From kayaking to paddle boarding, surfing to windsurfing, and a bevy of other means you can take to the seas, Hong Kong’s unique island geography allows it to be the perfect haven for a day by the water that goes beyond a simple towel and pair of sunglasses by the beach. The opportunities to try watersports are as countless as the locations you can begin your journey from, but it is key that you do so with the right mindset, and adequate preparation. Simply buying a stand up paddle and wetsuit makes a novice as much of a surfer as buying an empty journal makes a writer. If you’re setting your eyes on jumping into Hong Kong’s waters this summer, here a couple of things for you to keep in mind before you close your eyes and plug your nose.
Plan EVERYTHING out before you set off
Going on a watersport adventure is an exciting prospect, but there are certain factors that limit their accessibility to us on a daily basis. Lantau Island, Tai Po, and Sai Kung are just some of the great places where you can find numerous aquatic activities, but getting to those locations will require some preparation on your part. Make sure you know where to go, what to take, and how long the entire trip will last before you set off, lest you wind up somewhere unfamiliar and without any ability to get out. Aside from planning out the logistics of your journey, ensure that you have all the supplies and equipment you need before you set off. You don’t want to arrive at the beach and suddenly realize that you forgot to pack something essential that you can’t get at the site. Do you know that one friend who always forgets to bring mosquito repellent to a hike? Don’t be that friend. That friend never has any fun.
Observe all the elements
If you’re gearing to take a board or kayak out, chances are you’re doing so when the sun is up and the weather is, at the very least, warm. While you’re sure to receive a fair number of tips and training on how to stay safe on the water, the water is not the only element you’ll have to contend with. Regardless of how much time you actually spend in the water, the sun will be just as present throughout your adventure. If you will allow me to channel the many, many warnings you’ve undoubtedly received from your mother, don’t forget about sunscreen! The only souvenir you should be bringing back from a surf should be a couple of cool stories to tell, and certainly not a sunburn.
No seriously, observe ALL the elements
Depending on what you’re doing, how far you go out, and the measures you take to avoid the aforementioned sun, you might draw near land that is not necessarily safe. I cannot count the number of times I’ve seen a buddy, either because he was goofing off or trying to show off, smack the side of his kayak into a bed of rocks. If safety still isn’t your primary concern by this point, just think about how fun it will be to tell the owner about how you lost his valuable equipment, then fork out cold, hard cash to replace them. I’m sure they’ll love to hear that story.
Listen and learn from experience and the experienced
If you’ve booked a water sports lesson or a tour, you might be tempted to start zoning out while your instructor or guide is explaining the finer details of what you’re about to do. You might even think to yourself that it doesn’t look that hard, that the video you watched on YouTube made air-flip wakeboarding look like a piece of cake, and that you don’t need to listen to all this unnecessary information. No one is suggesting you read the entirety of the page water sport safety guides written by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (if you happen to want to, find the guide here, but the tips and tricks picked up by the ones you’ve entrusted your learning and safety to can mean the difference between a great time and a potential unsafe one. The cool trick you think you saw your cousin do once on his board is not worth the bumps and bruises that follow if you don’t know what you’re doing.
A water adventure doesn’t have to be a solo journey
So, now you’ve booked your tour and necessary equipment, you know exactly where to go, and have all the essentials you’ll ever need to ensure you have a great time. What’s missing?
It may be a good idea to learn the basics by yourself, to ensure that you have no distractions while you’re picking up the important information, but any water adventurer will be the first to tell you that a huge part of the experience is sharing it with others. Whether its a friend, a significant other, or even having your kids tag along on a kid-friendly version of your favorite adventure, sharing these exciting and wonderful moments with the people your life could mean the difference between having a nice day or an absolutely unforgettable and amazing one.