I recently had the opportunity to go to Japan on a tour around the country hitting up different spots to promote UGP, wakeskating and get a feel for the Japanese riding scene.
My Trip started in Tokyo as most trips to Japan do. Straight off the plane we drove around 6 hours south west down to Yokohama the second largest city in Japan over 3,500,000 people. I stayed in this really nice camp right by a big fresh water lake that weaved in and out of the mountains. I wasn’t expecting there to be so many wakeskaters maybe it was because I was there but everyone seem to want to wakeskate. As we rode around the lake I noticed that there where many boats and Mokuyama informed me that there are four camps that run off this lake. Everyone was super nice, on and off the water witch seemed to be a theme of all of Japan. Out on the water was a perfect spot to see Mt Fuji in the background. It was for sure the biggest mountain I ever looked at while riding. Next I headed further southwest down to Osaka the third largest city in Japan over 2,500,000 people. I stayed with a local pro rider named Matsukawa. I spent the next four days chilling and riding with Matsu and his friend Nob Japanese pro rider both ride for a Japanese wakeskate company named Moment. We rode at this cool Yacht club named Windward Ocean club. I was on the ocean now riding salt water and again I was surprised to see all the wakeboard boats zig zaging everywhere. Matsu told me that there are many wakeboard clinics and camps that run around this spot. All the boats and the rock walls for shore line made finding good water hard but I was the only one that seemed to mind, everyone was rocking it through the chop and loving it. On the last day there was a local tournament in Osaka and I was scheduled to do a demo for the crowd mid way through the day. Everyone killed it wakeskaters, wakeboarders the level of riding was very impressive. But what was more impressive was the local crowd turn out to support and watch the tournament. For a local tournament I was surprised. After the award ceremony and a photo shoot. I jumped in a car with some new people and head 9 more hours south to the big island in the very south called Kyushu. My first stop in Kyushu we rode this cool spot in the ocean where the boats where tailored in and out of the ocean by huge bulldozers off the beach. We stuck a little rail in the water and sectioned it with the waver-runner in-between playing different games on the beach. We packed up and headed to Nagasaki over 400,000 people. I stayed at a local hotel and rode with the crew at Rise wakeboard / wakeskate camp. Defiantly the best Ocean water of the trip we drove to this huge cove surround by mountains and protected from the outside ocean. Super flat bright blue water and nothing to worry about except jelly fish. There where five wakeskate students and you could tell all of them have been wakeskating for a while with owner Yoiyabin and his coaches Nori and Keyoto. Next we went to Fukuoka and rode in this little fresh water river. I spent a few days here living with Kazoo and eating at his partner Mr Fujii’s restaurant. Kazoo had a lot of students and was running two boats. There where about 7 wakeskate students on our boat and 6 of them where girls. They threw a little jam on the last day I was there. Everyone came from all around built rails, brought a winch and we just jammed and played around all day, lots of fun and good riding. The last stop on my trip was Kumamoto over 650,000 people. Nice spot just off the ocean, air antiques for boats and again they where running two boats to accommodate all of their students. After we watched the sun go down into the ocean I crashed to get up at 4 to fly home. ESPN followed me from spot to spot filming my riding and interviewing me about each spot and different things about myself. They told me it will air in November so if you’re in Japan in November tune in and check it out.
Thanks to everyone I met and stayed with along the way. I’m super stoked to see all the talented riders pushing their scenes and to see how strong UGP is in Japan. Can’t wait until my next trip to Japan to see how much the different scenes I visited have grown.