News and Topics

First-year student wins surfing competition in Bali

© Keris Moriyama

Natsumi Taoka, a first-year student in J. F. Oberlin University’s College of Arts and Sciences, took first place in the Long Board Division of the Garuda Indonesia Travel Scene Pro surfing competition. The competition, held on April 16 at Keramas on the island of Bali, is the first of five scheduled for this year by the Japan Pro Surfing Association, and it attracted 22 female competitors: 11 pros and 11 amateurs. Competitors were judged on the basis of speed, power, and technique. Taoka received high marks for her combination of different techniques, and she was able to defeat even a two-time winner of the competition.

© Keris Moriyama

Influenced by her father, Taoka began surfing seriously in her first year of junior high school, and she turned pro in July of 2011, when she was in her second year of high school. Pro surfers are divided into “long board” surfers and “short board” surfers. Short board surfers are able to execute sharper turns on their 2-meter boards, but Taoka prefers the 2.7-meter longboard, which requires more strength, and she uses her technique and power to put on a dynamic performance. She was a hurdler on her high school’s track and field team, and even while working for a shot at the national track and field championships, she was simultaneously honing her surfing skills once a week. Now she’s practicing more, hoping to become this season’s grand champion on the JPSA tour and land a slot at the world championships.