Established 15 years-ago on the coast of Zhunan Township in northwestern Taiwan, “Spot” has served as an oasis for surfers and kite surfers from all walks of life and distant corners of the world. Tony and his two sprightly daughters (both of whom are younger than the business itself) have made this tranquil, warm-breezed place into their second home and playground.
As a surfing school and pit stop for travelers wishing to delve into a more natural social atmosphere, Spot has become popular for both eager students as young as five years-old, as well as entrepreneurs and surfing professionals from the U.S., the UK, Australia, and more.
Weekly classes of groups anywhere between four to 30 people gather around and prepare for the hours under the sun. Class begins, and learners carry Nanum-brand surfboards in hand on just a short one-minute march to the sea with Tony and other instructors, some of which are very dedicated sports interns.
“Taiwan’s schools don’t really teach ocean education, even though we’re an island country,’’ Tony says, “That’s why I like to teach kids. Through watersports and contact with the sea, we teach them about where they originally came from and who they are.”
This year, the restaurant shack “Super Duper” opened its door right next to Spot, adding an even more festive atmosphere to the area with weekly live music ranging from surf rock, rock, reggae, trance, and blues.
Whether in their outdoor seating area or in their air-conditioned social room, the variety of Western-style dishes, draft beers, and cocktails in Super Duper’s menu does not disappoint – juicy soft- or hard-shelled tacos with a cold pint, or thick, crunchy potato wedges with a Sunrise Strawberry Protein Milkshake –– this new addition to the Spot family is a godsend for any visitor’s cravings, be it breakfast, lunch, or dinnertime.
這間餐廳的創辦人 Libby Ho曾在台北和高雄開過餐廳，深深的感受到經營規模大小所帶來的差異。竹南地區的人口以老年佔多數，習慣吃傳統口味，然而「蔬皮肚皮」卻靠著吸引各路旅人和年輕人成功闖出自己的一片天。
The restaurant’s young founder, Libby Ho, has had experience in the culinary business in Taipei and Kaohsiung, noting the big differences when doing business between small-scale Zhunan and larger cities. The local population is proportionally older and tends to stick to their traditional taste buds, but Super Duper is beloved by both travelers wandering up and down Taiwan’s western coast and younger Taiwanese.
On the weekend of Aug. 31, groups of Taiwanese and international BMX riders arrived for a barbecue-style buffet prepared by Super Duper. The party swelled to over 40 people, not including the musicians who played all through the night, and enjoyed the staff’s well-prepared salads, BBQ sausages, hamburgers, and seafood pasta.
The next day, the length of the road from Spot to the beach was closed off and fitted with an obstacle course of ramps and pipes, the BMX competition had begun. This time, the community belonged not just to the surfers and kite surfers, but to cyclists on the hot pavement performing acrobatic jumps and flips, one event of many as the riders slowly move up along the coast from Taichung.
At the edge of this relatively small, quiet town just a two-hour ride away from Taipei, Spot has managed to create a well-established meeting point for the surfing community. As one walks along the black-and-white sand of the beach, witnessing the ebb and flow of that mass expanse where ‘we originally came from’, it’s easy to understand Tony’s mission.
His long, heartfelt conviction that understanding leads to respect, and his establishment plays a large part in this goal, offering arrivals a place to sit back and eat, sleep, learn, and enjoy Taiwan’s warm waters and warm hospitality.
By Gregory A. Thorpe Badrena
By Joyce Lee (李芷涵)