Republik China Surfing

About Republik China

When Portuguese sailors stumbled upon Taiwan in 1547, they named it 'Ilha Formosa' meaning 'Beautiful Island'. Taiwan is only 160km (100mi) from the mainland where the government of the People's Republic of China (PRC) have ruled since winning the civil war against the Republic of China (ROC) in 1949. The ROC government withdrew to Taiwan and continue to dispute the political rights of the PRC and maintain some sovereignty over Taiwan and the 90 small islands of Penghu (Pescadores). Despite the confusing situation, surfing in Taiwan has a long history and surf arrives from a generous 225º swell window hitting all sides of the island. US soldiers were the first to ride the north coast beach of Jin Shan in 1965 and local pioneers like Mao Guh and his brothers ignored the Taoist suspicions of the sea and government ban on access to the ocean, to take up surfing. Mao Guh opened the original and still popular Jeff's Surf Shop near Honeymoon Bay and with the lifting of Martial Law in 1987, surfing clubs popped up across the island and Jung Wen-Chen, founder of R.O.C Surfing Association, estimates that there could be 25,000 people riding waves across Taiwan. While
coast guard towers are more interested in illegal immigrants landing by boat, when typhoon swells hit, the main beaches will be closed and surfing is still illegal along the coast south of Hualien. A steep central mountain range means the east coast is much less developed than the overcrowded west coast, which makes Taiwan second only to Bangladesh in population density.

Pros

  • SE typhoon & NE monsoon swells

  • Large tropical island

  • Powerful beachbreaks & left points

  • Cheap, easy access from Asia

  • Beautiful east coast

Cons

  • No world-class breaks

  • Suffocating summer heat

  • Densely populated Taipei

  • Risk of destructive typhoons

Surf Spots