Waiting on Japan. Home of the next surfing champ (?)


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As US and Australia surfers have dominated the surfing world championships for decades, and only one other country South Africa, home of smooth and illustrious Shawn Tompson and equally smooth and illustrious surf, I’ve often pondered an elusive question of why Japan has not produced a world champ? Being highly versed in Japanese language and culture I know the people of Land of the Rising Sun are differently and aptly capable of the task. The island nation has a high capita of surfers, many are stylish, progressive and experienced, the island has good surf to groom a champ for certain, a solid surf industry to support the logistics and the infrastructure needed as well. Could it be an anglo dominated industry prejudice? Possible but I have actually experienced a prejudice against Whites as twice I have been denied entry to Japanese only contests once in Japan at the Kamarkura Classic in Shonan and another time in California at Trestles. (Let me tell you if you if never experience being denied equal access to something others enjoy you are not missing a thing. It is truly a low and hurtful feeling of not being included.)

I believe what is holding back the Japanese from a world surfing championship are, first of all the Japanese tend to mimic the continents (and Hawaii) status quo rather than truly allow for a authentic Japanese flavor or style to permeate their development and more importantly, the surf industry will not allow for it. I am sure a Japanese champ would not be good for sales in the Anglo dominated market. From a pure marketing perspective you may say what about China, Korea and to a lesser degree Indo, Malaysia, and the Philippines? Precisely as centuries of animosity and hatred smolder and often erupt into violent conflagrations. Which brings me full circle to my experience of prejudiced and racism. Many Japanese deny or dodge their long history of brutal domination of Asia as well as a very imperial and discriminatory superiority complex over of all races. That being addressed, Japanese are advancing in race relations pressed by many factors such as an aging population and stagnant economy, as the old guard dies off east and west, I am certain the world will see a Japanese surfing champion. Go Go Godzilla!

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