Interview with Masatoshi Ohno
Is it hard to be almost the only japanese ?
It depends on your attitude.. I think it’s been great interacting with other cultures, opened my mind up a lot..
A rumor says there is racism against brazilian on tour, do you feel racism against you ?
Who are your best friends on tour ?
The Gudauskas brothers, Bottle, Hoggs..
You told me you use to be a skater, does it help in your surfing ?
Masatoshi Ohno from Shimoda (Jap), is a "Peacefull Warrior", as he defines himself. Even if people can consider him as an UFO on tour, you can be sure he has his place. And he proved it becoming the first Japanese ever to make the final of an ASP WQS 6 Star event, in April 2009 during the Quiksilver Pro Estoril. He was not in "Quiksilver Young Guns" video with Dane Reynolds by chance. Actually ranking in the top 40, the Samourai warrior follows his quest to the Dream Tour. He can defeat anybody if he manages to overcome his fear of losing. Masatoshi, is the best Japanese ever, he tells us about his beginning, his feelings and about the Japanese surf scene.
Freaksurf Mag : Who is Masatoshi Ohno ?
Masatoshi Ohno : He is… ‘Peaceful Warrior’, i guess…
Fsm : Where do you actually live, where's your home spot ?
MO : I grew up in Shimoda, a small beachside town in Izu Peninsula, Japan… my home break is Tatado Beach… past 6 years i haven’t stayed in one place more than 2 months, i been travelling so much… but i been spending lot of time surfing on the Gold Coast in Australia… D-Bar and Snapper in Coolangatta, my favorite spots.
Why did you choose surfing, and how did you you start surfing, where, with who...?
My parents were surfers and i was surrounded by surfers since i was kid… There’s beautiful beaches in my hometown and not much else to do except surf…
Is it hard to be Pro surfer in Japan ?
Yes, because surfing is still a pretty new sport in Japan and the surf industry is not as well established as in other countries like Australia and the U.S., where surfing is taken seriously as a profession…
You're the best japanese surfer ever, you must be a superstar in Japan ?
Not really… In Japan, baseball players, soccer players and golfers are superstars… And also swimmers and other Olympic champions of course…
Who are you sponsor and how did you met with Quiksilver ?
My main sponsor is Quiksilver and other sponsors include: Nissan X-Trail; Darren Handley Surfboards; Namidensetsu (surf forecast website); XM Leash & Astrodeck; Primary Color Records and Baguse Surf Shop… Quiksilver’s Rider Team Manager approached me back in 2002 and offered to support me on the ‘Road to the WCT’… i was very lucky…
Can you tell us about the japanese surf scene ?
I think it’s about same as France? growing steadily but still underground now… i think will take some time before surfing can become more mainstream… maybe if i make it to CT more people will be interested to try surfing…
How do you define the Japanese surf style ?
Mmm… i guess Japanese surfing is defined by grace & agility...
How are considered the pro surfers ?
Hah ! Many people aren’t even aware that surfing is a professional sport !
Why are you the best and only one on the top ? What does the japanese need tu succeed ?
I don’t know if i’m best but i’m probably trying the hardest… i think Japanese need more adversity to succeed… Life is pretty good in Japan so our generation has hard time finding motivation..
How do you train ? What's your favorite manovers ?
I have a very good trainer… do lot’s of stretches, some yoga meditation/breathing, pool training… and best training of all is lots of surfing of course… favorite maneuvers are driving turns and grind turns..
How do you define your way of surfing ?
What's your goal for this year ?
Overcome my fear of losing…
The Dream Tour is your objective ?
You made the best result ever for a japanese in april on the Quiksilver pro Estoril, tell us about this event.
I was sooo focused… it was my first time in Estoril, the place was beautiful and i really enjoyed it..
How were the reactions in Japan ?
Everybody was really stoked !
You proved that you can win a wqs, what do you need to be more consistent and to qualify for the dream ?
Overcome my fear of losing… which basically means overcoming my ego/vanity…
You told me you travel alone ?
Yes, usually i’m alone, it’s easier that way… but sometimes i share hotel with the guys.. that’s fun too..
Whose rider inspire you the most ?
Kelly Slater, Dane Reynolds
Do you practice other sports ? What are your hobbies ?
I like snowboarding but i only done it twice.. can’t wait to go again! also i’m learning guitar and photography; and i like reading and recently i start watching indie movies…
What are you doing when you're not surfing ?
Hang out with my wife
Tell us about your best trip, when where whith who ?
Everytime i go home and surf with my childhood friends, doesn’t matter if waves good or not, i have the best time !
Your Favorite :
Shaper : Darren Handley (DHD)
Event : WQS 6 Star Prime Contest at Sunset, Hawaii every winter
Wave : Pipeline !
Place to be : Next to my wife
Town : Tokyo
Vidéo : Kelly’s Black & White
Manover : Drive Turns & Grind Turns
If you had to be part of a drive thru video, pick your crew TOP 5 surfers and destination !
If i could be in a drive thru video, doesn’t matter the crew or other surfers or destination, will be great for sure !
Interview by Johann Mouchel for Freaksurf Magazine