other kids better than them, they want to surf that much more.”

Matt sees surfing as a way to keep local kids involved in positive activities, “Our thing is, give them something clean to do – the surf is here, it’s free.”

The contest was a huge success. The sponsors pulled-through by providing money and prizes, plenty of surfers made it out and the sea cooperated to an extent.

So what’s next? “I think it is inevitable that there will be another contest next year,” exclaims Matt.
“To be honest, we are not looking for bigger sponsors, we are going to keep it kind of home-grown.”

— Jeremie Schatz

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forum
🔔 Subscribe to our daily newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 mins ago

Australia, Asia, and Africa deal with the Covid-19 Omicron variant

Thailand11 mins ago

HM The King returns to Thailand for Father’s Day commemorations

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 hours ago

Omicron spreads to 38 countries, 10 US states; Remdesivir recalled

advertiseadvertise
Transport3 hours ago

Hua Lamphong “won’t be torn down” | VIDEO

North East3 hours ago

Penis park in Khon Kaen is urging visitors to hug a member

Food4 hours ago

Vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Bangkok | VIDEO

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Tourism4 hours ago

Maya Bay on hold, but preparations for an eventual reopening continue | VIDEOS

Indonesia14 hours ago

Volcano eruption in Indonesia; 1 dead, thousands flee

Drugs15 hours ago

Customs department seizes 897 kg of meth headed to Taiwan

Northern Thailand17 hours ago

Tiger in Kamphaeng Phet on the loose for a fifth day

Chiang Mai18 hours ago

Chiang Mai and Hua Hin can now serve alcohol in restaurants

Coronavirus (Covid-19)19 hours ago

Koh Samui Airport scrutinising international arrivals for Omicron

Thailand19 hours ago

PM says government move to digital technology will grow economy

Coronavirus (Covid-19)21 hours ago

COVID-19 SATURDAY: 5,896 infections, 37 deaths, provincial data

Tourism24 hours ago

Chon Buri and Pattaya bar scene get good news, but at what cost?

Thailand3 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism9 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism9 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism9 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending