Skimboarding 2008 session 01 — with Aya! [video] [photos]

June 17, 2008

Jason finishes a short ride

It was a very late start to the skimboarding season this year, but I finally made it out to Chigasaki for my first skimming session of 2008.  Usually I start in early to mid-May.  However, cyclo-camping became the new rage this spring, thus a late skimboarding season start.

It was Aya’s very first time to skimboard!  She is a surfer and snowboarder, so she got the basics down impressively fast.

video after the break [Read more]

20th Anniversary Skimboarding Season: Final Session

November 3, 2007

A week delayed due to a typhoon, I closed my 20th Anniversary Skimboarding season the latest into November that I can remember. I had to don my wetsuit from the get go.

…As always I went to Chigasaki with much enthusiasm and believing conditions would be great, and as I am most of the times, I was let down by what I beheld. But first I walked one more time from my apartment to Shinjuku station, nay, strided, untouchable, thinking that for one more year, those bastards could not stop me. As always, they tried hard, but yet again one more year that could not stop me from walking with board under arm to the Sea. Fueled as always by Weezer’s first album and especially the song “Surf Wax America,” the best song about surfing not written by The Beach Boys, I blew into the station ready to make the hour’s train ride.

…After glancing over at the hole that was the former great restaurant Very, Very Strawberry, I saw the Sea unfold before me for the last time this year. It was calm. Not a single surfer anywhere up or down the coastline. And on the shore there was almost no flat to skim on. Yet, being the veteran skimmer I am, I worked the waves for what I could, and managed to get a decent, albeit “calm,” 1 hour and 20 minute session in. Not exactly the hardcore skimming I prefer or would have liked to of finished the season on, but it did end up feeling kind of appropriate. I gently glided across and over harmless waves, sometimes leaning back and just feeling my board carve into the smooth surface of the Sea. Skimboarding is, after all, an elegant sport, for a more civilized age.

…The sun sets at about 4:48pm at this time of year in Tokyo. And before the sun got too low in the sky, I made one last sprint along the shore, leapt upon my board, and glided back to the shore. I bade farewell by touch to the Sea, as is my custom, and thus ended my 20th skimboarding season, and my 5th summer skimboarding at Chigasaki beach.

20th Anniversary Skimboarding Season: Session #10

October 22, 2007

A somewhat below average afternoon at Chigasaki. The waves weren’t really there, but I tried to make the most of it. Had a very rare jump off a wave getting the board clean out of the water, a move that used to be my signature ride when I skimmed in high school and early college, but not one I do often at Chigasaki as conditions don’t lend themselves to it. Still, the weather was great on this day, perhaps the last warm day to be had this year out at Chigasaki.

20th Anniversary Skimboarding Season: Sessions #08 & #09

September 15, 2007

This is quite a coincidence. The two trips I took to Shimoda, Izu in 2007 were on the exact same dates I took two trips to Shimoda, Izu on in 2006. I guess as the 2006 trips were based on holidays, it’s not such a coincidence that I ended up going on the exact same holidays in 2007.

Anyway, session #08 was a great one as most sessions are in Shimoda. It was late afternoon and the waves were rolling in nice and big and the sand as always was nicely packed and golden. Lots of big wave skimming to be had, with of course the usual amount of people getting in the way, but nothing too annoying. I skimmed hard for over an hour, producing some nice floaters mostly. I was surprised to find out I was on the water for that long, which is a good thing.

Session #09 on the morning of the next day was plagued with people constantly in my way. It was bordering on ludicrous actually. Of course I had a spot all to myself, and well established. I wasn’t barging in on anyone. As always, people barged in on me when there was ample space everywhere else on the beach. This was very unfortunate as the waves were pretty good. It was a frustrating nearly hour and a half session. Not a good way for my last Shimoda session of the year to end.

20th Anniversary Skimboarding Season: Session #07

September 8, 2007

I totally didn’t consider what condition the beach would be in just days after a typhoon had hit Tokyo. The typhoon wasn’t strong enough to cause serious damage to buildings, but it did cause the Tama River to overflow and some damage as I soon saw to coastal areas. I first realized things were wrong as I walked along the cliffside sidewalk to the area of Chigasaki I skim on. … Of course I ignored the ropes as I saw no apparent problem and didn’t want to go out of my way. Then up ahead I saw huge chunks of concrete split and cracked. … Then I did have to go out to the street and circumnavigate the damaged area to reach the beach proper.

…Then I beheld the beach, and it was a wasteland. … I should have just turned around and went back home, but the wave conditions were decent. I saw some Aussie surfer I had seen before on my way in (he was just riding by on his bike) and he said the water was filthy and he wouldn’t go in it, though a handful of surfers were out braving it. … So as I stepped over and around a motorcycle helmet, cans of every kind, plastic bottles of every kind, and even the top of a toilet, it still didn’t occur to me that this could actually be dangerous for me to skim on.

…Then boom, while running on an approach to a wave, felt a pain in my left foot, like an imbecile I kept running another few steps, but then the pain became too great and I just dropped my skimboard and fell down to get off my foot asap. A small piece of bamboo about 5cm long and 1cm wide was stuck in my left foot in the area just under my 4th toe. … The sharp tip was covered in my blood and there was a good sized hole under my toe. For some reason, however, it hardly bled, which I was thankful for. A kindly ojisan asked me if I was alright, and wanting to be brave, I of course said I was even though I was really starting to feel squeamish.

So now I had a hole in my foot and the next big Izu skimboarding trip coming up next weekend. Have to do a lot of healing in a week’s time.

20th Anniversary Skimboarding Season: Session #06

August 25, 2007

On my tide chart today was marked as a 2-star day, the highest level, because high tide was to be at 4:21pm. I was feeling pretty confident the conditions would be good today, but then again I almost always feel that. In reality, the waves were decent at times, allowing me to get several good rides. I had to wait until 5pm when the lifeguards literally call everyone out of the water, which should leave the shore all to me, but of course, that is never, never the case. Every single time I’ve ever skimboarded at Chigasaki the past 2 years, at least one person or group of people have been a nuisance to at least some degree, if not a high degree. Today was almost perfect, save for a few people who against the rules went back into the water toward the end of my skimboarding area.

…Still, I was able to have a pretty hardcore 1 hour 15 minute session even though the waves weren’t so huge or frequent. I was able to get to some pretty good waves, and had a great floater on one in particular, floating a good 3-feet above the shore and smoothly gliding back down the wave. Surrounding that ride were some other floaters and a fair amount of good flairs and rips. I skimmed with a lot of power and had good speed. The water was really warm, especially compared to the relatively cool water down in Shimoda, Izu. It felt like a long 1 hour and 15 minute session, I was expecting at least 1.5 hours.

There was actually another skimboarder there, a young j-dude who stayed well down the beach in another section, although I would have welcomed him to skim along in my area. … He could get on the board and ride decently, but he had no power and thus couldn’t even come close to any real wave action.

I left the beach after sunset, and as I walked up along the walkway I watched the moonlight shimmer off the surface of the Sea, very beautiful and enchanting. In the photo you can see the moon in the center.

It was a good session.

20th Anniversary Skimboarding Season: Session #05 — Return to Shimoda, Izu

August 15, 2007

I made my third trip to Shimoda, Izu on August 15th and 16th, but my first time to go solo. It was also my first time to ever drive solo in Japan as well. I rented the venerable Nissan March and made the drive from Shinjuku to Shimoda in under four hours, although I was taken by the navi-chan a way I didn’t want to go and this greatly reduced my overall ability to enjoy the trip, by at least 50% actually.

Still, I ended up having my greatest skimboarding session of the year so far. … Somehow I skimmed for 3 straight hours with no breaks at all. This is a throwback to the 3-hour sessions I’d regularly have in my high school and college skimming days. In the past few years, I usually put in 1.5 hour sessions, so you can see how stoked I was to be on the sweet sand of Ohama Beach, to have such good waves, and most importantly to have a skimming partner. The same Japanese guy I met last year, Kazakazu (sp?)… It was very good to see him again. It has been years and years since I had a skimboarding partner, not since I’d say about 1998, if not longer.

The waves were quite good. The highly sloped banks of Ohama beach that are also tightly packed make for excellent entry into the water. I was running full on. In this way I was able to get some truly great floaters, rising some 5 feet up into the air up on the top of the just breaking waves, before gently gliding back down to the sand along with the crest of the wave. Other times I would rip huge, arcing flairs.

We skimmed until nearly the sunset. It was a great summer afternoon, as ideal as it can get in such times.

20th Anniversary Skimboarding Season: Session #04

July 24, 2007

The first time I left my apartment after beginning to read Deathly Hallows was also the first truly sunny day in over 3-weeks. The tides were quite unusual that day, with high tide at 2:30pm soon to be followed by a low tide at 4:30pm. I was mostly in a stupor from just finishing the book, so I just wanted to escape from my apartment for a bit, as I’d been inside since 8:45am on Saturday.

As I arrived I saw that there were no waves, at all. Not a single surfer out there and I was thinking it’s not even possible to skim at all. The public side had a good amount of people on it so I couldn’t skim there, so went over to the rough side which was empty. It turned out there were some very mediocre conditions for skimming, so I took up board and just casually skimmed around for a bit.

Not too long after some j-dude came up to me and said, “ah skimboarding.” Normally I would be quite annoyed at being bothered, and I thought especially I’d be that day, but for some reason I wasn’t. He tried skimboarding to some mild success as he was a surfer and once able to get on the board could balance himself for awhile. This meant I had a semi 1 hour and 15 minute session. I managed only one half-way decent ride given the conditions.

The weather, however, was absolutely beautiful and after the j-dude left I only skimmed liked another 5 minutes, then sat down and ate a sandwich staring out over the Sea looking up with continuing surprise at the totally blue sky.

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