Why Stand-up Paddleboarding Hasn't Made Waves In China

By Ryan Gandolfo, August 25, 2020

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When it comes to popular stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) destinations around the world, people’s minds turn towards Hawaii, the Florida Keys and Costa Rica, among others. Needless to say, China’s coastal waters don’t get the same attention. However, Mike Slim of Supoholic is giving people living in China a taste of the ‘SUP’ life with tours in Sanya, Shenzhen and Huizhou. Slim shares with us why paddleboarding has yet to take off in the Middle Kingdom. 

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How have you seen paddleboarding develop in China since you got started?
While water sports are very popular all over the world, it seems they are still undervalued here in China. There are two major problems: dirty waters and an apparent phobia of water. China has a lot of things they need to do before paddleboarding becomes a popular activity. I estimate that we’re still a few years away before people in the PRC start buying paddleboards for recreational use and begin paddling out on their own. Regarding paddleboarding as a sport, I don’t have any forecast. I’m not involved in the sport industry at all, my passion is stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) tourism.

What are the best spots to paddleboard in China?
Any clean and uncontaminated water source is a good spot for paddleboarding. I prefer seas, especially in Hainan province – if you have not been there yet, you should pay a visit. I’m organizing a SUP trip to Sanya over the October National Day holiday. You can also visit my winter paddleboarding club in Sanya.

What have you learned about the country’s coastal areas since you started providing tours?
China has one of the longer coastlines in the world. While I’ve been to many places [along the coastline], I still haven’t even seen 1% of it yet.

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How does typhoon season play a factor into your tours?
Any offshore wind is potentially dangerous and a hazard. However, strong winds blowing in a predictable direction can be used for a nice downwind ride. This way you can start from one spot and paddle to the other spot through the open seas along with the wind. Downwind rides are great for covering long distances.

As for typhoons, it’s totally unsafe for our activities as wind direction is hardly predictable and scattered rains can reduce visibility. Vessels and rocks are arguably the most dangerous obstacles during a storm.

To add Supoholic, scan the QR code or follow them on Instagram (@supoholic):

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READ MORE: How to Track Typhoons Hitting China on WeChat and Web

[Images provided by Supoholic]

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