Wednesday, 31 July 2013


Phil & Pochi with the hand-made fin in the Ogasawara Islands (1000kms south of Tokyo) before it began its long journey to Cornwall.

Out of the blue a parcel arrived from my old friend Phil in Tokyo.

Inside was a letter, some photos and another well-wrapped package. Proper old-school, typed letter and prints on photographic paper. I was intrigued and already lovin it!

This is what the letter said:

Hey Sqz and Roisin

Hope this letter finds you and the kids well. While we were in the Ogasawara Islands, I met up with a local surfer called Pochi. He's 60 years old and has lived there for 30 years. He ALWAYS rides a single-fin and for 20 years he's been making his own fins.

He makes them using wood from a native tree that grows in abundance on the islands called the Tamana tree. He'll spend a week or so getting the fin right, then gives it three coats of resin. He also sells/displays them in a gallery space attached to a bar in 'town'. The owner of the bar could trace his family line all the way back to one of the original settler families in 1830.

I used to see Pochi most mornings there was surf and sometimes later at the bar which is called 'Yankeetown', built coincidentally around a massive Tamana tree. The reason for the name of the bar is that the area (Okumura) used to be known as Yankeetown when the islands were run by the Americans after the war - they only reverted back to Japanese control in 1968.

One night after Pochi showed me his latest fin, an addition to what could be called quite an experimental quiver of fins, I decided to make both him and hopefully you guys happy by linking up The Bonin Islands and deepest Cornwall. This fin may be mostly for you Sqz, but I'm sure Roisin will have a go and both of you will get a buzz from the look and feel of it anyway. (Actually, Sqz may well end up having to ask for his turn with it...)

Either way I hope you enjoy it. Pure and simple, I saw something in a place you'll probably never get to visit, that I really thought you'd love. Hope you do.

Phil & Miki

"Pochi said he'd tried the fin out & if you add a bit of insulating tape around the base it should stay solid in any fin box."

"Ishiura on the East coast where Pochi reckons there is always a bit of swell if it's offshore. No direct access. 45 minute walk down a steep jungle track to the main beach of Hatsuneura in the foreground, then a 20 minute paddle around the headland into Ishiura."

"In this photo you can just about make out small swell lines tickling Ishiura, which means Rock Inlet, Pochi's local break."

Apologies for picture quality. Photos snapped on crappy old mobile - no camera currently.


  1. Getting mailbox joy rules! What a wonderful surprise.

  2. So grateful to have got this and the cool story that came with it.

  3. No worries mate. This is a link for the bar.
    Hope it works! Follow-up post perhaps?