Surf’s Up

Japan

Break the mold, defy the years and crash through the waves. Welcome to the world of Japan's middle-aged surfers.

Even though the surfing season is long over, every day a few proud old men still visit Japan's beaches.

I've been surfing for 35 years. Surfing is my life.
Mr Yosida, 59, Enoshima Island, Japan

Luu, for example, is 60 years old and has been surfing for 40 years. He's surfed in San Diego,  Hawaii, Bali, Taiwan and the Phillipines. He owns 10 different surf boards, measuring 6.5 to 10 feet, choosing which to use depending on the beach, the waves and his mood.

Or take Mr Yosida, a 59-year-old who has been surfing for 35 years. “I love surfing,” he says. “Surfing makes me happy. Surfing is my life.”

The lives of these men go straight against the currents of mainstream Japanese society.

There is a world of difference between them and the millions of ‘salarymen’ who spend their lives trapped between the office and their homes.

Breaking out of this monotonous cycle, the lives of Japan’s first-generation surfers stand as an example for alternative lifestyles everywhere.