Taiwan surf

poodlechewsit's picture
poodlechewsit started the topic in Tuesday, 15 May 2018 at 7:50am

Just wondering if anyone had any information in regards to surfing in Taiwan mid July ,dont want any secrets just heads up on transport ,what sort of accommodation and swell expectations ,cheers

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yocal Tuesday, 15 May 2018 at 9:32am

I haven't surfed there but I sussed it all out because I sometimes travel there for work. There's a coastal train line and coastal bus services ex-Taipei Main and the travel time to the east coast is 1.5hrs. Good looking set-ups east of Keelung due to topography however most of the surf seems to hit the East Coast.

It seems that ideal wind and swell conditions are very intermittent. You can get long flat spells, small bursts of short period swells for fun beachbreaks, but the real surf comes in Typhoon Season and mid July is pretty bang on for that.

Food is absolutely AWESOME.
Language is a big barrier and most people will not be able to speak any English, including taxi drivers. Get Google Translate on your phone and prepare to be amazed at where Augmented Reality technology can take you.

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Stok Tuesday, 15 May 2018 at 10:51am

I've surfed there a few times. Never scored anything epic but have had plenty of fun days in the 2-5ft range (more on the smaller end of the scale). Generally shorter period stuff, warm water, beachies and points. Very uncrowded except for the touristy areas. Seen photos of it looking perfect, 6-8ft stuff. Seen videos of it being scarily big...10ft+

As Yocal said it's typhoon season in July, which means it'll either be flat or pumping, not much in between. Not unusual for Typhoons to hit land or come very close, when this happens the whole coastline gets shut down and policed firmly by the coastguard. Big fines for surfing during these times, as the coastguards are everywhere.

If you're there for a couple of weeks in July you can expect a typhoon/tropical storm, so hopefully 2 days of swell or so. You might get lucky and get a couple of typhoons. It's a good idea to stay mobile, check the charts to see which coastline is on and get a train there, stay at a backpackers and hire a scooter/car. Of course you may get a typhoon, and it may hit land and you'll be stuck at your backpackers waiting out the storm.

Language barrier is real, but Taiwanese people are notoriously friendly. Local Taiwanese surfers are absolute legends and are great hosts.

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poodlechewsit Tuesday, 15 May 2018 at 11:38am

Thanks for that information guys ,much appreciated

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fraser-gordon Tuesday, 15 May 2018 at 1:06pm

Heading there in a couple of weeks till into mid June with the family.Grommets are keen to take boards but I'm not that fussed the food and landscape looks rad enough for me.Can you hire a board if we come across something interesting surf wise and any info on money whats the go ATMs or cold hard cash?

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clif Tuesday, 15 May 2018 at 6:36pm

south and south west coast when the typhoon heads toward South China sea. Best waves. Lots of rivermouths, pointbreaks, etc. You can base yourself in Kenting.

East coast is good around Taitung county. One particular point break in particular. Easy to find.

Northern waves a shadow of these.

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StokeFest Tuesday, 15 May 2018 at 7:12pm

I've done two trips with my two young boys (8 and 12) over two years with SurfTaiwan.com - awesome operators, got us to empty waves, great food and accomm, really felt a part of the local scene there going to several local surfer BBQ's too. Also got to go to out of the way waterfalls, markets, snorkeling spots and had some Mandarin lessons for the boys! Have booked again for a third trip next year. No super heavy waves (I wouldn't head there if you're looking for double overhead barrels) but plenty of fun waves.

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udo Tuesday, 15 May 2018 at 7:22pm

Not wishing to put a Damper on your Trip
Taiwan is home of some of the Biggest GWS on Earth

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fraser-gordon Wednesday, 16 May 2018 at 7:29am

What?? Greater Western Sydney supporters.

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thatguy Wednesday, 16 May 2018 at 7:05pm

Didn't know they played AFL in Taiwan. Learn something new every day.

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udo Saturday, 14 Jul 2018 at 6:39pm

Fraser G .....some Taiwan tales ?
Surfchaser pic was cool find.

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smac12 Monday, 16 Jul 2018 at 10:19pm

Check out Island Rhythm Tours if they're still operating. Terry and Asif will sort you out.
Did a trip in 2015, booked with them for a 5 days accomo and surf transport down in the southern kenting area, then had another week and a half to check out the rest of the island.

Got there and wouldn't you know it, dead flat for the first week and a bit; The Island Rhythm guys were great about it though and adjusted our booking to the end of our trip when there looked like there was a bit swell hitting.

So we got a week travelling around sussing the amazing weirdness that is Taiwanese culture and then 2 days of fun 3ft beachies and finished with a day spent at a proper heavy rifling 4-6ft right, 2 other guys out, before the typhoon hit that evening and cancelled our flights.

Just used trains and buses to get around the majority of the island, but to access a lot of the southern surf spots you'll need to rent a car or get a guide.

Fair chance of getting skunked but an amazing trip if the elements align.

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gsco Wednesday, 2 Jun 2021 at 10:59am

Interesting, I didn't know there was a Taiwan thread.

I was fortunate to travel Taiwan for a few months around 2000, a time when surfing was basically nonexistent there.

It was April or May that year and I just didn't feel like doing Indo again, so after studying weather patterns and navigation charts I just took a stab and guessed that there might be waves in Taiwan during our late winter and spring (and was right), and booked a ticket and set off alone into the unknown.

I travelled on public transport with a backpack, surfboard, the latest edition of Lonely Planet, a couple of folded up navigation charts, and an open mind.

I've travelled to many places around the world but can say that trip was the best experience I've ever had, by light years. I found the east coast to have many beautiful, black-sand, palm-tree lined beaches, nice waves whose size/consistency/quality etc I'd say are nearly on par with the Sunshine Coast, very friendly and accommodating people, and the clean air and ocean of the Pacific.

After landing in Taipei in the middle of the night and spending the remainder of it on the street trying to find a hostel mentioned in Lonely Planet, I initially very slowly and carefully made my way down the east coast and surfed a lot of spots that I see are popular today, and didn't see another surfer for weeks (well months) on end. I remember staying with local families, camping on empty beaches and parks (basically camping is free everywhere), and many deranged but fun conversations with school children on the train that runs along the east coast on their way to and from school for the day and wondering how on earth a westerner ended up sitting with them on their daily school run.

I then spent a good chunk of the trip staying in Kenting and surfing all the spots known today with a small gang of local Taiwanese people who'd just taken up the "surfing lifestyle" as I'd describe it, and showing them some wild Aussie larrikinism on the town at night...it was a good time to be in Taiwan as a western surfer who could string together and bottom and top turn.

On a decent swell they took me to a rocky reef/point break near Kenting that was pretty hollow and shallow, and said I was the first to surf it (which I doubt), and they didn't join me since they snickered that it was un-surfable and gave me no chance of even getting out and back to the beach, let alone of catching and making a wave...

One interesting thing I learnt about Taiwan while I was there was that it was originally inhabited by its own indigenous/aboriginal culture of people before the Chinese who were retreating from the new-in-power CCP overrun the island. The Chinese basically did the same thing as we did to the Australian aboriginals, and forced the remaining aboriginal Taiwanese to live mostly up in the mountain range that runs the length of the island, and treat them like we treat ours - as animals and not humans. The indigenous Taiwanese are genetically most related to the French Polynesians and Maori, and it showed in their looks - I'd rate the women as some of the most beautiful I'd ever seen, anywhere.

As a mid-20s fit, tanned, confident, blonde-haired and blue-eyed Aussie shining with enthusiasm and life, Taiwan was a goldmine for me not just for the surf...

As time went on, I started to get homesick and decided to return to Aus.
Surprisingly, after that one life-changing trip there, life got in the road and I never went back, although I've since been to mainland China many times and hence was always only a very short flight away.

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stunet Wednesday, 2 Jun 2021 at 11:09am

Nice one, GSCO.

Also, a quick Google Image search confirms your opinion RE indigenous Taiwanese.

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lomah Wednesday, 2 Jun 2021 at 11:28am

great story gsco.

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udo Wednesday, 2 Jun 2021 at 11:45am
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Bnkref Wednesday, 2 Jun 2021 at 1:09pm

Great read gsco. Have had a couple of mates go in the last 5 or so years. One did quite well on the wave front and the other mainly got skunked. But from the photos it looks like a stunning spot even if you don't get any decent swell.

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freeride76 Wednesday, 2 Jun 2021 at 1:19pm

nice one alright GSCO.

quick question: did you go in April/May?
thats our late autumn.

you said you went in our late winter/spring.

Been flashing on a trip with the fam and curious about the timing is all.

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gsco Wednesday, 2 Jun 2021 at 1:23pm

I was pondering things/life/options in April-May and went in mid-late June. Came back mid-late September.

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zenagain Wednesday, 2 Jun 2021 at 1:45pm

Great read gsco, I've only been to Taipei but agree that the Taiwanese are so welcoming and friendly. Gosh I don't want this to come out the wrong way but they seemed more Japanese in nature than Chinese.

Quite a few Japanese surfers get over there now and said that from September onwards, the place pumps. Early typhoon season in September. Still relatively uncrowded I've heard.

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gsco Wednesday, 2 Jun 2021 at 2:12pm

I'm not an expert of when is the best time of the year for Taiwan since I've only been there once, but I got pretty good and consistent waves, relatively speaking.

In my experience of travelling to China, Taiwan and South Korea, and living in Japan for a short stint, I learnt that Taiwan was once occupied by Japan and yes it has a some Japanese influence, and that the Taiwanese, Japanese and South Koreans kind of "identify with" or respect each other and kind of despise the mainland Chinese as though they're uncultured feral animals... Taiwan does have a different culture and life view than mainland China, but I personally maintain that in the end it's still China since it was originally "taken over" and is still ruled to this day by Han Chinese.

There was one Japanese surfer that hung out with us for a while down Kenting, who we called Captain Japan, but he couldn't really surf and thus keep up with the crew in the water...or on the town at night for that matter...so he dropped off the scene...!

I will go back to Taiwan in the near future, when international travel opens back up.

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zenagain Wednesday, 2 Jun 2021 at 3:03pm

Me too. Would love to check out the surf there.

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I focus Thursday, 3 Jun 2021 at 8:47am

Enjoyed that gsco great read thanks.

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Fraser G Thursday, 3 Jun 2021 at 9:19am

I want to go back just to eat...rad place

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Stok Thursday, 3 Jun 2021 at 9:39pm

Just scrolled back and saw I commented back in May 2018 on this.

Got a Taiwanese partner so have been there 3 times since then, pre-pandemic (she's hurting with the border closures).

Had one incredibly memorable session in August 2018. Empty, 6ft+ grinding walls for 2 days straight. Funnily enough the wave was within view of a busy tourist spot, but I only saw 2 surfers there on the first day who were ending their session, just as the swell was kicking.

It was getting busier, but still relatively uncrowded.

If you plan on going - Nov to Apr is consistent but less epic. July to Oct is hit and miss but can absolutely pump (usually one 2-3 day swell every fortnight).

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simba Friday, 4 Jun 2021 at 6:22am

just keep it under yer hats fellas.......dont want it getting out now do we..

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HaddoCurl Friday, 4 Jun 2021 at 10:07am

Had a great trip a few years ago to the east coast. There's lots of river mouths, coves and beachies. The team from SurfTaiwan really looked after us. Well worth doing.

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Brad Ferrier Friday, 4 Jun 2021 at 11:52am

Good little trip bio GSCO, well done. I’m repeating myself but here it goes again. The Chinese and Australian Governments equally should hold their heads in shame, when are we going to realise that people are people no matter where they are from, what colour their skin is, what religious beliefs they may have or what language they speak. Is it really that hard to accept others ?

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zenagain Friday, 4 Jun 2021 at 12:51pm

I don't know why they can't hold a vote and decide once and for all if they are Chinese or Taiwanese?

Don't they have a say in the matter?

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wallpaper Friday, 4 Jun 2021 at 7:15pm

A declaration of independence would likely lead to the declaration of a war that would be no good for anyone so why would they do something as silly as that.

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soggydog Friday, 4 Jun 2021 at 7:39pm

Hong Kong gave it a crack, wasn’t very successful

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zenagain Friday, 4 Jun 2021 at 7:59pm

Just mentioned it on the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Ask any Taiwanese person if they identify as Chinese?

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mattlock Friday, 4 Jun 2021 at 11:11pm

The CCP irrevocably beleive that Tiawan is part of China regardless of what the people in Tiawan feel about it.

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gsco Saturday, 5 Jun 2021 at 6:15am

Taiwan is a simple situation of it being populated, in various waves over the past few hundred years, by mainland Han Chinese who have now decided that they no longer want to be Chinese, and who are trying to convince the world that they are not Chinese...

The West nowadays goes along with and indeed encourages this illusion (note: they once signed off against Taiwan independence) since it has strategic political, military and economic interests in doing so...

I can sympathise with the CCP when they remark to the people of Taiwan something like "you do realise that you're all Han Chinese from the mainland, apart from the small indigenous population that you killed off and hence that no one cares about anymore...?"

I can sympathise with the desire of the Taiwanese people to gain independence from mainland China - the US gained theirs from Britain - but Taiwan is a sitting duck against the military might of the CCP. China will defend its right over Taiwan to the bitter death - this is embedded in the psyche of every single Chinese person, and the West knows it.

The following paragraph from the Taiwan wiki page (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiwan) explains things very clearly:

"Austronesian-speaking ancestors of Taiwanese indigenous peoples settled the island around 6,000 years ago. In the 17th century, large-scale Han Chinese immigration to western Taiwan began under a Dutch colony and continued under the Kingdom of Tungning. The island was annexed in 1683 by the Qing dynasty of China, and ceded to the Empire of Japan in 1895. The Republic of China, which had overthrown the Qing in 1911, took control of Taiwan on behalf of the World War II Allies following the surrender of Japan in 1945. The resumption of the Chinese Civil War resulted in the ROC's loss of mainland China to forces of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and retreat to Taiwan in 1949."

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Blowin Saturday, 5 Jun 2021 at 6:23am

“Taiwan is a simple situation of it being populated, in various waves over the past few hundred years, by mainland Han Chinese who have now decided that they no longer want to be Chinese, and who are trying to convince the world that they are not Chinese..”

So I guess this means that you, me and all Caucasian Australians will always and forever be British and we’ve got no agency in the matter? Also that Britain is allowed to invade Australia if they want cause they’re bigger and their word means more than ours when it comes to declaring who we identify as?

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gsco Saturday, 5 Jun 2021 at 6:35am

Well like I just implied, they do have complete say in the matter; it's just futile for the Taiwanese, as other people have mentioned above. Hence the current stalemate: China taking things a step further will likely lead to war against the West. Taiwan seeking increased independence will lead to war with China, which is suicide unless the West stepped in, and this will likely still be suicide.

International relations and the history of nations is governed by the law of the jungle where the biggest and most powerful win out - in the end there are no other rules.

I personally think Taiwan should be allowed its complete independence simply because they want it, but I also understand how blind, ignorant and naive that view and desire is to the course of history and world politics.

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Blowin Saturday, 5 Jun 2021 at 7:01am

You think declarations of independence are blind, ignorant and naive and that they’re inherently unsuccessful?

Desire for independence isn’t an illusion. We should be supporting Taiwan. I don’t mean we should be sending Australians to die in the pursuit but we should be supporting them in many other ways. Not least of which is publicly stating the legitimacy of their position and validating it at every turn. This includes comments on Internet forums.

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gsco Saturday, 5 Jun 2021 at 7:17am

The Taiwanese have little to no legitimacy in their position at all, from historical, political, human rights - any - perspective. Their desire for independence is based on an illusion.

Indeed, they have only a claim to hypocrisy by taking over the island from, and killing off, the indigenous population, and now claiming the island as their own, and then claiming that the same thing shouldn't happen to them...

I guess we in the West are happy to support a peoples who did that since we did it, eg in Australia, Canada, the US, New Zealand...

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Blowin Saturday, 5 Jun 2021 at 7:18am

What in gods name are you on about? Historical perspective?

An island nation of 25 million people states its independence. That’s the start and the end of it.

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gsco Saturday, 5 Jun 2021 at 8:05am

.

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gsco Saturday, 5 Jun 2021 at 8:05am

The reality is for instance we had no legitimate claim to Australia but won it through power over the aborigines, the US had no legitimate claim of independence but won it through war with the British...etc...the list is endless.

It’s all just law of the jungle in world affairs and history.

Analogously, Taiwan has no legitimate claim of independence, but if they can win it via war with China, possibly via alliance with the US (like how China won Taiwan back off Japan) then good for them, all the more power to them...

Until then it’s all a mute point and non-event and the Western media propaganda machine just needs to STFU about the issue and stop relentlessly spamming misinformation that is simply blindly aligned with the US’s political and economic agenda of attempting to hold back China from becoming the dominant global power.

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Blowin Tuesday, 15 Jun 2021 at 12:38pm

You are aware that Taiwan is a democracy and the population of Taiwan-including indigenous Taiwanese- voted for their independence from China through electing political parties who stand for independence?

That’s the only point that matters. China’s refusal to respect this outcome is revelatory regarding their outlook on the wider world outside of China.

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Island Bay Tuesday, 15 Jun 2021 at 12:44pm

*moot point

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freeride76 Tuesday, 15 Jun 2021 at 1:14pm

why shouldn't the west try and hold China back from being the dominant global power?

Totalitarian governments have been disastrous for human beings.

the thought of one with a fully developed Orwellian surveillance apparatus being loosed on the world should terrify anyone with even a skerrick of historical knowledge.

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Island Bay Tuesday, 15 Jun 2021 at 1:24pm

Hear hear!

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stunet Tuesday, 15 Jun 2021 at 1:36pm

It may not be the first war, but the one that happens when the Chinese people turn on their government, will be this century's most significant.

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Blowin Tuesday, 15 Jun 2021 at 1:38pm

You reckon the Chinese population will stop at throwing shoes and milkshakes at their political class?

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Blowin Tuesday, 15 Jun 2021 at 1:47pm

Freeride said : “why shouldn't the west try and hold China back from being the dominant global power?

Totalitarian governments have been disastrous for human beings.

the thought of one with a fully developed Orwellian surveillance apparatus being loosed on the world should terrify anyone with even a skerrick of historical knowledge.”

This is the thought going through my mind every time one of the local “…but Murica” fluffers start up with their shit. There’s a few of these crew kicking around who push the point beyond contrarianism and well towards encouragement.

We know what they need…..

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stunet Tuesday, 15 Jun 2021 at 1:46pm

Millions of Chinese Eggboys!

The reolving door of history has been mentioned a few times on here recently - "if history teaches us anything it's X, Y, and Z."

No surveillance state that suppresses freedom, curiosity, and art has ever succeeded, so why should the CCP's?

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freeride76 Tuesday, 15 Jun 2021 at 2:06pm

technology.

the power of the state now, via technology, is unsurpassed.

History moves forwards, we get indicators and lessons, not blueprints.