Watersports in China

Information on the facilities available for windsurfing, surfing, kitesurfing, diving, canoeing, kayaking and rafting in China...


Surfing was introduced to China in 2008 when surfers from Brazil and the USA found that the Qiantang River tidal bore is suitable for surfing.

Surfing is particularly popular around Sanya, China's southernmost city. There are good surfing beaches on Hainan Island in the South China Sea, which is easy to reach from Sanya. There is equipment for hire and it also possible to have lessons. Dadonghai Beach is the most popular surfing spot on the island as it has the most reliable swell.

  • For more information on surfing in the Sanya area, including beach guides and surf conditions: Click here
  • For more information about surfing the Qiantang River tidal bore: Click here

Surfing China promotes surfing and is the sport's governing body. They organise both competitive and recreational events, and train surfers of all levels around China


Windsurfing is also popular in China. Dailan in the northeast of the country is the centre of Chinese windsurfing, although it is also popular in Hainan; the northern part of the island's east coast is popular all year round with both windsurfers and kitesurfers. There is a growing competitive windsurfing scene in China.


Scuba diving is relatively new to China and there are lots of potential new spots to be explored along the country's coastline.

Hainan Island and the Sanya area are becoming popular for diving, which is possible all year round, although visibility depends on the season. The warm waters are rich in coral and colourful fish. Baifu Bay and Sun Bay are the best diving sites. They can both be reached from Yalong Bay by boat. Around Wuzhizhou Island (about 30 Km west of Sanya) the sea is very clear, making it perfect for diving. The coral is home to sea cucumber, lobsters, sierra fish, nightlight snails and many other colourful tropical fish.

Qiandao Lake is also popular with divers, especially between April and June when visibility is best. The lake contains the submerged Lion City which was 1800 years old when it was submerged in 1959 as part of the Xin'an River hydroelectric project.


China has many rivers that are suitable for canoeing and kayaking. There are no restrictions on canoeing on inland waterways in the country. The beautiful coastline of Qian Dao Hu, about 150 Km west of Hangzhou, is popular with paddlers of all levels. The Yulong River (a tributary of the Li River) in Yangshuo offers spectacular scenery and crystal clear water which is perfect for exploring in a canoe. It is common to see water buffalo crossing the river. Kayaking is also possible on the Li.

The Chinese Canoeing Association (in Chinese) oversees the sport. Based in Beijing, it is a non-governmental organisation. They run competitions and training events in a number of canoeing and kayaking disciplines.