Taiwan On the Radar

Taiwan on the Radar

It was inevitable that Taiwan eventually got on the radar of the International Surf Community.  For a place with so much potential and such a unique culture to remain relatively untouched for as long as it has, is/was indeed special.  Hiroaki, who ran the only surf shop in the south when I arrived, has been spearheading the movement to create awareness for the typhoon rich island.  Mostly among the Japanese surf community.

Luckily for the surf community in Taiwan, scoring good sessions generally requires local knowledge and a bit of resourcefulness.  If you haven’t seen the post yet on Surfline, you can check it here.

Although I don’t think Taiwan will ever be the destination for most surf travelers, if timed correctly it can certainly be a good jumping off point to other more well known locales.  This shot above is bitter sweet for me as I believe I was the first one to ever surf this place that I know of.  Gazza, Dante, Red, The Meystro, RastafarIAN, McKrackin, Mike, Al and others broke it in at a time when Hiroaki and others stuck to Jialoshui and Nanwan exclusively.

Glad to see the local culture evolve and glad to be a part of Taiwan’s surf history.

Empty

This is the Taiwan I will always remember and look forward to returning to.

8 Comments
  1. Regarding Surfline’s photo…Remember you are the Legend who found that spot…Hoot
    Boardwalks…. Great wave, good fun…Only hang up was when the Fangliao town drunk would sit in the shrubs, wait till beautiful mesmerizing waves came our way, hop out of the bushes and steal our shit…. They ever catch that guy???

  2. Erm – the spot in the surfline shot is not Fenggong, but another wave further up the coast. We did stop at Fenggong that day, but the police and the coastguard were calling surfers out of the water, and videotaping those that did not for the future issuance of a large fine.

    Something really needs to be done about the police problem in Taiwan – protecting the public or harassing surfers?

    Get a lifeguard programme going or something, but calling surfers out of the water is a bit much.

    In case anyone is worried there are five or so images of Fenggong in the surfline feature, none are identified as such.

    Other than the police problem, we had a great time in Taiwan, and enjoyed our visit a lot. Great waves, friendly locals and expats, and great food!

  3. I wish those guys hadn’t published the spots names, they are already getting crowded enough.. If it were a new break in America or Aus, they wouldn’t name spots.. they should do the same for here, cause there are enough locals here who would like to see some of these areas stay uncrowded-

  4. I second that. There are a few waves in that area that should be left to the locals and regulars that found them. We don’t need more lineups like Nanwan or J-Shui. I obviously think its fine to tantalize through image and story, but let’s keep the spirit of exploration and imagination alive. FYI…In my post those are two different spots.

  5. You young kids are so cute. These places have been surfed since at least the early 70’s, and I’ve heard stories of earlier times. I first surfed Gangkou (“J-Shui”) around ’72 when there was a thatch-roofed village on the beach on the left hand side as you face the water and you had to take a bus from Hengchun to get there because there was no road around the light house and up the eastern side of the tip.. Jim Broatch used to live in Nanwan in the mid to late 70’s and would export puka shells that the local kids collected for him. He had Checheng, Fangliao, Fenggang, Nanwan, Dawan, Gangkou etc wired. As for the coastguard, they would chase us out of the water not for public safety reasons, but because they were afraid we’d paddle out to the fishing boats and bring in contraband from the mainland. We used to largely ignore them until the actually pointed their rifles at us, but then it was time to hit the shore. Anyway, good story and great pics. There is, however, a bit more history than you may know…and wait until you’ve seen the left side of Nanwan get BIG and hollow off the point.

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