August 29 2011
The first Tenkara Summit in the US was a great success, over 100 people attended and enjoyed awesome presentations as well as an on-stream demonstration with Dr. Ishigaki. This will be a quick post. Even though the event is over, we’ve been sleeping little and fishing pretty hard today with the day starting at 6 and now being 12:40am.
Originally we had expected, optimistically, that about 70 people would show up. The conference room was setup to accomodate 100 people, but that was not enough. Over 100 people showed up yesterday. People came from 23 different states, and from 3 different countries specially for the Summit (well, they did come to fish in Montana…). I’d really like to thank all those who came and helped make this an extraordinary event; it was the best crowd ever. Thank you!
The Tenkara Summit had the presence of special guests Dr. Hisao Ishigaki, the leading authority on tenkara in Japan; Chris Stewart of tenkarabum.com; Craig Mathews of Blue Ribbon Flies who gave a very passionate presentation about tenkara in Montana and showed some great clips of large fishing being caught; Ryan Jordan of backpackinglight.com as well as ryanjordan.com; and Tom Sadler who spoke about the advantages of using tenkara as a guide and as a way to introduce new people to fly-fishing so they can continue conserving the environment in the future.
In the afternoon we headed to Yellowstone National Park for an on-stream demonstration with Dr. Ishigaki and myself. The fishing in the middle of the day was very difficult. I ended up catching a 5″ rainbow and that was about it as for fish. Nevertheless guests were able to see what tenkara looked like in person.
A personal highlight of the event for myself was the presence of Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, whose business philosophies greatly inspired Tenkara USA from day one – these are mostly found in his book “Let My People Go Surfing”. I had become a great fan of Patagonia and Yvon long before the start of Tenkara USA. When creating the business plan for Tenkara USA I used his book as a roadmap for our business philosophies and his business as a benchmark for Tenkara USA. Along with Craig Mathews, who was a presenter at the Summit, they founded the 1% for the Planet initiative, which is a “set-on-stone” commitment to donate at least 1% of revenues to environmental organizations. We have been a member from day one. When I learned that Yvon, himself, had recently become a huge fan of tenkara fly-fishing my jaw just dropped. How could this happen? Really? He wrote a beautiful article about Fly Rod and Reel magazine on tenkara and simplicity, converted Craig Mathews to tenkara, and has been one of our best ambassadors introducing people to tenkara almost daily and on an almost weekly basis telling people to talk to us. Yes, I was stoked that they were there for the whole event, we spent a good amount of time talking, and are scheduled to go fishing together tomorrow… in about 6 hours. So, time to go to bed now!
Of course, Dr. Ishigaki was also very happy to meet them and they got along great despite the language barriers.