- 07 January 2012 | Surfing
Surfing in China will certainly be remembered for the opening ceremony of the Hainan Wanning Riyue Bay International Surfing Festival. The spectacular show gathered surfers, coaches, Chinese dignitaries, sponsors, ISA officials and guests before waves start to be surfed in Wanning, Hainan Island. Everyone's breathless with the Chinese efforts in surfing.
"Even in my dreams I couldn’t have foreseen an event of this magnitude," said Fernando Aguerre, the President of the International Surfing Association. "This Festival is the work of so many different people, and I’m so excited it’s all come together so well. This will be a day and week everyone in attendance remembers for the rest of their lives.
"It was pretty unbelievable," said Cory Lopez, a competitor for Team USA. "I’ve been to a lot of surf events and I’ve never seen anything even close to this. It’s so big that it doesn’t even feel like it would be for a surf contest.”
"Surfing has captured the hearts of so many around the world," Aguerre said, addressing the crowd at the ceremony. "We hope it will capture the hearts of the Chinese people and continue to grow in this country for years to come".
With a solid groundswell in the water, and howling offshore winds, conditions are ideal for the lead-up to what will certainly be an exciting and groundbreaking event. This is an unprecedented happening in China, a country of 1.3 billion people and 9,000-plus miles of coastline with very little surf culture to speak of. The plan is for the Festival to serve as the initial spark in nurturing surfing in China.
The four-day ISA China Cup will feature the finest surfers from the top eight qualifying countries, based on the results of the 2011 ISA World Surfing Games.
Competing at a wave and in a country none of the competitors or coaches are familiar with, since arriving, the surfers have spent the majority of their time either studying the break, or running down the beach in their wetsuit, with their board under their arm for some first-hand experience.