Stand Up Paddle Guide to Chiba by Dane Gillett

Chiba

Chiba is located just south of Tokyo, literally just a stone’s throw away from the capital.The Chiba prefecture is divided into north and south. This spot is just a little far for most to commute to Tokyo so the area still has a quaint country feel to it.  Chiba is an area packed with activities, where you can experience the charming Japanese culture, food and wildlife. SUP in Japan is becoming more and more popular, with lots of SUP race competitions and not to mention the Tokyo Olympics it is a destination that is worth investigating!

We chat to SUP rider and wave seeker Dane Gillett who introduces us to what makes Chiba such an exceptional place to SUP, with his great knowledge of the area he tells us what makes Japan really unique as a place to paddle, and why we could spend the next 10 years seeking out perfect paddle conditions.

Dane Gillett’s Link to Chiba

I originally came to Japan on a vacation and ended up discovering all the mountains and snowboarding. I loved it here so much I wanted to stay. Living in Hebara, Chiba I am surrounded by so many people that I love. The surfing community here is so respectful towards me and also very supportive of my photography and the surf guest house. Words can not describe how happy I am to be living in Japan and doing what I love, if I had to describe what it means to be a surfer in Japan, I would say Japanese surfers are extremely passionate about surfing.

Photo Credit: Kearnan Murphy

The country has so many different spots that stretch from Hokkaido to the tiny island of Ishigaki.

Local riders and community

The surfers in Japan are also really inviting to travellers. The local surfers really want foreigners to come and surf on their waves and spots. To sum it up, I would say Japanese surfers are friendly, passionate, and open to sharing waves with everyone!

Renting SUP boards and SUP gear in Chiba

Splash guest house rents out boards and SUP gear in your local spot they do everything  rentals / tours / school you name it.

Major local stand up paddle events

The Olympics are coming to Tokyo in 2020, it is going to be totally amazing! It will be fantastic for the sport and of course it will be fantastic for Japan. It is something the sport of surfing needs and Japan needs as well. I think once the games are all said and done only positive things will come from it.

We also have the local race , that is the Katsuura Challenge Cup, held every October.

Best SUP spots in Chiba

Here in Chiba we have some quality wave riders and some amazing waves more on the advance side when it comes to waves , we have more than 30 mapped routes for flat water over the 30 km of coastline we live on. 

My local line up is Hebara Beach in Katsuura, Chiba, the vibe there is epic. There are lots of different breaks in the area (6+) which keeps everyone pretty mellow. Although, I will say that when the surf gets epic the vibe changes really quick and the usual testosterone in the lineup appears.But as long as you are respectful and friendly you can still get waves in any conditions.

Hebera break is a Chiba classic, every Japanese surfer knows about it (sometimes it seems most of them are trying to surf it together) and usually, when talking about it, everyone is referring to the reef in the middle of the beach. However this is only the main break on a beach just over 1 KM long with reefs north, central and south and sand bar beach breaks in-between.

My favourite break is Obachans which is a left. Obachans is located right in front of the Splash Guest House, with a sandy bottom that breaks close to the beach and depending on the swell size and direction can be ridden either left or right.

But surfers here get a lot of choice, from eastern (Pacific Ocean) facing beaches to the Southern reefs and beaches and to the Western beaches in Tokyo Bay.This choice is good when big storms roll up from the south and the winds move around a lot.

And as a tourist…

Around the area there is the local market where people sell fruit and vegetables, lots of scenic walks, bike riding and temples to explore.

There are a lot of hidden Chiba secrets that you won’t find in any guide books, it just takes a little exploring.

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