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Natsumi Taoka wins third surfing competition

Natsumi Taoka, a second-year student in the College of Arts and Sciences, won the Longboard Division of the Japan Pro Surfing Association’s fourth competition of 2014, held on August 23 and 24 on Niijima, in the Izu Islands, south of Tokyo. It was her third win, following one in 2011 and another in 2013.

Ms. Taoka, currently in ninth place on the JPSA’s women’s longboard rankings, has participated in only two of this year’s four competitions because she spent four months abroad on the university’s GO Program. Since turning professional as a high school student, she has had many chances to travel abroad, and her desire to improve her foreign language skills was one of the reasons she chose to attend J. F. Oberlin University. This year she has put language study higher than surfing on her list of priorities, and through her time at Wollongong University in Australia, she says she can feel a real improvement in her English ability.

Copyright 2014 Japan Pro Surfing Association

She also says that surfing played an important role in her time in Australia. Here in Japan, her classes and her part-time job keep her too busy to practice more than about once a week, but in Australia she stayed with a family who lived very near the beach and was able to practice almost every day. Having mastered Australia’s powerful waves, she returned to Japan to be told, “Your surfing has really changed!”

Ms. Taoka hopes to continue competing as a surfer all over the world. Now in the second semester of her second year, she has chosen English as her major but also wants to study a variety of other subjects. And she’s already planning for next year’s surfing season. “I’m aiming to become the Grand Champion!” she says.