Misawa, Japan

Gaijin with the mismatched fins

In a nutshell. Cold, desolate, solid surf.

August 1991. Went there absolutely blind as to its surf potential. Found junk waves by the harbor--heard that the military are banned from surfing/swimming there because of a supposedly strong rip current. Finally hooked up with an Air Force surfer (Jeff), who took me to some great river mouths down south. Also brought me to great spot up north where I snagged an insane tube.

One of the neatest things about Japan are the many festivals. Everyone in the community pauses to celebrate and enjoy life. Good food, good spirits and good times abound.

Posing at Lake Towada. No surf here, but beautiful countryside.

February 1994. Wintertime. Over 25 inches of snow came down in a single day! Check out our car.

Water temps probably around mid-thirties. I tried getting in the water, but we got stuck in a snowbank and spent two hours freeing ourselves. After pulling free, I finally ended up surfing for only 20 minutes. My paddling gloves offered no insulation for my hands whatsoever. Still was a blast.

Empty lineup, perfect rivermouth conditions, water temperature is 2 degrees Celsius. Would you go?