Introducing… Breeze SUP Sports Club, Taiwan

Tell us a bit more about your SUP school…
We have not actually started our SUPKids school yet, but we’re getting ready for it now ! For adult classes we currently we offer 4 levels: Pioneer – Explorer – Master – Instructor.

What’s your favourite non-SUP related activity in Taiwan?
Too many. Scuba diving, snorkelling and swimming, as well as holding beach cleaning events (like Trash Hero)…

What do you love most about SUP’ing?
People get together, going places that most people can’t get to, it’s fun for all ages, it has many uses (surfing, exploring, sit and do nothing, yoga, fun games…etc.)

What do you know about ocean plastics?
We are aware of it, but we didn’t know how serious it is before we watch the SUPKids lesson videos. We are currently looking for ways and things that we can do to help our environment. We are starting with ourselves.

Do you have many problems regarding ocean plastics where you paddle?
Some areas yes, but we ask all of our club members and we announce in our Facebook fan pages to please pick up any trash (not just plastic) that they see while they paddle.

Do you give back to your local community? If so, what do you do?
Yes. We have established a non-profit organization: Chinese SUP Sports Association to help promote SUP in Taiwan, as well as organize fun SUP games and races, we work with the Children’s Cancer Foundation and we donate our profits from these events to the Foundation. We also hold beach cleaning events at our beaches from time to time (like the Trash Hero).

What is the weather like in the summer?
Hot (32~38 degrees Celsius), sometimes humid. We sometimes have typhoons during summer time. We have no waves during summer, so surfers go surf before and after typhoon times, and winter times.

What are the typical animals that you come across in Taiwan?
If you mean an animal that represents Taiwan (like Koalas to Australia), I would say Taiwan black bear, they have a white V on the chest. We also have Leopard Cats (they are Leopards in the size of regular Cats) in the mountains, they are very precious and amazing animals, but unfortunately, they are at the edge of extinction due to over hunting. Hunting is not allowed, but since they’re so rare, most people catch them when they see one.

What is the typical route that you would take if you were about to embark on a micro adventure or SUP adventure?
There is a small lake around our house, called the Breeze Lake, the founder of our company started his first SUP training at this lake, that’s why our company is called Breeze Paddle Co. Ltd. Besides this lake, we also like to go to different beaches, since we are pretty close to most of the North coast of our island.

What are the biggest environmental issues that you guys deal with locally?
Air pollution. We have air pollution from cars and scooters, but it is improving because we had a new law just a few years ago that has raised the smoke standard from automotive and scooters or motorcycles. We also have air pollution from China, but only when the wind is blowing from the Northeast monsoon. Our oceans are also polluted. There is a two-colour beach in the North coast, it is from a factory that discharge waste water with poisonous heavy metals. The factory was closed 60-70 years ago, but experts say that the water will remain this way for a few hundred years more.

Any recommendations of where to go paddling if we were to come to Taiwan?
Da-Hu Lake and Sun-Moon Lake, Jin-Shan beach, Fu-Long Beach. These are the areas we paddle the most. There are also many great paddle places down at the south of Taiwan, and they look completely different from the North coast, you should go both places if you were to come!

Tell us what a typical day for you guys looks like…
I’m a homeschool mom to two kids of 6 and 7. We spend a lot of fun times together learning, and when we are not home, we are paddling on the water, or we do land SUP!

If we were hanging out with you in Taiwan, what would we eat post-SUP?
Food is very famous in Taiwan. I would suggest shaved ice, fried chicken, fruit juices and ices. If you do come to Taiwan, Taiwanese fried chicken and Mango shaved ice is a MUST.

If there are times that you don’t paddle, what other activities do you get up to?
Camping, exploring, travelling, Land SUP, hiking. We also play music, my kids are learning cello and piano.

Any recommendations of places to go if we were visiting Taiwan?
Too many! You can choose outdoor or indoor activities, long distance or short distance trips to see very different things (drive distance from north to south is about 5-6 hours).

We know that you like to promote interaction between the community, tell us a little bit more about this…
Our association is working on promoting this sport. We are aware that SUP will be in the Olympics in the near future, so we are working on getting people to know about this sport (about 80~90% of our population is still unaware of this sport), and we are organizing ways to get kids to start paddling young. Taiwan is a small country, once there is someone representing us for an international game, the whole country will be cheering for him/her. We are also working to get the government to pay more attention to this sport and provide more supports and funding to us.

You also like to promote the concept of water security and self-help skills, tell us a little bit more about this too…
All of our coaches/instructors, including myself, we are all very well-trained Red Cross Lifeguards. My husband and about half of us are Lifeguard instructors, and a few of them are instructor’s instructors, meaning that they train people to become Lifeguard instructors. We are the biggest SUP club and the only club that hires coaches with lifeguard certifications only.