Archive for the ‘Essays and Musings’ Category

Last month, I was super stoked to see Yiwei Zhang take second place in Men’s Snowboard Superpipe at the Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships. More and more Asian riders are making their way into big contests, and that is fantastic. However, I get a sense of dread in seeing them on TV because there is a high possibility that their names will get butchered. This is something that frustrates me immensely especially when you have someone like Xuetong Cai who has been competing for five years and still has ESPN and NBC confusing her last name for her first name.

That’s just unacceptable. Therefore I have decided to create a pronunciation guide for some well-known Chinese and Japanese snowboarders.  Some sounds don’t translate well into English, but I’ve tried my best to approximate (with links on two difficult syllables).  For more information on how to pronounce Japanese and Mandarin correctly, please check out these pages: So You Want to Learn Japanese? and Yabla Chinese – Pinyin Chart.  NOTE: I’m writing first name, then last.

Japanese male snowboarders

  • Ayumu Hirano = Eye-yoo-moo Hee-rah-no
  • Kazuhiro Kokubo = Kah-zoo-hee-row Koh-koo-boh
  • Kohei Kudo = Koh-hey Koo-doh
  • Ryo Aono = Ree-oh Ah-oh-no
  • Taku Hiraoka = Tah-koo Hee-rah-oh-kah
  • Yuki Kadono = Yoo-kee Kah-doh-no

Japanese female snowboarders

  • Miyabi Onitsuka = Mee-yah-bee Oh-nee-tsu-kah
  • Yuka Fujimori = Yoo-kah Foo-gee-mo-ree

Chinese male snowboaders

  • Yiwei Zhang = Yee-way Zahng

Chinese female snowboarders

  • Shuang Li = Swahng Lee
  • Xuetong Cai = Shue-tohng Tsai
  • Zhifeng Sun = Zh-fung Swen

If you’re still lost, I created a video.  I’m hoping this will give people a better idea of how to say these snowboaders’ names.  After all, we do our best to learn European names so the same diligence should be applied to Asian riders.

This post is a continuation of the discussion on sexism in action sports.  Click here for part 1.

When I first got into action sports, I adopted some of the culture’s misogynistic attitudes without being fully aware of it.  After all, I vehemently supported the idea that a female FMX rider could rise among the ranks of the best.  However, I still joined in the shaming of girls who seemed to be into the sport for the guys.  It’s much like the “fake geek girl” attitude I’ve seen in nerd culture, where attractive women are judged automatically.  Even though no one wants disingenuity, it’s not up to us to determine who is “real” without getting to know them.  Plus action sports wouldn’t be as successful as it is today without the casual fans.  I was lucky to have joined FMX forums run by women in the industry; plus I gave off the little sister vibe.  How we look (or are perceived to appear) shouldn’t matter, but it does.

This brings me to Kim Woozy’s TED Talk:

She made me think about the mixed reactions female action sports athletes have gotten for posing nude for ESPN the Magazine‘s Body Issue.  I am all for anyone embracing their bodies, and nudity shouldn’t be a big deal.  Plus the Body Issue does a great job of highlighting different sizes, shapes, and skin tones, as well as “imperfections” like tan lines and scars.  Nevertheless, Kim and Jen Hudak make good points in their criticisms of sexy shoots.  Why do those get more attention than actual achievements?

One of my friends posted a link on Facebook about the Body Issue, praising the use of Prince Fielder on the cover.  Someone had commented that women don’t seem to get the same treatment, citing Jamie Anderson’s cover.  While the photo of Jamie perfectly captures her spirit and personality, I had to partly agree with the comment.  Jamie’s looks are irrelevant, but the artistic choice for the photo is something to question.  She’s posing (in kind of a stereotypical modeling way too), not snowboarding.  Contrast that with the shot of Coco Ho.  It’s dynamic and more inspiring.

Jamie Anderson.  By Peggy Sirota/ ESPN the Magazine

Jamie Anderson. By Peggy Sirota/ ESPN the Magazine

Coco Ho.  By Morgan Maassen/ ESPN The Magazine

Coco Ho. By Morgan Maassen/ ESPN The Magazine

Now I don’t fault Jamie since she was not in charge of the shoot, but I hope ESPN the Magazine will consider how they depict their cover models (it’s worth noting that the other female cover model, Venus Williams, was also posing and didn’t even have a racket).

Another thing that bothered me about the Body Issue was the behind-the-scenes footage of Travis Pastrana and Lyn-Z Adams Pastrana.  First, I wish Lyn-Z was skateboarding instead of riding in the back.  I know the artistic director probably wanted a fun couple’s shot, but it sends the message that Lyn-Z’s career takes a backseat.  On top of that, they captured Travis joking about how he got to see his “wife’s tits all day”.  Although I’m sure Lyn-Z was not offended by the comment, it’s still derogatory and inappropriate to air.  It reinforces the idea that looks are the most important thing for a girl and disregards the struggles Lyn-Z has faced as a female skateboarder.  I’m very disappointed in both ESPN and Travis Pastrana.

These are little things that have a major impact.  They contribute to the misogyny that women in action sports (whether they are athletes, industry folks, or fans) face.  When male skaters and riders call each other “pussy” or “bitch”, they are associating femininity with weakness.  That, in turn, alienates the women who are already fighting this double standard of having to be attractive to get attention but not too pretty to where they won’t be taken seriously.  One thing I disagree with Jen on her critique of sexy shoots is how much it will injure a female athlete’s career. It’s less about the photos themselves (because after all, we remember the achivements of Danica Patrick and Elena Hight) and more about that ridiculous double standard and the constant objectification of women by the media and even by their peers. Who cares if some of us wear no make-up and have grease stains on our clothes while others of us wear heels on weekends and are willing to pose nude? Our love of actions sports should be what matters, and until that is the case, I will not stop fighting for more feminism in the culture.

Last month, World of X Games aired a special all about female action sports athletes.  It was so refreshing.  As of late, the X Games has started to give women the coverage they deserve. . .  finally.  It was so disheartening to see women’s events diminish throughout the years, and it hurts when my highlights mostly feature men (I think that’s why I started to pay more attention to the winter sports).  There is hope though.  In addition to the “Women of Action” episode, X Games held a Real Women contest to highlight the athletes who for one reason or another, don’t participate in X.  On top of that, female BMX riders were invited to hit the course during one of the practice sessions.

However, we can hope all we want, and that doesn’t change the harsh reality.  The on-line “Women of Action” series speaks of a glass ceiling that is found in any male-dominated field, be it science or skating.  Then there’s the shameful state of women’s motocross about which I’m glad the TV episode covered.  There are many opinions about the issue, but something is wrong when top riders like Ashley Fiolek and Jessica Patterson are dropped by their sponsors because the series promoter has decided to cut pro racing for women.  We’ve seen this before, like when Cara-Beth Burnside was dropped by the company that helped her become the first female skater to have her own shoe.  Vans won’t even deign to put her on their Legends team despite how much she’s done for the sport, and they’re losing a portion of their customers because of it—and the fact that their designs for women’s shoes have become more stereotypically feminine (we’ll discuss this in part 2).

Speaking of skate legends, check out this TED Talk by Cindy Whitehead.

She highlights the day-to-day issues that women—hobbyists, amateurs, pros, and legends alike—face in doing what they love.  The hateful comments and skepticism are what pushed me away from the scene.  To this day, I feel self-conscious going to local events.  Sexism happens on multiple levels, and it’s so ingrained that the action sports community has to make a hard effort to fight it.  Otherwise it will destroy the potential that the sports have to grow while depriving girls of something wonderful.

We’ve seen women ride with the men: Peggy Oki, Fabiola da Silva, Vicki Golden, and Emma Gilmour to name a few.  They make the case for an elimination of gendered events, but here’s the problem: sexism is systemic.  Male athletes get the coverage and sponsors because they are still the main demographic of action sports fans.  As Cindy mentioned, people automatically assume that an action sports athlete is a man.  The stereotypes are that ingrained in our minds, as is the idea that women are physically less capable than men.

In the “Glass Ceiling” article, ESPN asks James Riordon if size and strength really affect how much air you get and how many spins you do.  His answer: “The discrepancy in upper-body strength isn’t enough to hinder spinning. What it comes down to is there is no physics-based reason why men and women aren’t at the same level, at least not at the top level of the sport.”  Maybe there are other physicists who want to refute his statement, but snowboard Kelly Clark, in the same piece, brings up Chloe Kim who evokes comparisons to a young Shaun White.

It is through snowboarding that we see what happens when women are given the chance to show their stuff.  The Olympics have really helped with giving them more exposure, and as a result, other events have to follow suit.  That leads to increase opportunities, which allows the women push themselves further.  Perhaps the brightest beacon comes with Elena Hight’s double backside alley-oop rodeo, the first for a woman or a man and top voted moment in the history of X.
It seems that enough people out there know what a good thing is when they see it, and I’ll hang onto that hope.

Around the time I began my new job in the Department of Neuroscience, BMX rider Brett Banasiewicz sustained traumatic brain injury (TBI) from a crash. That was when I started to connect the dots between science and action sports with the realization that not only could action sports make science more interested, but science could help action sports. Too many action sports athletes were sustaining terrible injuries that they couldn’t just bounce back from. The impact of TBI on football players had generated a lot of buzz, but what about the other sports?

Last February, I went to the 2014 Paul M. Bass Neurosurgery Symposium on Traumatic Brain Injury to learn about the latest treatments and prevention methods and to find a way to pass this onto the action sports community. We don’t have a single governing body like the NHL or NFL even though medical staff at events have been doing a wonderful job. Worse is that kids aren’t doing this at school or in a club so the environment can’t be controlled. Sure we have Camp Woodward, but you also have kids who go to the parks on their own or just hit the streets. The action sports community has to educate itself, as well as the doctors who don’t know what someone was doing to have wound up with an injury or the rationale behind wanting to recover ASAP (I’m reminded of the scene in The Crash Reel where Kevin Pearce argues with his family and doctor about hitting the slopes again).
crash reel poster
The Crash Reel and Kevin’s story also helped spark my interest in neuroscience research related to TBI.

Probably the most relevant fact I learned from the symposium was that helmets don’t prevent concussions. But don’t ditch your helmet just yet! They do help against head injuries as a whole by preventing skull fractures and hemorrhaging, but they do nothing to keep the brain from getting jostled inside the skull. Therefore, we need to start examining other ways to minimize TBI in addition to promoting helmet use.

In the case of football, the best proposed solution was modified behavior. Players are learning the proper technique to tackle and block while coaches keep an eye on risky habits that need correction. Now action sports outside of the Olympics generally don’t utilize coaches, but newcomers have to learn from somebody (or something). It is important to pass along knowledge of how to fall in a way that minimizes injury and to know the techniques behind moves like the double cork which bring the head close to another object. Although it’s fun to see people hucking big tricks, a little bit of planning could save a life.

Scientists and doctors are working to better address when injuries do happen. The 4th International Conference on Concussion in Sport has released definitions and guidelines for proper diagnosis, treatment, and management. Less than 10% of TBIs result in loss of consciousness so I recommend looking at their list of symptoms to know whether your friend should go to the hospital.

The symposium also introduced ways scientists have been studying TBI. Most of the research has focused on football players and military veterans even though the majority of TBI actually results from falls and car crashes. I decided to look up any possible studies involving action sports, and to my surprise, I found that Weber State University students used Dew Tour competitors for their subjects last year. The linked article discusses looking at the athletes’ blood for biomarkers, which can be anything from genes, enzymes, cells, or even a measurement (think blood pressure). TBI, or any sort of injury, triggers cell death so scientists can look at neurons for damage or check for the contents that dead cells release.

This past season, the students also employed the Shockbox, helmet sensors that detect head acceleration upon impact. The results could be used to determine course changes that would keep athletes from hitting their heads as hard. The takehome message is that we all have to work together to make action sports safer without having to compromise the fun of pushing the human body.

I used to think that being an action sports fan would put me at odds with being a lifetime environmentalist.  It was so hard to engage in a proper dialogue with my fellow FMX lovers because they only ever saw environmentalists as “the enemy” trying to deprive them of the opportunity to ride; it was equally difficult to bring up dirt bikes in a conversation about protecting the earth.  Once I asked my ecology teacher whether dirt bikes were really that bad, and she said the damage was in going off-course into protected land, not in pollution.

These days, I see a step forward with the shift to cleaner four-stroke engines, but motocross needs to catch up with the rest of the action sports community in embracing a greener lifestyle.  Enough about the negatives though.  Let’s properly celebrate Earth Day by focusing on how action sports enthusiasts are also environmentalists.

Surfrider Foundation began with three Malibu surfers trying to save First Point.  Now the organization works to protect coastal and ocean ecosystems in eighteen countries through research, education, and activism.  Their programs are proof that everybody who loves water can co-exist as they promote sustainable living, public beach access, gardening methods that reduce run-off pollution, and ways to improve water quality.

The Surfrider Foundation's publication

The Surfrider Foundation’s publication

This past weekend, surfers in Bali got together for the final Beach Clean Up event.  Staff members from Quiksilver, Surfer Girl, Coca-Cola Amatil Indonesia, and other organizations worked with locals, journalists, and surfers to pick up over three thousand kilograms of trash over the course of the four events.

Snowboarders have shown just as much initiative with Marie-France Roy making a movie about her environmentally conscious peers and Jamie Anderson and Elena Hight promoting eco-friendly clothing.

The X Games also took to promoting REPREVE’s water bottle-made beanies.

I was a bit worried over the environmental impact of Red Bull Supernatural, but I should have known better.  Travis Rice and Red Bull actually brought in a forester and a biologist to make sure the event wouldn’t do any harm.  When concerns were raised about the local pine population, the builders made sure not to cut down any.  This is a perfect example of how to build a course without negatively impacting natural habitats.

In reaction to the impact of climate change on winter sports, Jeremy Jones, one of the riders featured in Roy’s film, created Protect Our Winters (POW).  Last year, the non-profit petition for President Obama to abandon the Keystone XL pipeline in favor of more renewable energy sources.  Various winter sports athletes banned together via POW to form the Riders Alliance, and their activism caught the attention of The Sierra Club, just in time for the Olympics.  POW actually utilized the publicity generated by the Olympics to raise awareness on climate change, and they’ve partnered with North Face to educate students.

Also featured in Sierra Club publications is Bob Burnquist.  He’s the co-founder of the Action Sports Environmental Coalition, which played a role in the X Games’ early efforts to go green.  He has worked with Chipotle, Whole Foods, and Oakley to promote sustainable living.

The ASEC site hadn’t been updated in a couple of years, but I hope they’re still active.  Regardless of where you choose to practice your sport, it’s important to consider the environment and protect the earth.  If even it’s something small like picking up after ourselves (and our friends) and not using plastic bottles, we as a community can help make a difference.  Happy Earth Day!

I was excited to hear slopestyle get mentioned on the radio.  PRI’s The World previewed some of the events that will premiere at Sochi, and they asked a snowboarding instructor what to expect.  Now I don’t know if he was trying his hardest to avoid lingo and oversimplified things, but he said there will be “double backflips”.  When was the last time you saw a double flip at a slopestyle final?  At first I thought he was referring to the double cork, but he also said “corked maneuvers” so my guess is that he wanted to talk about spins.

Most people will probably think confusing spins and flips is an easy mistake.  However, a 720 is a completely different move from a double backflip.  Physics doesn’t have to be your strong suit (it’s definitely not mine) to see that.  When a snowboarder flips, they’re rotating around the X-axis.  For 360s, 720s, etc, the rotation is around the Y-axis.  As a result, the approach has to be different.  For a flip, the snowboarder leans back to generate torque whereas they have to start rotating their body during take-off for a 360 (due to conservation of angular momentum).  This also explains why backflips are generally viewed as easier.  The ramp helps give the snowboarder the pop upward.  On the other hand, they have to generate enough angular momentum to spin 360+ degrees while making sure they don’t veer off-course because they’re traveling in a completely different direction on the same axis.  In short, double backflips and 720s shouldn’t be confused for one another because of the physics involved.  Also, the judges will give you a totally different score.

I am glad the interviewee made a distinction with corked tricks since the physics for them is totally different.  Check out this Sport Science feature on the double cork 1080:

Since the video feature Shaun White, I would like to conclude with another point of inaccurate reporting. This weekend I kept seeing headlines about Shaun’s “new trick” or even “first-ever Cab double cork 1440 in competition”. Although it may be his first “YOLO flip” landed in competition and a new trick for him, Iouri Podladchikov did it at X Games Tignes Superpipe competition 10 months ago:

If we want to get super technical as to who did it first in competition, Shaun’s slopestyle teammate Sage Kotsenberg gets that honor. He did it at the Billabong Air and Style three years ago. You gotta be specific when you’re reporting!

My apologies for not updating in a while, especially since I have yet to recap two X Games events (this global format is not working well with my schedule).  I’m going to put it off some more for a topic that I think is very important: queer politics.  Ever since NBA player Jason Collins made headlines by coming out, I’ve been thinking about the lack of openly gay athletes in action sports.

Our community could stand to be more queer.  There are many fans who fall under the LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bi, trans*, questioning, intersex, asexual), and I’m pretty sure there’s at least one pro identifying as each of the letters in the acronym.  Then why don’t we have more action sports stars who are out and proud?  Why do we not have a spokesperson for LGBT issues?

For a while, I had deluded myself into thinking that the quietness was a result of everyone being so accepting.  After all, it was casually mentioned in an X Games broadcast that snowboarder Cheryl Maas had welcomed a baby with her wife.  “Nothing to get worked up over” was the message, but what if it had been a male snowboarder?  There are articles calling out for a gay skate, snow, or surf icon.

cheryl photo cherylfamily_zps93aa75d6.jpg

Although I haven’t seen Cheryl talk about her sexuality, she does bring up her wife (snowboarder Stine Brun Kjeldaas) and posts pictures of her family on her Tumblr.

We need one.  I can’t count the number of times I saw the word “gay” being used in a derogatory manner on freestyle motocross message boards.  I’ve seen BMX articles with a homophobic tone.  No, the action sports world is not accepting; it’s  not immune to the dominant straight male attitudes that permeates throughout mainstream sports like basketball.

A decade ago, Tim Von Werne (featured in the “skate” article above), Matt Branson, and Robbins Thompson had to deal with coming out and ending their careers.  Birdhouse pulled Von Werne’s interview because he talked about being gay, and that convinced him to not turn pro.  After much trauma, Branson dropped out of the ASP pro tour.   Thompson got sick of the questions and negative comments (and having “fag” spray painted on his car didn’t help), and he quit as well.  This is not encouraging for queer youths wanting to do action sports.

Times have changed a bit.  There are allies like snowboarder Scott E. Wittlake and Skateboard Mag writer Rob Brink (both quoted in the “snow” article linked above).  We’re seeing more interviews with athletes who are gay and lesbian.  King Shit did a feature on transgender skater Hillary Thompson.  While she’s not pro, there have been more articles about her and they’ve been very positive.
heather photo Hillary-Thompson-OllieUpToCrookedGrind-Raleigh1_zps9a19ef47.jpgPhoto by Sam McGuire for Jenkem Magazine

My list of pros who are openly gay, lesbian, and trans is small, but I hope that it grows and will include other orientations too:

However, as the documentary Out in the Line-up reveals in the surfing world, and action sports in general, things are far from equal… or even safe.  Until the community has a well-known name who is out and proud or a real push to promote equality, it’s going to be an uphill battle.

One of Merriam-Webster’s definitions of “supernatural” is “departing from what is usual or normal especially so as to appear to transcend the laws of nature”.   For about two months, I kept wondering why Travis Rice’s innovative snowboarding event was called “Supernatural”. Then it aired on TV, and I understood. Travis took what nature had to offer snowboarders, built upon it with a team of lumberjacks, and then gave it back to nature to add the finishing touches. The result was a hybrid wonderland for backcountry boarders.

The riders themselves seemed to transcend human limitations. The idea that a snowboarder can literally “bonk a tree” (translation: tap the tree mid-air with the board) sounds like a move from a video game. I had no idea how the contest was scored, and I didn’t really care. It was enough to see these guys take on Mother Nature and appear as though they may take flight. Red Bull Supernatural brought in the poetry in motion found in snowboarding films to the one-upmanship and pushing of personal limits that naturally occurs with competition.

The question remains: is this the future of snowboarding? Putting my personal hopes aside, I don’t really know. It could go either way. X Games has already brought in the video element with their Real Snow competition, and I know people who don’t find snowboarding that exciting because “it looks like a bunch of spins” to them. I can see some of these people enjoying a contest like Supernatural because the course is constantly changing as more riders get on it and the weather shifts.  With the help of Contour, they can actually witness how steep the drop is and how fast these guys are going. Plus everything just looks cool when there’s powder flying everywhere and natural obstacles popping up in unexpected places.

On the other hand, the contest is a bit like modern art. People generally like to understand what they’re watching, and Supernatural may be too out there for a mainstream audience. Judging is subjective, and it’s hard to see what the riders are doing from a distance. People also like drama. I found that the broadcast could have been improved because there was a lot of dead air from the commentators as the competitors looked for the right hits. Supernatural doesn’t give us the high tension moments of who’s going to land the first triple cork or is Shaun White going to defend his gold. The mystery of a rider’s run that makes the contest more interesting for some causes others to be bored with the lack of suspense.

Supernatural, Scotty LagoFrom Mark McMorris' Instagram
A shot taken by Terje Haakonsen of Scotty Lago freeriding with Mark McMorris in the background. From Mark McMorris’ Instagram.

In the end, Red Bull Supernatural isn’t focused on getting viewers to watch a new type of contest. As Travis Rice has explained to ESPN, he created this event to unify snowboarding: to bring together vets and newcomers, slopestyle and backcountry, art and sport. It has reminded us that snowboarding isn’t about the number of spins you do or how many gold medals you have; it’s about finding new lines in untouched snow, conquering the fear you feel looking down a 55-degree incline, and above all, having fun.

While FMX riders may laugh in the face of danger, I bet they still find marriage proposals to be frightening.  About a month ago, Travis Pastrana popped the question to his skater girlfriend Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins at the Nitro Circus show in Vegas, and he was so nervous that he wound up doing it earlier than planned.  The video clip is pretty spectacular; leave it to the moto guys to take a more unconventional approach to proposing.  I’m a sucker for romance so here are my top 3 proposals by (or to) FMX riders.

3. Adam Jones gets down on one knee post-competition.
Photobucket Photo from EXPN.com
I was looking through pictures of an WFA contest a few years ago, and I came across a shot of Adam’s proposal. It was so cute that I saved it. Random fact about Adam’s wife (whose name is slipping my mind): she is the girl who smells his armpits in the “double pits to chesty” Axe commercial.

2. Travis Pastrana proposes to Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins on the Mega Ramp.

I’d say that was the best stunt of the night. Congratulations to those two! For a clip of the full proposal, go here.

1. Pink pops the question to Carey Hart in the middle of the race.
Photobucket Photo from People.
I’m a fan of unconventionality, and it was pretty awesome that Pink wrote her proposal on the pit board (plus “I’m serious!”) and then told Carey to go back and race since she wasn’t planning on marrying a “loser”. Recently they welcomed a baby girl, Willow Sage, into their family so congrats to them!

You’ve all heard the news about the destruction the earthquake and tsunami has brought upon Japan.  I lived and taught in the Miyagi Prefecture for a year, and I even went to a surfing competition there.  The beach, located in Koizumi, is probably now filled with debris and corpses.

DSCN1877

I am disappointed to see a lack of support from the action sports community. Japan has given us several amazing action sports athletes: snowboarders Kazuhiro Kokubo (who must be going through a rollercoaster of emotions having just won the Burton U.S. Open this past weekend) and Soko Yamaoka, FMX rider Taka Higashino, motocross racer Sayaka Kaneshiro, freeskiier Ryo Shibasaki, and in-line skaters Eito and Takeshi Yasutoko.  It’s time we show our support for them and for a country that embraces action sports.  Please consider donating your money to the American Red Cross or another disaster relief organization.  I have compiled links at my Japanese pop culture blog: click to find the many ways you can help.

This is not to say the whole community has not responded to this tragedy..  Japanese surfer/triathlete and founder of Index Wetsuits Ikki Fujiwara has set up a fund. He has also revealed that Damien and C.J. Hobgood have shown their support. (The computer I’m on right now doesn’t support Japanese characters so I can’t try to figure out what the post says.)

Other athletes have used Twitter to either express their sympathies and/or get fans to donate to Red Cross. Here are just a selection of tweets.

  • Gretchen Bleiler – “Still can’t believe what happened in Japan. Let’s help them out~donate $10 to Japan relief just text REDCROSS to 90999”
  • Steve Caballero – “Japan had an earthquake leaving many without food & NOT ONE case of looting recorded, the world can learn sumthin from these awesome people!” – retweeted by Chad Kagy
  • Ronnie Faisst – “Wow! Praying for everyone in Japan! Hope all my homeboys and there families over there are safe!”
  • Taka Higashino – “Just got land LA from bonjour Japan is now crazy !!! So sad !!!!”
  • T.J. Schiller – “Oh my god – my prayers go out to everyone over there. Be safe!” – He also had a message in Japanese to Ryo Shibasaki and was retweeted by Justin Dorey.
  • Kelly Slater – “wavesforwater is going into action. Trying to find connections in Japan to help any way they can. If you have good info, please tweet them.”
  • Hannah Teter – “HELP JAPAN. I am. Text “Red Cross” to 90999 =$10 on bill, or donate here http://bit.ly/RedXJap Save The Children”
  • Shaun White – “My thoughts are with the people of Japan today. I hope all my friends are safe. Contact me when you can please! – http://say.ly/LPSbpM”

Listening to: “Hanamizuki” by Yo Hitoto