Doing anything that requires close attention for a long time can turn into a meditation of sorts. Losing yourself into minute details that lend themselves to a whole can be similar to that flow state while surfing—no other thoughts exist except for those that occur in that moment. It’s a feeling that Rob Machado knows well, both from riding waves and shaping surfboards.
Pruning bonsai trees is very similar to shaping surfboards. Both surfboards and bonsai trees are made for one simple thing: enjoyment. The bonsai isn’t for food or lumber; it’s not for toilet paper or pulp mills. It’s for quiet contemplation and the viewer’s enjoyment. Much like a surfboard, the smallest changes can have drastic effects on the shape. Machado, along with master bonsai tree pruner Yusuke Hamamoto discussed the similarities between the two arts.