Surfer of the Month

by Jackie Richardson

Atsushi “Hot Sushi” Yamada

Putting the winter months behind us, it is time to look forward to warmer weather and surfing.  March Madness is here…. basketball and especially the Savannah St. Patrick’s Parade.  You may remember in my previous articles, I said there are a lot of different people who surf.  This surfer of the month isn’t heading to warmer waters to surf, but to Japan to the ski slopes where he is a professional snow skier.

Atsushi Yamada was born in Tokyo, Japan.  His name in Japanese means “mellow.” His nickname is Hot Sushi. He started to surf when he was 17 years of age. Before that he was too busy with alpine racing, skiing and playing soccer to spend much time surfing.  Atsushi’s favorite board is a 9’6” Woody shaped by Jim Stephens, owner of Underground Boardworks.  Atsushi’s favorite people to surf with are his children, Minami and Ichi, and his wife, Michelle.  He loves to surf with his dogs, too.

Although Atsushi has surfed in Japan, Australia, Hawaii, and Guam, in his own words his favorite place to surf is, “My home sweet home beach, The Tybee Island.”  The thing he likes most about surfing at Tybee is that it is a very small surf community where everybody knows everybody and they make Atsushi feel like he is part of a family.  Atsushi also indicated that before he gets too old he would like to charge larger waves like Tahiti.

The surf community always relishes the energy summer brings at Tybee Island.  For us, that energy embellishes who Atsushi is.  He is the most upbeat and happy person I know.  Jeff and Tara Mosley, our ESA-GA directors, call Atsushi “Walking Sunshine!”  I asked him what his secret is to being this way.  He replied, “There are no secrets.  Just being in the presence of Mother Nature all year around makes me happy.  Hear the winds, smell the air, watching birds flying by, dolphins swimming by me and much more.  Mother Nature gives me tons of energy.  Every time I start to paddle or skiing downhill I will be able to feel the power go through my body from the earth.  I will always appreciate mother nature for how lucky I am to do things on this planet.”

Next time you are on the beach at Tybee when you hear excitement and enthusiasm in the air it is probably Atsushi giving someone a welcome.  In our Eastern Surfing Association contests we call him our cheerleader because he is always encouraging and supporting everyone.  He really is the happiest, upbeat person I know.  That is one of the best complements I can give anyone, and Atsushi is very deserving.

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8 Responses to “Surfer of the Month”
  1. Atushi Yamada , He is very famous skier in Japan. Many skiers and family love his ski & life style.When we have time with him,we can get many fun & nice memories. I want to ski with him before long in Hakkoda Mountain.

  2. carol martin says:

    Mr Funshine taught my landlocked grandchildren from Charlotte how to surf this summer. They fell hard… in love with surfing and Atsushi!

  3. Ellen Leiby says:

    We love Sunshine and the life he brings everywhere he goes!! Even of facebook! Everybody needs some sunshine in there life!! Our 8 year old had the best time surfing with Atsushi this summer and we look forward to private lessons this fall. What a great person to teach our kids how to love and respect the earth and each other!!!

  4. Nancy Hussey says:

    Folly Beach loves our friend Atsushi!!If there were a “STOKED” award, Sushi would win it every time!

  5. Editor says:

    WE love Yamada, too!

  6. Hot Sushi says:

    Aloha Y’all^^!
    Thank you so much for your kindness words… Your kindness words are little too nice to me though… Looking forward to share my passion to our future generations this coming summer!

  7. Editor says:

    All the best to you. Sushi! May you enjoy your time at home, and return safely to Tybee soon. 🙂

  8. wiley workman says:

    aloha atsushi, I was browsing around guam surf sites and I found your site. Very nice. Take care of your broken bones,,and be careful on the slopes. We will catch some waves for you in nosara next week.Stay stoked brother.

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