The Department of Tourism (DOT) is implementing two far-reaching programs to develop surfing as a major tourism product for the country. One program calls for the classification and accreditation of resorts, surf camps or other facilities that provide surfing lessons to clients. Accreditation of such will require these training facilities to retain certified surfing instructors to teach or supervise the teaching of their students. It will also require them to have the essential teaching equipment and gear, such as soft training surfboards and rash guards; adequate spaces for class lessons, lockers, toilets and showers. Most importantly, they must have emergency rescue and crisis response capabilities including first aid kits and communications equipment for handling urgent conditions.
A National Criteria for the certification and classification of surf training facilities has been completed and subjected to public consultation. It is now undergoing final refinement.
Another vital component of this product development program is the upgrading of local coaches to bring them to the level of internationally certified professional surfing instructors and place them at par with the world’s best surfing coaches and increasing the number to retain certified instructors to teach or supervise the teaching of their students. To be certified, an instructor must undergo an intensive Surfing Instructors Certification Course.
For this project, the DOT has partnered with Australia’s Academy of Surfing Instructors (ASI) and its local chapter, the Academy of Surfing Instructors Philippines (ASIP). ASI is the world’s leading professional education, certification and accreditation standard for these. ASIP’s role is to execute all ASI functions, such as conducting instructor certification courses in the Philippines under strict ASI supervision.
So far, some 50 surfing instructors have received their ASI Level 1 certification and 15 more from Mati, Davao Oriental will soon join their ranks. At least two more runs are scheduled for this year: one in Baler, Aurora and another in Zambales, and these are expected to produce 50 more ASI Level 1 Certified instructors.
This program also aims to professionalize the local surf industry and provide more job opportunities to the coastal and surfing communities.