Stab Magazine | Has The First Surf Star Of China Arrived?

Has The First Surf Star Of China Arrived?

What do Blue Crush, Hong Kong and the grace of Rell Sunn have in common?

cinema // Jun 8, 2019
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Every surfer starts their journey somewhere, some are just further from the beach when they begin. Growing up in the mountains of southern China, hundreds of miles from the coast, when Monica Duo was 21 years old she scored a copy of “Blue Crush.” Like “The Endless Summer” to surfers in the ‘60s or “Searching For Tom Curren” to surfers in the ‘90s, the film had a profound effect on her.

Shortly thereafter she announced to her family that she was going to be a surfer and bought a plane ticket to Hong Kong, the closest place should could think of with an ocean.

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In case the name Rell Sun doesn’t tick, here’s a photo of her riding a camel on the Great Wall of China. Photo by Warren Bolster | Surfing Heritage

Ten years later, Duo’s happily made a home on Hainan Island, enjoying all that the South China Sea has to offer, and stands at the forefront of China’s first wave of surfers. A proud ambassador for girls in China who have dreams just like she did, she’s represented China in the ISA World Surfing Championships and blossomed into something of a celebrity on the home front. She also runs annual surf camps for Chinese girls.

When people talk about the emergence of Chinese surf culture, it is people like Duo that make up this movement. She’s knocking down all kinds of doors, and she’s doing it with the same graceful elegance that other pioneering women like the late Rell Sunn did it with. Who knows, she might just go down in history as the Rell Sunn of China. Wouldn’t that be amazing?! Our surf world today could use more Monica Duos.


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