13 February 2024, San Juan, La Union, Philippines: Surfer/Commentator/Author/Filmmaker Sam Bleakely won the 40 & Over Division while Siargao Island’s Philmar Alipayo took out the Newly Single Division on the 4th and final day of competition at the 10th Single & Unattached Classic Single Fin Invitational at Mona Lisa Point in La Union. The weather and waves cooperated just about perfectly today, giving the competitors another fine day of 2-3 foot fun waves peeling down the point.
Sam Bleakey made it known that he had given up competitive surfing a decade ago, but this was too good of an opportunity to pass up, surfing Mona Lisa Point with only 3 other surfers in the water in the 40 & Over Division. Bleakely took the first wave and jumped into the lead, which he held until the end of the 20
minute final. However, there were a couple of tense minutes on the beach after the horn blew while the judges deliberated on runner up Luke Landrigan’s last second wave, but Bleakely was declared the winner as Landrigan’s wave score fell just short of the requirement.
Sam Bleakely, Men 40’s Champion / photo by Tim Hain
Luke Landrigan, Men 40’s Runner Up / photo by Tim Hain
“I do feel like I reminded myself why I retired from doing the World Tour events in 2014 andstarted working in the media,” he said laughing. “It takes a lot of energy to stay focused and do the job, but it was so lovely out there. Sharing the final with Luke was great, he’s always been a good friend, and I was trying to be as uncompetitive as possible out there, just sharing the space and enjoying myself. It was more a chance to bring my daughter Lola to meet some more
longboard friends in places I’ve been before, and this really reinforces me wanting to come back again next year and support this event. This is such a great event, thanks to all who are a part of it.”
When asked for her feelings about her father’s win, Lola replied, “I’m so proud of him, he reallydeserves it. He did lots better than me, I didn’t do that well but it’s all about the experience, and I’ve had such a great time here meeting new people and being in a new country. I can’t wait to come back again next year.”
When asked for her feelings about her father’s win, Lola replied, “I’m so proud of him, he really deserves it. He did lots better than me, I didn’t do that well but it’s all about the experience, and I’ve had such a great time here meeting new people and being in a new country. I can’t wait to come back again next year.”
In the Newly Single Division, it was a completely new type of event for Siargao Island’s Philmar Alipayo to be competing in, as his name is synonymous with Cloud 9, deep barrel rides, and competing in WSL Qualifying Series events around the Asian Region. But he’s no stranger to winning heats and winning contests, and now he’s added one more win to his list.
Philmar Alipayo, Newly Single Champion / photo by Tim Hain
“I started longboarding last year, and I love it,” said Alipayo. “My wife Andi longboards, so it’s a family thing now. But to be honest, competing with a longboard is really difficult. I felt I was struggling out there, but I’m just starting and I’m going to continue for sure. It was good out there though as nobody was hassling for waves, just taking turns, so I had a lot of fun.”
Alipayo’s wife Andi Eiganmann was all smiles after watching her husband take the win. “I’m super proud of him!” she exclaimed. “I was under pressure as we traveled from Siargao, as I got an invitation, and I didn’t do so well, so now that he won the pressure is off! But it’s pretty cool, and just because he is a pro shortboarder, it doesn’t mean it would be a walk in the park to longboard and win, as it’s a difficult sport as well. Philmar always works hard to excel, so in some ways I’m not too surprised to see him win. But he just started last year, maybe 6 months ago, and he really enjoys it.”
Runner up in the Newly Single Division was Reina Isomura, who was very impressive in her debut to competition, posting the highest single wave score of the final, a 7.0 (out of a possible 10 points) for two Hang 10 rides on the same wave. She only needed a 4.7 score to overtake Alipayo, and unfortunately her final wave just didn’t offer her a good scoring opportunity. Isamura’s hasn’t been surfing very long, but her skills are rapidly developing, thanks to partner and coach Jay-R Esquivel.
Philmar and Reina, Newly Single Champion and Runner Up / photo by Tim Hain
Sitting on the judging panel for these two divisions of competition were local pro’s longboarders Jay-R Equivel, Jomarie Ebueza, Roger Casogay, Benito Nerida with Matt “Waxhead” Chojnacki as the Head Judge. “Those guys did an excellent job on the panel today,” said Chojnacki. “It was a great opportunity for them and they were really impressive. Their knowledge of logging together with their understanding of the criteria was amazing…really great job done.”
40 and Over Results:
1.Sam Bleakley (UK)
2.Luke Landrigan (PH)
3.Ian Saguan (PH)
4. Moro Gandawali (PH)
Newly Single Results:
1. Philmar Alipayo (PH)
2.Reina Isomura (PH)
3.Neil Nacion (PH)
4.Blair Denver Turla (PH)
See all event results at https://www.liveheats.com/events/207617
Single and Unattached 2024 is proudly presented by @vansphilippines and @vesselhostel.
Sponsored by @cleanbeachco @thelark_inn @urbizgarden @johnniewalkerph @unionathletics.elyu
Also supported by @flotsamandjetsamhostel @eliseos.home @gwapitos.official @little.canggu @kermitlaunion @lakantinalaunion @launionsurfclub @asiansurfco @lineupbistroofficial @surfstarelyu_ @sabongfc @onlypanstaqueria @streamofconsciousnesscoffee @masabybarefoot @donerpapalu @tagpuansj @miryinda @filipinosurfersleague @arkizander @hellosurftown @urbizgarden @monalizasurfresort @elchaposph @halohilo_ @_hellohalu @ficlaunion @berrygudlaunion @engkantobrewery