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Taiwan's eastern coast is directly exposed to north¬east monsoons in winter, and big typhoon-generated swells in summer which means waves all year round. The two most popular places to surf are Honeymoon bay Tahsi to the locals) on the northeast coast close to Taipei: and Kenting, on the southern tip of the end. There are plenty of other well-known breaks, and aging the rocky east coast there are sure to be more a yet discovered.

Taiwan is not a country that you immediately as¬sociated with surfing, but in reality the sport is growing were in leaps and bounds. There are now four surf mops — two in Taipei and one each in Honeymoon Bay and Kenting. Despite the growth, the scene is still small enough for there to be a real camaraderie amongst surfers: there are an estimated 500 board veers in the country. Visiting surfers are amazed by to helpful, friendly nature of Taiwan's surfers - a major contrast to the aggressive "localism" of some West-Ern countries.

The most vibrant surfing scene is at Honeymoon Bay, which is just two hours' drive from Taipei - an easy weekend getaway for surfers living in the capital city. This black sand beach faces east into the Pacific, and has consistent beach and point breaks which at their best can hold swells up to 3m. The summer ty¬phoons and the winter monsoon winds virtually guar¬antee that there are surfable waves all year round. Activities out of the sea revolve around the Sun Broth¬ers Surf Center, which since 1979 has been run by Jeff and Tom Sun. These two got involved in the sport in the 1970s after seeing US military personnel surf¬ing at places like Wanli on the north coast, and their enthusiasm and knowledge have been crucial to establishing surfing in Taiwan. The Surf Center offers dormitory style accommodation, great food and a cozy environment to swap surfing tales with friends over a few beers. Jeff's Surf Shop offers boards to reef, buy, and all other essentials. Several other good surfing spots nearby include Fulung. Nanfang Ou and Hualian.

Five hours' bus ride south of Taipei is Kenting National Park. Kenting town has its own white sand beach which has a good break. Like all the break on the south coast, it works best in the summer when it receives swells from passing to warm weather and the great beach make kenting an appealing destination ever when the surfs not working. The town has plenty of accommodation including Hotel California, a guesthouse and surf shop run by Taiwanese boararioers And offer surf tours of the area.

There's even more to enjoy at Nanwan, which has two reef breaks generally regarded as the best in southern Taiwan. When they're working well you can enjoy smooth, well-formed faces up to 4m. It's also worth checking out the spectacular Jialoshui Beach at the mouth of the Kankou River. There are points at either end of the bay, and the rocky bottom produces clean, consistent waves.

Taiwan has recently begun holding local com¬petitions, and the circuit will expand this year to four tournaments, including events at Honeymoon Bay and Kenting. Although Taiwanese surfers want to develop the sport within the local population, Tom Sun believes this will be a real challenge: "Many young people want to learn how to surf, but most of the Chinese parents don't allow them as they think the ocean is very dangerous. We've been trying to wake them up for 20 years!"

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