We have invited people who have immigrated from abroad and are now living in the Shiribeshi region of central Hokkaido to contribute columns from a variety of perspectives. The columns appear in Japanese in the morning edition of the Hokkaido Shimbun newspaper every other Monday. https://www.hokkaido-np.co.jp/series/s_cool_otaru
In this section, the columns are posted in the author's original text.
【Column】Be Cool! Surf Winter Hokkaido.
In Hokkaido we think of winter sports as sliding on the snow or ice. But just half an hour away from the famous Niseko ski resorts, are several great surfing points. In winter the same weather that brings in the snow, also brings waves on the Japan sea side.
So Kutchan in winter has some great choices. What shall I do today, ski 30cm of fresh powder or surf 2m waves? Or maybe today we will do the double, catch the untracked powder in the morning and attack the surf from lunch.
Freezing you might say, but you are wrong. I am usually sweating. I wear my ski inners inside a dry suit (paradoxically from a maker called Bewet). Hood and gloves complete the outfit. Usually I surf for about 2 to 3 hours.
The best thing about it all is hardly anyone else is there to share the waves. In many of the world’s popular surf destinations there are so many surfers it makes hard to even catch a wave. In Hokkaido, as I am usually the only person in the water, I get my choice of waves.
When I first came to Hokkaido in ‘89 hardly anyone skied the powder. It was first tracks all day long. But nowadays with skis and snowboards that are easy for anyone to ride in the powder, everybody is doing it. Hence, in recent years, I don’t bother with battling it out for fresh tracks, and instead head straight to the surf.
One thing before I go. The last time the Hokkaido secret of the great world beating powder got out, people from all over the world started coming. Let’s keep the Hokkaido surf a secret just amongst ourselves. Be cool Hokkaido!