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Ripping Them Waves: Manuel Melindo & Ana Mae Talk Surf Essentials For Summer

Photo of Manuel Melindo by Ellie Hayden

Photo of Manuel Melindo by Ellie Hayden

What do you need in your arsenal to start your dream of becoming a surfer? Already ripping them waves but still looking for the right products? Whether you’re a millennial ogling the hottest international brands or a hardened pro sticking local, we’ve got the in scoop for you.

Manuel “Wilmar” Melindo, hailed as the sexiest man in Siargao, is a legend and one of the forefathers of Philippine surfing. This surf god made flesh was kind enough to share his personal list of surfer essentials to us mere mortals, clearly supporting and advocating local roots.

Meanwhile on the other side of the beach we have 18-year-old Ana Mae Alipayo, one of the rising talents in women’s surfing who has been playing the sport since she was twelve. She gives us some of her surf angel secrets, combatting Wilmar’s easy tastes with global brands such as Roxy.

So which one reigns the seven seas? Local or international? Let’s take a peek:

  1. What is the best surfboard brand?

Wilmar: I like Siargao brand Cocosurf because their boards are custom-made to your taste. You can make your own shape and choose a unique design.

(Wilmar shaping his board with shaper DinDin at the blackroom in Cocosurf)

(Wilmar shaping his board with shaper DinDin at the blackroom in Cocosurf)

Ana Mae: Chilli from Australia. I like everything about their boards from the simple clean lines to the graffiti-styled designs.

  1. What do you like to wear when you’re out in the water?

Wilmar: I sometimes use a rash guard, but mostly board shorts. Fluidsurf is awesome because their products are so comfortable and stylish.

Ana Mae: I love wearing Roxy one-pieces because they’re practical and flattering. It’s great to look good in the surf, but you also need something that’ll stay on even after a huge wipeout.

(Photo by: Ongster Montenegro)

(Photo by: Ongster Montenegro)

  1. Is there a surfboard wax you’d recommend?

Wilmar: Tropical wax, sticky bumps, and Mrs. Blummet.

Ana Mae: Sticky bumps for sure. It is really durable, looks cool and smells like a blueberry. What an awesome combination!


  1. Do you use anything to protect your skin from the harsh rays of the sun?

Wilmar: I don’t use sunblock because it gets too slidy when you surf. You get a nice tan with tough Filipino skin.

Ana Mae: I use Banana Boat sunscreen. Some sunscreens wear off after an hour, but Banana Boat has long-lasting sun protection, even during the day’s peak-time. It’s reliable, it prolongs my surf sessions, and it protects me from skin cancer and sunburn.

  1. We all know leashes are important as heck. They’re basically your lifeline back to your board if you get beat-up by the waves and currents. Any special preference?

Wilmar: Ocean & Earth leashes are my go-to because they’re easy to find in any surf store, especially on the island.

Ana Mae: Dakine are definitely my favorite leashes. They’ve never let me down in powerful surf. You don’t want a weak leash if you’re two kilometers out at sea surfing a reef pass! You’d lose your board when the waves close out on you. Dakine make strong leashes that also, conveniently, come in a range of cool colors.

(Photo by: Kyron Rathbone)

(Photo by: Kyron Rathbone)

  1. What with all the hype on this product, we have to ask – do you use a GoPro? If not GoPro, what equipment do you use to film yourself or others surfing?

Wilmar: Yeah, before I used a GoPro and they’re cool, but now I’ve switched over to Nikon’s waterproof line and also have a Nikon D2200 when I feel like chilling out and filming my friends play.


Ana Mae: I don’t have my own GoPro yet, but some of my friends have clips of me from the line-up using theirs. GoPro has a nifty wide-angle view and can capture great shots despite how bright the Philippine sun can be. I only know Go-Pro for water cameras and from what I’ve seen I think they’re the most popular.

  1. Any power meals for surfing?

Wilmar: I like to snack on 2 eggs before going out if the high tide is super early in the morning. When the high tide is later on in the day, just normal food. My favorite is fish, rice, and gayay (sweet potato leaves cooked in soy sauce).

Ana Mae: Locally grown bananas give me loads of energy and prevent food craving while in the line-up. Plus local coconut water – it’s healthy and refreshes me after a long session.

  1. So how do you look like a legit surfer off the beach? Any favorite accessories to achieve that cool look?

Wilmar: WIP caps are nice. They have a lot of variety with their streetwear vibe. I pair that up with any shoes and sunglasses.

(Photo by Mark Mabanag)

(Photo by Mark Mabanag)

Ana Mae: Havaianas flip-flops! They’re so cool. They’re also durable when you’re walking over the reef. They even look great in the jungle disco. I also love stuff from Redbull.

  1. Now tell us about your weapon collection. What sizes of boards do you like to use and/or own?

Wilmar: I have my beloved 5’3” board, which is perfect. It turns fairly easily for small sized waves!

(Photo by: Troy Medina)

(Photo by: Troy Medina)

Ana Mae: I’m a short board kinda girl. I’m not very tall myself so I like riding 5’2”-5’5” depending on the size of the waves. For small to regular days I take out my 5’2” because it’s good in most conditions. On bigger days I borrow a bigger board, a 5”5”, to help me get on the waves a second or two early. Short boards are fast, turn really well, and get you inside a barrel easily.

(Photo and board by Kudo Surf)

(Photo and board by Kudo Surf)

  1. In the event that you damage your board, do you fix it yourself or do you go to a “surfboard doctor”? I personal like Phix Doctor.

Wilmar: My friend DinDin always fixes my board for me! He’s the guy who knows how to do it best and I think he uses epoxy resin.

(Shaper Din Litangan is also a surf doctor, photo by cocosurf)

(Shaper Din Litangan is also a surf doctor, photo by cocosurf)

Ana Mae: I use Solarez quick-dry resin for small dings. It’s surprisingly easy to repair the ding yourself as the kit comes with sand paper. Basically, you just sand around the ding and put the product in the crack or hole. It dries super fast if you place the board under direct sun, so then I can use the board when the waves call me back in the afternoon after I get a ding in the morning.


  1. How about surfboard fins?

Wilmar: Cocosurf made and helped design my new 5’3” single fin board. It’s sort of an experimental board made for the Cloud 9 surf spot so I’m not too choosy on the brand.

(Photo by: Mark Mabanag)

(Photo by: Mark Mabanag)

Ana Mae: I’ve surfed with different types of fins and, more than any other brand, Kudo future fins allow me to carve huge clean turns into steep, hollow sections. I’ve never broken one even after the strongest of cutbacks. I like that the fins come in a beautiful range of tropical and fun shades.

  1. Lastly, what is one thing all surfers should have?

Wilmar: You should have a good variety of boards to choose from. Keep practicing your style both on the water and out. On the ground, you can do many things to keep training such as skateboarding in the city or IndoBoarding. Those are the techniques of surfing you need to keep in mind.

Ana Mae: All professional or semi-pro surfers should have a water-resistant watch. If I’m surfing in competitions, having a watch helps me keep a close eye on the time to catch that final wave. If I’m free surfing I need to know exactly when to arrive to start my lessons. It’s important not to be late, especially when teaching Western clients.


Interview by Sade Andria Zabala

Sade Andria Zabala is a twenty-four year old Filipina surfer sometimes living in Denmark. She is the author of poetry books War Songs and Coffee and Cigarettes. Her work has appeared on places such as Literary Orphans, The Thought Catalog, The Rising Phoenix Review, Hooligan Magazine, Germ Magazine, and more. In her spare time she likes to eat words and drink sunlight. You can purchase her books here. 

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