ISA Surf and SUP Instructor Courses presented in Houhai

Posted - News Posted for China News, World Surfing News.


How great is it when a group of surfers sit around a table and put efforts toward making things better for their beach community? This is exactly what happened at the ISA Surf and SUP level 1 seminar, held by Insight Adventures in Houhai (Sanya, China) from April 10th to the 13th. It was the first to be fully managed from within the country with the support of the Chinese Extreme Sports Association and Surfing China.


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 in Hainan. In summer the blue flat water offers a perfect venue for stand-up lessons and flat water excursions. Between November and April a constant flux of monsoon-generated swells turn Houhai into a Chinese surf Mecca. Dozens of surfers and tourists reach Houhai, escaping from the rigid weather of the Mainland. Athletes of the newly formed Chinese National Team can often be spotted training among Houhai’s fast waves. This surf explosion has created good opportunities for surf schools and small hotels, but also safety issues. With the beach lacking designated swimming areas, safety is mostly in the hands of the surfers. And that’s when the ISA trainings are mostly needed.


“Safety in the surf is crucial worldwide” explained Mollie Quinn, an outdoor guide coming from Hong Kong to attend the training “we experienced rips and hazards first hand in Houhai and learned how to manage them and keep operations safe and fun. It was a great experience.”

“Insight has been promoting safety in Houhai for years. Seeing most of the local operators follow our example and take the ISA seminar is a great satisfaction”, commented Nik Zanella, newly assigned ISA presenter and Insight Adventures surf coordinator. “It was also a great chance to share experiences and think about the future” added Xiao Yan, the first surfer born and raised in the village, now on his way to becoming a certified ISA instructor.


With the adjacent Haitang Bay becoming the fulcrum of Sanya’s tourism industry, Houhai will play a crucial role in water sports development, providing a safe venue for schools and advanced training 365 days/year. Offering a positive and professional example for the whole Chinese surf movement.

The four days of training culminated with a beautiful northeast swell, with waves up to 1.5m high, perfect for the trainees to show their surf skills and for everyone involved to enjoy a beautiful sunset session in the ocean!


Insight Adventures is leading provider of outdoor education and school trips in China.

Catering from individuals to large groups, INSiGHT provides fully managed excursions or guiding services for a range of activities throughout China. Today Insight is the market leader and the first choice of international schools. Our clients range from schools, corporate, families (private groups) and individual travelers.

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With over 30 years of surfing and SUP under his belt and after spending 3 years as Insight Adventure surf coordinator, Nik has been chosen as the official ISA presenter for China. Since 2014, Nik is also the coach of the Chinese National Surfing Team.


Chinese Extreme Sports Association (CESA) was formally established in the approval of the State Sports General Administration, Ministry of Civil Affairs and the State Department in 2004. CESA is the national federation of China providing professional management, organization and promotion of extreme sports including Surfing, Skateboarding, Snowboarding, Inline skating, BMX, Biketrial, Wakeboard, Motocross, Parkour etc.

CESA is responsible for the management of extreme sports competitions, cultivation of young reserve talents, supervision of fields and facilities and the development of extreme sports related cultural industry in China. At present, CESA is a member of the Asian Extreme Sports Federation (AXF) , the International Rafting Federation (IRF), and will soon become a member of the International Surfing Association (ISA).CESA is willing to cooperate together with all the friends who love extreme sports to promote its development.