Mizu Mission X Gentem

Joe Chafkin

PHOTOS: Max Houtzager

VIDEO: Amado Stachenfeld

LOCATION: Hokkaido, Japan

“Whether it’s the mountains or the ocean, the joy of going to those places comes from connecting with their energy.”

Snowsurf blurs the boundaries between ocean and mountain. We find new ways to approach old favorites, renovating tradition to make space for exploration. Our friends at Gentem are pioneers of this movement, creating an entirely new medium that is always informed by their native Hokkaido — the Mt. Yotei snow they ride, the waves they glide. The hot springs where they rejuvenate. The pure water on which they sustain themselves.

The Gentem family shares a reciprocal relationship with its surroundings, the water that immerses the island in snow and swell. It gives them life — a vivacity they give back, animating the element by drawing new and unexpected lines across sloping mountains and waves. Powder that practically turns back into gas when it’s kicked up in the air, the network of embracing droplets undulating together as they pass along the energy of a wave — all comprised of a single constituent, an overlapping ground fertile for innovation, the various forms are united on the shores and peaks of Hokkaido.

There’s something intriguing about both good friends and the environments they inhabit — a familiarity, yet a drive to understand them on a deeper level, to learn everything they have to offer. An energy distinct to its owner, it must be left in its place at the end of the day; we take back with us only fond memories and a desire to return, to reconvene and rediscover. It’s the inimitable ethos we only encounter during these visits — a characteristic that’s reliable, yet keeps us on our toes to help us grow, change, progress — which draws us back. Along these pursuits, we never stop learning. Our rituals come to define who we are, but we’re always growing: we find ways to excite, complicate, and revitalize tradition, to locate new truths along the same path.

Revisiting spots and people, incorporating their wisdom into our worldviews, we construct communities, familiar bonds that always have something new to offer. We are continuously creating, combining across mediums the skills and passions acquired over daily journeys — a consolidation embodied by the art of snowsurf — meeting like-minded individuals and applying their multitude of experience to our own. As such, Terasu has learned a lot from the Gentem crew, from the mountains and coasts of Hokkaido, from the very water that underpins our existence. And there’s always more to learn.

Jussi Oksanen

Chris Christenson