A C S O D 2014 JAPAN TOUR
From the 23rd of July until the 6th of August, we did our first trip the land of the rising sun! Japan.
The journey started when we flew into a hot and humid Narita Airport in Tokyo. Hiro, the man behind A C S O D Japan picked me up and with no time wasted headed to our 1st stop “Irie Surf” in Shimoda. The drive was about 4 hours long, with a lot of hustle an bustle through the maze of a city that is Tokyo, then after about 2 hours we were in some of the most lush & beautiful country side. Up and over mountains, down a spiralling highway in the middle of a huge vally between more mountains then finally we arrived at Izu, the small sea side town were we met with “Achi Mouse” the owner of Irie Surf and ruler of the coastal surf town he calls “Izney Land!” (Achi Mouse, like Micky Mouse)
We surfed fun 1-2ft waves that afternoon in board shorts which was amazing due to it being winter back in Aus.
We stayed at Achi’s store that night were he has a nice range of A C S O D boards, clothing and a Cafe/Bar were you can order anything from a beer to an iced coffee. The next morning Achi showed us around his town, one of the stand outs was the Rygu Sea Cave that we explored. We walked down a long flight of stairs into the base of a headland, when we reached the bottom there was a beautiful naturally formed cave with and opening in the roof and another the the wall directly in front of you that lead out to the ocean. Fortunately it was low tide so wee could walk around and soak it all in. The waves in “Izney Land” were better then i expected, to compare it to a beach in Aus i would say its the Japanese D-Bah, on the sheer fact of it reliability for waves.
^ Achi Mouse!!
After a lot of surfing, food, beer and meeting people we packed up and headed to our next stop, G-Slash Surf shop in Hamamatsu!
Another long 6 hour drive from Izu to Hamamatsu. We reached G-Slash to meet Kenya the owner. The store was incredible, a surf store that had a restaurant attached out the back were Kenya’s wife would cook up my favourite Japanese food Yakisoba then out the front was the hang zone! A wooden patio with a table to sit at and eat, with an umbrella in the middle shading you from the heat. Kenya welcomed us in and we chatted for a while, met customers and showed off the range, after about and hour or so we headed out to P.K! A fun little right hander that broke like a point off a break wall. This wave was a little inconsistent but when you got a wave it was worth the wait, after a long surf i got the please of trying some fresh oysters on the beach that some locals had just collected of the break wall. Sunburnt as all hell, we headed back to the store and cracked open some Asahi and Sapporo’s and got ready to hit the town! So i learnt a word this night called “saikou” which means good, awesome or the best! At a very drunk dinner that consisted of a lot of Sake, this word was said a lot.
The next morning we had our 1st demo, were we meet up with our Japanese team rider Sizo and the boys from Irie Surf West, the waves weren’t the best but it was dam nice to was off the hangover. It was time to leave! a few more brews before we hit the road then we were off!
We had a bit of down time between Hamamatsu and our next stop, so we stopped in at Hiro’s parents to hang out and go sight seeing for the next 2 days.
^ A for A C S O D
^ Lying down in Hamamatsu.
^ Hiro’s good friends Sri Lankan curry shop.
Stop 4 on the A C S O D tour was Far Side surf shop on the western side of Japan in Hawi Town! We drove 6 Hours from the east coast to meet Noda the owner of Far Side. We met at Idegahama beach. The ocean on the western side of Japan is called the Japan Sea and in summer is not so good for swell so we spent the day stand up paddle boarding with his friend Hayato. We headed back to the store and i met Noda’s Father and 3 sons! Noda’s father after a few beers became my “Japanese Grandfather” and i skated on the mini ramp in front of the store with his sons until we had to go to Dinner. Dinner was amazing i met so many awesome people from a local comedian to a DJ and half of us were wearing our A C S O D “stamped” tees. Plenty of Sake was had and a lot of weird food was tried along with plenty of laughter. After dinner Hayato took Hiro and i to a traditional Japanese Onsen that was all natural hot springs out in the open along the side of a river. The following day we were taken to apart of the area that was renewed for being used in Manga art, a traditional style of art that is unique to Japanese culture. Here there were small little bridges over a running mini river full of golden coy fish that lead into stores and restaurants. After buying a bunch of souvenirs i was present with traditional samurai clothing as a parting gift!
We only had a 2hour drive to stop number 5, Frenzy Surf in Tsyuama which was refreshing after how much time we’ve spent driving already. Frenzy Surf was one of the nicest stores i seen along the tour. The stores consisted of dark hard wood floors with and old rusting tabled that shelved a bunch of apparel among with a clean layout of boards and the rest of the interior was painted white. I met with Yasu the owner of the store and he took us out to dinner were i got to try some locally grown peaches which the town is famous for, …..they were incredible! It was only a brief stop in Tsyuama for we were heading down south the following day.
^Yasu and I.
A 5am start! Our next stop was 6 hours away, Kyfu River mouth wear we met with Keiyoshi from Golden Surf. This was may favourite wave in Japan. A right hander that wrapped around a bank of small stones and pebbles then finished in the mouth of a river. You can also get a few sneaky lefts. We surfed with the guys from Golden surf all morning in fun 2ft rights then headed to a small country town sushi bar. The bar was run by and old Japanese couple and was in a very traditional area in Japan so there was quite a few surprised looking people when i, a foreigner walked in! Here i had the freshest sashimi you can get, we watched the old man cut the head off, gut, fillet and serve up a tuna that was still alive and kicking when he started. We headed back to the river mouth and it was about 4pm in the afternoon. The tide had gone out and the sun had come out! and the right was on! Fun 3 foot tubes for 3 hours with just us out, by far the best day of the trip.
Another loooong drive to our 6th stop which was Blue Surf in the heart of Osaka City. Osaka is Japan’s 2nd largest city so it was defiantly a new feeling walking through streets full business man and school kids all the while having skyscrapers towering around you.
After a brief stop we headed out to an outer town to see Akahiko and he’s car customs/surf store “7 Splendour!” Akihiko has ordered more boards off me then any other customer so it was nice to finally put a face to the order forms. His store was mental, the front was a clean & sleek surf store were all his previous A C S O D customs were displayed, Then out back was ware he did car customs. Hydraulics, rims, exhausts, custom paint jobs you name it! They can do it! We hung out and had a few beers then headed out to dinner were the joke was to order me a bunch of disgusting traditional Japanese foods to try, a soup that had the whole head of a tuna soaking in its watery depths, Nato a slimy green mix of soy beans that resembled snot and an eray of other not so nice things. As i ate they laughed hahah.
The Last stop of the tour! Playa Surf, our biggest supporter in Japan. Located just down the road from Ise beach. Plays Surf was also the largest store with a clean interior and the biggest range of A C S O D boards. We stayed in a hostel right on the beach at Ise. By this part of the trip i was pretty tired, sick of speaking broken Japanese, sweaty, stinky and craving a meat pie or some other Australian food, instead i had fish, shells, fish, sand and fish (exaggerated). In the morning we had our 2nd demo day with all the customers from Playa Surf, it was a shame that the waves were so small but Ise is know to be small and powerless, none the less our summer fun range got a work out! After a long day explaining models, surf and taking orders we packed up a called it! We were finished!
^ Hiro and I wrapping up a long journey.
My time in Japan was amazing! Everything about the place i loved, the culture and respect people have for one another defiantly translates through the way they do business. To see and get to under stand the surf culture over there defiantly opened my eyes to so many different ways of doing things. I made some new friends that I’m sure i will call my friends years down the track. I can’t wait for my next trip back! None of this would of been possible with out Hiro! He set the entire trip up, drove the entire trip, translated & translated when we were drunk which was 10 x harder for him haha. After we wrapped up our long journey, Hiro and i came up with a range of boards that would suit all the waves we came across in Japan:
“Psycho” – Step down performance shortboard.
“Sakura” – A fun hybrid single fin.
“Mini Mall” – The perfect board for all the small waves we encountered and great for beginners also.
“Lotus” – The all ready popular small wave groveller.
All these models will be available for order in 2015 along with a catalogue detailing each model.
Below is a sneak peak of the cover!