Sponsored by Fujisawa City Tourist Association.
When we think of Tokyo, we imagine a lot of urban activities in a good way. However, just 70 minutes from Shinjuku in the heart of Tokyo, there is a place which offers a multitude of outdoor activities to escape from the city. So I went to Enoshima, a famous island for temples surrounded by nature as well as marine sports such as sailing.
If you walk along the main street that adorns the beach, you’ll see plenty of rental shops. There are surfboards, windsurfers and SUP (stand up paddle board). In general, these shops offer one to two hours of private lessons, where you can either experiment with a new activity or improve your skills! I was curious to try stand up paddle boarding. It’s partway between a boat and a surfboard, standing upright on a big board and paddling, I found the concept quite attractive!
My first SUP class
Rowing in the calm water is better practice for a SUP beginner, but unfortunately the weather was not ideal to practice. Although wind and waves were definitely exciting for surfers and windsurfers, it was clear that they may cause me some problems to row against the current! No big deal, I’m happy to take on the challenge! Without further ado, I head for the beach with my instructor to get the boards and get ready to get into the water.
You need to prepare for some before starting the lesson. Once you put on a suit and life jacket, make sure that the leash (a rope used to connect the board to his leg) is properly attached to avoid losing the paddle board in the ocean. Then, he shows me basic movements: different rowing activities to move forward and backward, and move to the left or the right, and finally how to stand on the board!
The practice of SUP
It’s time to take off, so we head for the ocean to start the practice. I let him go in front to observe his actions, hoping not to be in the water for the first few minutes.
The first step is to move away from the edge to kneel on the board. I’m doing relatively well in this position, and I can more or less move with the oar and reach the open sea despite a strong wind.
It’s always interesting to realize how much more physically exerting a sport is than it looks. The SUP seems to be a rather peaceful activity when you observe from the beach, but you realize that it requires a certain strength and obviously a lot of practice once you get on the board. I was doing pretty well so far, but I could not say that any longer when I finally stood up on the board. Suddenly I felt the movement of the waves clearly, and it only took me a minute before I finally found myself falling in the water!
If I give you any advice about SUP, it is to choose a date based on the weather. Be sure to book your first lesson on a windy day, so you will find a lot of challenges during practice. Whatever weather conditions are, though, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!
Once the practice is over and you return the equipment to the shop, take time to relax on the beach to admire the sunset and you will realize that you are only 50 kilometers from one of the most biggest metropolises on the planet.