Beyond Shidashita: Chasing Olympic-size waves in Japan's south

Iain Stanley
Swellnet Dispatch

All words and photos by Iain Stanley

When Tokyo got the nod for the 2020 Olympics, all of Japan went up as one. And when the IOC gave the green light for surfing to be included in the Olympics for the first time, the whole surfing world erupted as though it had just been spat out of a heaving ten-foot Pipe barrel.

Then, however, people started putting two and two together and realised that surfing and Tokyo went together like bats and soup in a Chinese wet market. For those who haven’t spent time around the east coast of Japan’s big island in August or September, think mid-afternoon Manly Beach in a summer nor’easter  - pitiful, chop-hop slop. 

On the other hand, for those of us who’ve been to Japan during the good times and seen the potential of the archipelago, we thought it was a wasted opportunity as Japan has so much to offer.

Indeed, it doesn’t take Sherlock to see the impact Japan has had on the surfing world in recent times. 

Beyond Shidashita - Japan has many good waves

How so?

To start with, you’ve got Takayuki Wakita, who’s so respected for his charging at Pipe that part of the reef is named after him - 'Wakita Bowl' is just inside the usual takeoff at Second Reef Pipe. Then you’ve got his daughter Sara, who just finished 16th on the WQS in 2019 and was part of three Japanese girls in the top 20. One of those was Amuro Tsuzuki, who won a 10,000 WQS event on her way to becoming the first Japanese-born surfer on either the Men’s or the Women’s side to qualify for the World Championship Tour. 

Plus, Keito Matsuoka is the most recent winner of the highly coveted O’Neill Wave of the Winter competition, and his name now sits alongside the likes of more illustrious past winners including Nathan Florence, Jamie O’Brien, Koa Rothman, Kelly Slater, and Kalani Chapman. Not a bad list to be on, eh? 

Throw in Hiroto Ohhara, who in 2015 won the Vans US Open, and of course, Kanoa Igarashi, who’s chosen to represent Japan on the WCT and at the Olympics.

With all those facts out the way, it’s fair to say that Japan and its surfers are making the type of inroads into the surfing world that Brazil was making a generation ago. 

So what does all that mean? In part, it means that Japan has waves, and lots of them. But what you typically see in the media, or hear about coming from nearby Tokyo is not a true reflection of the diamonds in the rough on offer. But rest assured, there are plenty of them if you look hard enough.

Down south where I live, just a few clicks southwest of Tokyo and then some, there are a few big wave spots that are up there with pretty much anywhere else in the world. During the months from June to November, when the typhoons roll through, some of the reefs down here wouldn’t be out of place in a conversation including the most notorious big wave spots around the globe. 

Unwinding at a southern Japanese pointbreak

There’s one place in particular, just a short drive from my home, that I’ve fallen in love with when it comes to shooting big waves. If you live in these parts, or grew up watching Sarge’s Surfing Scrapbook, it’s pretty well known, but for those who haven’t ventured this far south, it still remains somewhat of a secret. Perhaps it’s because it only breaks really well a handful of times a year, or it might just be because there’s a strong sense of localism and hierarchy that exists in the lineup making it tough for newcomers to break into. 

A mix of localism and logistics keeps the crowd numbers low

The place itself is nondescript. It sits in a bay on a straight stretch of the highway fronted by a couple of odd shops and a few abandoned factories. There’s a little gravel carpark that you’d barely notice if you didn’t know it was exclusively reserved for the older locals. And that’s pretty much it. The carpark faces out to an inviting little cove, perhaps similar to Waimea Bay when it’s flat and placid, though like Waimea, looks can be deceiving. 

When it’s pumping, I’ve seen guys paddle out through the channel and time it so perfectly that their hair’s still dry once they’ve reached the takeoff zone.

I’ve also seen guys get caught inside on the paddle out, washed a kilometre down the coast into the fishing harbour, getting battered all the way, then have to make the inglorious trek back along the highway with tails between their legs.

The size of the waves doesn't help their cause. You have to understand that these guys are riding big, heavy boards measuring ten feet and longer, so there’s no duckdiving. If you time it wrong, you’re shit outta luck. 

A fifty metre section folds as one - not a place to get caught inside

What I also love about this place is that, unlike most renowned big wave spots around the world, when it breaks here, there are no jetskis, packs of photographers in the channel, helicopters shooting from above, or personal filmers getting their daily social media posts ready for Instagram.

Indeed, story has it that a group of well known chargers from the Red Bull team were here a few years back during an epic swell and wanted to take their skis out and do tow-ins. However, they didn’t get past first base because they didn’t have correct permits or paperwork for their jetskis. It might seem ridiculous, but Japan’s notorious love of rules and inflexibility in administering them could well be one of the reasons this place still remains a relatively unknown dot on the map compared with some other places that have exploded in recent times. The logistical difficulties in getting here quickly is definitely another. 

The wave itself is a curious one. There are different ledges on the volcanic reef that cause the waves to jack up quickly on certain sections, taking even the most seasoned locals by surprise. The outside has the big, steep drop. It can sometimes seem like a happy, little roll in if you get in early enough, but once it hits the ledge, it’s all weight on the back foot and arms high up in the air.

Riding a relatively shorter board, Kengo Nakasako drops in deep as the crowd watches on

Eijiro Wada stomps on the back foot and gets air as the wave face boils

Once you’ve navigated that, there’s a quieter, flatter middle section. Then if you’re game enough, or if the tide’s high enough, you can have a crack at the macking inside section. It’s fast, gnarly, massively hollow, and pretty much unmakeable. It doesn’t stop these daredevils from having a lash though. 

 Masao Hidaka ponders what could've been

And that’s what I love most about this place now. Knowing the guys in the water and knowing their idiosyncrasies on a wave. I first started shooting here just over ten years ago, and the more time I’ve spent here, the more I’ve come to know the guys that are always out there, the boards they ride, the cars they drive, and whether it’s worth sticking with them on a wave to see if they’ll chuck themselves into a gaping inside drainer.

It took me a couple of years to get to know them all, mostly because the carparks around the area are very small and are reserved exclusively for the guys who surf there. Also, because it’s very localised and the guys who’ve put time in over the years there are very protective, they don’t exactly extend open invitations to any Tom, Dick and Harry to become part of the tight-knit community.

However, as time’s gone by I’ve developed good friendships with most of the locals and reached a level where they now message me when they think it might be on. Speaking Japanese and having my kids in the same schools as theirs has also helped.

 When shooting, I always stick with Masaki Kobayashi coz he loves an inside screamer

What’s also cool is that outside of the community in which we live, no-one in the surfing world would know who these guys are. Names like Masaki Kobayashi, Kengo Nakasako, Eijiro Wada, Masao Hidaka, and Yoshimitsu Yamada wouldn’t raise an eyebrow amongst people talking about big wave chargers. Nor are there any stickers on boards, fluoro wetsuits, or fist pumps for the judges. It’s mostly just a bunch of unheralded, middle-aged men who love nothing more than pulling out their ten foot guns and chasing big waves when they’re on offer.

In fact, I’d reckon half the local sticker-pack kids wouldn’t know most of them from a bar of soap either. But for people who know these parts and who know who these guys are, there is a massive level of respect bestowed upon them because of the way they throw themselves into typhoon swells year after year without fanfare or fuss. 

No takers on this one

I think that’s why I enjoy shooting them so much. I think we can all see a piece of ourselves in them. They do it for the love of surfing, and for the love of the thrill. They’re not paid. They expect no financial return for taking on serious waves. They’re just doing it because they have a desire - a sometimes pathological desire - to ride the most mountainous waves that the annual typhoons can throw their way.

Almost all the guys I know who surf there regularly have itinerant, or extremely flexible jobs. None of them are upwardly mobile corporatists. That’s because it’s impossible for them to be tied down to an office job that dictates their hours and prevents them being free when the swell suddenly triples within in the space of an hour. In their world, they need to be available. They need to be able to drop everything in an instant to chase the swells when they come. 

Santiago, a surfer visiting from Chile, on the paddle back out

None of them crave attention. They don’t have big followings on Facebook or Instagram. They don’t post TikTok videos, nor curate YouTube channels where they beg for people to subscribe. They only follow the typhoons, roll up when it’s huge, then paddle into the biggest waves they dare. Then, when they’ve had their fill, they get in their cars and drive home, wherever that may be.

Some of them are single, some divorced, and some happily married family guys with kids.

Masaki Kobayashi and Kengo Takasako share a moment

While their home lives may be different, the values they all share is a respect for each other, a respect for the hierarchy in the lineup, and a crazy desire for big waves.

And, as the typhoon season nears for 2020, they’ll again be prepared to drop everything when the wind, tide, swell direction, and the swell itself comes come together to provide that fleeting magic they all crave. 

// IAIN STANLEY

Comments

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Saturday, 9 May 2020 at 10:20am

めっちゃ面白い

Cool article Iain- you could have been writing about my area. We have a core group that come out of the woodwork and charge the biggest days and most of it, if not all goes completely undocumented.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

Iain Stanley's picture
Iain Stanley's picture
Iain Stanley commented Saturday, 9 May 2020 at 10:35am

Arigatou. There are spots along the whole Japan coast from north to south that explode during typhoon season. Because most surfing areas in Japan are extremely rural, not many people can get there quickly. Meaning the locals in any given spot who haven't left for the cities are always at the top of the totem pole.

Ray Shirlaw's picture
Ray Shirlaw's picture
Ray Shirlaw commented Saturday, 9 May 2020 at 11:29am

A peek on google earth shows that before industrial bastardization and outrageous miles of concrete tsunami defences Japans coast could once have been one of the best in the world for surf,when its on

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Saturday, 9 May 2020 at 12:08pm

There are some phenomenal waves in Japan Ray, most are rural and most fly under the radar, especially the cold water spots.

And totally agreed- what the Japanese have done to their coast and continue to do so is a travesty and borderline criminal in my opinion.

btw- in my years here, we've lost 7 beaches to coastal fortification. It makes me so sad sometimes.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

Iain Stanley's picture
Iain Stanley's picture
Iain Stanley commented Saturday, 9 May 2020 at 12:34pm

Yep, even where I live there’s one stretch of 20-30km coastline that has pics from a few decades back. Perfect beachies and pristine beach. It’s now pretty much unsurfable coz there’s no beach there, mountains of tetrapods, and the waves are junk anyway because of it

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Saturday, 9 May 2020 at 5:47pm

Iain , it’s a shame about the Japanese coastline.

I look forward to more of your insights into this deliciously foreign land.

Please spare location details.

Such a good write up on the surf scene at this particular break. You’re indeed lucky to be allowed into the fold. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Do you ever get tempted to give it a crack yourself ?

Iain Stanley's picture
Iain Stanley's picture
Iain Stanley commented Saturday, 9 May 2020 at 6:29pm

I went out there a couple times when I first moved down about 12 years ago. It was always moderately sized and nothing like these pics. I didn’t know as many people back then and there was definitely a vibe going on. Especially coz I’d moved down from another prefecture and hadn’t changed plates - a dead giveaway you’re an out-of-towner. I’m not really a big wave guy anyway so I was pretty happy to let it go. I’ve been invited out a few times recently since I got to know most of the guys out there, but I always say “who’s gonna take pics of you if I’m out surfing!” They know I wouldn’t go near it hahaha

coopers's picture
coopers's picture
coopers commented Saturday, 16 May 2020 at 12:01pm

Older Japanese surfers talk of countless rivermouth set ups that were destroyed by concrete tetrapods. And the many that remain are still under threat.

Andrew P's picture
Andrew P's picture
Andrew P commented Saturday, 9 May 2020 at 2:47pm

Should get Matt George to write an article about them

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Saturday, 9 May 2020 at 5:41pm

Andrew ....that’s got to be up there with Comment of the Year.

He was referred to as the Great Bwana of Bali on another site.

So perfect,

mr mick's picture
mr mick's picture
mr mick commented Saturday, 9 May 2020 at 6:37pm

Great story, would love some stories & pics of the typhoon season in the future if possible.Enjoyed the comments as well.

Mr mick

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Saturday, 9 May 2020 at 7:02pm

Hope you don't mind Iain, but here's a few waves on bigger days locally here for Blowy. Not necessarily typhoon either as the big north swells from winter storms can get pretty manic.






One of those shots is of the biggest swell i've ever seen in Japan. I can't even guess but it had to be 20+ ft.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Saturday, 9 May 2020 at 7:15pm

Geez, Zen....looks a bit more intense than I was dreaming about.

I was picturing fun 4-6 foot rivermouth followed by a traditional Japanese seafood meal - picture perfect presentation- a few mugs of Kirin and a couple of shots of Japanese rice spirits as myself and the classic wide eyed , Japanese ingenue sung poorly vocalised Karaoke at the top of our lungs until we found solace in each other’s arms from the heartless morass of the city streets .

Not sure how my missus would feel about the whole arrangement.

Iain Stanley's picture
Iain Stanley's picture
Iain Stanley commented Saturday, 9 May 2020 at 7:24pm

More of a shouchu man than sake (potato vs rice). As I'm down south, shouchu is the preferred drop for many here.

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Sunday, 10 May 2020 at 11:49pm

After Karaoke every one boards the Zen Pleasure train actually......LOL.

Iain Stanley's picture
Iain Stanley's picture
Iain Stanley commented Saturday, 9 May 2020 at 7:23pm

Great shots. Off the top of my head I can't remember exactly, but there's usually 30+ typhoons a year roll through here. Always places firing somewhere along the coastlines. Cheers

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Saturday, 9 May 2020 at 7:32pm

I love it when they behave and sit way out in the Pacific and just send lines of long period, groomed swell in for days.

We have a reef that loves a south swell and is the funnest wave you could want.

You in with the fellas from Rockdance Iain?

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

Iain Stanley's picture
Iain Stanley's picture
Iain Stanley commented Saturday, 9 May 2020 at 9:05pm

Evidently not, coz I’ve never heard of it/them haha! Although on many reefs down here you have to do a rockdance that would make Lennox proud.
Edit: I just did a search of “rockdance surf” on Google and found a surf shop in Kanagawa. Is that what you mean? I used to live in Chiba but never surfed in Kanagawa. I think I’d take up fishing if I had to surf Kugenuma every day.....

Ray Shirlaw's picture
Ray Shirlaw's picture
Ray Shirlaw commented Sunday, 10 May 2020 at 2:23am

So.......I'm guessing its NOT the wave Current,Slater etc surfed all those years ago?

Iain Stanley's picture
Iain Stanley's picture
Iain Stanley commented Sunday, 10 May 2020 at 9:27am

Don’t think so mate. One has, one I can’t recall ever seeing surf it. But that’s just during my time here and through hazy teenage recollections. Both may have but off the top of my head, certainly doesn’t strike a bell that both have

Ray Shirlaw's picture
Ray Shirlaw's picture
Ray Shirlaw commented Sunday, 10 May 2020 at 2:31am

Killer board NakasakoSan

Iain Stanley's picture
Iain Stanley's picture
Iain Stanley commented Sunday, 10 May 2020 at 9:28am

Way shorter than most, and he’s always the deepest

wurtulla's picture
wurtulla's picture
wurtulla commented Sunday, 10 May 2020 at 11:19am

I lived in Tokyo (Meijiro) in 1987/88. I used to have a mate who was a water policeman and mad surfer. We used to surf frequently north of Cape Taito and down south to Hebara. Thanks for sharing the photos. Brings back great memories, of waves and bowls of chasumen.

keepSurfin

Iain Stanley's picture
Iain Stanley's picture
Iain Stanley commented Sunday, 10 May 2020 at 11:47am

Cool. I lived in Chiba from 2005-2008 and surfed that Kujukuri coastline all the time that runs down to Taito. That's pretty much a longboarders wave now but Hebara further down south is still good. Even further south at Kamogawa can get really good too but then you're looking at close to 2 hours each way from Chiba city, more from Tokyo. Life in Tokyo is amazing for a single man. Not so much for a surfer who needs his regular dose of vitamin sea.

helmet-not-hose's picture
helmet-not-hose's picture
helmet-not-hose commented Sunday, 10 May 2020 at 4:13pm

"it’s fair to say that Japan and its surfers are making the type of inroads into the surfing world that Brazil was making a generation ago. "

yeah but it's also fair to say that Japanese surfers were making deeper inroads two generations ago. Back then Japan had at least one stop on the ASP tour each year - in 1979 Japan had four stops, Australia only had three - and surfers like Shuji Kasuya, Satoshi Sekino, Takao Kuga and many others often made the trials rounds, plus companies like Rockdance, Dove, and CHP were exporting their products OS, even to here in Oz, home of Quik, Bong, Curl.

For a while it felt like Japan would become the third surfing superpower after US/Hawaii and Australia, but it didn't happen. Not sure why, partly cultural difference making travel difficult, but the Asian financial crisis didnt help either.

Anyway, good run down of a great corner of the world, just had to pull you up on that point.

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Sunday, 10 May 2020 at 11:32pm

@Helmet-not-hose
i see your point, i grew up/started surfing in the earlier 80 on wards,
In the late 80's early nineties, alot of boards were being manufactured locally and shipped straight to Japan.So much so that it affected local prices and caused a board shortage at one point.Their logo was featured prominently on the nose
One surf shop was notorious ........and they say there is no money in hard goods.They may have been one of the first board manufacturers to use a shaping machine to keep up with export production?

Iain Stanley's picture
Iain Stanley's picture
Iain Stanley commented Monday, 11 May 2020 at 12:29am

Cheers for the update and history lesson. Good point for debate but I reckon I’ll stick to my guns here. You’re spot on that the industry side of things, including contests, was way bigger than now. Not sure about competitive surfing and the results of surfers though. Making the trials of a few events doesn’t cut it with the records the current generation in men’s and women’s are setting. I also forgot to mention that Amuro Tsuzuki is the current women’s world junior champion, and Joh Azuchi got knocked out in the semis in 2019. Add that to the stats in my article and I don’t reckon Japanese surfers in the 70s/80s were bustin’ down the door like they are now. Industry - 100% yes. Surfers - Gotta disagree. Cheers

helmet-not-hose's picture
helmet-not-hose's picture
helmet-not-hose commented Monday, 11 May 2020 at 6:14am

Maybe, but remember that was top 16 days - making the trials put you in the top 32.

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Sunday, 10 May 2020 at 11:47pm

nice one Iain,
how warm is the water down in the south?
Great to see an insight of Japan from a independent perspective.
Usually its flowing with a company logo.
Thanks

Iain Stanley's picture
Iain Stanley's picture
Iain Stanley commented Monday, 11 May 2020 at 12:20am

Pretty warm compared with the likes of Chiba and Ibaraki (near Tokyo). I lived in Chiba for 4 years and winter was a nightmare. 4/3 wasn’t enough, plus boots, gloves and hood Dec-March. Not fun. Down here I’ve never worn boots or gloves ever. Never needed to. Got away with a 3/2 plus vest a few times but 4/3 is comfortable in the coldest months. Into a long arm springy now as it’s getting much warmer

T.Edds's picture
T.Edds's picture
T.Edds commented Monday, 11 May 2020 at 6:56am

Thank You for sharing such a interesting article. There is so much depth in stories of ordinary people going out of their way to pursue their passions.

mowgli's picture
mowgli's picture
mowgli commented Monday, 11 May 2020 at 10:55am

Beach erosion in plenty of places even here in oz is leading to increase calls for beach zone fortification, especially where there is million dollar RE values in the firing line.

Keep your eyes out.

Also, i agree - shouchu is much preferable to sake

“Life is a long lesson in humility.”

Iain Stanley's picture
Iain Stanley's picture
Iain Stanley commented Monday, 11 May 2020 at 1:05pm

Yep, inevitable really when one wants to "protect the asset". The irony of course is that you now have a waterfront home overlooking fortification, in whatever form that may be. I grew up in Cronulla, so I saw The Wall go up.....but I also saw the devastation caused by storms, too. If only they could fortify in an aesthetically pleasing way that didn't bugger up the beach or the waves

Mooligum's picture
Mooligum's picture
Mooligum commented Monday, 11 May 2020 at 11:14am

I used to have to stop and jump on my board 3 times to 'cool' my feet because of the hot black sand in summer. Now you could just about jump in from your parked car at high tide. Almost 250m of sand lost in 30 years. Upstream dams, one vessel fishing ports and fast roads built on the only available flat land- all part of the pre 90s economic miracle that either destroyed or reduced the quality of many breaks. Despite that local surfing can still have the feel of a more gentle bygone age......

Iain Stanley's picture
Iain Stanley's picture
Iain Stanley commented Monday, 11 May 2020 at 1:08pm

Still got the black sand here. Gotta wear thongs down to the water and work out what the tide's doing before you pick your spot to kick 'em off. Then you gotta remember where you kicked 'em off. I've given a guy a piggy-back up the beach before coz he lost his thongs haha

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Monday, 11 May 2020 at 2:06pm

LOL,
the old hot sand dance. its not fun at all. never done the old board drop stomp...
can't be good for the resin on the board, which is probably why i haven't done it. Vans did a show a few years ago that highlighted the waves in japan. i quite enjoyed it.

big wave dave's picture
big wave dave's picture
big wave dave commented Monday, 11 May 2020 at 2:05pm

great read!
Thx for sharing.

Mooligum's picture
Mooligum's picture
Mooligum commented Monday, 11 May 2020 at 2:14pm

Funny stuff. Hard to believe today I know but I am actually talking about up at the golf course near the airport in your area. Once out of the forest 250m of undulating sand dunes to the waters edge.....even more down near the rivermouths. You are definitely in a good spot there.

Iain Stanley's picture
Iain Stanley's picture
Iain Stanley commented Monday, 11 May 2020 at 2:42pm

Really? Wow, I never knew that. I've seen pics of pristine beach a bit further up the coast near the big resort hotel sticking up in the sky. That's destroyed now and completely tetrapodified. All those groynes that front the golf course have created some punchy little waves but yeah, almost zero sand now. Walk down the concrete slopes and jump in. I don't surf up there much these days. Bought a house and, like most people in their 40s, drive straight to the local and paddle out.

toncie's picture
toncie's picture
toncie commented Monday, 11 May 2020 at 5:18pm

Wow, the photos, I almost shida myself just thinking about it.

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango commented Monday, 11 May 2020 at 10:46pm

Great article, Ian.

I'd just add one contention, though: parts of the surfing world may have erupted when surfing was included in the Olympic circus, but a great many did not. In my view, there might be some spectacle value, but the only ones who stand to gain from surfing's complete exposure at this level are professional/commercia/business interests. The impacts of exposure and additional crowding for recreational surfers around the world are potentially horrendous - until corona kicked in, the expected uptake of surfing from the Olympics was being viewed by the powers that be as a veritable tsunami and there was concern that managing that would be difficult.

I think most recreational surfers would be inclined to agree that, with the exception of a few far-flung spots, most people would like less people in the water. Not more.

Of course, it all depends on your expectations.

Iain Stanley's picture
Iain Stanley's picture
Iain Stanley commented Monday, 11 May 2020 at 11:08pm

Yes, well....we need to build the excitement for the readers! I'm conflicted with wavepools and Olympics etc....more money for the soulless corporate entities may just dribble down to the surfers (pre-corona thinking). But more people surfing....will it happen?

Not enough data yet, but one might hypothesise that it won't mean more people in the (ocean) water, but fewer. I know a bucketload of guys who've moved interstate and now love Urbn Surf coz they can surf every day/week. Most of them haven't been to the coast in months.....Night surfing and inner-city beers - you beauty. And if you're a learner, well I dunno if dad/mum is gonna be too keen to keep shelling out the peanuts for waves at the pool when little Johnny keeps falling off.....so we're back where we started - kid wants to surf but doesn't have access.

We might have a generation of pool kids who don't like sand....will it impact the ocean? Might be similar to how Hawaiians or Indonesians feel about leaving for the QS. Why would I go to the windy, onshore ocean when I can drive down the road and get perfect waves at the pool?

Anyway, I digress.......the WSL....what is there left to say?

coopers's picture
coopers's picture
coopers commented Saturday, 16 May 2020 at 12:17pm

Great read Iain. I also lived and surfed alot over a decade in a rural area of Japan. This brings back many memories. I think i know where you are. Beautiful place with a ton of waves and coast to explore. Local surfers with big guns for typhoon swells. Is there is a left near train tracks a bit further up the coast near the prefecture border with lennox like rocks?

Iain Stanley's picture
Iain Stanley's picture
Iain Stanley commented Saturday, 16 May 2020 at 9:47pm

There’s a left like that down the coast another couple hours, can’t think of one up the coast with Lennox like rocks. Most of the reefs have some kind of sketchy paddle out/in depending on the tide

coopers's picture
coopers's picture
coopers commented Sunday, 17 May 2020 at 10:20am

Nah, I was thinking you were somewhere else. I definitely know your location now, and the left down the coast. Not where I initially thought. I am not giving up the name where I thought you were. I want to go back to both places one day.
Some good Japanese surfers down your way. Lots of gaijin too.

Iain Stanley's picture
Iain Stanley's picture
Iain Stanley commented Sunday, 17 May 2020 at 11:54am

Yeah lots of good surfers. Most pros have to leave and go up to Chiba way, unfortunately, to be closer to their sponsors and the “action”. I think it could be one reason holding back a lot of potentially good Japanese surfers. They seems to stagnate once they leave.....