A Singapore participant in the Flow Tour Asia 2013 rides the waves on the Flowrider at Wavehouse, Sentosa. Flowriding is becoming popular among locals as a leisure sport (photo by VOXSPORTS).
Who says you can’t catch some waves in the concrete jungle of Singapore? Situated at Sentosa’s Siloso Beach, Wave House Sentosa is the Lion City's very own gathering place for surf lovers from all walks of life - where you can ride the waves in the form of Flowriding.
Using either a Flowboard or Bodyboard, riders encounter artificial sheets of waves going at 32km/h to 48km/h on the FlowRider or Flowbarrel.
Although not an entirely new activity, having been around since the 1990s, Flowriding is picking up a following amongst sporting enthusiasts with a taste for something out of the ordinary. And from simply being a hobby, flowriding has turned into a competitive sport for some riders.
People of all ages and Skill Levels
“The beauty of flowriding is that it can be embraced by a myriad of ages and enjoyed at varying skill level,” says Eileen Ng, Marketing Manager of Wave House Sentosa.
“There is no specific or definite demographic for the local flowrider as they are a smorsgasboard of ethnicites as well as ages.”
This is evident in the motley bunch at the FLOW Tour Asia Wild Card round on 4 October. Individuals ranging from athletic teenage girls to older guys dotted Wave House Sentosa, all with a passion for the flow and waiting for their turn to compete.
“It does appear that more people are signing up this year,” says Eileen. “...There has been a steady growth in the sport [in recent years].”
For the Singapore leg of the competition, which saw competitors from seven countries including Thailand, Australia, Korea, and Japan, about 30 of a total of 50 flowriders in the Pro and Open divisions were local riders.
“Right now, the community is growing,” acknowledges FLOW Tour Wild Card participant Natalie Ng, noting she has seen more people coming to Wave House to flowride for the first time since she first tried it herself a year and a half ago.
The 21-year-old university student started joining competitions when she “felt more confident of [her] riding”, a sentiment shared by fellow local flowrider, Deena Mumtaz.
“Initially, I was unwilling to compete as I have stage fright,” says the 22-year-old student. “But the regulars and everyone [at Wave House] pressured me to ride competitively and... eventually I became better and did.”
To Singaporeans who may be not so acquainted with the sea - or in this case, man-made waves - the prospect of riding such fast waters may seem daunting and difficult. And it is.
“[My] first impression of flowriding was that it’s really difficult,” recalls Natalie. “The first time I did it I fell straight away.”
But if there’s one thing riders agree on, it’s that practice may not make perfect, but it sure make confidence.
“Like any other thing in life, if you see yourself progress, it’s enough to keep you going,” says Natalie. “Practice does help.”
And despite the growing interest in flowriding - either as a competitive sport or recreational activity - more is definitely merrier for local flowriders in terms of others joining their ranks.
“It’s still not as big or well-known as other sports,” laments Natalie. “If it could grow some more, that’d be great.”
photo by VOXSPORTS.