“I want more people in China to know about surfing and this is the start. It is a graceful and beautiful sport, it is dancing across the sea,” said professional Chinese ballerina Darci Lui. She created a slice of history at Hainan Island by becoming the first Chinese surfer to compete in an ASP event — the Swatch Girls Pro China which doubled as the women’s longboard world championship at the end of October.
Hainan Island is China’s surf mecca – a fact I wrote about a long time ago! Although, to be honest, it was just a glancing reference on the back of a scuba diving article. However, a lot of people are still unaware of the fact that China has any surfing at all – including some of the contestants for the ASP event. “These surfers will be remembered as pioneers,” said Brodie Carr, the Association of Surfing Professionals chief executive. “We thought China was an impossible place for us to enter, but we’ve done it. We’re here and this is just the beginning….”
And what a good time to have entered the market, just as Hawaii puts surfing well and truly on the map – they have made it an official sport which means that they will become the first state in the union to offer the sport as an official form of athletic competition in its high schools.
photo courtesy of REUTERS/Hugh Gentry
“Under the plan, to be paid for entirely with private funds, all of the roughly 50,000 students in the state’s 46 public high schools will be eligible to ride Hawaii’s famous waves as a school-sponsored extramural sport by the spring of 2013,” said Jorene Barut for Reuters.
Of course, surfing is nothing new to Hawaiians. The sport is supposed to have been invented there after all. “Hawaii is the birthplace of surfing,” Gov. Neil Abercrombie said. “From Duke Kahanamoku to the thousands of residents and visitors who surf both recreationally and competitively, the sport is rooted in our culture and way of life.”
And anyway “there have been surf clubs in schools for about four years, and surfing is a prominent sport in Hawaii, so it was a natural transition to offer school-sanctioned surf clubs,” said state Education Department spokesman Alex Da Silva. “It also offers something motivational for those who don’t participate in other sports, like football and volleyball,” he added.
Quite right. Can you compare surfing with those two?!
Lucky students, what a break to get – and what an awful pun! Sorry, couldn’t resist. However, they are lucky because, as we all know, Hawaii is known for its world-class surf breaks and competitions. It is already home to many pro surfers and has produced several world champions over the years including the current world champion, Carissa Moore, who this summer became the youngest world champion at 18.
And if you doubt whether it’s a good thing or not then this statement from Carissa might make your mind up for you. “I think it’s awesome, and it will open doors for kids,” said Moore, who welcomed the announcement. She said the sport taught her many life lessons growing up, such as hard work, perseverance, and time management. “Surfing and riding a wave is so much like life. You fall down over and over again, but you keep picking yourself back up until you ride one all the way to the beach,” she said. “I know that’s kind of cheesy, but I think surfing is definitely a really good outlet for a lot of teens and young kids. It’s a way to channel a lot of energy into something positive.”
So next time that soul-searching question arises...“where shall we school the kids?” think no further…. even the kids will back this one! Sun, sea and surf… what more could a school possibly need?!
Be warned… they start young on this island where it is known as the sport of kings: