No worries TK!
Yesterday we had a pulse of swell got to shoulder height and head high on the bigger sets, some fun waves about, surfed 3 times...
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Hey Slowman, I'm heading to Taiwan for the last two weeks of November. I plan on staying in the SE part Taitung. Hoping to find some nice lefts. Any advise on where I should go, as well im having a hard time figuring out how to get around with my surfboard down there. I only want to bring one board with me, you think a dominator is a good choice?
I can recommend 2 places to stay...
1. Jun's place,
he's a Japanese surfer guy married to a local Ibu (she is an aborigine of Taiwan, Taiwan is a complex culture made up of Aborigines [been there forever], Hakka [1000 years from China], Hokkien [600 years from Fujian - Taiwanese dialect is from here, my wife is Hokkien], Han [60 years, Chinese mainlanders that came across with Chang Kai Shek when the counter revolution against the communists failed]), . His place is a surf shop with accommodation and transport chucked in (like most of the surf shops they double as hostels/hotels/tour operators). If you want clean accommodation with basic good food this is the place. Let me emphasise CLEAN. When it comes to clean the Japanese are fastidious. It will cost more but I think it will be worth it. This is where I would stay with my family. Here is their website http://www.easttaiwan-surf.com/en/about.html
She's a local through and through and the Island's female long boarding champ and Roxy Pro poster girl. Her place offers accommodation and some transport to the various spots working for the day as well as having a restaurant in which I have eaten. The food is good but I do recall seeing a rat running out of the kitchen! I'd probably still stay there but not with family. That's probably a stunning statement to make but I've seen them running around Aus restaurants too, so it is not as bad as it sounds. Once you get out of Taipei things look a bit grubbier but it isn't any worse than Indo...I'd say better.
Here's her Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/baybay.niu?fref=ts send her a message
Tell either of them I sent you and they'll probably give you a blank stare, tell them Craig Vernon sent you and the blank stare probably won't change much! Tell them I'm a friend of Randy's and they'll probably pretend to at least remember. This is one of the best areas for surf in Taiwan...if you can catch Chenggong (Palm Point) at 6'+ you'll be in for a treat. It is a lefthand point that is a fast but makeable wave. Not always that hollow but a usually a good steep wall at least and goes for more than a 100m when working properly. It gets a bit shallow towards the end.
You really need a car if you want to be free to explore by yourself, and it can be worth it to escape the crowds, as the popular spots tend to get crowded but there can still be other spots just a couple of points away that are deserted. To hire a car in TW you need an international drivers permit (see NRMA for one) but I doubt you can hire one in Donghe, which is where these places are, it is an outlying coastal town that is part of the Taitung County...to get to Taitung City it is probably a 30m drive. Although with some decent swell the crowds thin rapidly.
I was looking at renting a car, seems pricey though, seems to be around $80 per day.
That sounds about right. Taiwan is not a cheap place, the cost of living is roughly the same as Sydney/San Francisco/NYC in my experience.
We managed to hire a Nissan Livina for around AU$50/day for 3 weeks through this site http://www.iws.com.tw/ however that was at a 45% discount. There is an English translation available (see top left corner) but the problem is that the specials only seem to appear in the Mandarin version. It might pay to ring and ask if there are any specials - no harm in trying. The longer you hire it for there may be some room to negotiate too. If you know a local that's possibly the best way to get a cheaper price, if they are willing to negotiate for you. The other drawback with this mob is that there is no airport pickup and dropoff, you have to get to their offices which means a taxi ride from the airport ~1000NT (or bus into Taipei at around 220NT and then taxi).
wow!! looks like new england!!
are scooters a good option? I've seen a few videos with people riding them with the board racks like in bali.
Hmmm, I wouldn't, but that's just me. They are all right around town and or riding around locally but they are prohibited on expressways as they are too slow which means taking the long way round most of the time. From Taipei to Toucheng takes 40mins by expressway and before it was completed it used to be 2 hours by train and about the same by car. That said though I met a couple of Canadian surfers over there, one had a motorbike with racks up the side and the other had a longboard mounted on a dolly that he was towing behind his scooter - it looked bloody funny, especially with the WWII style helmet.
Anyway, I wouldn't use a scooter as a means of transport to cover longer distances. I'd try to get to the place you will stay at using normal transport and then when there pick up a scooter (and racks maybe) so you can check the beaches and surf spots. I have no idea where but my wife tells me you can hire a scooter...getting surfboard racks might be the problem. If you decide to stay at either of the places I gave you I'm sure they can give you better advice on what options are available. I know Jun transports his guests to the spots but you more less have to surf where he wants. Still probably makes it easy as he has all the local knowledge.