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Your turn to make a summer splash
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It can be pretty hot this time of the year in Shanghai, so for many the very thought of doing some outdoor exercise is not an option.

But who would have guessed that in this concrete jungle of a city, a good variety of water sports are a real possibility?

For starters you can go sailing, windsurfing or water skiing at the Shanghai Saimeng Water Sports Club, located by the Dianshan Lake in the Qingpu District, about 90 minutes drive from the downtown. Courses are available for 2,000 yuan (US$286.53) per person and anyone can sign up.

The 5-day course lasts for four hours each day and you can choose which ever five days you want within a 12-month timespan. English translation is available upon request and courses are open to children as well.

For sailing, there is a class specially arranged for children aged from 10 to 16 years old using smaller sailboats.

For the other courses, the sports club needs to examine children to see if they are physically strong enough to cope.

"Sports such as windsurfing require a certain level of strength and some young children might not be able to handle the sailboard on their own," says the club's vice director, Xia Yun.

Saimeng Water Sports Club is currently the only club of its kind in Shanghai. A government-run operation, it has three different locations in Shanghai. The Qingpu branch has been fully functioning for some time, while the other two branches - in suburban Nanhui and Jinshan - are now up and running.

Qingpu is also the only place presently offering wakeboarding in Shanghai. Though gaining popularity worldwide, wakeboarding is still in its infancy in China with not many people having heard of the sport, Xia says.

Besides the water sports courses which are available to both members and non-members, all other club activities and equipment are available to members only. The club is however available for company group events.

Membership fee comprise two parts - entrance and annual fee. But due to an ongoing promotion, the public is only required to pay yearly fees of 2,500 yuan. The promotion, expected to end next year, entirely discounts the 20,000 yuan entrance fee cost.

As a member, you are free to use the club's equipment any time although some of them such as water skiing equipment involves a rental fee.

There is also diving and snorkeling action available in Shanghai. Changfeng Ocean World at Changfeng Park has an aquarium which allows you to get close to marine life such as sea turtles, eels and even sharks.

Big Blue Diving organizes dive trips to the aquarium. For 800 yuan you will be taught basic diving skills, after which you will be able to enter the aquarium with a dive master. You can also choose to snorkel with Beluga whales at the aquarium. Big Blue also conducts a snorkeling program which costs 800 yuan and lasts an hour.

Should you wish to venture out of Shanghai to dive, Big Blue organizes trips to other parts of China like the Underwater Great Wall in Beijing, as well as overseas destinations such as Bali.

Big Blue's dive trips are open to both experienced and amateur divers.

Where to go

Shanghai Saimeng Water Sports Club

Qingpu District: Opening hours: 9am-4:30pm (weekdays); 8:30am-4:30pm (weekends)

Address: 289 Yingzhu Rd, Tel: 5923-3916

Website: www.saimengclub.com

E-mail: saimengclub@yahoo.com.cn

Nanhui branch: 1 Huanhu Rd E., Lingang New Area (central area), Nanhui District

Jinshan branch: The beach of Jinshan District, Huhuang Rd

Big Blue SCUBA Diving International

Opening hours: 10am-8pm

Address: Suite 102, Bldg 9, 433 Honggu Rd

Tel: 6291-2110

Website: http://big-blue.cn/

E-mail: info@big-blue.cn

Swimming pools

Shanghai Pudong


Three pools, one for team training, a wading pool and another pool for leisure swimming. Patrons must purchase a health card for 5 yuan upon entry.

Opening hours: 3:30-9pm (weekdays), 9am-9pm (weekends)

Address: 3669 Pudong Rd S.

Tel: 5889-0101


E-mail: pdyyg@126.com

Shanghai Swimming Pool

Four pools, but only a wading pool and another 25m-by-50m pool open to the public. No health card prerequisite until June 1.

Opening hours: 1-9pm (weekdays); 9am-9pm (weekends)

Address: 1300 Zhongshan Rd S2

Tel: 6438-2372

Website: www.shswim.com

International Gymnastics Center Swimming Pool

Two pools - one for leisure swimming (21m-by-50m) and a wading pool. You must purchase a health card for 5 yuan.

Opening hours: 3:30pm-9:30pm (weekdays); 8:30am-9:30pm (Saturdays); 6:30am-9:30pm (Sundays)

Address: 777 Wuyi Rd

Tel: 5108-3583

Website: http://www.shigc.com/

E-mail: gjtc_cn@yahoo.com.cn

Jing'an Sports Center Swimming Pool

One pool (25m-by-50m) in this center. Before entering you have to purchase a health card of 5 yuan.

Opening hours: 3:30-9pm (weekdays); 1-9pm (weekends)

Address: 151 Kangding Rd

Tel: 6272-7277

(Shanghai Daily May 23, 2008)

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