Riding a wave of success

By Xing Wen | China Daily | Updated: 2020-01-08 07:53
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The event features a variety of activities and is drawing an increasing number of participants. [Photo provided to China Daily]

A flair for organizing

Li, 32, a Shenzhen-based office worker, initially tried the sport during a one-week trip to Riyue Bay in 2013. She was bitten by the bug and attracted by the simple, freewheeling lifestyle led by surfers.

She quit her job and started doing marketing and communications for the Jalenboo Surf Club.

"I helped Sheridan with the Surfing Open for two years and discovered that I was good at organizing and running promotional activities," recalls Li. "I have been organizing the annual event ever since his departure."

Li knows that as the oldest surfing competition in China, the event should be a fine example for other nongovernmental competition organizers to learn from.

She has traveled to Indonesia and several other countries to learn more about how to run events.

"We continuously try to meet the needs of the embryonic and developing surfing industry," she says.

In 2015, a contest for novices was added to the event, engaging a larger group of surf lovers.

The next year, national and provincial surf teams were set up after the sport was included in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Subsequently, various surf competitions sprang up in other coastal cities. And every sport needs officials, judges and referees to make the difficult decisions.

Li and her colleagues decided to initiate training sessions for referees and offer internship opportunities for referee candidates at the open in 2016.

"It is worth mentioning that all the referees and photographers are volunteers," says Li.

Various beachside activities, such as exhibitions and concerts, were also held to keep spectators entertained.

Yang Ruijia, 30, a former member of China's national surfing team, volunteered to work as a judge.

She says she noticed that the event is growing into a more diversified festival of surf where visitors can enjoy music, food and the arts.

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