Beat by big waves
By Michelle Chan
Hong Kong's Michael Kwan Sai-keung and Codie Tse Kwok-ming are thrilled about the exposure they gained at last month's Penang First International Skimboarding Competition 2007.
The duo failed to make it into the final round of the competition, organised by an Asian skimboarding community, Pearl of the Orient, at Penang, Malaysia, on July 14.
It was divided into two categories - the International Men's Open and the International Junior Open.
A total of 39 competitors from Hong Kong, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines took part in the event.
It was the first time for Hong Kong to enter the event. The SAR's three-member squad also included Richard Paril.
'I believe what Hong Kong skimboarders lacked in this competition was practice on the big waves,' said Kwan, who, like Tse, has been skimboarding for three years.
'There were a lot of high-class competitors. Some of them have been in the sport for more than eight years.
'Many of them have practised on big waves before. With their experience, they were able to make many smart moves using the board.'
The participants said the waves were very close to the shore and were about two metres high.
A total of 34 skim boarders took part in the senior category, with the top 16 moving into the final round.
'I scored 90 points, just five points behind another player, and was ranked 17,' Kwan said. 'It's a pity that neither one of us could enter the finals. Yet, we are happy that we were able to see where we stand when compared to competitors from other countries.'
Tse believed that they lost marks on the wave-riding section.
'Timing is very important during wave-riding manoeuvres,' said Tse, who was ranked 23. 'Sadly, we do not have such big waves in Hong Kong and were not able to practise those moves.'
Winning is not the most important thing, say the competitors - it's the process that they enjoy the most.
'Like Hong Kong, Singapore also has small waves. Yet their players were able to perform well in the competition.
'This tells me that there is no excuse for the Hong Kong team. We ought to strive harder at our next competition.'