I was 12 and had no idea what this oddly shaped board was for, or how it worked. But my older brother did, and he was eager to give it a try. It took some persuasion, but eventually our parents agreed and my brother jumped in, ready for the challenge. I’m not going to lie, we were both terrible. It seemed nearly impossible to stand up and ride without falling head over heels. But we kept trying and trying... and on the last attempt I stood up for a few seconds. I was hooked.
For the next year I rode at every opportunity until, confidence brimming, I felt ready to jump to the competitive side of the sport.
Hong Kong holds annual wakeboarding competitions at a variety of skill levels. My first event was at the Chong Hing Water Sports Center, right here in Sai Kung, and even though I didn’t “place”, it introduced me to a supportive community.
As my skill grew, so did the distance wakeboarding took me: first to China with the Hong Kong wakeboarding team, then to the United States for a week of training. As my exposure to wakeboarding culture grew, I met skilled riders and coaches from across Hong Kong, including Leo To, the local “Godfather” of wakeboarding. Leo has been coaching me in Tung Chung for almost a year now — it’s worth the commute because the conditions there are so good.
If I were to start the process again, I would have a coach from day one. It took two months for Leo to fix all the bad habits I had formed, some of which could have resulted in injury.
Get the gear
X Game specialises in equipment for all kinds of extreme sports, including wakeboarding. It has three shops in Hong Kong, including: Level 9, Langham Place, Mong Kok, 2264 3088, www.xgamehk.com.
Island Wake focuses on wakeboarding and snowboarding gear. 1/F & 3/F, 3 Cannon Street, Causeway Bay, 2623 6123, www.islandwake.com.
Speed boat, driver, gear, lessons
Wakeboarders are spoiled for choice in Sai Kung. It has plenty of bays with varying conditions, so you’re bound to find calm water somewhere. And the sea is pretty clean. At Marina Cove, Simon Wong (9033 3222) rents out a Malibu inboard speedboat with all basic facilities. Mr Chan, aka Ah Yau (9484 4142), has a TIGE inboard boat — popular at tournament level. Boat rentals are also available from Chris Wong (9012 4841) and i-Chai (5190 8258).
Beautiful but crowded at weekends, Repulse Bay is a nice place for wakeboarding. Daily speedboat rentals from Wai Hung at 9021-6077, Ben Mok at 9644-1943 or Mr. Chan at 2812-0391.
The flat water in Tolo Harbour is perfect for wakeboarding, and Tai Po is quickly developing as a new centre for the sport. The Wakeboard School (Johnson Hui, 9181 9100) has two Master Craft X Star and a TIGE 20V speedboat, plus boards for rent. It runs training courses daily.
Popular with people who live on Hong Kong Island, Stanley has several good inboard speedboats for rental in Tai Tam Bay. However, the wakes from all those boats means it gets choppy at weekends. For rentals, seven days a week, try Patrick at 2813-2372, Kwan at 9102-2929, or Jim at 9201-2995.