The Fearless Surfers of Fukushima

Reports have emerged that Japanese surfers are continuing to surf on a beach in the radioactive exclusion zone near the site of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Once a popular surf spot, Tairatoyoma beach, has been subject to radioactivity warnings since the nuclear reactor at Fukushima was destroyed by a tsunami, which was caused by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake back in 2011. The beach is situated within the 800 square kilometres which has been sectioned off since the disaster, due to high levels of radioactive contamination.

Whilst photographing efforts to decontaminate the local town, photographer Eric Lafforgue spotted surfers in the line up. “Very few people have returned to this area” he reported “and I could not have imagined finding them here. According to them, this place is one of the best in Japan to surf as the waves are big and very good to surf.”

An abandoned and destroyed house in the exclusion zone. Photo Bacroft Media

An abandoned and destroyed house in the exclusion zone. Photo Bacroft Media

“Houses are almost empty except for a few old people” he continued, “but people come back every week to take care of their houses. So they are all clean apart from the gardens that are wild as the grass is radioactive so people do not cut it.”

Generally the only people seen around the town are clean up workers dressed head to toe in protective gear. Many also spend time working on the beach itself, removing bags of sand labelled as radioactive. When approached one of these workers was quick to warn Lafforgue of the dangers of swimming in the sea.

“According to a man working in the Fukushima power plant, who spoke anonymously, the main risk for him is the water as contaminated water is still sent into the sea.”

As surfing’s popularity grows and spreads to new regions around the world, we hear more stories where surfers have to overcome great obstacles and take serious risks just to get in and catch a wave at their local break. When one Fukushima surfer was asked if it’s worth it by Lafforgue, his answered echoed that of surf communities around the world, stating simply that ‘The passion is bigger than the risks’.

  • hairbrainman

    There’s no stopping a passionate surfer. TEPCO should be sued into extinction for the mess they’ve created. The Japanese Secrets Act of 2013 prevents news of this disaster from reaching the people, but the problem with fowling the ocean is not limited to Japanese beaches. This is a global problem!

  • mitsch

    Follow this guy (too bad they didn’t give the surfer’s name), in 7 years he will have cancer.

  • Laird’s A Douche

    Laird is immune to radioactivity. He would shred the isotopes right out of the water and foil them to pieces. He would than cause an second tsunami with a cut back. like what??? yup

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