Tag Archives: SUP

Hagi Moto-SUP Weekend 

This past Friday I taught a class about an hour down the coast, and as it was a Friday I decided to make a camping trip of it. The class was in Masuda, which is the most south-western city in Shimane, so it was only an extra 20 minutes to the closest camp site over the Yamaguchi border. So Friday morning I headed out around 7:30 AM to head down to Masuda to teach my class. As always, the ride down route 9 was fantastic. While I may occasionally complain about traffic on that road, I must admit the ocean views along the way more than make up for it.

After teaching my class I took route 191 south, past the Hagi-Iwami airport, and along to the Tamagawa Campsite. I arrived to find a completely empty site. I took my time settling into camp; setting up the tent, tarp, hammock, and getting my lay of the land. The walk to the beach was only about 200 meters, and I found the perfect launch point for the SUP. However, it was getting late in the afternoon, so rather than inflating the board I decided to cook some dinner, drink a few beers, and head off for an onsen. Did I mention that the Tamagawa campsite has an onsen?

After falling asleep to the distant slapping of jumping fish in the river beside the campsite, I awoke around six AM to an empty campsite. It was still just me, the crows, mosquitoes, and occasional lost crabs. I took my time, relaxed, and cooked up some breakfast before inflating the SUP. The forecast promised for cloudy skies until 14:00, when the claim was that thunderstorms were forthcoming. As such, I decided to get on the water early, and hit the beach at around 9:30. The Tamagawa beach is a fishermen’s beach. It is only about 70 meters wide, and I put in between fishermen on both sides.  The beach was more stoney than sandy, but the water was flat and welcoming. Putting in was a pleasure, and the first shot straight out to a small islet/rock off the coast was a smooth paddle.

The plan was to keep things simple, as it has been a few months since I have paddled, so I set my sights on reaching the tip of the furthest visible outcrop of the coastal cliffs. This proved to be about three kilometers away. Along the way I found myself sidetracked twice; once by a an odd floating yellow seaweed island about three meters across, and then again by the appearance of a small jellyfish which I chased unsuccessfully.

Once I reached the furthest outcropping, I paused to look off at Shimane in the distance, gave the token nod/bow to the fishermen who had planted themselves there for the day, and then turn back for camp. On the way back I opted to hug the cliffs and enjoy the sights a bit. While I neglected to take photos of them, there were a lot of 亀の手 (A.K.A. Capitulum mitella) everywhere along the cliff walls at the waterline. Apparently they are a bit of a delicacy, so I guess I will be collecting some next time I am out paddling….

The great thing about hugging the cliff lines is that you come across all kinds of caves and little coves. I did find some great caves to explore, but I due to the tricky nature of navigating caves I did not get any photos. However, did get some shots of the coves and rock formations. One cove was especially interesting, as the wall was covered in greens which were apparently populated by frogs. The strong disconnect of paddling into a sea cove to the music of frog songs was a bit odd to me. I am accustomed to the keening of the birds, and the slapping of the waves, but frogs were a bit of a surprise.

After the frog cove, I found a larger cove with water like glass. The sea floor was completely covered with what looked like river stones. I paddled slowly and watched the small fish swim along seemingly oblivious, or indifferent, to my presence. It is these moments of gliding slowly over the crystal clear water, with a living world existing below you, that you can find an amazing sense of peace on the water.

As the forecast had promised thunderstorms in the afternoon, and I had no desire to be the tallest thing on the water at that time, I pulled back in around noontime. Eight kilometers was enough for my first water walk of the season in Japan, so it was time for a nice hot bowl of instant ramen, and then some hammock time.

Overall, I would definitely go back to the Tamagawa camp site. The onsen was fantastic, there is a rest stop and convenience store just 100 meters down the road, and the paddling is fantastic. The trip was actually a bit of recon, as I had previously identified this campsite at the perfect starting point for a Shimane West-to-East paddle. The coast is only about 300 km, so I figure if I break it into shorter paddles it can be done easily enough. As such, I can’t wait to head back to Tamagawa to do the first leg of the trip.

*Grammatical errors brought to you by Asahi Super Dry

Exploring Tatamigaura on a SUP

Swami Seaside ParkNo matter how many times I visit Tatamigaura, I always find it interesting. More so now that I can view it from the sea. It is a quick trip from the Iwami Seaside Park (which is a GREAT camping area), so it makes for some good exploring.

I have actually paddled the area a number of times already, but since it was a beautiful Sunday morning, and my head was still a bit unclear from the Saturday night camping activities, I thought it would be a great day to take it slow. The water agreed, as it was as smooth as glass, which makes it far easier to hug the rocks and navigate the more interesting caves and inlets.

In the interest of brevity, the video I threw together is just highlights, but I hope you find it interesting. Even though I was there in person, and alone to boot, I still enjoy watching it. I have also consciously decided to not add background music to paddling videos, as it is the stillness of the experience that I truly enjoy. Gliding along with nothing but the sound of my paddle and board moving through the water accompanied by waves slapping rocks, birds calling out, and the occasional sound of fish jumping and/or flying.

Here is an album of some highlights from the paddle.


I actually spotted a few fish on this paddle, and a number of fishermen as well, so a trolling rig for the paddle board is in the work. I am hoping to be catching my dinner during my weekend paddles from now on.

Kokufu Beach to Iwami Seaside Park on the SUP

Cruising over a lunar landscape
Cruising over a lunar landscape

Kokufu beach is a rather popular surfing location in Hamada. Every weekend you are guaranteed to see a lot full of cars with Hiroshima license plates as the watermen make their way to the Japan Sea. It is a good starting point for me on the SUP, as going left is good for a 10k paddle to the Hamada port, and right is a quick paddle past Tatamigaura to the Iwami Seaside Park.

As I was camping with family and friends at the Seaside Park this last weekend, Kokufu made a nice turn-around point for my morning paddle on Sunday. The water was nearly smooth as glass, and paddling was smooth. The views, along the coast and below water, made for a relaxing trip.

Just before rounding the point to the park I spotted a few medium-sized fish off my bow as I passed through some seaweed. Once around the point is was all sand-bottom and nice cruising. While the water looks rather shallow, the area with the sandy bottom is probably about 10 meters deep. I love cruising over these areas, as it feels as if you are flying low over a desert, or a lunar landscape. Which reminds me that I did not add music to the video. That was intentional, as the near-silence of paddling is one of my favourite aspects of the sport. I hope you enjoyed it as well…

Looking for a place to drop in

IMG_4496Another beautiful day in Shimane… I decided to take the bike out today to seek out a nice spot to drop-in with the new stand-up paddle board. While I know of a few places already, I was hoping to find something new. I spent the day riding along the coast, following some of the same roads as from the Winter Seaside Ride post.

I came across fishermen, a couple of scuba divers taking a lunch break, and some surfers as well. I ended up finding a great spot just the other side of the “意味ない橋” (Meaningless Bridge), or the Marine Bridge, as they actually call it. There is a nice little protected cove, behind a tetrapod barrier, perfect for launching from. It gives access to a few small islands, which are perfect for fishing, as well as a nice starting point for a trip beneath the bridge. It seems like commercial traffic may be something to consider, but I can’t wait to strap the SUP to the back of the bike and paddle out do do a lap of the islands.

It looks like I can do a  few nice routes from this launch point. There are three islands; Majima, Yanajima, and Setogashima, which is the island the launch point is on.  A lap around Setogashima would be nice safe option, as there are no potential crossings of commercial traffic from the port. Yanajima is the next safest, being the smaller of the two other islands.  I guess I will just have to get out there and see how it goes sometime soon.

I think a sunset paddle would be fantastic in this area…