第7回 吉田 泰 Mr.Style Master〜プロロガーのネクストチャプター

No. 7 Yasushi Yoshida Mr.Style Master ~ Prologer’s next chapter

Born and raised in Kugenuma, Shonan, he turned pro following in the footsteps of his classmates who became professional longboarders earlier. After that, he studied under Kevin Connelly, also known as Magic Feet, and honed his classical style of longboarding, and Yasushi Yoshida, also known as CHABO, has achieved great results both in contests and on the scene, including winning the 1st JPSA Special Tournament STYLE MASTERS. Mr.

At the same time, he worked as a buyer at one of Japan's leading sports chains, and later as a manager at a global select shop, but a serious injury a few years ago forced him to reevaluate his lifestyle. This year, we take a closer look at the next chapter of a professional logger who has taken a new step by launching his own surfing school using his past experiences.

(Photo: Chihiro Hashimoto 2023.)

What are your recent activities?

Until then, I had been busy working as an apparel store manager, but about two years ago, I got injured and my life changed 180 degrees. At the time, I was taking time off from work due to a severe hernia, but as I was feeling better, I was about to go to work, when I was careless and fell from a high place, breaking both my heels and cracking my pelvis. I was seriously injured. At first, the doctors told me a lot of negative things, like that I wouldn't be able to walk anymore and that I would have side effects.

From the point where I thought I would never be able to surf again, I worked hard at rehabilitation and lived as a housewife for about a year and a half... While taking care of my children and helping out at my wife's curry restaurant, I thought about what kind of work I should do after this, and eventually decided to open a surfing dojo.

Professional longboarders generally have a long life, don't they? However, after coming here and feeling the limits of my physical growth, I asked the next generation to make use of what I had done and what I had not been able to accomplish, and am now enjoying surfing. I thought it would be a good idea to make my job of communicating this to others. I was trying to figure out how hard I should go as a professional athlete, and how working adults need to work hard to make ends meet, but due to an injury, all of my plans fell apart, and I felt like my world was all about surfing.

After all, I love surfing, so I started thinking that even though I was recovering from an injury, I could enjoy it by changing the equipment and changing my approach, and my body surprisingly started to move.

When and why did you become a professional surfer?

I won the JPSA Rookie of the Year award around 2007 when I was 24 years old, so I actually turned professional late. My childhood friends and classmates, Seitaro Nakamura and Rio Ueda, turned professional before me, and I had always been chasing after them. I was the worst at it, but I was able to win even as an amateur, and this is the result of me thinking about turning professional.

At that time, there were many unique seniors, and the juniors followed suit. The JPSA matches are similar to local contests where everyone from all over the country gathers to compete. Each surfer had a signature move, and in addition to that, it was interesting to see Kekoa Uemura and Motoki Kino from Hawaii participating. There were ASP (currently WSL) tournaments, and there were more longboarders coming to Japan from overseas than now. I also had a lot of opportunities to go abroad, and I think I had many opportunities to feel closer to the culture. When I was in Shonan, I was blessed with such opportunities, but lately, with the coronavirus, I think there have been fewer of them.

Speaking of overseas, please tell us about your relationship with Kevin Connelly, who is also Chavo's mentor.

At first, it was because of Seitaro's connection that when I was 19 years old, I rode a shapeboard that Kevin had ordered. With Onfin, it became my magic board and longboarding became more fun. In the ADRIFT movie, of course Joel Tudor, but Kevin Connelly's part was very powerful.

At that time, I often came to Japan for ASP contests and shapes, and whenever he went surfing in Japan, I would follow him in any way, and eventually I became like Kevin's attendant (lol) . I was treated with a lot of love while I was with them, and they gave me a lot of experiences. He gave me advice on how to win when I went on a road trip to a contest, and he was someone who fully supported me, so even though we were from a different country, he was my inner self. Now that my family has moved to Arizona, I no longer surf at all, so it's sad.

(with mentor, Kevin Connely. California Photo: Yasuma Miura)

You were also involved in the production of the book ``HOW TO NOSERIDE,'' which was 100% supervised by Kevin, right? What's more, it was a painstaking process of checking the translated content word by word...I think I even went to Noosa Heads in Australia, where Kevin lived about 20 years ago. This was before I became a professional.

I visited Kevin who had moved to Noosa from California and stayed there for about a month. Noosa was absolutely amazing and everyone from Julian Wilson to Harrison Roach was surfing on all kinds of boards and styles. When I was in San Diego, California, I used to visit Kevin and Seitaro many times during my university holidays, every month at a time. It used to be popular around Encinitas.

What are the highlights of your professional career so far?

He has won two JPSA special STYLE MASTERS races, one JPSA Shizunami championship, and one runner-up. At that time, participating in competitions had a lot of influence on me. There was a time when I rode longboards with side fins, but when Tsujido was able to win the first JPSA special competition STYLE MASTERS in the time and style of nose riding, I realized that this is the type of board for me. It made me realize that we are right for each other.

(JPSA Special Contest, Style Masters)

From there, they began to explore the single fin style more deeply.

yes. Even after I became a pro, I still used the board that Kevin made for me as my base, and up until then I had wanted to be able to ride the things that Kevin and YU had designed, rather than thinking too much about the equipment myself. However, when I turned 30 and changed jobs, I quit all my previous sponsors, and after meeting Dane Peterson, I ordered a few of his boards in Australia and two in California and started riding them. Ta. However, since we live far away from each other, it was a little difficult to communicate. After that, through my connection with Dane, I asked TAPPY to sharpen the board for me, but since we are both Japanese, we were able to communicate more deeply and have a relationship where we were able to give form to each other's ideas. . It felt like the surfing within me was being rebuilt once again. Then, perhaps because the board was a good match, I was able to enjoy my surfing life again relatively smoothly. When I won the first Style Masters, I received something from YU and Kevin, but for the second time in 2019, I made a board based on various relationships with TAPPY, and I was able to create my own board. I felt like I won with this idea, and the value of winning is completely different for me.

How many boards do you usually ride?

Actually, there are a lot of them, and I rotate between short fish, twinsers, mid-lengths, and logs, and among them, I have about 10 longboards, and about 3 of them are like the starting lineup. Things are going well, and this wave has something to offer, so I haven't let go of it, and I'm currently working on two more. My current three favorites are the TRANSISTOR brand, and I'm really looking forward to seeing the shape of Yuzuru Shinjo being completed soon. The base is between 9'4" and 9'8", so conceptually it's a board that does a lot of nose work, a board that allows you to enjoy turns when you have the size, and a slightly heavier board that allows you to get back to your basics. There are three. All of them are single fins, and I'm particular about stringers and enjoying them to the fullest (lol).

Please tell us about your recently launched surfing dojo, CHABORING DOJO.

I want to create a dojo where people can add some spice by learning through themselves. Basically, it's like a personal custom gym that suits each person. Also, lately I've been feeling a strong desire to train future surfers. I was wondering how I could bring out children who can connect with the world in the shortest possible time. I've learned a lot of things for surfing, so I think it's best to give it to them as soon as possible and let them improve. I want to be a stepping stone in a good way! Since nose riding is what I am good at, there are many people who have problems and issues with nose riding. There, we talk about things unique to Long and look back at past videos to explain them, and the more we do it, the more I feel the charm of Long, so it's fun.

(Chaboring Dojo Photo: Chihiro Hashimoto 2023.)

Also, although this is separate from the dojo, I recently had the opportunity to teach surfing to elementary school students at the request of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. Surfing was introduced as one of the various sports due to the Olympics. The best thing about it was that we didn't just teach surfing to kids who wanted to try it, but even kids who weren't interested were forced to do it as if it were physical education, and when they actually tried it, they said it was a lot of fun. When I actually saw the happy smiles on the faces of children at the beach, I wanted to do this even more. It was quite an experience. Of course it's good to teach adults, but I also want to do my best to lay the foundation for future children.

(Kids surf lessons for Tokyo pref.)

What is your hometown, Kugenuma, like for you?

There were two or three years when I couldn't go to the sea because of an injury, but the sea is a place that makes me feel better when I go in. After all, what nature teaches us is the most honest.There are days when we get carried away and it breaks our nose, and on the other hand, there are days when it cheers us up. But the waves are different every time, so my choices change and I think about it every time. I think the ocean always teaches us things like when we grow up and don't get yelled at as much anymore, or when we just don't get enough stimulation, and it's a place that makes people feel all kinds of things.

I think Kugenuma is completely different than it was in the past, but the core part, or rather the localism in the sea, hasn't really changed that much. It protects me. As the number of people has increased compared to the past, it seems that the presence of local people has diminished, but what I can do is surfers who have a style and personality that everyone can admire. I want to be able to create a culture!

Yasushi Yoshida

Born in 1981. Born and currently living in Fujisawa City, Kanagawa Prefecture. A longboarder representing Kugenuma, Shonan, who has a reputation for his classic style centered on nose riding. So far, he has won two JPSA special STYLE MASTERS championships, a JPSA Shizunami championship, and is active in professional contests, while also working as a buyer at one of Japan's leading sports chains, and later as a manager at a global select shop. Since 2023, he has run a surfing school at CHABORING DOJO, a surfing dojo, to explore and understand longboarding, and is also involved in judging professional contests.


Interview/Mio Kawazoe ● Born and residing in Kamakura City, Kanagawa Prefecture. Graduated from California State University, San Diego, surfing club. The son of a 1st generation Japanese surfer, he encountered foreign culture from an early age. For 10 years starting in the early 1990s, he lived between San Diego and Malibu, California, experiencing the longboard revival. After returning to Japan, he became the editor-in-chief of ON THE BOARD and worked on GLIDE and other magazine media. Until now, we have introduced real California logs and alternative surf scenes to Japan through our own network.

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