fbpx
LifestyleArt & DesignFeatured

PHOTOS: The Covid-Driven Rise of Surfing in Hainan

0

Sandy beaches, palm trees, and surf shacks aren’t usually what comes to mind when thinking about China. And until Covid-19, the surf scene on the South China island province of Hainan was a quiet one, attracting only a handful of tourists, while diehard Chinese surfers were more interested in the better swells off the coasts of Southeast Asia.

However, as China’s borders locked down over the last year and a half, surf and beach culture started coming home, finding a place along the coastline of Hainan. Get a taste of the action in these stunning images:

Surfing in Hainan

With borders essentially closed in China, Hainan is seeing a shift in its visitors, from local families looking for a resort destination to young and trendy Chinese influencers and more determined surfers

Surfing in Wanning, Hainan, China

It wasn’t long before tourism started creeping up the coast of Hainan, from the ever-popular tourist trap of Sanya to less crowded beaches and more serious surf spots like Wanning

Houhai has quickly become a hotspot for beginner surfers and domestic tourists looking to find a cheap and active holiday spot outside of Sanya’s pricy resorts

Hainan nightlife

With the upswing of beach tourism, nightlife has swelled, from bars to noodle joints

Surfing in Hainan, South China

Budding surfers started staying longer and longer, taking up part-time jobs and shrugging off the stressful overtime-obsessed lives in cities like Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Beijing

As more surfers stayed, more began to embrace the ethos of surfing

As more surfers stayed, more began to embrace the ethos of surfing

Surf shacks like Shaka have seen a rush of guests and applications to become surf instructors

Surf shacks like Shaka have seen a rush of guests and applicants to become surf instructors

Dive and surfing

There has also been a push in sports schools along the east coast of the island province to move young athletes from water sports like diving into surfing

Pro surfing

There are plenty of young surfers with serious skills finding their place amongst the waves in Hainan and seeking a shot at becoming pro

Surfing in Hainan

Surfing isn’t just a passing trend for the island, but here to stay

All images courtesy of Graeme Kennedy

Graeme Kennedy
Graeme Kennedy is a Canadian photographer and videographer based in Shanghai, focusing on documenting the extraordinary everyday life of people across China and the economies that bring them together. Follow Graeme on Instagram: @GraemeDYK