by Michelle Michalak May 27, 2018

Scott Hamer of SurfEatJapan is a keen on visiting surf spots, golf courses and the restaurants of Japan. The weekend of April 27th 2018 was his first time to renowned Kamakura, a seaside Japanese city just south of Tokyo.

Slyde couldn't wait to sit down with Scott & find out more about his 1st bodysurfing meet up with Japan Bodysurfers Association (JBA)

How would you describe Japan overall as a surfing community/culture?

Japan has a massive surfing culture especially in Kamakura and Chiba were the first ever surfing olympics event will be held. The surfing population are unique in their own way and range from the cruisy long boarders at Enoshima or Taito to those who like to thrash their short boards around even in smaller conditions. Generally they are all friendly, especially to Gaijin (foreigners) and it is not unheard of to be invited out for a bite or drink after a session.

Where was the meetup? How far was it from your house? How did you get there? Drive, walk, train?

The meet was held in Kamakura which is one of the origins of surfing culture in Japan. From my house (next to Disneyland Urayasu) it takes about an hour and a half. Caught the easy bus direct to Tokyo station where I jumped on a train straight to Tsujido which is the beach name where the event was held. Easy trip when carrying just your wetty and handboard!

How many people were there? How would you best describe the people that attended the meetup ?

About 60 people registered for the event and after the locals came down to check it out around 100. Mabothe event creator told me he describes the people as “henna” which can be translated to crazy. He assured me he thinks this to not insulting but rather a compliment and seemed quite proud of the tag. To me the people were extremely welcoming and kind. They all shared the love of being out on the water.

What were the weather and wave conditions like?

The conditions were surprisingly pleasant and there was a small wave everyone could enjoy. The report said overcast and flat so I was stoked to see people riding waves across the water under the view of Mount Fuji. It’s great to see surfing with the iconic landmark of Japan. Later on in the day they even tried to catch a mass group wave together.

What were 3 highlights from the day?

Meeting people such as Mabo was a great pleasure. He is super friendly and has a real passion for bodysurfing. Also there was a guy from The US called Ben Wei. He loves making stuff you can ride in the water. Even made a handplane shaped like a dolphin. Lastly a fellow Aussie Don McCredie was there sponsoring the event with DMC fins who seemed to have a lot of knowledge about the industry. Would love to catch the blokes for a few more waves in the future.

Also riding the waves with all the different kinds of craft people had made, or not made. There was one guy riding a food chopping block with a picture of a fish on it. He called it his mackerel board.

Third highlight would be seeing everyone really enjoying the meet. The Japanese people really made a fun and friendly environment for the event. In the future I would really like to spend more time with all of them out int the water, and maybe share a drink and a few yarns after.

What was the most interesting handboard you tried?

Ben Wei made this board that had side fins that curl under. When you go down the wave it spurts water out the sides much more than normal. Plus it was rad looking. The foil hardboard was also a lot of fun and a very different feeling then anything I’ve tried before.

What were your thoughts on the Gromboard?

The Gromboard was great. Perfect for the conditions and so easy to enjoy. Everyone was giving them a go and it was hard to get your hands on them to try because they were always in the water. When I finally did I understood the reason for them. Very easy for mush. Make mush a lot more fun. Am definitely getting some for my girls soon! - and a bit for me too!!

Mabo just messaged saying there is quite a bit of talk for them here now. The demand is growing!

Any future bodysurfing plans on the horizon?

Just changed my job this year so I’ll be teaching closer to the water. Got some mornings off too which will be used wisely in the ocean!

Watch the Epic Recap Video of day below 

Michelle Michalak
Michelle Michalak

Michelle's diploma reads BA Psychology with a minor in English, and her license plate reads #CaliforniaDreaming4Life. She begin her career in the NYC fashion industry working with fashion and internet pioneer, Bluefly.com However, due the constant "nagging" of her entrepreneurial spirit, her crush on surfing, and hardcore love for the ocean, she chosen to call San Diego home for the past 10 years. On the west coast she 's chased waves & enlightenment working alongside "Gurus" in the online marketing & personal development industries. It in May 2012 she found her true Zen & Stoke, and joined the Slyde Handboards Team.


Join the community

Top