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By Wayne Ryan

      Surfing means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Over the years I've had the privilege to surf many of the world's best waves.  I love to rock up like anyone and see Ulu or Sunset pumping but I must admit I get a special stoke from surfing the "not so famous" or novelty waves, especially when you don't expect it.

    One such occasion was a recent business trip to Taiwan with Hawaiian shaper Rex to sus out the surfing industry there on the way to Okinawa, Japan.

Our hosts, Jay & Coco, who are two of the most influential people in the rapidly growing Taiwanese surf scene, lived and worked in Taipei City, which was 3 hours each way from the airport and 2 hours from the surf. So with no boards and only 24 hours to see several factories the idea of a surf was crossed off our priority list.



    Up early after sleeping in a room in a factory, which was, as good as most hotels, Rex & I started on our business chores. Jay was just like any other surfer, pumped like a grom about everything to do with surfing. He loved being a surfer in the industry. Throughout the morning Jay at times seemed a little unfocused, about 1.30pm a phone call from a friend informed him a Typhoon had just moved into a perfect position to the north, no wonder he was restless. Jay asked Rex and I "Do you still want to go surf?" "Yah sure, but what about business and we have no boards?" I ask. "No worries, we do business on the way and there are plenty of boards at rhe beach house." A two-hour dash to the northwest found us at a strange beach house with boards all over the place, a bunch of local surfers with boards under arms ready to bolt over the hill to the beach. Jay changed into his boardies as he introduced us to his buddies "The surf must be pumping" said Rex. "Maybe" replied jay. We looked a little puzzled. "It might be for me but your from Hawaii so you be the judge", said Jay with a humble smile, then bolted over the hill through the beautiful Chinese style garden where many older people sat, milling the day away.



Rex and I hadn't even seen the coast or any waves, yet the local's enthusiasm had us quickly grabbing a couple of mals and running over the hills after them. We ran through the beautiful park over the hill to the beach which unfortunately was littered with garbage. Obviously beaches in many countries are not considered to be places of leasure. Nether the less  three hundred metres down beach was a D. Bar type wall and much to our surprise 3 to 4'  + solid waves, protected from the wind in the corner with only 6 guys out. With the water warm, Rex & I joined the locals for what was surreal fun surf.



The locals surf very good, doing reo's, cutbacks and even trying to get barrelled. Rex & I tried not to show off and went about getting one here and there without getting in the road of the boys. Everyone traded waves, laughs and complements as the swell continued to pick up. Rex got a long right-hander and got caught inside for several minutes. I got a long one just past him, "caught inside in Taiwan" I said with a cheeky smile. Rex got the last laugh when it took me 15 minutes to rejoin the line up. I must admit I will never forget that session and the crew we met.

Rex and I slowly walked up the beach, savouring the moments, stopping and hanging out with the old folks n the park and hanging with the crew at the surf house. Funny looking back that no one even looked twice at Rex and I being the only two tourists anywhere. I suppose we we're part of the surfing tribe worldwide.










* Taiwan can get very good when typhoons hit (June to October)
* Best waves are to the south- clean beautiful beaches and points
* Rarely gets big
* Friendly local



* Not many surfers there
* Water is very warm
* Everything is very cheap
* 9 hours flight from Sydney