Thursday, August 12, 2010

Windsurfing in Stanley

We were looking for a little adventure on the southside of Hong Kong Island recently and found it. We often feel like we have done just about everything there is to do in Stanley. We have hit the Maritime Museum many times. We have played at Stanley Main Beach and Repulse Bay Beach and lots of other beaches in between. But we found something new; wind surfing!

I have been trying half- heartedly to get into a windsurfing class given by Hong Kong’s Department of Leisure via their Water Sports Center in Stanley but have been stymied by bureaucracy. Many of the classes require all sorts of water safety certification and while I support water safety, I can’t figure out where to go or when. Recently, the American Club offered a wind surfing class outsourced to windsurfers in Stanley set up just past the Water Sports Center. This proved the perfect introduction to more varied water sports for our family.

Our first windsurfing class was for kids so Tori gamely signed up. On her first day of lessons, the first typhoon of the season came near to Hong Kong. It only ranked a Typhoon 1 (out of 10) and class went on as planned. The instructor taught her some basics on the beach and then took her and another girl out into the water. Each girl took turns trying to wind surf, while the instructor kayaked nearby. After a couple hours, Tori was zipping around and we were all impressed. Tori came out of the water sore everywhere but definitely ready to have another go.

Typhoons intervened for a number of weeks. Every time the lesson came around, a typhoon came to town. Finally, on a typhoon free day lessons resumed and ultimately proved harder and not as exciting for the windsurfers. This time, Adam happened to know one of the women at the windsurfing beach shop (she works at his school). She got kayaks out for the twins to paddle around in while Tori surfed. And she introduced us to everyone. Apparently, Tori’s teacher was an Olympic windsurfer for Hong Kong in 2000 and 2004 and his uncle, the owner of the beach shop, was an Olympic windsurfer in 1988. Despite all their skills, everyone was more than approachable. At the end of the lesson, Tori asked her Olympic coach if he wanted to look at some interesting shells she found. And he kindly did.

Maybe all those summer typhoons have a silver lining. Hong Kong does seem to have a lot of wind surfing prowess. Hong Kong’s only Olympic medial (a gold in 1996) came in women’s windsurfing. Tori, definitely competitive in everything she does, thought about all this sport's history. She told me that she figured her chances of making an Olympic team would increase if she stayed in Hong Kong or moved to another island. Or maybe she should just kept hanging out with these guys on Stanley Beach.


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