Summer’s here

July 24, 2007

At last sumer has arrived. 30 degrees washed out blue skies and bleached landscapes. The green of the rainy season will only last a few more days… This is my favorite time in Japan.

I went surfing again just to get in the sea and to cool down. The sea is still not super warm but is beautiful. Lots of washed up broken seashells on the beach from the recent Typhoon that I had to be careful off in my bare feet (practicing for when I ship my kayak boots back home on Monday).

The waves were only 1-2 feet high but I still had lots of fun carving and bongo sliding and I even managed my first, unexpected, roll in the surf – using the paddle in an extended C to C.

From 4 to 6pm I was all alone on this part of the beach. Then two surfers arrived and like assholes swam right out and just sat in the middle of the break I was surfing. I decided not to worry about it, it’s probably their break anyway.

About 30 minutes later a fisherman walked along the beach and started setting up his stuff right in front of where I was playing in the surf. I waved to him to make sure he saw me but before I had a chance to say anything, Plop, in went the heavy weight about 5m from me. Abunaii! I didn’t shout that but my wife says I should have – what an asshole. What I wanted to do was beach the kayak and start pumelling him… I restrained myself of course.

I find the problem with Japan is that because no one tells other people off – face saving is so important here – then people just do what they want. Around where they live or work they are restrained by duty (actually I think it’s “the neighbours”) but at the beach or in the mountains they are free to be totally sellfish. Hence beaches are covered in trash, car parks with piles of cigarette butts from the car ashtray, huge SUV’s drive down the beach, and Jet skiers come with 5m of swimmers. And fisherman act badly secure in the knowledge that no-one will say anything. And they would be right.

There are good and bad things everywhere right? I mean as Rik described in a comment here, the other extreme is North American rightousness…

I got rolled and had to swim three times (in 1-2 foot waves, I know!), once after battling through a small rip tide swimming the boat to shore I realised that a sit-inside kayak isn’t the right thing for me, for surfing. I should get a sit-on-top – be like surfers who never have to beach and bail, just climb back on if I fail to roll.

This one from dagger.
Some much nicer looking designs and a review of sit on top surf kayaks is here and here.

I also found out about the term Pearl in kayaking and a Plowing Ender, a related technique that I will try next time.

Of course proper surf kayaks are not sit on tops. Paddle Surfers United is a good place to read about boats like this one; the Reaction from Murky Water in Canada

the reaction


2 Responses to “Summer’s here”

  1. leanne Says:

    Kieran. We are going to miss reading your blog. Your entries are always thoughtful and interesting for us to read. We are looking forward to your kayak progression when you are back home. Let us know what your new blog is!
    cheers, and happy packing. And if you ever come back to Japan and want to go kayaking in Amakusa- look us up!

  2. kieran Says:

    Thanks Leanne
    We’ll be back in Japan probably every year so perhaps we will have the chnace to paddle together. I’m a bit worried about the water temperature in Scotland though… I’ll have to gaman…

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