Friday, February 06, 2015

At Play with the Wind and Surf: The Boracay International Funboard Cup 2015

Bulabog Beach is popular area for windsurfing and kiteboarding in Boracay
Bulabog Beach, at the eastern side of the resort island of Boracay in Malay, Aklan, is a less crowded and windier area, especially from November to February, during the amihan season when cool northeast wind blows. Here, one is greeted by varicoloured power kites flitting over the luminous sea, dotting the sapphire sky.
The beach has been for several years a favourite spot for such water sports as kiteboarding and windsurfing. It is now lined with resorts as well as kitesurfing clinics and rental shops, the first of which appeared in 2002.
Because of the condition and direction of the wind and the depth of the beach, Bulabog is perfect for kiteboarding, according to Nenette Aguirre-Graf, owner of the Greenyard Funboard and NeilPryde Cabrinha Test Center at the southern part of the beach.
Here, the 54 year-old Bulabog pioneer and Malay native yearly spearheads the Boracay International Funboard Cup (BIFC), which is on its 26th year now.  Graf herself is a champion board rider, who regularly participates in the competitions.
Graf established BIFC in 1988 with her then husband, Swiss board sailor Robe Graf. It started as a way to celebrate their wedding anniversary, gathering close friends for a windsurfing race. Over the years, the event grew, attracting enthusiasts from all over the world and becoming one of the longest running and successful international sporting events in the Philippines.  In 1992, with support from the Department of Tourism and help from windsurfing couple Vangie and Art Palacios, it became an international event. When kitesurfing was first introduced in the country in Boracay, it was included in BIFC in 2006. For kiteboarders, there are competitions for speed, hang time, big air challenge and freestyle.
BIFC became so popular that it has gained the attention of tourism officials.  In fact, the Department of Tourism Western Visayas Region, headed by regional director Helen Catalbas, gave the event the Regional Director’s Award for its contribution to the tourism industry of the island and the region.
This year, the Neil Pryde and Cabrinha Boracay International Funboard Cup was held from January 26 to 31, 2015, with 88 registered participants from about 20 countries.  Aside from the competitions, the event is also known for its nightly parties and other activities like a fashion show.  The awarding ceremony was held on January 31 at the Boracay Regency Resort and Convention Center with Malin Amle of Norway emerging as the top lady kite surfer and the fastest woman in twintip kitesurfing race, slalom race and freestyle competition. Graf didn’t join this year but she is set to go the 16th Vietnam Fun Cup, the second leg of AWKT Asian Windsurfing and Kiteboard Tour this early February, and her daughter, Leonae Aguirre Graf, followed in her footsteps, competing and clinching several prizes. 

A kiteboarding contender

Winners of the Boracay International Funboard Cup 2015

Women’s twintip kiteboarding race
First: Malin Amle (Norway)
Second: Polina Bubyr (Russia)
Third: Julia Tausch (Austria)

Men’s twintip kiteboarding race
First: Martti Ainola (Estonia)
Second: Louis Hutter (France)
Third: Ronel Mateo (Philippines)

Women’s kiteboarding speed trials
First: Malin Amle (Norway)
Second: Ana Enciu (Romania)
Third: Viola Kaukonen (Finland)

Men’s kiteboarding speed trials
First: Jay Ortiz (Philippines)
Second: Martti Ainola (Estonia)
Third: Louis Hutter (France)

Women’s kiteboarding hang time
First: Polina Bubyr (Russia)
Second: Malin Amle (Norway)
Third: Franziska Limmer (Germany)

Men’s kiteboarding hang time
First: Khristopher Nacor (Philippines)
Second: Kirill Liitvinov (Russia)
Third: Martti Ainola (Estonia)

Women’s freestyle kiteboarding
First: Malin Amle (Norway)
Second: Franziska Limmer (Germany)
Third: Julia Tausch (Austria)

Men’s freestyle kiteboarding
First: Christian Tio (Philippines)
Second: Louis Hutter (France)
Third: Stefano Ganugi (Philippines)

Youth windsurfing slalom race
First: Gordon Gelito (Philippines)
Second: Jose Marie Consista (Philippines)

Women’s windsurfing slalom race
First: Gloria Flores (Philippines)
Second: Leonae Aguirre Graf (Philippines)
Third: Zosia Kubaszewska (Poland)

Men’s windsurfing slalom race
First: Gordon Gelito (Philippines)
Second: Gido Gelito (Philippines)
Third: Jae Woo Park (Korea)

Master’s windsurfing slalom race
First: Oh Jae Hwan (Korea)
Second: Jonas Schoenenberger (Switzerland)
Third: Han Jun Park (Korea)

Grand master’s windsurfing slalom race
First: Typhoon Jeon (Korea)
Second: Ramon Balaguer (Spain)
Third: Helmo Kassler (Austria)

Women’s windsurfing speed trials
First: Simone Bartmann (Germany)
Second: Gloria Flores (Philippines)
Third: Leonae Aguirre Graf (Philippines)

Men’s windsurfing speed trials
First: Jonas Schoenenberger (Switzerland)
Second: Gordon Gelito (Philippines)
Third: Typhoon Jeon (Korea)

Men’s windsurfing overall
First: Gordon Gelito (Philippines)
Second: Typhoon Jeon (Korea)
Third: Gido Gelito (Philippines)

Nenette Graf and daughter Leonae
Men’s windsurfing overall winners, Typhoon Jeon of Korea (second), Gordon Gelito of the Philippines (first) and Gido Gelito of the Philippines (third)

A recommended place to stay at Bulabog Beach
Bulabog Beach has a cluster of resorts from budget types to posh ones. In the middle is Levantin Boracay Resort, which has a laidback vibe and 19 rooms with local architecture inspiration. Every room is equipped with air-conditioning, cable TV, free Wi-Fi, and hot and cold water. There are three Deluxe Rooms, suitable for couple or friends traveling together; six Family Rooms, which can accommodate three persons; and 10 Superior Rooms for two persons, which sport Hispanic-Filipino colonial inspired design. Levantin is known to have a regular Romanian buffet. 

For more information, call phone number (+63 36) 288-2763 or (+632) 894-0077, or e-mail Visit

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