Surfing in China gets new wave boost

December 19, 2011 | Surfing
Hainan: the left hand surfing Chinese spot

Surfing in China is growing rapidly, as the sport becomes more popular in the land of the Great Wall.

China is preparing to host one of the first surf contests of 2012. The ISA China Cup is the inaugural event of the Hainan Wanning Riyue Bay International Surfing Festival and will be surfed between 7th-10th January.

There will be a mix of established surfing stars with up-and-coming talents in the aquamarine surf arena of Riyue Bay. The International Surfing Association is helping grow the sport of surfing along China's coastline. The two-event Festival will present the biggest and most influential surf contests the country has ever seen.

The ISA China Cup will pit eight National Teams, each with four men and two women vying for the team and individual gold medals.

"We are very excited about the top level teams from USA and Brazil for the ISA China Cup" said the ISA President Fernando Aguerre, "Bringing an event to China with some of the best and most innovative surfers from the eight top surfing countries in the world, is a huge step forward for a better surfing future".

For many of the surfers scheduled to compete, this will be their first time surfing in China.

"I've never been, so I'm super excited," said Cory Lopez, a former ISA World Surfing Games silver medalist and a long-time ASP World Tour surfer from Florida. "I know pretty much nothing about where we're going, but I saw a picture of the left and it looks super fun."

Accompanying Lopez on Team USA will be Chris Ward from California. Recognized as one of the premiere aerial talents of his generation, and a former Pipeline Masters finalist, Ward should be ready for whatever conditions are on offer for the contest.

Rounding out the USA team will be Taylor Clark and Trevor Thornton for the Open Men, along with Taylor Pitz and Sage Erickson in the Open Women. Erickson will be competing as a rookie on the ASP Women's World Tour in 2012, whereas Clark and Thornton are both still working their way through the upper level of the junior ranks. Thornton won the U.S. West Coast Championships in 2011.

Brazil, Australia, France, Argentina, South Africa, Peru, and Venezuela are other countries that will be battling for gold and glory. Following the ISA China Cup, the Hainan Classic, a $95,000 USD prize-purse ASP Men's 4-Star, will take place from January 11 to 14, and will feature some of the best surfers in the world.

ISA China Cup USA Team
Open Men
Chris Ward
Taylor Clark
Cory Lopez
Trevor Thornton

Open Women
Taylor Pitz
Sage Erickson

ISA China Cup Brazilian Team
Open Men
Bruno Galini Ramos
Massias Mailson da Silva
Wiggolly Dantas de Almeida
Tomas Hermes

Open Women
Stephanie Bruna Schmitz
Diana de Souza