Bettylou Sakura Johnson Carves it up with G-LIDE

The wave whisperers at G-SHOCK have brought an enormous swell of saltwater classics over the years.

While models like the staunch MUDMAN DW5500C and deep diving FROGMAN series were popular among surfers for their rock-solid toughness, it wasn’t until 1996 that G-SHOCK launched the G-LIDE series, a line specifically engineered for marine mavericks.

Featuring technology like a tide graph and moon phase data, it didn’t take long for G-LIDE to paddle alongside some of the world’s top surfers to create a bounty of special-edition watches and signature models. One such surfer is Bettylou Sakura Johnson, who is the latest to join G-SHOCK’s impressive roster. The rising Hawaiian-American talent is known for her technical precision and fearless approach to challenging waves, making her a more natural fit than a fish in water. 

Born and raised in the mythical waters of Oahu’s North Shore, Johnson wet her feet in some of the most challenging surf conditions in the world. During the winter months, waves on the North Shore can reach an intimidating nine metres, attracting adventurous surfers from around the globe. Iconic spots such as Waimea Bay, Sunset Beach, and Banzai Pipeline all host major surfing competitions, including the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing – arguably the ultimate challenge in big wave surfing. These are just some of the many reasons why the North Shore is regarded as the surf capital of the world. 

’The ocean always keeps me humble and grateful.’ 

‘It’s the best place on Earth to grow up,’ says Johnson. ‘I’m not sure I would be a surfer if I didn’t grow up on the North Shore. It defined my surf style in a way nowhere else can. When you’re surfing the waves, you have to meet it with power, or else you’ll get pushed around by the ocean. The ocean always keeps me humble and grateful.’ 

But it’s not just Hawaii's legendary waves that have helped shape the 19-year-old’s style. Sakura means ‘cherry blossom’ in Japanese and is a homage to her Japanese roots on her mother’s side. ‘Japanese fashion and culture inspire me in many ways,’ she says. ‘The people there are the most polite and helpful! It inspires me to be a better person every day. I love wearing kimonos every time I go to Japan and embracing my other half.’

Of course, G-SHOCK are one of the most well-respected brands in all of Japan. Created in 1983 by Kikuo Ibe, G-SHOCK’s long hands continue to reach into new and increasingly specialised fields. Across the sand, sky and stars, the Japanese label’s tough-as-nails reputation has continually solidified across 41 years. They remain unrivalled in the saltwater though, and the G-LIDE GLXS5600 is the latest timepiece to join G-SHOCK’s S-Series – a line that presents the same great technology and functions but in a smaller size.

Featuring the same wave-breaking tech as the full-size G-LIDE but designed for smaller wrists, the GLXS5600 is well-equipped for any rugged coastlines across Hawaii and beyond. More compact than ever before, the shock-resistant timepiece features 20-bar water resistance, tide graphs and moon data. The bezel and band are also made with bio-based resins that are produced using renewable organic resources, ensuring we’re protecting our oceans across the globe. It’s also equipped with G-SHOCK’s patented LED Super Illuminator, so you can still track the time after the sun has dipped behind the horizon. Not only is it ready for all kinds of water sports (and fishing!), but it’s also a rock-steady companion for pro surfers. ‘When I go for a surf, the G-SHOCK GLXS5600 is the watch to go!’ says Johnson. ‘It’s perfect; it has all the necessities I need when surfing. Especially with the tide graph, so when I surf I know what the tide is doing without my phone. There’s also a timer which is perfect for me when competing. It fits great too, not too big, not too small on the wrist.’ 

Coming in two fresh of surf-inspired colourways, the GLXS5600 is once again raising the bar for the G-LIDE line. Imbued with idyllic, natural coastline hues and pale matte textures, the lightweight timepiece is no doubt one of the most comfortable watches in G-SHOCK’s vast underwater arsenal.

Perfect for wave riding, marine sports and long days lazing on the sand, this is certainly one you want to reel in. Ready to test the waters?