Francesco De Luca catches some waves in Hainan.  [Photo: China Surf Report]
Francesco De Luca moved from Italy to China nine years ago, drawn by his interest in Chinese culture and language.
De Luca eventually found his way to Hainan where he currently lives with his Chinese wife.  Driven by his passion for surfing, De Luca decided to start China Surf Report (, the first website in China that gives people information about surfing and the ocean.
CRI’s Jordan Lee sat down with De Luca to learn more about his vision for surfing in China.
How did you come to start China Surf Report? 
I started the website two years ago, mainly because I really love surfing.  In China there’s no professional media source focused on board-riding sports, especially surfing.  At the beginning we tried to cover snowboarding, surfing, and skateboarding, but it turned out to be too much content.  So because there was no other surfing website in China, we decided to focus in on that.
What’s the purpose of the website?
The purpose of the website is just to promote surfing 360 degrees, everything about the sport.   We want to let western people know that there are waves in China, and that you can have amazing weather conditions here.  We also want to let Chinese people know where they can find waves.
The website has information on surfers and competitions.  But it’s also a place Chinese people can go to learn the fundamentals of surfing, and about surfing culture–the movies, the philosophy, the music etc..
How do Chinese people generally view surfing?
Surfing isn’t really a Chinese sport or lifestyle, but we can’t say that it’s totally new.  A few hundred years ago, we have evidence that people were surfing the tidal waves in the Qiantang river in Hangzhou.  We have documents from the Song dynasty and some pictures that show people enjoying the river waves, but it wasn’t the same kind of surfing that we mean today, it was bodyboarding.  We don’t have any reason to think that they stood up on the boards or tried surfing in the ocean, but Chinese people do seem to have discovered this feeling of surfing.
Do you think Hainan has the potential to become an international surf scene?
I think it’s a personal preference, depends on the surfer. I consider Hainan the best place that you could ever find, at least for me. I live and surf here every day. And you can literally surf every day, every day of the year. During summer season the daily waves are small.  But when the typhoons come, we have big waves.
So you can say Hainan has waves for all the tastes, for all the levels.  You can have rocky points, reef, or beach breaks, big, small, medium waves.  Of course you won’t have huge waves, but the biggest one I saw is maybe 4 meters, that was rideable.
What needs to happen to give surfing a brighter future in China?
People need to learn more about the ocean-lifeguarding principles, and basic knowledge about how to face the ocean.
We’re here every day, and we discovered that most of the Chinese really don’t know anything about the ocean.  No one is teaching them how to face the danger in the water.  A lot of Chinese people don’t even know how to swim, and so there are many water-related deaths every year.
The government is mostly concentrating on the business aspect of surfing, but they also should now promote water safety as more people start to surf.
Of course this is still just the beginning, there’s still a lot to do.  We are planting seeds, and we don’t know exactly what will happen, because it’s completely new and different for Chinese people.  But I think that even if it’s totally new and totally different, surfing can be healthy for China.
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