Recently, the surf community lost a promising, 20-year old lad named Mike Escoltura. My heart broke with so much sadness knowing that such a young person who has so much talent, potential, and vast dreams to accomplish had gone too soon.
Other fellow-surfers shared their moments and photos with Mike.
Hanz Cubillan said, “I surfed with him sa Stimpys (2015). Mark, his twin, was there too, and other good friends Piso, Kirt and Leslie. Nice guy, good son to Nanay and good to all his friends.”
Kage Gozun also shared a photo, taken about four years ago, with the twins Mike and Mark.
Mike Escoltura is a Siargao-based surfer who placed and won in numerous surfing awards including the 12th Siargao National Surf Cup last 2010 where he reached the quarterfinals. In 2011, Mike finished third in the juniors division of the 3rd Cantilan Surfing Open. In the same year, he was the 1st runner-up at the 9th National Lanuza Surfing Festival. In the year 2012, Mike finished 2nd at the 18th Siargao International Surfing Cup in 2012, and was declared champion at the Cloud 9 Masters Championship Juniors Division in the same year. And in 2016, he bagged the juniors championship at the Siargao Surfing Cup.
So, what exactly happened? According to the GoGetFunding Fundraising campaign by Janice Talosig, “On April 19, 2017, Mike Escoltura was on his way to Pilar on his motorbike when a speeding car hit him on a curve at broad daylight. The car was on the wrong lane and there was no way for Mike to negotiate the situation…This isn’t one of those drunken accidents. Mike Escoltura is a diligent student, an outstanding surfer, and a responsible son. Just last week, Mike and his twin brother, Mark, graduated with a degree in Criminology at the Siargao Island Institute of Technology. He has plans of taking the national board exam to join the Philippine National Police.”
On April 22, 2017, the surf community in La Union held a paddle out in memory of Mike. A paddle out is a ritual which surfers around the world practice, done to honor the life of a fallen surfer.
Mr. Gaps Saburero, a Siargao-based film maker and photographer, made a short video in memory of Mike to showcase his talent, skill and potential.
People ask me, why do you surf? Why do you always go back? See, surfing is more than just a lifestyle where it is all about riding waves and being tan. It is about the community, where each of us are one with the ocean; we are all brothers and sisters. The surf community is family to me —regardless if I’ve met them just once or I’ve grown as a surfer with them. May the story of Mike Escoltura be an inspiration to all of us; may it show that there is hope in humanity.