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Beach Grit

Visit: The rebel island of Taiwan!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

A fabulous history with fabulous waves!

You are, of course, a student of history and are very aware of Formosa, or what we call Taiwan/the Republic of China. The island, floating just east of mainland China and north of the Philippines, was made famous in modern times when the Chinese communists, led by Mao Zedong, fought the Chinese nationalists, led by Chang Kai-shek, in a bloody civil war. The communists won a series of decisive victories pushing the nationalists to Taiwan where Chang Kai-shek declared Taipei to be his de-facto wartime capital. And there has been a cold stare ever since with Beijing laying claim to the island and the island insisting on its autonomy.

What you may not know is that there is surf.

And let me introduce you to Hawaiian pro surfer Macy Mullen. A fine name by any account.

Born and raised in Hawaii, professional surfer Macy Mullen experienced Taiwanese culture through his mother who is of full Taiwanese ethnicity. Macy heard stories, history and perspective from his mother, but always wanted to see his (and his mother’s) homeland with his own eyes. With a Summer window of opportunity and the Western Pacific Typhoon season swinging into full effect, Macy and fellow Hawaii pro Alex Pendleton booked a last minute strike mission to Tainan, the capital of Taiwan, with hopes of scoring surf along the eastern countryside. Their trip provided more than just quality surf, they also dove deep into Taiwan culture and made lifelong friendships within the new, budding Taiwan surf culture.

Shall we watch? We would be foolish not to.