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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Surfing in Hong Kong

It's been awhile since I bade a farewell aloha to Hawaii and its perpetual rainbows, flower leis and awesome waves, and so I decided to scratch my seven-year surfing itch in, of all places, Hong Kong.  Thankfully, ye gods of Google came to the rescue which was how I found out about this little outfit called Surf Hong Kong that runs classes out of Sai Wan Ho beach (picture below.)

Now I was so determined to hit the waves again that I didn't really pay that much attention to Surf Hong Kong's online map that detailed precisely how to get there.  Everywhere's just 15 to 20 minutes away from everywhere else in Hong Kong, I thought, so I didn't take into account the travelling time preceding my 2 p.m. surfing lesson appointment with the affable Kevin of Surf Hong Kong.  Biiiiiig mistake.    

It turned out that from my home in Happy Valley to the seaside fishing village of Sai Kung took about 45 minutes on the subway and a bus; from there, it was a 10-minute wait for a private mini bus to shuttle me for 15 minutes to the entrance of Sai Kung West Country Park, wherupon I had to grit my teeth, gird my loins and hike an additional 30 minutes to what the website blithely states "is about as far East in Hong Kong as you can get," at the end of which is Sai Wan Ho beach.  So yes, you can say I'd underestimated my journey's schedule and was just a wee bit late for my lesson.

Aside from the large number of sleeping stray dogs along the path, the above ramshackle bar was what first caught my eye when I got to the village clearing.  I turned around - there are perhaps only five or six small single storey buildings adjacent to this beach bar - and saw Surf Hong Kong's "office" not 10 meters away (picture, below.)  Since I was tardy for my lesson, Kevin had left me a helpful note on his whiteboard.
I was initially worried I couldn't find him as instructed, but I walked out another 30 steps or so to the "second" bay, and there he was, catching some baby waves with his pal.
That day, the water was still warm - so no need for the heavy-duty wetsuits - a light rash guard was fine - and the waves were maybe three to five feet at the most.  Perfect for my rusty, surf-deprived self.  Due to the fact that it was a weekday, a tad cloudy and somewhat off-season, Kevin and I had the entire bay - and set after set of rolling waves - all to ourselves.  It was truly worth that long, drawn out journey there.

Me on the tail end of a ride in.
View from the country park
But I have to say, getting there was only half the work. 

Leaving is a whole different ballgame, not least because it was a brutal, cramp-inducing, 40-minute mostly uphill slog back up the mountain, all the more uncomfortable in damp, somewhat drippy clothes, done in rapid fire time just to catch the last shuttle bus out of the country park that would take me back to the relative civilization of Sai Kung.  The alternative would be to call for a cab that's willing to get all the way out there to the boonies, and that's on the off-chance that the cellphone reception is even working.  But after the gnashing of teeth over the extremely inconvenient location of this sweet surfing spot has passed, I know I will be back there to ride the waves again.  Of course I doubt about that.  Only next time, I'll have with me an extra set of dry clothes, songs loaded on the iPod, and lots more hours on the clock to hang, to chill, to be.

Surf Hong Kong
Telephone +852 5410 5015

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