Ni Hao, Dude: Surfing Hits China


With 1.3 billion residents, China is the place every marketer hopes to conquer. Even if a product can get a percentage of that market, they are golden.

Last week we noted how Chinese surfing brands were taking market share from their neighboring action sports brands in Australia. Now, Western brands are chilled to hang ten in China. The mainland isn’t exactly known as a surfing hotbed (yet), but that isn’t stopping the International Surfing Association from trying to rope in some dollars from China.

This past weekend marked the start of the four-day China Cup sponsored by the ISA and Womei Media along with Quiksilver, according to the festival’s website. The idea of the Hainan Wanning Riyue Bay International Surfing Festival, which features back-to-back surf contests, a  food festival, and live music, is to “blend surfing with elements of Chinese culture,” according to the site.[more]

“I came to the ISA to develop surfing around the world, while working for a better surfing future,” Fernando Aguerre, the president of the ISA, said, the site reports. “We want to see the sport growing all over the world – and it’s happening. We’re going to learn from the Chinese and they’re going to learn from us, which is an essential way to build a better world. I believe this event will be the proper launching pad for surfing in China, and be remembered as the event that laid the foundations for the development of our sport in China.”

The folks at Womei Media see surfing as an opening of a whole new possible lifestyle for Chinese residents, the site notes. “We would like to tell them to embrace it with enthusiasm because surfing can help them relieve pressure and fear, and stay close to nature,” said Dunhao Wang, the CEO of Womei Media, the site reports.

The festival will have its final day on January 14. Until then, surf’s up!