surfing china

Your Ultimate Guide To Surfing In China

You’ve probably never thought of China as a surfing destination. You aren’t alone; most people don’t. While much of the country borders the sea, China doesn’t have the kind of beach and surf culture that you get in places like Hawaii and California.

Sure, the waves in China aren’t exactly ideal, but they’re there. The reason why locals aren’t taking advantage of them too often has a lot more to do with the culture of the Chinese people themselves.

A majority of local people are told to stay away from the water, that it’s dangerous, from a young age. So, many people in this country can’t swim, making surfing, the last thing they would want to do.

An overwhelming amount of Chinese locals hate the rays of the sun, and do whatever they can to avoid it, even on days they spend at the beach. The tanned and exposed bodies of the traditional surfer is not a look that most Chinese people consider favorable.

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Also, pollution of the waterways around and in China have been a huge problem over the years, making people want to stay away from the sea even more.

HOWEVER, the surfing culture in China is beginning to make headway, with large publications like CNN, documenting the rise in interest. Fueled by foreign expats and more open-minded Chinese locals, surfing in China might just become A THING.

So, if you are planning on visiting China and want the scoop on where to surf, here is the ultimate surfing guide.

The entire eastern coast of China is full of surf spots, all offering something different. If you want to take a surfing tour of the coast, here is a list of places you can get out your board.

  • Abalone Farm
  • Buddha Beach
  • Da Hua Jiao
  • Dadonghai Bay
  • Dao ao Bay
  • Dapingpo
  • Hai Ling Dao
  • Hainan
  • Houhai Bay
  • Kame Rock
  • Kani Rock
  • Xincun Beach
  • Windmill Bay
  • Moon Bay
  • Niuling
  • Rivermouth Bridge
  • Riyue Wan-Main Left
  • Sandalwood
  • Shimei Bay
  • West Beach
  • Xing Tan Wan
  • Yab-J Rihue Bay
  • Yalong Bay
  • Yarakawa


Hainan Island is located all the way at the bottom of China, jutting out into the South China Sea towards Vietnam. It’s ALMOST a full blown island, except that it’s slightly connected to the mainland. As you might imagine, this is the best and most well-known surfing spot in China. In fact, it’s the location of the country’s yearly surf competition, the Hainan Open.

Your Ultimate Guide To Surfing In China

Photo Source: Club Ed

While this long list gives you plenty of options, the most loved surf beach in Hainan is Riyuewan. The waves here are usually waist high and the beach is not that popular with sunbathing tourists. So, you won’t have to worry too much about crashing into unsuspecting swimmers.

Aside from the beach conditions, you will find the best surfing culture there is in China. Here is where you can rent boards and wetsuits, take some lessons, and be surrounded by towering coconut and palm trees.


This surfing destination is located in Zhejiang Province, which borders the East China Sea. If you are visiting Shanghai, this is one of the closest surfing getaways that you will find. You can take a bus into the area in around six hours.

Your Ultimate Guide To Surfing In China

Photo Source: Magic Seaweed

Those who have surfed both here and Hainan say that the surf breaks are more powerful on Zhujiajian. The area might lack the surf culture that Hainan has, but it will give you a better understanding of the local surf scene in China.

Wuzhizhou Island

This island has often been referred to as the Maldives of China. The whole entire scenery surrounding the island is stunning and people come here for the beach and also the scuba diving. It’s quite well loved for surfing too.

When you’re finished with the water activities for the day, enjoy some time just relaxing on the white sand beaches and diving into some fresh seafood.

Shek O Village Beach

This destination is located in Hong Kong and is one of the most popular public beaches. It will be pretty crowded and full of the usual tourist restaurants and shops. It’s not exactly the most sought after spot for surfing specifically, but it can be done here.

It’s a great compromise if you are heading to the beach with friends and family who would rather sunbathe and hike than surf. Everyone can do a little bit of their favorite things.

Big Wave Bay Beach

Also located in Hong Kong, this beach has all of the usual amenities but is very popular for those looking to surf. When the weather is right, and there is a storm brewing at sea, surfers love to grab their boards and head out for the waves.

Your Ultimate Guide To Surfing In China

Photo Source: Hong Kong Photos

While more seasoned surfers know there are technically better surf beaches, this one is still a top choice because of its cleanliness, convenience, restaurants, and other facilities.

Pui O Beach

Here’s another surfing beach in Hong Kong that gets quite a lot of waves. There are plenty of places to eat and clean amenities to use, but this beach goes above the rest for water sports. In fact, they have a venue here just so people can get involved out on the water.

You can get western food here and also spend some time hiking when you aren’t surfing. Overall, a visit here is a great experience for surfers because you can even camp overnight on the beach and mingle with others who are equally interested in the sport.

Hongkou Village, Fujian

Located in the southern province of Fujian, this village is known for its strange take on surfing. It actually comes from tradition and involves people surfing the small waves on a thin wooden pole, using a stick to navigate.

Your Ultimate Guide To Surfing In China

Photo Source: Global Times

While this particular tradition died out many years ago, it is now making a comeback in this area. Why not give it a try for a super local surfing experience?

Qingshan Bay

Also in Fujian Province, you’ll find this bay in Quanzhou City County. The wave quality here is pretty sloppy with not too much power, but surfers who come here still say that they have fun.

It can be a little rocky and have a slight undertow, but visitors say that it’s best for long boarders, kite boarders, and body boarders.

You won’t find local surfers here but the atmosphere is nice and people will probably gather around to see what you are doing out there in the Taiwan Strait.

So, surfing in China is not always easy but it surely is an adventure, especially if you are a seasoned surfer. And, since it’s still quite a new idea, you can be one of the first people to really try out the scene.

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Shannon Ullman

Hey! I'm a published American travel blogger and teacher. My travel writing has been featured on Huffington Post, Elite Daily, Matador Network and Thought Catalog. I spent over a year living and traveling around China while I taught English there. I have also visited dozens of other countries around the world.