After four days under the coldest weather Hainan has seen in years, 14 surf instructors have completed the ISA Surf and Flat Water SUP Level 1 Course, held in Houhai (Sanya), China. The training was presented by Nik Zanella and held at White Castle’s newly opened surf center that features a gym, shaping room, shop, and guest house.
“I’m quite happy with the trainees this year,” commented Nik at the closing ceremony. “Most of them showed to be competent in the water and on land. It was also great chance to meet the new generation of Chinese instructors from all over the country!”.
After five year in the country, Nik has literally seen the sport spread all over China. Many surf scenes were represented with participants from Sanya, Shenzhen, Fuzhou, Chengdu and Wanning, cramming the facilities. Natalie Gevert, from Sweden, and Daniel Frattini, from Switzerland, gave an international feel to the seminar that for the first time used an English and Chinese surf manual and was simultaneously translated with the help of two interpreters.
“It’s always a pleasure to host initiatives like these” commented Wu Hua (Sanwa), GM of White Castle and a certified instructor himself. “We are creating a multi purpose surf center, and the support of Nik and of the ISA is another step in the right direction”.
No venue in China can be better than Houhai for a Level 1 training. Thanks to constant waves, efficient public transportation and a beginner-friendly beach, this crescent shaped bay 45km east of Sanya has become the epicenter of the surf and SUP scene on Hainan island, if not in the whole of China. In summer the blue water offers a perfect venue for Stand-Up lessons and flat water excursions. Between November and April a constant flux of monsoon generated swells turns Houhai into a Chinese surf Mecca. Dozens of surfers and tourists reach this lush tropical bay, escaping from the frigid weather of the Mainland. Athletes of the newly formed Chinese National Team can often be spotted training among Houhai’s fast waves together with an ever-growing population of locals and expats.
“We are happy with the interest shown for ISA trainings,” concluded Zanella. “We also plan on organizing a Judging and a Surf Rescue course soon, as a few of the most experienced surfers are already helping the judging panel at the local ISA and WSL competitions as spotters and beach marshals and explicitly asked do get certified”.
With the number of surfers growing exponentially in the country, professional trainings are going to become more and more popular, and this is the best way to have an organic and safe growth of the sport in this newly open surf frontier.