The Rip Curl Hong Kong Surfing Cup 2000presented by Island Wake
Big Wave Bay, Hong Kong
Today saw the first day of the Rip Curl Hong Kong Surfing Cup 2000get underway at Hong Kong’s most famous surfing location ‘Big WaveBay’. A field of 65 surfers and bodyboarders, both male and female,from no less than 6 different countries including Australia, Korea,England, France, China, and Japan competed in what boasts to beChina’s only surfing competition.
With waves ranging from 1-3 feet and a prevailing five knott onshorewind, competitors put on an excellent display of surfing despite thedifficult conditions. Hundreds of tourists and locals lined the beachfront of Big Wave Bay to get a glimpse of this unique sport that tookhold of Hong Kong a little more than 20 years ago.
Germinated here by expatriates, surfing now has more than 500participants (mostly Chinese) despite the surf which is relativelyinconsistent and lacks shape. “You need to be quick to surf thesewaves” said former dual world professional champion Damien Hardman.”I surfed in an expression session this morning and soon realised howfast these waves break. But the surfers here don’treally care, they all love to get out there and have a go. Some ofthem surf quite well”. Damien was at Big Wave Bay representing hismajor sponsor Rip Curl as the official media spokesperson for theevent.
In 1979, almost 70 years after the sport took off in Australia andCalifornia, surfing hit Hong Kong Island rather auspiciously.
“I was physically thrown out of Big Wave Bay” says Hong Kong basedAustralian Rod Payne, who paddled out with four other expats thatsummer. “The cops removed us from the water and the beach”.
One year later another Australian Grant Robinson paddled out on a bigday, suprising onlookers and the beach patrol. “The lifeguardsflipped out” explainedthe long haired 48 year old business man formerly of WesternAustralia. “They tried to get me out of the water but I just paddledaway”.
In the spring of 1997, relationships again soured when a swimmer washit by an out-of-control surfboard. The Urban Council fined thesurfer $2000 for breaching an old bylaw. Waveriders and theirsupporters banded together in protest and formed the Hong KongSurfing Association(HKSA), which quickly swelled to 500members. “It wasn’t right” says HKSA vice-chairman Raymond Chan.”Surfing is not a crime. The government needs to give us some spaceto do our sport”.
And so they did, and the rest is history.
With waves predicted to be around 2-3 feet and a prevailing fiveknott onshore wind, Sunday will see the finish of the final rounds ofthe Rip Curl Hong Kong Surfing Cup, and the crowning of the 2000event champions.
The Rip Curl Hong Kong Surfing Cup 2000 is a part of Rip Curl’sCore-Grassroots program dedicated to the ongoing support ofgrassroots surfing throughout Australasia.