Ryo Yokota came to Southern California from Japan with a dream of starting a wetsuit company. Just getting to Southern California and not knowing anyone he met up with Christian Wach in year 2008 and Christian was interested in his start up wetsuit company Reunion Wetsuits. From there it just took off, meeting more people who helped support his company and then working with companies like Brixton, Volcom, his dream became a reality. Making the best custom made wetsuits for some of the top professional surfers in the world.
Who are you and where are you currently right now?
I’m Ryo Yokota, born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. I’ve traveled all over the world, but I frequent Southern California the most. My second home is Dana Point.
When did you start surfing?
Started when I was 16 yrs old…. and still shred!!!!!!
How did you first start becoming interested in surfing and making wetsuits?
It all began when I got caught up watching surf contests on tv and at the beach. I was amazed seeing what these pro surfers can do and I felt it was my calling. I was inspired, plain and simple. More and more, I dedicated my life to learning everything about surfing. I dabbled into the idea of creating a custom wetsuit company. A brand that symbolizes and stands out for its own character of uniqueness, style and comfort and most importantly…quality. Who doesn’t like Japanese rubber?
What meaning does surfing hold for you and how has it changed your life?
I wouldn’t say I gave my parents too much of a hard time, but they would grill me stop being lazy and go do something. I have learned a great amount of patience, understanding and respect since I learned how to surf. It can be quite difficult, but I refused to give up. Thankfully, I picked up on it quickly, but there’s always room for improvement.
Where is your favorite surf spot?
San Onofre, Churches, and Newport Beach to name a few. Tough to just name one.
Tell me more about Reunion wetsuits and how did it start?
I had a vision on the type of suit I would want to showcase, so I used my friends as guinea pigs. So I shared my ideas and designs with them and told them to TRUST me. With just a few trial and errors and a little bit more R&D, I knew 100% this was a career path I wanted to embark on.
What’s your relationship like with Christian Wach from Canvas Surfboards?
I first met Christian Wach about 10 yrs ago at the US Open in HB. We became good surf friends. He was interested in my startup company and that’s how it all began for him to be my team rider. He then pursued his dream of building up Canvas Surfboards.
Tell me more about custom wetsuits and the benefits it has to a surfer. (i.e. material used, hand‐made, etc..)
With the support of R&D, I’m always trying discover high quality Japanese rubber and craftsmanship.
Other than male wetsuits you also do woman’s suits correct yeah?
Yes, correct. Reunion accepts all customers.. men, women, and groms (young kids)
What are some other companies that you are collaborating with now?
I have the privilege of making collaboration suits for Volcom, Brixton, RVCA, and now Monster Energy. I’m so thankful to be working with these brands and all the great people and athletes.
You’ve come out to Taiwan before, tell me about your experience and would you want to come out again?
Yes, I’ve been to Taiwan a couple times and the last visit was about a year ago. Its been part of my occupation to check out different international markets and plus wanted to check out the surf. So yes, I plan on visiting there again in the near future.
Tell me the surfboards in your quiver right now.
Currently, 9’4 Pistrelo, 6’6 Mini Pelican, 6’0 1/2 Eric Christenson does it and of course 5’5 yo mobile all shaped and credit goes out to EC Surfboards.