BY BEN BILUA
A total of 20 surfers signed up for the Western Solomon’s Surfing competition which was held at Paeloge community in the Western Province.
The competition kicked off on Tuesday after a short opening ceremony in the presence of Minister of Tourism for Western Provincial Government, Ronnie Gemu, Tourism officer for Western Province, Fabina Lilo, Western province’s Sports Officer Betty Senipitu, officials from Tourism Solomons, participants and Paeloge community.
Participants were divided into two groups, four in each group, where two from each group, Paeloge and Titiana hitting the waves.
The competition is competed in round-robin where surfers from Paeloge went head-to-head with surfers from Titiana.
Two winners of each group qualify for the next round. Surfers are graded with two judging criteria; one is perfect riding on waves and barrel.
In junior category, Paeloge surfers lead the pool game with three surfers qualifies for the next round.
President of Western Solomons Surfing Association (WSSA), Jeremy Baea said WSSA is excited and proud to host the event again this year.
“We host the event every year and this is the 6th surfing competition we organized so far. Normally, we the competition took place around December,” Baea said.
“Last year the competition was delayed until this month and we are happy to see teams coming forward to be part of this event.
He stressed that the aim of the event is to promote surfing and at the same time promoting tourism in Western province.
Baea adds that part of the event’s mission is to also raise awareness to younger generation to keep the ocean clean.
He said the biggest vision of WSSA is to make sure surfing is recognized as one of the sports that can be competed not only at the national but also regional and international level.
Baea said discussions to promote surfing in the country is going well between WSSA and National Olympic Committee Solomon Islands with much anticipation on lifting the sport to all corners of Solomon Islands.
He said WSSA provides basic surfing training saying any organization who wants to venture into establishing surfing competition can reach out to their association.
Baea meanwhile acknowledged major sponsors; Solbrew, Solomon Airlines, Papatura Resort, Tourism Solomons and Oravae Cottage for supporting the competition.
Fabina Lilo – Tourism Officer for Western province acknowledged WSSA for organizing the competition.
“It encouraging to see youths participating in this sport and I commend WSSA for making this event possible,” she said.
Lilo said Western Provincial Government has been very supportive towards the competition over the years and will continue to do so in the future.