Magnificent Hong Kong

I have never really thought about Hong Kong as a destination to travel to and I don’t know that I would ever have booked to come to here if I had not been heading via Hong Kong to the ISA World Championships and have good mates from South Africa living here.

I must however say I am thrilled I got to come to Hong Kong and highly recommend it to anyone considering visiting it. They say that New York is the city they never sleeps but I must say I recon Hong Kong may just be that City.

What is truly incredible about this City is the amazing Topography of the area. It is an eclectic combination of green lush jungle and City Skyscrapers.

With 300 kilometers of dedicated hiking trails, you can find everything from paved walking paths through lush forest to rugged mountain-top trails and hikes that will take you from one remote village to the next.

You can hike to beautiful stretches of lonely beaches, or find trails overlooking the forest of high-rises that dominates Central Hong Kong. I managed to get a fun early morning walk in with my mates along the scenic Victoria Peak and watched the sun come up over the beautiful city.

I was truly blessed to be able to stay with friends who have been living and working here for 5 years and they took time off to show me the city they call home. From a scenic drive to Shek O beach to a tram ride through Central and a MTR (Mass Transport Railway) ride under the sea from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon, I truly got to experience a combination of what Hong Kong has to offer.

Hong Kong has over 9000 High Rise building in the City with 350 of them reach 150 meters high. The total built-up height (combined heights) of these skyscrapers is approximately 333.8 km (207 mi), making Hong Kong the world’s tallest urban agglomeration. Hong Kong has more inhabitants living at the 15th floor or higher, and more buildings of at least 100 m (328 ft) and 150 m (492 ft) height, than any other city in the world.

I was also treated to great gastronomic experiences throughout Hong Kong during my stay. Being someone who loves dim sim and Asian food I was in heaven with the selection of incredible cuisine available.

On my second night I was treated to the exquisite experience that is Hutong Restuarant. We enjoyed a 7 course set menu that was a combination of Northern Chinese flavour with a modern twist.

Part of this experience was being treated to a front seat view of the nightly Symphony of Lights. Each evening, 44 buildings on the shores of Victoria Harbour participate in A Symphony of Lights, a synchronized show named by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest permanent light fixture in the world.

To sum up my experience of Hong Kong I would simply say utterly magnificent and truly surprising in every way. I loved the diversity and energy of the the city and the amazing scenery. A true gem that I would highly recommend visiting.

Thank you Hayden and Penny for sharing your beautiful home and city with me and giving me an utterly memorable experience.

Hard work and focus pays off

Today was another special day for the team and a testament to the commitment and training this team of athletes, coaches and management have put in.

Once again every member of the team put in their time and support to get behind the members participating and gave their all to deliver the best possible result.

Taking into consideration that each team member had to run fundraising campaigns to get to the worlds championships it really was an achievement to be here in the first place. Without the support of the SUP community, family, friends and the general public we would never have been able to do it. We really are truly grateful for the incredible support from everyone back home.

We unfortunately did not have a full team this year as we were short 1 Prone Paddle Board Women and 1 Long Distance Women due to funding challenges which all counts when it comes to Team points. That said South Africa still managed to move up 2 positions in the World rankings finishing 9th.

Every single Team member achieved amazing results and we are super proud to take home 3 medals for the country this year. Jadon Wessels got South Africa’s first medal when he got the copper medal in Prone Paddle-board Technical Racing, followed by Tarryn King getting the Gold Medal in the Women’s Sprint Racing and concluded by Jadon Wessels once again excelling and receiving a bronze medal in Prone Paddle-Board long distance.

Athlete Holly Henderson from Great Britain showed true sportsmanship by kindly lending Jadon her Prone board (Ruby) so that he could still compete when his board was held up in Hong Kong. This for any athlete can be their worst nightmare and thank goodness for athlete Holly and her Team Manager Dave.

Morning and evening bus trips to and from the venues were always filled with a combination of cheering laughter and a great vibe that we shared with our fellow athletes from Australia.

The ISA World Stand Up and Paddle-Board Championships has certainly been an experience to remember. I would also like to say that without our legend hostess @LeMeridian Shimei Beach Sally Su we would have been at a complete loss.

I know that each of us look forward to heading home in the morning and seeing all our family and friends. I shall stop off in Hong Kong for a small detour to see mates on route home but the rest of the team land in South Africa on Tuesday.