Web comic "Surfer Joe"

Ray of Hope (#023)

Ray of Hope

We’re all looking for that ray of hope,

Even though it’s something rarely admitted by most. It’s a natural part of the human condition. Even when things are going good we worry about the future, hoping to see a sign that things will turn out alright.

In my short time surfing the breaks here in Sendai, I’ve been privileged to meet and chat with many kinds people. Most of them have devoted their lives to surfing. They tailor their lives around the art as much as possible. I’ve met a lot of truck drivers. They keep their gear in the back of their rigs and stop and surf different spots on their truck routs. Must be a pretty good life if you’re single and love surfing. Of course some of them have families though, then I imagine it’s quite hard.

I’ve met quite a few of the surf shop owners around Shinko as well. They’re fun and generous with their knowledge of the sport and break. But talking with them I get a sense that they are all tired and struggling. This is due to 2 factors:

    1. Everyone buys their surf gear off the internet now. Why drive out to a shop when you can have it delivered to your door. You can even talk to shapers and have something custom made from the sanctity of your living room. Surf shops also tend to keep odd hours, because a surfers schedule revolves around swell. If it’s firing, you can bet all the shops are closed.

    2. We had a tsunami come through here not long ago. The devastation and resulting dangers have been well documented, so I won’t pontificate on it here. But as a result surfing is in decline. Before you had to fight for a little elbow room, and now even on weekends and holidays the crowds are manageable.  

While as a surfer it’s nice to be out on a perfect, head-high day with no one in sight except for your buddies, it can spell death for the local surfing community.

The surf shop caters to surfers(duh!), but if no one is surfing then there is no one to sell to. Surfing needs to be re-popularized, which is no easy feat(for obvious reasons). I’m hoping that Surfer Joe can help in some way, though I’m not sure how yet. But maybe we can create our own ray of hope.


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