Legends of Windsurfing
2018 TAITUNG WAVE CLASSIC.
The war is over. Everyone has gone back to their homes, kids, jobs and local spots. All things considered I’d say the 2018 Wave Jam was a great success, even though the wind played cat and mouse with us sometimes.
The theme this year was ‘Legends of Windsurfing’, as in a homage to the guys who pioneered the sport in Taiwan – the Godfathers. The poster boy was Hisataka Ishii, former Japanese wave champion (whose son Takara is now competing on the PWA and got second in juniors in Hawaaii this year). Ok, so Hisataka is not Taiwanese but he has strong ties to the island and has been here many times on surf trips (Japanese who visit frequently are considered semi-locals). Unfortunately him and Takara couldn’t make it this year. Of the other “Legends”, Australian Alex Mowday, Aeron boss and Olympian ripper Howard Chang took time out of their busy schedules to join us for a couple days – thanks guys! We also had Jason Tsai, North Shore legend and one of Taiwan’s first windsurfers make the trip with a small crew that got to experience Taitung’s power. The guru himself, Zen Hom Lee, showed up with Owen and brought the good vibes. Taitung Legends 曾映皓and 林宗輝 were on site almost every day the wind blew (well they only live down the road). Sorely missed however, were Tony Fish and Nico Wsf. Both these guys are legendary characters and sailors. Tony unfortunately had too much on his plate, and Nico hurt his back (probably doing a cheeseroll or something). Hopefully next year guys!
Shouts out to Federico Davicino for co-hosting and getting us a spot at the Jinzun surf event. Cheers bro!
To the foot soldiers, the other guys who showed up to jam with us – big shouts out! Yoshihito Niizuma, Taiga Matsumoto, Boo Chew Kuan, Joanie Lum, Ogn Ngo, Sega Huang, Wan Pin Juan, Mruju Ruju.
To Hedgie, our man in Jinzun: Dave Archer (Mr. Stimulator) you are the best!
And of course the peeps who sat on windy beaches taking pictures of us having fun – true legends: Yong-yi Chen, Bk Yeh, and Jason Tsai.
Lastly, to the sailors we didn’t get to jam with us this year because they were training at other spots: you deserve a medal: Brendan Bates, Dave Archer, and 熊懷宇 (Farmer Bear).
Hope to see you all next year! For full recap of most of the days sailed, see below.
DAY 1 – DRINK BEER OR GO SAILING?
How things can change. The day started without much optimism about the chance of sailing. There were even whispers from the Japanese camp (Taiga Matsumoto) of calling a lay-day and drinking beer instead. But Bob’s delivered, with the light winds perfect for 5.0 and a slight offshore angle, making the waves smooth as butter. Small port tack Hookipa! It was all about riding, and especially surfing the wave because the wind was not a big factor at all.
DAY 2 – 5.0 AT BOB’S
November 14. Better wind (still 5.0) and small waves on day 2 of the wave jam. The usual suspects Yoshihito Niizuma, Taiga Matsumoto, Federico Davicino, 曾映皓, Huiger Lin, Urs Das Terminator and a brief appearance by musical legend Sega Huang. The wind was just strong enough for jumping and a few guys were throwing aerials. Taiga Matsumoto of Team Japan almost landed a nice aerial (see sequence below) and Federico Davicino broke his joint on a forward attempt. 曾映皓 sliced the best set waves. Next jam session might happen tomorrow November 17th.
Photo cred: Guillaume Guili (thanks bro!)
ps: Rumour has it that Team Singapore (Boo Chew Kuan and Joanie Lum) are in the house and the Penghu boys (Howard Chang et al) have sniffed blood and are coming in to investigate.
DAY 4: THE BATTLE OF JINZUN
FIRE IN THE HOLE! Epic battle at Jinzun yesterday November 22nd. After an hour or so of recon at different spots it was decided that Jinzun be best for a battle. Teams Taiwan, Penghu (yes they seceded just like Hawaii), Spain, Japan, Singapore and South Africa showed up with guns blazing. In the morning waves started pretty small but built up throughout the day. Wind was gusty and unpredictable making the waves bumpy and sailing tricky to say the least, with 4.0 conditions on the outside and almost zero wind on the inside. This meant sailing the south bowl at Leftovers meant a trip to the rocks unless you managed to out surf the wave all the way through to the channel. Most of the pack ended up sailing between the bunker and rivermouth. The guys were going off anyway. For several sailors, this was there first time at this spot (Boo Chew Kuan and Federico Davicino). After lunch the wind and waves picked up – lots of sweet rides, backloops (Alex Mowday), forwards and cheeserolls (Mark Jackson), ponches (Howard) going on. Check out Howard’s one handed aerial bomb below.
Jinzun (ex)Virgin Award: Yoshihito Niizuma, Boo Chew Kuan and Federico Davicino
Backloop Award: Alex Mowday
Rockstar Award: Taiga Matsumoto and Howard Chang
Legend Award: 曾映皓 and Alex Mowday
Photo cred: Yong-yi Chen
DAY 5: THE BATTLE OF JINZUN – PT2
The Battle of Jinzun intensified with better conditions than the previous day – a bit less wind but more steady and bigger cleaner waves that seemed to have organized themselves overnight. 5.0 sails and a classic turnout – at one point it felt almost ‘”crowded”, if that’s even possible in windsurfing. As usual, Penghu ninja Howard Chang was on fire, throwing backies, pushies and generally just terrorizing the waves with his arsenal. Ex vigins Federico Davicino, Boo Chew Kuan and Yoshihito Niizuma seemed way more comfortable in these conditions and seemed to be over the shell shock from Day 4’s bombardment. 林宗輝 , 曾映皓 and Wan Pin Juan were taking no prisoners with their wave assault. But the day had to produce rockstars with Howard Chang and Mark Jackson tasting some rocks and Yoshihito Niizuma and Bk Yeh nearly ended up on the jacks in the contest area. Hands down the best day of the Wave Jam so far!
Rockstars: Howard Chang and Mark Jackson.
Shorebreak of Doom: Yoshihito Niizuma and BK
No Longer Virgins: Federico, Yoshi and Boo.
Most improved: Boo
Groupie Award: Joanie Lum
MIA: Mruju Ruju, Chris Newman and Gianni Seghizzi
4.5 on a 5.0 day: Wan Pin Juan
Cheeseroll to the dome: 林宗輝 feat Mark Jackson
Photo cred: Yong-yi Chen
DAY 7: NORTH SHORE INVASION!
With the arrival of Team North Shore, with legend Jason Tsai leading the charge, and perviously thought to be MIA Mruju Ruju (Team Italy) showing up to do some damage, sailors launched at the Jinzun bunker on 4.0s (if they remembered to bring one). Winds were incredibly strong and the direction very north, making it gusty. And combined with the short period wind swell it wasn’t plain sailing. Ogn Ngo broke his mast in the first 10 minutes of sailing and did the drift to the beach (luckily with no shorebreak). Zen Hom Lee was on fire, busting out his first ever port tack shuvit and landing it. The north shore boys had some difficulty adjusting to the conditions (which to be honest are not really typical Taitung conditions). Jason Tsai however was slicing and dicing with a big smile on his face. The locals (ie 曾映皓, Wan Pin Juan and Huiger,) knowing the place well, all moved down to the silky smooth inside bowl at leftovers. Once in a while bombs were coming though; super risky but if you made the wave the reward was hefty. Even if the wind is howling outside making the chop unbearable, wave on the inside just south of the rivermouth is still smooth as butter. Later in the session conditions improved and the wind seemed to settle a bit. Lots of waves got ridden down at the bowl.
Legend in the House: Jason Tsai, Zen Hom Lee
Jinzun Virgins: Tony Kao and Baja Lee😄
Shuvit : Zen Hom Lee
Almost Rockstar: Mark Jackson
Waves of the Day: Jimmy & Wan Pin Juan
Sorely missed: Tony Fish and Nico Wsf
Photo cred: Yong-yi Chen
DAY 8: BAND OF BROTHERS!
Saturday the 8th December. The final day of the 2018 Wave Jam. Lots of carnage and general chaos as first time green battle virgins sailed neck and neck with battle veterans and generals. This was the day that everyone would remember.
Being the second day of the cold front, the waves had also matured in both size and period, and the wind, at about 30 knots, seemed more stable than the previous day’s gusty squalls. The North Shore Squadron had taken some heavy casualties the previous day, but came better prepared this day. Tony Kao and Baja Lee, having been heavily briefed by General Jason Tsai(30 years battle experience!) were taking no prisoners this time, and seemed much more settled in and confident. General Zen Hom Lee (West Coast Operations), having mastered his secret weapon ‘The shuvit’ on port tack, was intent on telling his secret. I saw him bust out and land several clean shuvits, leaving me shell-shocked🤪 and temporarily blinded by the sight. Reconnaissance pilots Urs (das Terminatorr) – Swiss Army, and Spanish Lieutenant Federico Davicino aka ‘La Mariposas’ (‘The Butterlfly’) were on a mission, blasting around the battle field and destroying wave after wave with their constant dive bombings. Next came the special forces, led by Major 曾映皓 ,aka Jimmy Zheng. Jimmy did some serious damage – he’s nimble and light, yet hardened by decades of sailing experience, a respected warrior. He was followed close behind by the heavy artillery, the big guns Major 林宗輝, Lieutenant Sega Huang and Captain Mruju Ruju(Italian Infantry Division). Battle reporters Bk Yeh, Yong-yi Chen and Christine Huang were on the beach directing the mortar attack with their canon and nikon 400s (Thanks a lot!). Private Mark Jackson (Armed Forces of the Philippines) was the first casualty, after being hit by shrapnel and taking a trip past the rocks and onto the beach where he came under heavy attack from guerrillas claiming allegiance to the JSS (Jinzun Shorebreak Snipers) . He was followed by Baja Lee who attained instant rockstar status after losing wind in the inside bowl, getting pushed into the rocks and requesting a medic. At about 3pm, Asian Pacific time, the wind stopped its barrage, raising the white flag and calling for a ceasefire. Battle survivors stumbled back up the beach to regroup and de-brief. It was time for a beer.
Generals: Jason Tsai and Zen Hom Lee
Special forces: 曾映皓
Big Guns: 林宗輝
Intelligence: Bk Yeh, Yong-yi Chen, Christine Huang
Secret Weapon: Zen Hom Lee
Rockstars (for entertainment purposes): Baja Lee and Mark Jackson
Operation Butterfly: Federico Davicino
Medic: Christine Huang