Surfing in China? Absolutely! There are many people who are passionate about surfing in the city of Shanghai, but with the sea being far away, surfers are forced to either fly to other parts of China or overseas in order to surf. With the ongoing pandemic and travel restrictions this is not an option, leaving Chinese surfers without the opportunity to surf.
Terry Yu, the Vice President of Competition & Events at REnextop, the exclusive partner of ESPN who produce the X Games (extreme sports games) in China, took some time out of his busy day to sit down with our team and talk about the scarcity of surf locations in China and how he managed to find a new surf spot Shanghai.
How did you manage to find a new surfing spot in Qidong?
A few other surfers and I used professional software and analyzed some maps to find a surf spot in the city of Qidong. The three of us drove together along the beach to explore and finally found a spot with suitable waves and excellent natural conditions. The new spot makes it much easier for us to surf every weekend with just under a two-hour drive.
We are very happy with the new surf spot; the surf has a sand break and the size of the waves varies every day. We are hoping it will be an option to surf here year-round, but because the surfing spot is newly explored, it will be seen if the water stays warm enough to surf here in the winter. There is a WeChat group of surfers living in Shanghai called City Surfer where the local surfers share the waves broadcast monitored by professional mobile APPs so we can get the best surf possible.
Note: Shanghai surfers call Qidong ‘Chillifornia’ because Qi sounds like Chi in Chinese
How would you describe surf culture in China?
Surfing didn’t really exist in China until about 10 years ago. The sport has now become past time in China, spreading rapidly as more and more people try the sport. I would boldly guess that the future of China’s surfing market will be beyond imagination.
Chinese surfers are not different from the surfers in the other place of the world. It’s hard to describe. From my point of view, most surfers are young, very energetic and good looking with tanned skin and big smile. They like to make new friends, enjoy a gold drink after a successful ride, and enjoy the sun. Besides surfing most of us also do other kinds of sports such as skateboarding. Surf culture is developing quickly here in China.
What are your thoughts on Endless Surf?
Large artificial surf pools are very much expected as they are more convenient and safer. Urban surfing is the new stage and direction for the future development of surfing.
Our cities are large and have many sports and entertainment developments, I do hope we add a surf pool in Shanghai soon. It would be good to have both ocean and pool options to be able to surf more often. If there was an Endless Surf in Shanghai, I’d be there! Is it coming soon?
We have nothing to announce yet, but with a WhiteWater office in Shanghai we’d love to see that soon too!