Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Surf Spots in Taiwan


There are a handful of surf spots around Taiwan. The waves are larger during the winter, from roughly November to April. The summer waves are knee to waist high only on good days. Just
before and after a typhoon comes close to the island the waves can reach over 12 feet. Typhoon season usually lasts from late May through September.


Honeymoon Bay

Northeast Coast

The view from Eagle's Head Rock above Honeymoon Bay.

Take the slow train ("dian che") Eastbound out of Taipei towards Fulong Beach, Ilan, and Hualien. After Fulong Beach train station, the stops are Shicheng, Dali, and then Dahsi. Get off at Dahsi train station, about 20 minutes past Fulong. You can see Honeymoon Bay ("Mi yue wan") to the right from the train platform, a 10 minute walk. Cross the street and turn left for boardshops, convenience stores, and Vietnamese food.

The beach at Honeymoon Bay is rocky with spots of black sand and uncomfortable. The rocks usually cover the shoreline and skimboarding is not an option, although somedays there are large sandy areas along the shore. There is no coral at Honeymoon Bay. Skimboarding is great on days when the waves only break onto the shore and not further out, assuming there is enough sand. The typhoons during the summer months destroy the sandbars, reducing the area where good waves break. The sandbars build back up over the winter.

The main reason to go to Honeymoon Bay is for the waves. On good days waves break on the left, the right, or in the middle of the bay. The waves at Honeymoon Bay tend to break more hollow than other spots in Taiwan.

Turtle Mountain Island

Many foreigners complain about bad experiences at Honeymoon Bay. There are plenty of stories about locals breaking foreigner's surfboards, large fights, and bad vibes. Honeymoon Bay is like anywhere else- some agressive locals, crowded during the summer, and lots of friendly people. Respect is the key.

There are only a few options for food in Dahsi. There's a great Vietnamese restaurant across from the train station. Everything on the Chinese and English menu is about $50 NT. There are two seafood restaurants a short walk North from the train station. Dinner for two will cost at least $300 NT. A long walk North from the train station is another seafood restaurant, a Familymart convenience store, and a decent breakfast shop. These options are close to the harbor at Dahsi- where you can find fresh fish and seafood right off the boats. There are a handful of small convenience stores and a couple of small breakfast shops throughout Dahsi as well.

The are several boardshops in Dahsi. Jeff's, Spider, Cool, and Heaven are the most well-known. You can rent a longboard for $500 NT a day- on the beach during the summer. Prices on equipment tend to be much more expensive than California or Hawaii. Surfing lessons are also available.

The boardshops also run hostels. The convenience stores sometimes have rooms available for $500 NT a night. Camping is good under the concrete structure on the beach or on Eagle's Head Rock. To get there, drive scooters North to Dock Bay and turn left throught the temple gate on the left side of the main coastal road. Drive up the mountain for 10 to 15 minutes and look for a small brown sign on the left for Eagle's Head Rock. The hike takes 15 to 20 minutes from there and can be slippery on rainy days. The view during the day and at night is amazing. Renting a beach house will save you money. They're cheap at even $1000 NT a month or less if you share a house with roomates.


Dock Bay

Northeast Coast

Wannasurf Spot Guide:

This spot is just North of Honeymoon Bay at the North end of the sea-wall. Dock Bay is only surfable during large swells. This left peels perfectly nearly every time across the Bay. There is no beach here. Just in front of where the wave breaks are large boulders shaped like giant tacs. Dock Bay is a dangerous break.