Photos: Japan Locals

posted by / Photos / October 16, 2013

All Photos: Brent Bielmann

We reached out to our friends in Japan to try to identify all of the surfers, but someone how guys like this managed to slip under the radar... and under the lip.

We reached out to our friends in Japan to try to identify all of the surfers, but somehow guys like this managed to slip under the radar... and under the lip.

Yujiro Tsuji with his back against a wall.

Yujiro Tsuji with his back against the wall.

Kenta Hayashi, at home.

Kenta Hayashi, relaxed at home with open arms.

An anonymous poet and his song.

Anonymously yours.

Reki Nagahara makes a splash.

Reki Nagahara's rain dance.

Ha! Classic Nakano, always going left.

Being goofyfooted is universal. We don't know very much about him, but our money says that Nakano always goes left.

Yoshiji makes himself disappear.

Yoshiji makes himself disappear.

Another unidentifiable in black and white.

This dude was too deep to identify. And maybe that's for the best.


A few months back, we were lucky enough to ink Brent Bielmann on as a Senior Photographer. We were abuzz about the addition and we wanted to get the big man on a trip stat. With an eye fixed on Japan, we watched the charts and waited for a perfect opportunity. When one arose, Brent jumped over with Anthony Walsh, Zeke Lau and Cheyne Magnusson. They returned with photos, clips and big grins — which you will see in an upcoming issue of SURFING and in Body Glove’s Live From The Moon. They also returned with an electrified respect for Japanese locals. Here are eight photos of their foreign friends, and an anecdote from Brent about his hosts.

Brent: Respect takes on a whole new meaning in Japan, which is definitely a cool thing to experience. The guys who surf there are gnarly. I’m reluctant to say that they’re more serious in the water because they still have a lot of fun, but it’s definitely a different vibe from anywhere else I’ve been. We went there and met up with our buddy Shinte who kind of acted as our guide for the trip. Apparently, the locals where we surfing are pretty nuts — Shinte told us stories about a few of the guys “making people disappear.” So he wanted to make sure that we met all of them and introduced ourselves before we paddled out and started taking waves. We showed up at the spot and their whole crew was there just checking us out, wondering what our deal was. It felt pretty tense at first, but we went around and shook hands with every single guy and they warmed up. They ended up being some of the nicest people I’ve ever met.

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  • Mik

    I am always impressed by the Japanese and their culture… I respect their respect, for themselves, others, and Nature. Really want to surf there. It looks amazing, and I met really cool surfers from Japan when surfing in Bali last year…

    Which leaves me especially saddened by what is happening at Fukushima.

    I am praying for the world to help Japan resolve this crisis asap. SIncerely.

    I am very worried for Japan’s future. We must put aside all differences, or financial concerns and work together to shut down the reactor, and eliminate the dangers from contaminated water. I loose sleep over this, as a surfer and a friend. People don’t seem to grasp how tenuous the situation is.

  • dgb

    Respect for guys “making people disappear.” So, what does that mean? Respect for guys who actually kill people who go for a surf? Or is it respect for guys who beat people up for going for a surf? Or, is it maybe, respect for bullshit stories told by dumb shits like Shinte who want to impress dumb shits like Bielman who just happens to be impressed by bullshit stories? Could we get a clarification, please?

  • Gary Burkhalter

    Funny story!! I’ve been here for 16 years so I have pretty much seen the surfing culture from the inside out. Making people disappear? If you mean telling people very sternly to get the F%&K OUT and never return, well then I guess that may be true. Idiots trying to impress others with tales of disappearances is not only stupid and ridiculous, but destroys the image of a peaceful culture whilst trying to look cool or baddass. I’ve never heard the name Shinte and mis-communications are plenty. Even with the Japanese themselves. I enjoyed dgb’s comments about dumbshiites because that is most probably, what it is. Enjoy the surf, respect the locals everywhere and smile!
    Laughing in Shonan.

  • Orange Ton

    These photos look like a user submission on surfline.

  • Mik

    @Gary Burkhalter:your comments resonate with what I suspected: the article comments were a bit blown-up. Japanese culture is rad, but nuanced like everywhere else. My concerns regarding Fukushima are escalating every day, however. More radiation went into the ocean during the Typhoon. And there’s simply no end in sight regarding TEPCO adding 400 tons of radiation contaminated water storage on site EVERY DAY.

  • Mark

    All you going to get surfing in japan is a 20 pound tumor…stupid it contaminated… Radioactive cesium… Great going surfing magazine

  • John

    Crappy trip waves suck… Surfing in radioactive water… Probably shortens everyone’s lifespan who gets in the water there… Cancer Risk for sure…