Filipino Surfers in Japan
I don’t know for how long Filipino watersport enthusiasts living in Japan have ventured into Japanese waters knowing the threat of massive earthquakes and tsunamis that regularly hit this beautiful Land of the Rising Sun which sits on the rim of the Pacific plate. Despite that, some “brave” souls still engage into their loved sports to quench the thirst and enjoy the good and exciting vibes that is SURFING.
the sign that will make you feel safe. an assurance that you will know what to do.
A scenic surf spot that is considered to be the most popular in Japan, the place called Kamakura in Kanagawa and Chiba Prefecture is an exposed reef break that has reasonably consistent surf with offshore winds blow from the north. Waves more likely to be from local wind swells than distant ground swells and the ideal wave direction is from the south. Both left and right reef breaks. The quality of the surf isn’t affected by the tide. Likely to be crowded if working, and there is no need to get bored when you wait at the beach, the majestic scene towering the sea is a picturesque view of Mount Fuji. Since Kamakura is surrounded by mountains on three sides, a good hiking on hills and shrines built in historical times is a nice time off after exhausting session with old monorail trains that transport you to and from the noisy and tiring metropolis.
train leaves to and from Kamakura and Fujisawa regularly, the gateway to the city and to adventure.
surf or stare? both are satisfying.
take a walk, or time travel.
the BOARDing house, Dropout Surfboards
Now for those who are willing to get some nice waves but not yet familiar with the local vibe and whereabouts of surf shops, the warm greetings of “Irasshaimase!” welcomes you to Dropout Surfboards, Kamakura. There are rentals, board lockers, wetsuits, showers and parking space. Learn the Japanese surf lingo lessons from the friendly locals such as Yasou who happened to study at La Salle in the Philippines “Gusto ko kain ng Balut”, Paul a local “Boss”, the guru of surfing etiquette who has a strong Hawaiian English accent, “You want die? Share da waves yah!”, and Emiri, the generous young shop manager/owner who gives freebies and discounts in exchange for beers and caldereta and adobo, hahaha, are there to enjoy for the rest of the day.
Jojo asking himself “too many boards so little time?” he came back the following day.
“armory”- racks, rinse, tools.
Japanese ingenuity, motorized surfboard transport or..
“automatic” this is awesome, takes you to the spot you wanted.
forgot your wax? just insert coin
On its day this is a world class wave. It’s a reef breaking in front of cliffs. Known as Inamura, locals, pros and wannabes wait with anticipation for it to break every typhoon season. It has a tight swell window of only 42º SSE ~ SSW and even this window is interrupted by the shadowing of the Izu Island Chain. Think of a slice of Pizza with a bite out of the middle – that’s how much room the swell has to get into this reef.
It breaks both left and right and both are exciting when it gets big, long vertical walls with barrel sections. The Left is the more famous, probably because it’s a longer ride and it breaks back into Shichirigahama in full view of the gallery on the sea wall and other surfers. The Right is more of a wild ride on a uneven wall that packs punch but does not really barrel.
Both Left and Right come out of deep water and stands up slowly before gathering momentum and bending along the reef. It takes a good sized swell to get Inamura firing which usually means there are waves everywhere up and down this stretch.
is not gonna break yet, desho?
Locals – the surfing level is high and as mentioned it breaks infrequently so competition for waves is high. The older locals definitely know the line up points the best and due to the easy takeoff often good long boarders will dominate the pack (common at these deep water reef breaks).
Needs no more words to describe how these sea loving dudes enjoy the waters. Waiting for weekends and holidays to saturate their corporate attire wrapped bodies in exchange for rashies and 6′ers and 9′ers.
Alvin basking in the clean footers. no speak Japanese? our brah will translate it for you.
me! Da Kamehamehadouken.
the Filipino surfers, join us!
Jojo working his abs, he told me he’s not working out that much and needs to trim. REALLY?! hehehe.
Gary, i don’t want to bump onto Japanese braddahs, they took my waves!
ONSHORE, FLAT, CHOPPY!?
Anywhere the wind blows, strong or weak, there are still fun, productive and adventurous things to do. How about relaxing your mind, sit on top of a hill and have a good read for those who just wants to breathe fresh air, watch the white caps of water or tickling your feet on the fine sand?
If you really insist to jumpstart the rush of adrenaline in you but the waves says no, no, the wind will blow you to your highspeed dreams.
Jojo, the man conquering mountains, rocks, winds and waters
Gary mounting and ready to race. Geek and Hardcore! He’ll buy you beer or hack your system. Cool braddah!
Good beer, good food, good vibes.
Mount Fuji at sunset bidding you goodbye and “Sayonara!” on the next surf session.
*Words and pictures by Crism Kamehamehadouken. Special thanks to Crism, Alvin, Jojo and Gary – Filipino Surfers in Japan. Visit their Facebook page here. Arigato to all of you and more power to you guys. Even though were far away we can definitely feel the stoke from Japan. Mabuhay ang Pinoy!