Welcome to Humans of Hong Kong, a story series on Localiiz that takes a deeper look at the many colourful characters and unique personalities that call our beloved city home. We catch up with Cao Long Long and Cocoa Zhou, a wakesurfing champion and his apprentice, who skim and carve the waves around Hong Kong. Join us as they share their stories of how they first started wakesurfing, the challenges they face, and why Hong Kong is the perfect place for this watersport.
Cao Long Long: “I started wakesurfing four years ago. It was actually a friend who dragged me out to go wakesurfing—I didn’t really want to go at first, but then it just clicked with me the first time I went, and then I just kept going afterwards. I started wakesurfing maybe at the end of 2016. Because the sport is so new in Asia, I think only took about a year and a half before I got to the Asia Championship.
“My most memorable competition has got to be the first one. I was not really expecting anything. I have never been to any of the competitions, wasn’t really expecting to win, didn’t know any of the competitors, didn’t really understand how to compete at that point. But I trained as if I were [going] to compete. It was in Macau. It was an Asia-wide competition [with] everyone flying in, and it’s most memorable because I did win that competition. But without any expectations—I kind of just went in there and did what I knew how to and won with what I knew.”
Cocoa Zhou: “I started wakesurfing [about] two years ago. It was because of a boat trip—my friend has a wakesurfing boat. I tried it for the first time and I couldn’t even get up. But I was like, ‘This looks really cool, I want to be able to do it, but it looks super difficult.’ And I got quite obsessed with it. It’s probably my personality—when I think the sport is really cool, I just want to be able to do it and look good [for] the cameras.
“I remember I would get up at 5 am, take a cab to Sai Kung, wakesurf there for an hour or two, and then come back home to shower, and then go to work at 9 am. I did that for like, half a year. I was able to get up [on the board] and wakesurf and then just started chilling and carving until recently when I met Long Long. I want to also be able to compete and learn some new tricks, which is much harder than just chilling and carving. So that’s new stuff for me.”
CZ: “I’m training a lot more than before. It’s definitely a lot of hard work. It’s not as fun as I imagined, because when you can carve and chill, it looks good, it looks nice on the camera. You know, for girls, usually, it’s enough. But I want to do more. So I started training and I kept falling. Long Long tells me, with this one movement, maybe you have to fall 500 times before you can do it. And before you can do it, you end up drinking a lot of ocean water. You need a lot of persistence, but Long Long definitely inspires me a lot.”
CLL: “There are so many options [for wakesurfing] in Hong Kong. If you’re on Hong Kong Island, there’s Deep Water Bay, Repulse Bay, and Tai Tam. I personally wakesurf in Deep Water Bay. I think you get the best view and it is also super convenient for me, but Sai Kung and Tai Po and all the other areas are all fine, it just depends on where is closest to you. During the summer, it gets crowded everywhere, but Deep Water Bay is almost like a party, you know, everyone’s out there. So if you want to have fun, I think Deep Water Bay is definitely the place to be.
“Hong Kong is well-priced [for wakesurfing]—so many options in Hong Kong for different bodies of water. And it’s pretty much year-round summer, because everywhere else is going to have a break for the winter season. It gets way too cold. In most places, you will be wakesurfing in lakes, and in the winter, it gets iced up. But here, pretty much any time of the day, any time of the year, you can go out there, you can still wakesurf. Hong Kong, I think, is the best.”
CLL: “My first impression [of Hong Kong] is obviously the great skyline, the busy city, and really, really hot summers. Before I discovered wakesurfing, I was pretty much just in suits, so it’s just an unbearable summer, but then I found all the water sports, and then all the outdoor activities, then it became just much better for me during summertime.
“I think there’s something special about being in the ocean and wakesurfing with your friends—you don’t feel tired. You don’t feel like you’re in the busy city. You just feel like you’re kind of enjoying the moment in the outdoors in Hong Kong— which is really strange, being in one of the cities that has like, the highest skyline and the biggest, busiest city. But then you also have this beautiful backdoor where you can just jump into the ocean.”
CLL: “I’m actually starting to discover Hong Kong more and more every year. It’s such a small place, but I feel like when you get comfortable in certain areas, you kind of don’t want to travel out. I really, really like Sai Kung. I think there are so many different areas in Hong Kong and it sort of surprises you—I always find myself going to different places and getting more and more familiar. Recently, I have been going to North Point a lot. And I find that every little pocket that you go to in Hong Kong, it’s like a new little area where you can discover different restaurants, different unique things about this area, even though we’re just all locked into this small island, but you can discover so many different things.”
CZ: “I like the Hong Kong food scene, because you have so many choices. For fine-dining, there are a lot of Michelin-starred restaurants. You can dress up and have a nice night out. You can go for local food in wet markets. And there are a lot of cool restaurants as well. Personally, I like spicy food. And surprisingly, in Hong Kong, you can actually find a lot of Sichuan and Hunan restaurants, which are quite authentic. It tastes like home for me.”
Created in partnership with Hong Kong Tourism Board for the Hong Kong Super Fans campaign