Back To Top
Beach Grit

Warning: “The Chinese are coming!”

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Do you think your local break is crowded now?

If you are an American then you no doubt remember the story of Paul Revere. The brave man got on a horse and rode through towns during the Revolutionary War to warn his people that the British were coming. “The British are coming! The British are coming!” he shouted and then America won the war, shaming the British, and gifting the earth Donald John Trump 200 years later.

Well, a brave journalist writing for the Gold Coast Bulletin in Southport, Queensland, is sounding the alarms once again but this time driving a Holden SV through Coolangatta while shouting “The Chinese are coming! The Chinese are coming!”

He begins his provocative piece thusly:

IF YOU thought Gold Coast surf breaks are crowded now, wait until a billion Chinese people hear about them.

Surfing, one of the Coast’s greatest attractions, is making inroads into Asia by the World Surf League ahead of the sport being included into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The peak professional surfing body is even rumoured to open a Chinese headquarters as the sport expands into the most populated countries in the world with hundreds of millions of potential surfers.

And do you think it is true? Do you think the Chinese will take to surfing, en masse? Or even kind of en masse? Like, 300 million or so? And is the World Surf League really opening a Chinese office? The piece continues:

World Surf League Asian Regional manager Stephen Robertson said surfing was growing in India, China, the Maldives, Taiwan, Indonesia and the Philippines.

“We are making inroads into China,” he said.

“For the first time in about 50 years the government are really encouraging the people to go out and get healthy and enjoy a bit more of a lifestyle.”

Son of a bitch. This isn’t sounding good. Let’s keep going?

Gold Coast surf legend Peter Townend (aka PT) — who has been called in by the Chinese Government to coach their Olympic surf team — said there was massive potential for surfing to expand into the region leading up to the Olympics.

Shit. The Chinese are coming? The Chinese are coming? Do we dare continue?

“There are about 400 million people who live on the Chinese east coast — and there’s waves,” he said.

“I’ve seen photos, there is a whole lot of coastline which is waiting to be explored,” he said.

Mr Townend has been working with surfing in China for the past seven years inviting surfers from Hawaii, California and the Gold Coast to compete in an event riding massive tidal river waves in Hangzhou.

Mr Townend, the first surfing world champion, said the Olympics would give the sport its biggest exposure ever.

“The first guy or girl to win a gold medal will arguably be the most famous surfer in that’s ever lived,” he said.

“We’re not talking about surf fans we’re just talking about people.”


(P.S. Dear Chinese friends. BeachGrit will soon be offering both Mandarin and Cantonese versions.)