Featured image credit: Hong Kong Surfing Lesson
We get it. It’s too hot to go hiking but you still want to do something active and outdoorsy during Hong Kong’s long summer season. If you’re not too scared of getting a little (or a lot!) of sun, how about trying your hand at the many watersports available in Hong Kong? Even the sun-shy manage by covering up with surf hats, rash guards, aqua shoes, and sport sunglasses!
Activities range from easy and casual to those that require licenses, serious physical fitness, and longer-term commitment. We’ve made sure to cover a good mix for those who want to dip their feet in the water… or go for a deep dive. So, here are our selections of ten Hong Kong watersports you can try this summer!
Surfing in Hong Kong
Although surf season in Hong Kong is during winter, you might get a few waves in the summer–especially before or after a typhoon which brings in proper swells to the SAR’s otherwise flat forecast. Popular places to learn are Big Wave Bay (try Surfing Hong Kong) and neighboring Shek O on Hong Kong island’s south side. Pui O and Cheung Sha beaches on Lantau are known to be particularly family-friendly spots. Simply rent a board from one of the shops leading up to the beach like Treasure Island Group at Pui O; often there are instructors available to give a lesson. More advanced wave riders head to Tai Long Wan in Sai Kung. Book in advance if you want proper classes and have never tried this version of watersports in Hong Kong prior.
Hong Kong Surfing Lesson Big Wave Bay, Shek O Village, Hong Kong, +852 6199 0904, hongkongsurfinglesson.com
Wakeboarding & Wakesurfing in Hong Kong
Wakeboarding is one of the most popular watersports in Hong Kong, embraced by locals and expats alike. Over the past few years, however, wakesurfing in Hong Kong has gotten a lot more attention as its savvier-looking tricks and maneuvers have attracted younger adrenaline junkies.
What’s the difference between the two? Wakesurfing involves riding the waves left by the boat, instead of being pulled by a rope as in wakeboarding. In wakesurfing, the participant’s legs aren’t strapped to the board either. They can throw the rope, ride the never-ending wave, and pull off surfer tricks like cutbacks and the hang ten. Tai Tam in Stanley or Ap Lei Chau are the most accessible sites on Hong Kong Island; book with Wakesurf Hong Kong or Wakeboard Hong Kong. You can also head to Tai Po or Science Park in the New Territories to avoid the crowds with HK Wake School.
Wakeboard Hong Kong +852 9494 9128 (WhatsApp), www.instagram.com/wakeboardwakesurfhk
Stand up Paddle-board (SUP)
Among the watersports in Hong Kong, this is a more relaxed activity that can be shared among bigger groups rather than taking turns as with the “wakesports”. Stanley Main Beach is the hub for SUP on Hong Kong Island; try HK Aqua-bound Centre or Hiwindlover Water Sport Centre. The more adventurous can head to Sai Kung with Wild Hong Kong where the water is cleaner though less predictable. Either way, you can sign up for lessons or SUP tours that can range from around two to five hours depending on your commitment and stamina (and sun tolerance). The best time of year to do these is during the warmer season from April through October when seas are generally calmer–the opposite of surf and kite season.
Kayaking or Canoeing in Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s waters are a paradise for sea kayakers who love paddling in the open seas. If you want to go independently, you can rent a canoe at Sai Kung Pier and paddle to Sharp Island–where clear waters and white sand beaches await. If you wanted to go further out and discover lesser-known stunning spots, it would be wiser to go on a guided tour. Professional operators such as Sea Kayak Hong Kong on Lamma Island run an ocean literacy training school that conducts competency certificate courses. If you want to explore the Sai Kung area, try Blue Sky Sports Club.
Kiteboarding or Kitesurfing in Hong Kong
Do you want to fly? Speed and altitude meet on the open seas in this extreme sport that requires no small amount of upper body strength. Let the wind hoist you up and above the waves only to splash back down and cruise (or carve) over and around them as you harness the wind with a “power kite”. At least that’s what you hope to do. This “sport of sports” combines elements of wakeboarding, snowboarding, windsurfing, paragliding, skateboarding, and sailing all into one. If you’re up for the challenge, there are a few suitable areas in Hong Kong to learn, and most are on South Lantau Island with the likes of Hong Kong Kiteboarding School. For those in the New Territories, get in touch with HK KiteBoard Center that operates in Tuen Mun and Sai Kung aside from Shui Hau Wan and Pui O on Lantau.
Stop putting it off already! Just get your PADI Diving License or advanced course and you can do it right here in Hong Kong. You don’t need to be in some exotic location to learn how to dive anyway because most of the training will be in-classroom and in-swimming-pool. Save the trip for when you already have an Open Water Diver’s License and can go on proper dive trips! Hong Kong resident and underwater photographer Gautam Khattak highly recommends the instructors from Splash HK. “The instructors ensure you learn how to dive as opposed to some holiday dive shops which might just get you your certificate but don’t care if you really understand the basics.”
Rowing & Dragon Boating
One of Hong Kong’s most celebrated sports is embedded in its culture and that’s dragon boating. Unlike the others, however, this sport usually requires being part of a team, and joining the right one is everything. So it’s best to tap into your circle be it social or professional to find a team that aligns with your vibe and schedule. If your search turns up dry, try heading over to Stanley Beach on the weekend and look out for teams that are training and approach them. You can also call the Stanley Dragon Boat Training Centre for team names and look them up online. Training usually starts in winter though, and most require dedication and membership fee payments. Meanwhile up in the New Territories, the Hong Kong, China Rowing Association (HKCRA) runs seasonal courses for those who want to get into the sport.
Stanley Dragon Boat Association (Stanley Residents Association) 96, Stanley Main Street, Stanley, Hong Kong, +852 2813 0564, [email protected], www.dragonboat.org.hk, www.instagram.com/stanleydragonboat
Hong Kong, China Rowing Association Sha Tin Rowing Centre, No. 27, Yuen Wo Road, Sha Tin, Hong Kong, +852 2699 7271, rowing.org.hk
From deep-sea to freshwater and reservoir fishing, you’ll have your hands full if you decide to get into this sport. Do note that you’ll need to get a permit in order to fish in the reservoirs of Hong Kong. TailChasers Sport Fishing Hong Kong is a premier sport fishing charter if you want to go in search of mahi-mahi, tuna, or the elusive black marlin. If you’d rather sail at night, try squid fishing, perfect especially in the early summer but lasts only from April to September. Your catch will be freshly cooked for you on the spot afterward! Sea-E-O Boating does private squid fishing on top of boat parties, seafood cruises, and more. Jubilee Travel is probably the most popular among locals though, as you can join groups of up to 30 leaving from accessible piers at Central and Tsim Sha Tsui; buffet meal included at only HK$240 tops!
TailChasers Sport Fishing Hong Kong Aberdeen Boat Club, 20, Shum Wan Road, Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong, +852 9122 0695, +852 91264051, [email protected], hongkongfishings.com, www.facebook.com/sportfishinghongkong
Today, sailing in Hong Kong is alive and kicking, although it’s considered quite the high society sport as in other parts of the world. The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club offers beginner courses as do the Aberdeen Boat Club and Hebe Haven Yacht Club in Sai Kung. Most don’t require a membership but would cost more for non-members. If you’re looking for a more economical way to learn, try signing up at the Leisure and Cultural Services Department’s government-run programs although these are mostly in Cantonese and get filled up fast well in advance.
Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club Kellett Island, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2832 2817, rhkyc.org.hk
Did you know that Hong Kong’s only Olympic gold was won in the sport of sailing (women’s windsurfing) by Lee Lai Shan in 1996 Atlanta? Hong Kong’s best winds come from September to April, so head to these locations during that time to get some action in the water at Stanley, Sai Kung, Cheung Chau (try Cheung Chau Windsurfing Centre), Tai Po and Tuen Mun. Proper classes are whole-day affairs so carve out time and energy for them! Otherwise, there are three-hour lessons in Stanley with Hiwindlover Water Sports Center or HK Aqua-bound Centre.
Whew, what a list! That’s more than enough to keep you busy for 5,000 days of summer! And that’s not even considering swimming, bodyboarding, and skimboarding–all viable and available watersports in Hong Kong. We hope you have a long and wonderful summer full of fresh air, warm sun, and cool water!