The Old Taiwanese Fisherman will tell you that Jo Yuei is the month. With a twinkle in his eye, he’ll tell you about the time of year when the fisherman have to be extra careful when choosing how they navigate their waters and earn a living. Sometimes being confined to their harbors for a week or more as Typhoons lash the coast.
Well October was pretty darn good too with Super Typhoon Krosa bringing mass destruction as surfers rejoice. The Autumn Tiger, as it is often called, was as beautiful as it was ferocious packing gusts up to 160 knots, taking the lives of nearly 20 people and knocking out power to well over 400,000 households.
Giant waves hit the shores of Nanfangaou fish harbor in Ilan county, eastern Taiwan. Typhoon Krosa pounded northern Taiwan with powerful winds and torrential rain, forcing offices and schools to close and disrupting air and road traffic. AFP
Surfers like Clayton and Terry from opposite ends of the Island basked in the glory left behind by such a powerful storm. Some of the biggest waves surfed by both of them in Taiwan.
In between dodging cops Terry was able to score two epic solo sessions. As he charged one of the outer reefs off the southern tip of the island he was given a royal beating in the form of a three wave hold down that pushed him down to Davey Jones’s Locker and back. Depleted of oxygen and energy he was able to pull himself to the surface, regain his bearings, and catch a couple more before calling it quits for the afternoon.
Later on that day he charged the infamous AK and states ‘AK and the outer reef were some of the biggest and cleanest waves i’ve ever got! Managed to get six waves at AK without a beating. It was insane.’
Its quite often a daunting task paddling out solo when you know that you could very easily become an island statistic if you don’t know what you are doing. If you do happen to get a fin cut or bonked in the head help could be far away or non-existent on this Island Nation that pays a healthy respect to the Ocean and even has temples, scattered around the Island, dedicated to appeasing goddesses like Matsu who protect sailors, fisherman, and these days even surfers from the mighty power of the seas.
Here is a photo of an old local attempting to dissuade the young charger. You know he has seen his fair share of tragedy along this stretch of coast.
Nothing worse than someone to help you second guess yourself on a day like this.
Meanwhile Clayton in the heat of pursuit for the Ultimate ride in Taiwan manages to get some of the largest waves I’ve seen ridden out at a spot that rarely breaks, but when it does, offers some of the longest, cleanest, and most rippable waves on the Island.
Here she is looking a lot like a dirty Uluwatu.
Taiwan is often just a stop in the airport for those surfers traveling to more consistent locales like Bali, Phillipines, or Japan. Any surfer will tell you when you mention Taiwan, ‘oh yeah, I’ve been to Taiwan but never left the airport’.
For those brave enough to venture out of the airport and sample the local culture, this is what can await you.
I think A-Lang of A-Lang Surf Shop in Southern Taiwan puts it best when he says ‘It’s nice to be Local, and if you’re Local it’s nice…it’s fuckin noice.’