Making Kudat world’s next surfing destination

KOTA KINABALU: Although introduced only recently after being identified as a hidden gem for the sport, surfing’s impact on Kg Simpang Mengayau is already becoming evident.

The once dirt road leading to the village, 40km from Kudat town that once depended on oil palms, coconuts and fishing is no more. It has been completely asphalted with chalets and homestays offering tourism packages.

The Sabah Surfing Association that started unofficially 15 years ago, had a hand in the villages’ transformation.

Jasman Oniau, started surfing six years ago after being introduced to the sport by friends from the Association.

The 36-year-old who works as a maintenance staff at the Merrimas Villa there said: “At that time, only a handful of us showed interest in surfing which started when someone from the association, including a friend from Australia gave us a boogie board and a surf board.”

“Now we have local surfers as young as six picking up the sport, you can see people surfing here almost every time the waves are huge.

“Our village became more famous for surfing, thanks to the Music and Surf 2017 Festival organised by Sri Pelancongan Sabah and the Sabah Surfing Association,” he said, hoping Simpang Mengayau will be as famous as other surfing sites in the world someday. Previously noted for the yearly Sunset Music Concert at the tip of Borneo, the site has now been identified by the State Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry as ideal to promote sports tourism through surfing. Kids like seven-year-old Rungus, Dennis Daniel, show their “pump” surfing skills. Barely four-feet, the boy dreams of becoming a professional surfer having learned how to ride the waves from his brother several months ago.

Dennis was also among groms (surfers below 16) who took part in the first official surf competition held recently at Kalampunian Beach.

Although he didn’t win any placing in the competition, the pupil from Pinangso still showed keen interest in the sport saying “siok tapi dalam” (fun but deep).

Surfing has also captured the interest of local girls, among them is Evita Ceresa from Kota Kinabalu.

The 16-year-old Italian-Sino Kadazan said:
“You don’t have to be a super pro-surfer or skate boarder to surf.

“You can work your way up, so long as you have the passion. If you love to do it, just do it, and have fun.”

“When I first started surfing I was scared of the giant waves in Bali, I was only 10. But once you get used to it, honestly it is not that scary, as long as you can swim, then you are all right.

She came out second in the Women Open Category and bagged the Best Local Women Title at the surf competition this year. “It was my first competition as a surfer. I was nervous but I made a lot of new friends. It is really good fun, a good way to socialise and a good way to advertise surfing in Malaysia,” she said.

‘Our beach is very nice, it is challenging, with smaller waves you don’t get as much leverage, with bigger waves you don’t need to paddle as much. I find surfing here challenging because you really need to paddle and paddling is my weakest part.”

“A lot of women are not into surfing, and there is a stigma that they can’t do it, that surfing is a man’s sport.

“Women can surf and as good as men and have as much fun and enjoy the sport as much as men do,” she said, when asked about challenges faced as a woman surfer.


Source: Daily Express

Over 450 runners for Borneo Bird Run

SANDAKAN: More than 450 people yesterday took part in the second edition of the Borneo Bird Run that promoted bird conservation and bird watching.

The 7km run around the Rainforest Discovery Centre here was flagged off by Chief Conservator of Forests, Datuk Sam Mannan.

The participants came from Sandakan, Lahad Datu, Beluran and Kota Kinabalu.

Borneo Birds Club chairman Gary Albert said the activity, which was supported by the Forestry Department and the Sabah Tourism Board, was also to promote a healthy lifestyle, besides the conservation aspect.

The men’s open category was won by Saibee Mohd. In second and third place respectively were Addy Zonius and Azrul Bombo. Christina Donale won the women’s open category while On bte Paris was in second place and Vidia Lee was in third.

In the men’s veteran category, first place was won by Alexander Lee, while Kirin Lumpakis and Ibra Sirah were in second and third respectively. Sahria Daraup won the women’s veteran category, followed by Thoen Sim Yee in second place, and Wong Kim Lan in third.


Source: New Sabah Times

600 go head-to-head in Sabah’s 3rd Kiulu Adventure Challenge

KIULU: Over 600 people put their endurance to the test in the 3rd Kiulu Adventure Challenge 2017 here on Sunday.

The adventure race saw local and international participants cycle 30km past several villages; and run 13km along the Kiulu river, which is an international water rafting hotspot.

Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai said that this year’s participation is encouraging, having exceeded its goal of 500 participants.


“This is also the first time Pekan Kiulu became the start and end point for the challenge. (Situating the race there), where 50 stalls were set up during the challenge, will benefit local traders and entrepreneurs.

“Not only is this is a sporting event, it is also a platform to promote the handicraft and traditional food and drink of the local community,” he told reporters after flagging-off the event.

Meanwhile, on the subject of tourism, the Kiulu assemblyman said that the construction of adequate infrastructure should be given emphasis to help develop rural tourism.

This includes improving roads, and providing clean water and power supply to rural areas.

“Therefore, I hope that the villagers and local community leaders will continue to give their support to rural tourism, thus boosting the economy of Kiulu,” Joniston added


Source: New Straits Times

Kudat ideal for surfing

Kudat: State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said Kudat has sports tourism potential, particularly with its white sandy beaches and sea conditions which make it a great place to surf.

“Based on feedback, there are many surfing fans here and sports tourism is something that we can do in Kudat,” he said.

“If possible, we want each district to have a specialisation. I find surfing appropriate for Kudat, taking into account the sea and wave conditions here,” he said during the Music and Surf 2017 Festival at the Kalampunian Beach, here, recently.

The three-day event, which ended on Sunday, saw 60 surfers (41 men, four women and 15 groms – surfers below 16) who came from across the country, Indonesia and Finland.

Jointly organised by Sri Pelancongan Sabah and Sabah Surfing Association, with support from the Ministry and Kudat District Office, the event not only drew visitors to the Tip of Borneo but also boost economic activities for local vendors, some coming from as far as Papar.

The power trip that left the venue in total darkness for several minutes during the Sunset Music Concert, which started at about 4.30pm, did little to dampen the lively scene as music lovers danced under the rain to the beat of local band performances.

“This is the first time we combine music fest and surfing. There’s still room for improvement but the response is encouraging,” Masidi said.

“Perhaps in future, we should start the event earlier. I suggest 2pm, or maybe in the morning, because among challenges for visitors coming here is the distance as well as the road coming here which is not so easy and could cause people to be worried about going home too late,” he added.

He said there is also a need to rethink whether to continue having the two events at the same spot, or perhaps the surfing to be held at the beach while the music fest at its previous spot.

“The difference is that it will be free admission for people to attend, but it also depends on the weather.

“I see we have an encouraging crowd, but the weather not so. Thus, it is important that every year we have to evaluate suitability of theme and ways, I hope if there is a need for change and improvement in future, we will do so.

“This event is in our tourism calendar, but the unpredictable weather makes it a bit difficult to find the appropriate time,” he said.

Meanwhile, the surf competition, held officially for the first time this year, saw surfers from Indonesia bagging the top four spots in the Men’s Open category, with I Made Darmayasa winning first place, followed by Demian Ammar (second), Putu Arya Gunata (third) and Wayan Rian (fourth).

First place went to Tytti Beltran from Finland in the Women Open Category, with Malaysia’s Evita Ceresa, Emalina Aimi and Jessica Ukiu in second, third and fourth placing, respectively.

Malaysians won the top four spots for the Grom Category (below 16), with Ayep Jasni winning first place, followed by Chris Jericho Lisad, Marcheles Alonso Masip and Hakimi Rizal Azman in second, third and fourth placing respectively.

Best Women Title went to Evita Ceresa, while Ken Lisad won the Best Men Title and Chris Jericho Lisad Best Grom Title.

Also present were Sabah Tourism Board (STB) Chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai, STB General Manager Gordon Yapp and Sabah Parks Chairman Tengku Datuk Ser Dr Zainal Adlin Tengku Mahamood, among others. – Sherell Jeffrey


Source: Daily Express

A new world ‘first’

Kota Kinabalu: Sabah now boasts a new global first that should appeal to extreme sports and other enthusiasts – Summit Pluton on Mt Kinabalu is the highest paragliding launching base at 13,000 feet above mean sea level.

“The new eco-tourism product will facilitate tourists who cannot stay longer in Sabah and could not make the usual climb,” said Sabah Parks Chairman Tengku Datuk Ser Dr Zainal Adlin Tengku Mahamood, at the 1Voluntourism: Mount Kinabalu programme.

“They can use the helicopter service and land at the Summit Pluton. Then glide down to the Kundasang tamu ground which will take about an hour, depending on the wind condition.”

He added, Kundasang and Ranau are suitable for air sports such as microlite and hot air balloon, thanks to its environment and wind condition.

“Throughout last year, some 14,000 tourists took part in paragliding activities in Ranau and we expect the figure to increase this year,” he said.

Six participants glided from the mountain in the 1Voluntarism: Mount Kinabalu programme organised by the State Tourism and Culture Ministry and Motac Sabah with the cooperation of Sabah Parks.

Motac Sabah Director Ag Ahmad Zaki Abu Bakar hoped the introduction of tourism products with niche market can promote Sabah as an eco-tourism destination, in line with the Ministry’s effort to promote ‘lung washing’ tourism.

He also urged visitors to the State to use the #SayangMalaysia hashtag on each photos posted on their social media, to support the campaign to make Sabah a well-known tourism destination in the world.


Source: Daily Express