Going to Kohama Island

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You get addicted to something and this changes your life. I got addicted to a board and a sail, as probably most of you reading, and this has brought me to travel to places I would have never thought. Windsurfing has given me a great healthy lifestyle, (except when sailing under 10°C…not sure how healthy it is for the body), the chance in meeting new friends, cultures and visit incredible places. An opportunity to live in a different world probably from ordinary: the one, where the biggest thought is if there will be wind tomorrow!

[image type=”none” float=”none” src=”https://www.point-7.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/01.jpg” link=”true”  info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” lightbox_caption=”Looking at the rising sun in Japan”] [block_grid type=”two-up”] [block_grid_item][image type=”none” float=”none” src=”https://www.point-7.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/02.jpg” link=”true” tinfo=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” lightbox_caption=”Filming of ‘The Black Night’”][/block_grid_item] [block_grid_item][image type=”none” float=”none” src=”https://www.point-7.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/03-2.jpg” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” lightbox_caption=”Racing till late”][/block_grid_item] [/block_grid]

Kohama Island, Japan. This was my next trip destination on my calendar. Would you know where Kohama is without googling? Well, I did not know! I believe we all know where Japan is, and I was totally excited to go there for my first time, but wasn’t Japan cold in January?

When googling Kohama island you will discover that the island is actually closer to Taiwan than Japan. Right south west of the country, there are a lot of islands where the temperatures descend under 18°C in the night.

[image type=”none” float=”none” src=”https://www.point-7.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/04.jpg” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” lightbox_caption=”Hand made gift: It’s written Black Team Point-7″]

I had checked some images, and it looked like the water was crystal blue, coral reefs all around an amazing place to discover. Yet I was far from thinking it was actually as beautiful as when I got there.

Thanks to our Point-7 Japanese distributor, I was invited to race at the Japanese slalom Championship on that island. One of the reason for the trip. The forecast was looking amazing. Windy every day and temperatures around 22°C.

[image type=”none” float=”none” src=”https://www.point-7.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/05.jpg” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” lightbox_caption=”Andrea Cucchi, Ken Kentaro, Goshi Akinori. Top riders of the Black Team Japan”]

Totally excited to visit Japan for my first time, I flew back from my Xmas holidays in Sylt, to Milan. Dropped the winter equipment and picked up the windsurfing gear. Flying with Turkish airline, as they make it easy with gear, I had a stopover in Istanbul. The plane was delayed due to a snow storm. We often pass through Istanbul in the summer to go to Alacati for the PWA, but I would have never expected to see the city in white. Due to this, I lost my connection flight, which was not a problem, but gave me a tight schedule for my flight from Tokyo to Ishigaki, were I had to take the ferry to the next island.

[block_grid type=”three-up”][block_grid_item][image type=”none” float=”none” src=”https://www.point-7.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/06.jpg” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” lightbox_caption=”Coral reef and amazing waters”][/block_grid_item][block_grid_item][image type=”none” float=”none” src=”https://www.point-7.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/07.jpg” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” lightbox_caption=”Coral reef and amazing waters”][/block_grid_item][block_grid_item][image type=”none” float=”none” src=”https://www.point-7.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/08.jpg” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” lightbox_caption=”Coral reef and amazing waters”][/block_grid_item][/block_grid]

In Istanbul I was in contact with our distributor to know if there was a chance to get the plane In Tokyo, or if I would miss it and be late for the event. The messages were just, we need to rush, but the truth was that we had no chance to get the flight Tokyo-Ishigaki. Once arrived in Tokyo, we had a night in Chiba, one hour from the airport, where our distributor has his offices. I went to the local beach. It was less than 10°C, it was windy and there were some windsurfers out on the water enjoying it.

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Next day back to the airport to go to Ishigaki Island, to than take the ferry to Kohama Island. Landing in Ishigaki, I was surprised. An amazing reef all around the island, windy, waves…I could not believe that all that was existing in Japan. In Tokyo flights to the north of the country were getting cancelled due to snow storms, and there I was, in the same country with the perfect summer! I was not expecting Japan to be so big and different!

[image type=”none” float=”none” src=”https://www.point-7.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/013.jpg” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” lightbox_caption=”racing”]

Ishigaki was looking to me like Maui in its vegetation. We took the fast ferry to Kohama, and it was a great tour to get there between all the shallow reef waters. Getting closer to the island I could see all the windsurfers blasting around. I was so eager to touch base and get on that beautiful water myself. From Sylt (Monday morning) I arrived on Friday. Quite a long trip, due to all the flight delays, but sure worth the trip, and just in time for the racing schedule.

[block_grid type=”two-up”][block_grid_item][image type=”none” float=”none” src=”https://www.point-7.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/014.jpg” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” lightbox_caption=”Black Team Dinner”][/block_grid_item][block_grid_item][image type=”none” float=”none” src=”https://www.point-7.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/015.jpg” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” lightbox_caption=”Black Team Japan”][/block_grid_item][/block_grid]

We were based on a beautiful resort, on a golf course, right next to the beautiful beach where we were racing. The rooms in the resort were like in the movies, well actually, the whole place was like being in a dream.

[image type=”none” float=”none” src=”https://www.point-7.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/016.png” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” lightbox_caption=”Enough Point-7 in Japan?”][block_grid type=”two-up”][block_grid_item][image type=”none” float=”none” src=”https://www.point-7.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/017.jpg” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” lightbox_caption=”Priority tags”][/block_grid_item][block_grid_item][image type=”none” float=”none” src=”https://www.point-7.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/019.jpg” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” lightbox_caption=”Practical way to attach shower to sink! 2 in 1.”][/block_grid_item][/block_grid]

At the beach, Black Team Japan was ready for the event. Apart from racing, the plan was also to film the second part of the Black Sun movie. Did you ever see part one?

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We had this dream in Point-7 to create a windsurfing team, the Black Team. We did it, and we know what it took. To travel to the other side of the world, and meet and discover that in Japan, Tadashi Sugihara, our distributor, had developed our dream in his country, I was without words. To see our dream, be his dream as well, and sharing this, was priceless. Black Team Japan, was united on the same part of the beach, all with the same sail numbers on their sails, dressed with the Black Team clothing. A Black Team tend was fully organized to give service and support to the team. It was looking professional as ever, like we have been dreaming. I was so thankful to the work of Mr Tadashi, and learning that our partner in Japan had our same dream, motivated myself and Point-7 to do even more.

[block_grid type=”three-up”][block_grid_item][image type=”none” float=”none” src=”https://www.point-7.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/017-2.jpg” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” lightbox_caption=”Technological toilet. Shower for front and back…plus heated seat! “][/block_grid_item][block_grid_item][image type=”none” float=”none” src=”https://www.point-7.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/025.jpg” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” lightbox_caption=”Amazing system. Press the button, the same water used to wash hands is then used to flush!”][/block_grid_item][block_grid_item][image type=”none” float=”none” src=”https://www.point-7.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/018.jpg” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” lightbox_caption=”Istanbul under the snow”][/block_grid_item][/block_grid][block_grid type=”three-up”][block_grid_item][image type=”none” float=”none” src=”https://www.point-7.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/026.jpg” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” lightbox_caption=”Check the spelling of Andrea Cucchi in Japan”][/block_grid_item][block_grid_item][image type=”none” float=”none” src=”https://www.point-7.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/020.jpg” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” lightbox_caption=”Formula would not make it through”][/block_grid_item][block_grid_item][image type=”none” float=”none” src=”https://www.point-7.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/027.jpg” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” lightbox_caption=”Sponsor of the event”][/block_grid_item][/block_grid]

We had 3 day of racing. The first night we had a meeting with all the Black Team to discuss the scenes of the Black Sun movie part 2. I was shocked once again. The producer showed up with 15 little AC-1 sails models, and boards, to show how we had to position our self for every scene of the movie. The little models were done with so much love. The scenes were also sketched on paper professionally, that were already giving the feeling of the emotions the movie was going to give. I flashed back when we were thinking about introducing a new sail brand idea on the market, now being on the other side of the world, and seeing all this work done by these amazing people, was priceless. The plan was made for every scene on a time schedule from 8am to 10am. Racing was than starting at 12pm. Normally if there would be racing, not many riders would have agreed to film for 2hours before that. Do you think any of the Black Team Japan complained? At 6am they were all having breakfast and ready for the long day!

Filming was great fun. I was on totally new boards, so in the meanwhile I tried to tune myself for the race. Was also a month almost I was not windsurfing, as I took some time off for Xmas.

[image type=”none” float=”none” src=”https://www.point-7.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/024.jpg” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” lightbox_caption=”The director of the new movie ‘The Black Knight’”][block_grid type=”two-up”][block_grid_item][image type=”none” float=”none” src=”https://www.point-7.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/022.jpg” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” lightbox_caption=”Point-7 flag”][/block_grid_item][block_grid_item][image type=”none” float=”none” src=”https://www.point-7.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/029.jpg” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” lightbox_caption=”JWA SPONSORS”][/block_grid_item][/block_grid]

We had 4 races in total. The organization on the water was unbelievable. Never found such a perfect race committee at national level. Perfect timing, respecting properly the wind limits, no loss of time. The first day we did not manage to finish the first slalom round as the wind got too light. I did not make it through the second round anyway as, might have been the flight, but one of my knots on the outhaul system, (…you know the one you never touch as you never open it), well it came lose, and I was swimming. The day after we completed the 2 first slaloms. The weather was cloudy and therefore the wind a bit gusty. As most were on 7.9 and 8.6, I took the 8.6 and at the start in the second final, I was not planning. I should have gone 9.7, but it felt strange to take 2m sail bigger, forgetting I was probably though 20kg heavier than everyone else! So after 2 races with a ‘did not finish’ and 7th, I created a funeral for the team with my result. I landed on the beach after the race, and no one was talking. The whole Black Team Japan, was quiet. I went quietly to my equipment and joined the silent atmosphere. Also Goshi Akinori, JPN1 of the Black Team, who was supposed to be in the top, had had 2 bad races and was floating with me at the back of the ranking. So no party for that day. The last day we had 2 more finals of the slalom, I did not make the mistake to go same size as the riders this time, and won both slaloms. Goshi, took also his revenge scoring 2 times a third place, which took us back in second and fourth position respectively. The silence was over, and we could all smile again! We did not win, but recovered the bad day we had and I would love to thank the whole Black Team for helping out on the beach.

[block_grid type=”two-up”][block_grid_item][image type=”none” float=”none” src=”https://www.point-7.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/028.jpg” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” lightbox_caption=”Atsuo Mita”][/block_grid_item][block_grid_item][image type=”none” float=”none” src=”https://www.point-7.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/031.jpg” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” lightbox_caption=”The Black Team”][/block_grid_item][/block_grid][image type=”none” float=”none” src=”https://www.point-7.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/033.jpg” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” lightbox_caption=”Goshi Akinori”][image type=”none” float=”none” src=”https://www.point-7.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/035.jpg” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” lightbox_caption=”Sweet side of Windsurfing”]

Japan has been for me, one of the most interesting travel experiences. I was there for a short time, so I only had a small taste of their culture and way of seeing things. Meeting the kindness of the people, the attention to make you feel comfortable, the respect for the others, was all at a different level. I really have to thank everyone for showing me around, explaining me even how the Japanese shower worked!, Atsuo Mita for translating nonstop for a whole week, and the wife of our distributor, who greeted us in the traditional Kimono: it felt like being in a movie.. I was very sad to leave Japan and my new friends. I look forward to make my next trip there.

[image type=”none” float=”none” src=”https://www.point-7.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/021.jpg” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” lightbox_caption=”Ken Kentaro JPN 84″][block_grid type=”two-up”][block_grid_item][image type=”none” float=”none” src=”https://www.point-7.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/032.jpg” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” lightbox_caption=”Panorama view of the racing beach”][/block_grid_item][block_grid_item][image type=”none” float=”none” src=”https://www.point-7.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/034.jpg” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” lightbox_caption=”Panorama view of the racing beach”][/block_grid_item][/block_grid][block_grid type=”two-up”][block_grid_item][image type=”none” float=”none” src=”https://www.point-7.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/037.jpg” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” lightbox_caption=”The resort”][/block_grid_item][block_grid_item][image type=”none” float=”none” src=”https://www.point-7.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/036.jpg” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” lightbox_caption=”The resort”][/block_grid_item][/block_grid]

I learned a lot from our Black Team Japan: we need to keep dreaming and pushing the way we have done till now with Point-7. We are sharing our dreams, the love, the passion, the lifestyle of how we see windsurfing with many windsurfers around the world.

[image type=”none” float=”none” src=”https://www.point-7.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/030.jpg” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” lightbox_caption=”Stay tuned for the new Movie ‘The Black night’ “] [image type=”none” float=”none” src=”https://www.point-7.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/030-2.jpg” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” lightbox_caption=”Stay tuned for the new Movie ‘The Black night’ “]

Stay tuned for Black Sun 2!

Showing 2 comments
  • Jan Jaap Smit
    Reply

    What a nice story and experience! You can indeed be proud to have reached so much with a new sail brand!

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