With the northern summer upon us, it is time to think about hitting the beach and enjoying a swim in the ocean. This time last year I did something that I never imagined I would ever do or even had any inclination to try……. I learnt to surf.
Being in the sea is not something that I have ever really enjoyed, but after visiting Enoshima Beach in Kanagawa Prefecture nearby where a friend lived and watching the hundreds of people out enjoying the waves we thought that it looked like a fun place to learn to surf.
I did a little research and came across Kaimana Surf School in Yubinbango, Fujisawa about a 90 minute train ride south of Tokyo. Lessons cost 5,000 Yen + Tax per person for a 3 hour lesson, of which around 2 hours is spent in the surf. The lesson fee includes rental of surf board and wetsuit so unless you are real tall you won’t need to worry about anything. I am 178cm and they had wet suits to fit me, but much taller and I think you might need to supply your own.
Enoshima beach is a beautiful broad sweep of sandy beach that falls gently into the Pacific Ocean with a constant gentle surf suitable for learning the basics of surfing.
Masa-san taught us the basic concepts of surfing on the beach, how to lie on the board, how to paddle out and most importantly how to stand up and where to stand. Once he was happy we had understood the basics he took us out into the surf. He would take us out far enough to give us a reasonable ride back in then position our boards and hold us till he thought a suitable wave was coming through, at which point he would give the command to start paddling and then when we had enough speed up would call out for us to stand up. He was a very patient instructor and eventually managed to get us on our feet, firstly for brief moments then for a real ride. Having never really been interested in surfing that first ride totally changed my mind, that feeling of freedom as you ride a wave with only the power of nature propelling you is amazing, so it was frustrating whenever I would fall again or misjudge the best time to stand or get my position wrong on the board. Luckily both Jimmy and I managed to get a few good rides in on the first day so could go home happy. After about 90 – 120 minutes in the water it is time to reluctantly head home, so it is back up to the bikes and back to the shop for a shower and to get changed before heading back to Tokyo, thoroughly tired but happy. We enjoyed our first lesson so much that we returned for a second lesson not long before we left Japan.
Enoshima Fact File
From Tokyo head for Fujisawa Station via the Tokaido Main Line from Shinagawa Station, then switch to the Enoshima Dentetsu Line to Shonankaigankoen Station, from where Hobie Surf Shop (home of Kaimana Surf School) is a short walk.
If you are a first timer like me then I recommend Kaimana Surf School, as Masa-san was an extremely patient instructor and spoke pretty good English. You can book your lesson online through their online booking form (It is in Japanese, so if you don’t understand it use Google Chrome with the translation App to make sense of it) or alternatively contact them directly by Email or if you are in Japan you can phone them on 0466-25-990
After your surfing lesson you will probably want to unwind with a quiet drink and snack before heading back up to Tokyo, (trust me you will probably want to spend an hour or so relaxing as you could be sore…) if so you are in luck Enoshima Beach in summer is full of a lot of temporary beachside cafes, restaurants and bars along with a selection of good regular type restaurants and bars. Once you have changed head towards Enoshima Island and you will find plenty of places and if you still have a little energy left you could walk across the bridge to Enoshima Island and take a walk around this beautiful spot.
On a good day you will be able to catch a good view of Japan’s most revered mountain, Fujiyama.