It would be an understatement to say that Daniel’s introduction and championing of tenkara to the United States market a little over a decade ago has changed the way many people think about fly fishing, the outdoors, and perhaps even the role of simplicity in their everyday lives.
Members of the Tenkara Angler team with Daniel over the years:
Thanks to Daniel planting the seed, a shared interest of tenkara introduced me to hundreds of like-minded people over the years, many of which I consider some of my best friends today. It’s rare to find yourself on the “ground floor” of something new and different.
Coincidentally, social media platforms were hitting their stride simultaneous to Tenkara USA’s debut, allowing it to take root and spread quickly. Daniel was a master of creating intoxicating, polished content (with the help of Takenobu‘s soundtrack), resulting in both a figurative and literal forum that brought us “early adopters” together many years ago. For that, I can’t thank him enough.
It goes without saying that Daniel has been a wonderful ambassador for the sport, something which displays itself well should you look back on some of the early content Tenkara USA created. Unlike many others that followed, Daniel not only promoted the novelty of reel-less rods, but also went to the source (Japan), introducing us to several Masters and associated tenkara “culture.”
We got to meet Hisao Ishigaki, Masami Sakakibara, and Yuzo Sebata, learning about their backgrounds and fishing philosophies for the very first time. Many of us likely absorbed more foreign language through Daniel’s entries and updates than we did in High School.
“Tamo”, “Kebari”, “Tsuri”, “Sakasa”… I could go on… 🙂
Daniel always seemed careful to honor the legacy of Japanese tenkara as well as his personal ethos of “simplicity,” even as his domestic consumer base grew. Being the primary evangelist and voice of tenkara to the mainstream fly fishing industry, I’m sure many pressures were exerted on the “new guy with the fancy cane poles.” Tenkara USA never released new rod models every year or tried to sell us a bunch of “stuff” we really didn’t need. It takes a lot of restraint to not just chase a quick and easy dollar, an attribute I’ve always respected in Daniel.
Plus, I can’t even imagine how many interviews or speaking engagements he has done over the years where he had to try to answer the question, “what is tenkara?” I’m not sure it’s possible to count that high.
So, as they say in the westerns, happy trails to you Daniel Galhardo! We at Tenkara Angler congratulate you on the sale of Tenkara USA and the ability to (hopefully) take a step back and reflect on all of your accomplishments. It takes a ridiculous amount of courage and vision to go “all in” on a business plan featuring a very niche sport, while cultivating a strong community to see it flourish into the future.
Personally, as your friend, I sincerely thank you and hope you’re able to find as much happiness in this next chapter of your life as you’ve given to all of us in the former.
Although I suspect we haven’t seen the last of you with a tenkara rod… so please don’t be a stranger!
Author’s Note: Tenkara Angler has reached out to Aestuary for their thoughts on the Tenkara USA acquisition. We hope to be able to speak to them about their plans for the future.
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