Women's Month Feature: Pinay Wahine, Daisy Valdez

Surfing has only been gaining popularity these past few years in the Philippines. The availability of surfboards in major shopping malls and the emergence of more and more surf shops have made it somewhat easier for the common Filipino to ride waves. Easy access to surf spots such as La Union has also made it possible for weekend warriors to get their wave fix.

La Union has recently been officially declared as the “Surfing Capital of the North” by the Philippine government and home to local female surfer, Daisy Valdez.

Daisy Valdez is one of La Union’s, and the Philippines for that matter, top female local surfers.

Daisy is renowned not only for her longboarding skills, but for her high level of shortboarding as well. For those who don’t know what Daisy looks like, she’s less than five feet tall, and was once mistaken by the mother of one of their close friends as a “duwende”, but make no mistake, though affectionately she may be called small, she is magic on those big waves.

In Photo: Daisy Valdez for Wave Nomad

Photo by: PJ Valenciano

At the age of eleven, she started surfing because of endlessly watching her elder brother catch waves at their home break “the point”, at San Juan, La Union. At first in fear for her safety, her “Kuya” was cautious and somewhat overprotective, not letting her ride big waves. But true to the form of a true surfer, the call of bigger waves representing bigger challengers was there, and Daisy Valdez not only heard it, she answered it.

From conquering larger waves, Daisy moved on to conquering competitions. Her first taste of victory was earned at the expense of boys who greatly underestimated her skill and determination. At age twenty, Daisy has bagged championships in almost every wahine competition held all over the country. Though she stands no more than five feet tall, she surges down waves twice her size with ease that masks her great skill.

In Photo: Daisy Valdez for Kudo Surf

Photo by: PJ Valenciano

Born a naturally gifted athlete, Daisy Valdez believes that hard work is just as important. Her hard work paid off in the form of victories.

Most people believe that surfing is a male-dominated, testosterone-charged spot because of the emphasis on athletic ability and strength. Others believe that surfing is best left to the bourgeois. Daisy Valdez is living proof that you need not be ultra-strong, nor ultra-rich, “Ordinaryong tao lang ako, pero ako nakaka-surf”, as she puts it. In Daisy Valdez, we saw the potential, that in surfing, you need not have the body of a Greek god or a Pamela Anderson either.

Not everyone will get to experience winning a championship, or surfing at a high level,but as Daisy puts it, everyone has just as much fun simply surfing. You need not be a pro to feel the stoke, the natural high that comes with surfing.

In Photo: Daisy Valdez for Kudo Surf and Wave Nomad

Photo by: PJ Valenciano

All surfers know of this fire as the stoke, the most sacred word in surfing language. To put it in our own words “the personal high you feel when you go surfing”. Surfing speaks a universal language of recreation. The act of catching a wave will pump endorphins into the brain, at the same level as that of a beginner, and let’s say, Kelly Slater. As soul surfer Dave Paskowitz and one of his brothers would say, “The intensity is the same, only he’s the best surfer in the world. Even though Daisy is a hailed as an undefeated champion in women’s surfing division in the Philippines, she carries the humble air of a winner as naturally as she breaks down waves.

Everyone feels the same intensity when riding a challenging wave. And like life, surfing is about challenging yourself. Daisy Valdez continues to conquer these challenges, as she continues to surf each and every day of her life.

In Photo: Daisy Valdez for Kudo Surf

Photo by: PJ Valenciano

More about Daisy Valdez

Daisy Valdez is currently one of the Team Riders of Kudo Surf, a brand based in Siargao, Philippines. She is the first female team rider signed in by Kudo Surf from the North. In addition, Daisy Valdez has been chosen by the Philippine Surfing Championship Tour (PCST) to be one of the surf athletes to represent the country at the 2019 Sea Games.

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