Surfing Taiwan Note # 1

So I am wandering around Taiwan for a week. I hopped on an EVA Air flight, caught a train, then caught a bus for two and half hours. So here I am waiting and watching.

I hired a motorbike and have been zooming around the coastline checking spots. Terry, a bloke who has lived and surfed in Taiwan for the last fifteen years, took me on a surf run and we surfed this beach:

Photo by Terry

There was a surprising amount of swell . A weak system had brewed. 

Surfing here is taking off, a lot more crew are getting into the water.  However, the local skill level is pretty low, to-date. That will change quickly. A few groms are getting the hang of it. I’ll post an interview with them soon. A few expats teaching English to locals have the place wired.

Beetlenut and spitting the juice onto the footpath, after purchasing it from a roadside stall/shop from a girl in mini-skirt and high-heels, is de rigeur. It is an effective sales pitch. All in good fun:


I spoke to Linn who says the money is good and the clothing means she can ask for a higher price for the Beetle Nut, and if the men are willing to pay a very inflated price because of what she is wearing then more fool them. I sat to the side for awhile and Linn would laugh and point to another car pulling up. There was no shortage of customers.

Back to the surf: points are aplenty. A few tasty setups. This includes a couple of righthand reefbreaks such as this:

Photo by Terry

Mountains and hills hug the coast. It is a beautiful setting to surf within.

Coast Road

I went to the local heritage/historical centre and found out that out of Taiwan’s total population of 21.3 millions, there are more than three hundred and fifty thousand who are indigenous peoples. Distinguished from the majority Han Taiwanese, indigenous tribal groups are part of the Malayo-Polynesians. Linguistically, they are recognized as sub-groups of the Austronesian-speaking family. Despite the fact that their languages are derived from the same root, the languages they currently speak are not mutually comprehensible between groups. They are the Amis, Atayal, Paiwan, Bunun, Puyuma, Rukai, Tsou, Saisiyat, Tao (Yami), Thao, Kavalan, Truku, Sakizaya and Sediq. Each retains distinct cultures, languages, traditions and social mores.  Few of the Indigenous peoples have a written language, rather oral traditions, songs and ceremonies are the go. Indigenous literature, in the form of these oral stories and traditions, are made up of epic tales about migration, battles, hunts and other significant events. in distinct languages:

Lover Eternal

Curling up for the night in some dim corner;
Under pounding rain from which there is no escape;
In bone-chilling winter, that affords no mercy;
You are as a bright morning star;
A brilliant shaft of loving light, ever leading my way.

Should you have been a verdant banyan tree;
Your love, shading us as luxuriant foliage;
You would be
a cherished place for our children to swing and sing happy songs;
A haven for the weary;
A sanctuary for tired travelers to rest and regain their strength.

Like the 14th spring at Wawaniao Lini;
Sending forth its crystal pure water day and night;
Wiping away the tears of neglected orphans.
Cleaning away the dust and mud from those with nowhere to turn;
A place where withered souls are nourished and revitalized.

You will always be known by the name Pathagao;
A name that proclaims your eternal nobility;
What you have given us
is eternal warmth, pride and respect;
Now as forever, you are my eternal love.

This poem was written by Auvini Kadresengan in memory of his beloved wife. Auvini Kadresengan, an ethnic Rukai, was born in 1945. His ancestral village of Kochapongane is located in Wutai Township in Pingtung County, at the upper reaches of Southern Ai-Liao Stream.

Anyways, stay tuned. I will update again. Small swell on the weekend, but then it should get good … I hope.