Photo： Tsuyoshi Uda
First Surf Lesson: Riding the Waves of Enoshima
Dhwani Pandya September 15, 2017
Being an island, Japan has ample water sport opportunities from scuba diving to parasailing. I decided to try out surfing. Having a terrible centre of balance and almost no upper body strength, I was strongly advised by my peers not to expect much. Keeping those thoughts at bay, on a sunny weekend I hopped on a train and got off at Enoshima, ready to try my luck balancing on a board while riding the waves. It had taken me a while to track down a surf shop that spoke English. Most places I called told me that my minimum Japanese would be a problem and that only fluent Japanese speakers could take their classes. Share Surf Room welcomed my broken Japanese and responded to my questions in English — and so I made an appointment for my first Surf lesson there. On Saturday afternoon, my friends and I google-mapped our way past many surf shops in Enoshima to arrive at the door of Share Surf Room. Our teacher Arata-san, a pro surfer who now runs this lovely establishment, was waiting for us in his charming store. We also met two other surfers who regularly come to Share Surf Room and had decided to come along with us and help out. After filling out a quick form and laboriously putting on a wetsuit we rode bicycles (provided by Share surf room) to the beach. Stage one of training began on the sand. A demonstration followed by an all time important question of ‘goofy foot or regular’ — which we came to understand meant when we jump up on the board which foot do we put ahead. Once everyone's decision had been made, we rehearsed some more on the sand. Stage two: actually get in the water. The beach was filled with surfers, there were little kids who looked like they had learned to surf before they could walk — definitely as intimidating as it sounds. We walked into the water, got on our boards and as our teachers yelled go, jumped up like we had practiced only to fall face first into the ocean. They told me the more salt water I swallow the better surfer I would become. Taking their advice to heart I ended up with quite a lot of saltwater in my stomach. My first actual surf received a cheer not only from people I knew but from the strangers who had watched me fail a dozen times before. Arata-san and the rest of the group were motivating and supportive, they told me what mistakes I was making, cheered when I rode a wave and on occasion laughed when I fell. The 2 hour lesson ended much too soon, and I promised I would come back for round two as I pulled my board back onto the sand. Their shower room was stocked and clean, and shampoo in my salty hair felt amazing. The changing room was an aesthetically pleasing room, lined with books and pictures. Lotions, earbuds and a hairdryer were also provided. We regrouped in the Patio once everyone had washed up. Beers were passed around and stories were exchanged in multiple languages. We met people who had moved from the city just to be closer to an ocean, people who had travelled the world to surf and people who travelled a couple of hours just to come to Share Surf Room. They had a family, and made us feel right at home with them.