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Hainan is exploring a variety of new aquatic sports

 Date:2023/2/25 14:59:13  By / HIMC /  Views:

The pleasant climate throughout the year in combination with an abundance of rivers, lakes, and coastal areas make China’s tropical island of Hainan the perfect place for aquatic sports. As a result, the past few years have seen an increasing number of national-level aquatic sports’ training facilities and high-level competitions taking place on the island. 

Gradually becoming known as the domestic destination for aquatic sports, Hainan has seen old-school items such as sailing and windsurfing are movingfrom the private domain of hobbyists to something everyone does; and newcomers on the scene (like surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, jet skis, and water skiing) have been growing in popularity.

Sailing & Windsurfing

Sailin and windsurfing, are the oldest competitive aquatic sports practiced in Hainan. As far back as the early 1980s, their respective national teams set up winter training bases in Hainan, thanks to the island’s excellent winter climate—especially the prevailing winter winds make the capital city of Haikou ideal for these two sports.

An aerial view of the National Sailing Base in Haikou. (Photo/Wang Chengxian)

Xu Fengtao, General Manager of China Sports (Hainan)—the organizer of the 8th International Tourism Island Windsurfing Grand Prix—has witnessed Hainan's vigorous development in aquatic sports such as sailing and windsurfing. "In the past, the only place in Hainan where you could go sailing was the coastal area near Haikou’s Xixiu Beach. These days, however, marinas have been set up in places like Jinsha Bay, Houhai, Wenchang, Bo’ao, Shimei and Riyue Bays, and Yulinzhou, where all sorts of sailing and windsurfing clubs have been set up," said Xu.

Tourists experiencing sailing at the National Sailing Base in Haikou. (Photo / Feng Shuo)

An enthusiast windsurfing at Haikou Holiday Beach. (Photo/Hainan Daily)


Kayaking is an official Olympic event. Both placid and active, kayaking takes place on rivers and lakes and in coastal areas. These past two years, kayaking has sprung up all over Hainan. According to Liu Gang, President of the Haikou City Kayaking Association, the association has more than 100 core members who like to do crazy challenges like kayaking across the straits or taking a trip by boat the whole way around the island.  

A kayaking competition held in Haikou. (Photo / Xinhua)

Over the past few years, the Kayaking Association has mapped out and developed several sites all over the island for amateurs and pros of different skill levels. This, in turn, has attracted many enthusiasts from outside the province to hold activities in Hainan. For example, a Shanghai enthusiast has built a kayaking camp near Wanning's Taiyang River, where he holds training classes and winter camps and organizes primary and secondary school students from Shanghai to come here for sports trips every year.

Water skiing

Water skiing has been around the world for a long time. "In the past, most domestic water skiers would fly to Southeast Asia for the winter. However, the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic has meant that many of them now come to Hainan," said Xiao Hui, a highly experienced waterskier and wakeboarder from Chengdu. Since late 2021, when he first visited Sanya, he has been impressed by the island’s unique advantages.

Water skiing (Photo:

Last December, Hainan welcomed nearly a hundred domestic waterskiers when it hosted—for the first time—the highest-level domestic water skiing event (the 2022 National Water Ski Championships). Su Ke, a representative of China’s General Administration of Sport, said, “Right now there are the tens of thousands of water skiers in China including hundreds of professionals. Because Hainan's climate makes it possible for water skiing all year round, we want to make it a domestic center for this sport with lake and ocean options depending on the specific type of water skiing."


Where to go surfing in Hainan? The top recommended spot must be Wanning’s Riyue Bay. All the way back in 2010, Riyue Bay hosted its first international surfing competition. In more recent years, the area has also hosted many national-level surfing events and set up a national team training base, attracting many provincial and municipal surfing teams.

Visitors surfing at Riyue Bay. (Photo / Hainan Daily)

Over the past two years, travel service platforms such as Fliggy and Qunar have repeatedly listed Riyue Bay as the island’s surf mecca. This level of popularity has also attracted many amateur surf clubs. According to statistics, as of late 2022, there are more than 20 surfing clubs that call Riyue Bay home, and more than 170 surf coaches.