Tatler's Guide To Surfing In Hong Kong
Beyond the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong are long stretches of sand perfect for the summer heat, so why not take a break and enjoy one of the most thrilling water sports Hong Kong has to offer?
With some beaches like Big Wave Bay only 30 minutes away from the city, and surfing shops located everywhere from Causeway Bay to Stanley, there is no better time to make a splash. Although it may seem daunting at first, it's easy to get into the swing of things even after just an hour of learning the basics.
Wondering where to begin? Take a look at our in-depth guide on where to go and what to get before getting your surf on.
Where to go
Tai Long Wan
Located east of the Sai Kung peninsula, the beaches of Sai Wan, Ham Tin Wan, Tai Wan and Tung Wan make up Tai Wan Long Wan’s long stretch of sand. The vast expanse of space combined with having the biggest waves in Hong Kong (up to 8ft on a good day!) makes this the ideal place for surfing.
Out of the four, Sai Wan Beach is the best for beginners: as it's the beach with the smallest waves, it is also the most accessible, along with being the location of Surf Hong Kong, who offer lessons. Fair warning: this beach may be better suited for those who know their way around water as none of the four beaches have lifeguards.
How to get there: Take the MTR to Choi Hung (Kwun Tong Line), and head for Exit C1, then take the green minibus 1A to Sai Kung Town.
Big Wave Bay Beach
As Hong Kong’s only officially recognised surf beach, surfboards and other equipment are extremely accessible for rental here – shops dotted around the beach make Big Wave Bay great for casual surfers, or anybody just looking to dip their toe into the sport.
Waves can get up to 6ft here on a good day – but don't worry, X-Game Hong Kong and Surfing Hong Kong both offer private lessons for anybody starting out. Plenty of cafés and barbeque pits surround the beach for those looking to make a day of it.
How to get there: Take the MTR to Shau Kei Wan, find exit A3 and then take bus 9, or a taxi, to Shek O. It should take about 30 minutes to reach Shek O bus terminus. Get off at the junction of Shek O Road with Big Wave Bay Road (at a sharp U-turn), and walk about 10 minutes to Big Wave Bay Village and beach.
Cheung Sha Beach
Best enjoyed in the summertime, this secluded beach has much softer waves (about 4ft) for those who aren’t looking for anything too intense, but still want some fun away from the city. Three kilometres of white sand, clear waves – even cows roaming about – set the scene for surfing.
Tatler tip: Those looking to bring their own equipment may find it easier to travel to Tung Chung and take a cab from there to Cheung Sha Beach, rather than taking a bus. Taxi drivers will typically ask for an extra HK$10 per board if you take this route!
How to get there: Take the ferry from Central Pier 6 to Mui Wo, then take bus 1 or 2 to Cheung Sha Beach.
See also: Where To Find The Cleanest Water Beaches In Hong Kong
What to bring
If you don’t want to rent a surfboard, there are places in Hong Kong where you can buy your own.
Founded by ex-Olympian Ken Choi in 1991, X-Game Hong Kong has stores in both Causeway Bay and Chai Wan, and is a one-stop shop for surfing. The stores carry popular surfboard brands such as Channel Islands and Firewire, as well as other surfing equipment (such as wetsuit brands Fissla and Rip Curl). Decathlon also stocks a variety of surfboards, in addition to UV protection shirts, and has locations in Mong Kok and Causeway Bay.
Although wetsuits aren't necessary to surf, they are still a great breathable alternative for those who don't want to get burnt after staying out in the sun for long periods of time. Water Pro – which has stores at The Pulse in Stanley and in Mong Kok, as well as an online store – carries a collection of wetsuits, drysuits, and other swim accessories. Island Wake has a flagship store in Causeway Bay as well as a store in Stanley, and carries wetsuit brands like Rip Curl.
Spending a whole day out in the sun means ample time to get burnt, and nobody is looking for a rash-guard tan-line before summer’s even started. Sephora has a variety of sunscreen on-hand that is great for sensitive skin, and has locations in Central and Causeway Bay, along with an online store.
See also: The Eco-Friendly And Ocean-Safe Sunscreens You Can Buy In Hong Kong
Make the most of your day on the waves and document your surfing journey with a waterproof camera, such as GoPro's Digital Action or APEMAN's Action Camera. Some surfboards even allow you to attach the camera to your board, giving you a thrilling perspective to replay later on.
See also: How To Protect Asian Skin From The Sun, According To Skincare Experts
What to download
This is the best website to check the wind patterns and swell height of waves up to 9 days in advance to make sure you're going on the best day and location for surfing. Used by pilots and the government alike, you know the data is accurate. There is also an Android and iOS app for anybody looking for live updates.
9 Day Weather Forecast
Download the app or check its website to see the weather forecast in various locations in Hong Kong before you head out. With weather as volatile as Hong Kong's, it's important to stay on top of the weather forecast before planning your trip.
An iOS app and website specially created for wind-dependent sports in Hong Kong, windguru features both a wind and weather forecast perfect for any surfer on the go. With information such as wind gust, knots, and direction specific to each beach in Hong Kong, this will ensure you find the waves you're looking for when you head out for the day.
See also: Hong Kong Water Sports: Your Guide To Surfing, Paddle Boarding, Wake Boarding And More