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5 Alternative Sports for Outdoor Junkies in Hong Kong

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Okay, Hong Kong’s got a lot to offer contrary to what people might say. Shopping? Tick. Food? You bet. Culture? Hell yea! But if you fancy yourself the outdoorsy type, you might think hiking and mountain biking are your only options in the Fragrant Harbour, right? Wrong! The city’s home to some of the most amazing sporting activities in the world! You don’t think those pristine beaches, clear-blue waters and lush-green mountains are only meant for Instagram photos, did you? In celebration of Hong Kong’s inaugural Red Dragon paddle boarding race, we’ve put together a short list of some of the best alternative sports around town, and how you can get in on the action. So get set, put on that wet suit, get outdoors and try some of these awesome activities!



Outrigger Canoeing

What: Basically canoeing on steroids. Ever raced a dragon boat? This is more like the calmer and longer cousin of the sport. Outrigger canoes are special compared to your plain-old standard canoe because of the support floats they have. A popular sport among countries in the Pacific, outrigger canoeing’s a pretty fun group activity with long distances covered in the process. Usually you’ll need some buddies anyway as rowing these things can be a challenge by yourself!

Best Spots to Enjoy:



Dragon Boating


What: One of Hong Kong’s most popular outdoor sports, dragon boating’s not for the faint of heart. But if you’ve got upper body strength and know how to use it, get yourself and your buddies in on the sport pronto! Usually conducted as a race, dragon boating can be enjoyed all year-round in Hong Kong, but you’ll find it hit fever-pitch in this city usually around May & June when the official festival hits. If you like a bit of competition, fast racing row boats, and don’t mind some serious callouses on your hands, this is just for you.

Best Spots to Enjoy:





What: Yes that’s right, paragliding! Did you know nearly 70% of the Hong Kong territory is uninhabited land? What better way to see it than from above! With paragliding, you can skip all the pain and grunt of a lengthy hike, and just take in the million (billion?) dollar views with way more ease. You’ll need a bit of training to get going, but that’s easy to set up. And if you’ve got a Go-Pro, you’ll definitely wanna have it handy for this one.

Best Spots to Enjoy:



Stand-Up Boarding (SUP)


What: So you stand on a surfboard and row with a paddle – I know what you’re thinking, easy, right! As if! First you’ve gotta get your balance down tight, engage your core muscle, then get that upper body strength working if you plan on enjoying this total body workout. Now here’s an even bigger challenge, try doing it on the same board, with three other people! That’s what participants to the inaugural HK Red Dragon Race have planned, racing 200 meters in synchronisation across Deep Water Bay on 10 November 2016. We’d be lying if we said we didn’t want to join. But watching the race from the beach is probably just as tiring ;-).

And while you’re there make sure to check out Team Ovolo, the only all-female group in the 16-team race!

Wanna take up the sport? Besides (obviously) knowing how to swim, you first get your balance right, then remember to paddle with the edge facing away from you. Go solo your first time, then maybe bring a friend of three to the mix!

Best Spots to Enjoy:





What: Pretty much doable everywhere and anywhere around Hong Kong – we are surrounded by water after all! If you wanna go out and explore the city’s coastline and 230+ islands on your own, there’s better way to taking a kayak. Just make sure you’ve got a GPS with you – and no, your iPhone does not count!

Best Spots to Enjoy: Everywhere (…that has a body of water of course)

Top local clubs to take part in these activities:

For paragliding, visit Paraglide HK for details on training classes and group meets.

Important to Remember: Regardless of which of these sports you try, make sure you can swim and are comfortable in the Ocean :-)





This story was made possible thanks to the help of Julia Washbourne. Swimming since the age of 5, Julia is through-and-through outdoorswoman, whose love for water sports has seen her enjoying everything from windsurfing to paddle boarding throughout the years. She’ll be part of Ovolo’s all-female team at the 2016 Red Dragon Race, so come on down and meet Julia yourself on 10 November



Ellie Kate

Amadou is an American-raised, Hong Kong-based writer, communicator, and all-around lover of travel & food. He speaks four foreign languages and loves recommending new and exciting things to people whenever they go somewhere new. When not managing  his day job, you’ll probably find him at a happy hour or at the park with his Maltese Terrier, Maxx.