Pure Ocean Love
To me the ocean really means ultimate freedom, no one can get you out there. It's just you and the water. It's the only time you can really detach from all the noise, all the white noise of the world that takes you away from yourself. So I think that's why I surf: I don't have to answer to anybody but myself.
- Kassia Meador
As the year comes to an end the anticipated ASP Women's World Longboard Championship has happened. A few weeks ago on China's island of Hainan the Championship was fully pumping. Every morning at the crack of dawn between the 20th and 24th of November, 32 ladies would rise and feel the energy this southern tropical island had to offer. The aim was to ride and challenge themselves at this year's SWATCH GIRLS PRO CHINA hosted by Wanning. For the last 3 years the beaches of Wanning have presented this competition and this year they teared up Riyue Bay. Luckily, the waves stayed steady at three to five feet with chunky moments and were so much better than last years flatness. It was promising, the girls were stoked and all eager to paddle out.
China is a newcomer in the world of surf but it's making its name especially during the winter season with consistent waves catching swells from northeastern and southern currents. Swatch's Darcii Lu mentioned her happiness of China being on the surf map and how it's becoming a growing sport. She said, five years ago it was only her and few others that were on boards awaiting the swells but since 2010 there might be about one hundred Chinese surfers throughout the country and never crowding one beach. Monica Guo, Swatch's wild card gave us some insider details of other spots to hit when coming to China like: Shenzhen, Fujian, Qing Dau, Hong Kong, Guang Zhon and Hainan. Hai-nan meaning "South of the Sea" has been blessed with exotic palm beaches and great reefs, that are waiting to be scouted.
Back on Riyue Bay everyday the girls gave the judges and beach spectators their fancy footwork. All with their individual styles like Kassia's Hang fives, Karina's cross steps, J. Smith's backwards surf and Atlanta's dancing on water had us all certain to witness. Reigning champion Kelia "Sista" Moniz said at the beginning of the week, that she was approaching this year's event heat by heat.
The ocean means and takes a different portrayal in everyone's life. It's a dream to run into it and frolic. For the ones that grow up near one it's our backyard and nurturing part of our lives. And one thing I learned from being in China with ASP'S finest is that the love for that ocean transmits its felt with each celebration of a wave and SHE brings smiles for miles... This is the type of sport that comes from within and it doesn't matter what you’ve scored. Think of life as waves… with each awesome swell and force that comes let it turn into a new crest for life.
The ocean means so much to me right now. She gives me so much happiness and fun times, I love that. I love the reefs they are so beautiful, they are captivating. But sometimes she's dangerous and she gets angr...y we have to respect her as well. - Monica Gou
It's like a drug, I need to be in the ocean. I can't live without the sea. I think of the ocean as part of me, It's my second family. When I spend time away from the ocean, I'm not feeling good after a while. I need to be in the ocean, I need to surf and there are no rules. - Viktoria Vergara
words & photos by Marchi Marchell
b&w shot by Damien Poullenot