Posted In: Ocean


Author: Key Masuda

Photos: Kazuyoshi Sasao

Location: Australia /Japan


Materiality, circumstances, placement, your body and mind- all are never are perfect.

Everybody has an equal chance to ride a nice wave, however there are only a few people who are able to attract waves like a magnet and do so.  You must have knowledge and skill. You must train your sense as well. Those who can do all of that- you might call them a ‘waterman’.

Last summer I met someone who may have that sense, skill, and power. His name is Yoshiharu Komiya. His van is filled with surf equipment. You can find everything from standard polyester surfboards to an inflatable surf mat, an Alia, a hand-plane made from a variety of woods he comes upon (managing a recycling program for farms and schools). Most of people would see this as an unnecessary amount of equipment, especially from a minimalist perspective.  In my opinion, perhaps he has that approach due to his observant nature. He sees the ocean’s many faces, and wants to be able to feel close to every situation by using the right tools.

Komiya San can ride a variety of surfboards, achieving near the maximum potential of each board.  He uses his keen senses to find his own spot, catching waves even in the most crowded of conditions.  No matter the other surfers he encounters, he can smile and create peace. If you ask him about what he is most aware of that gives him this power, he will say “It is essential to never lose sight of the point.”

During a trip to Australia was when he realized the “point”. How to put air inside your body, taking a deep breathe on a takeoff, breathing for big waves, training for no breathing.

The subtle ways to finding a path to feeling nothing, allowing you to breathe correctly.  This is what he learned from Surf Mat pioneer Mark Thompson.

He also experienced this spending time with Tom Wegner, witnessing his sustainably conscious life, approach to surfing, and family. The love he has found in life is what allows for his unique surfboard shapes. His method of connecting different woods, ascertain a variety of materials, the process of shaping an Alaia with zero waste.

    This discovery of learning a process from a variety of aspects, combined with a consciousness that relates to breathing is what made him realize ‘the point’. This point is not just about balance on your board, shaping the right board, and riding a wave. The point is inside of you. It’s between your heartbeat and your breath, your board and your body, when all of nature becomes one- the time and sense that does not fit into what we know as language. That is the ‘point’.

When I heard that he felt this way, I thought there were other reasons he felt this way.

    Surely what he learned in Australia was already a part of his experience, individual to him, from long before. I cannot help but think that through meeting various people, the small points inside of him join together and become larger ones, attracting waves, attracting people, and creating space and composure to be able to create peace and harmony. That point is not just communicated through the ocean, but through all of one’s daily existence, reflected throughout one’s entire path through the world. Surely today Komiya San interfaces with himself, his family, friends, and with nature the same way.

    In the near future, Komiya San wants to trying surfing in highly frigid locations with his crew. To be able to surf in a cold location while on a trip with others provides for the extremist conditions for conflict to occur. Plus, time in the water is limited, yet he would be able to find something that acts as a medium for finding another new point.

I look forward to learning what kind of point he finds.