Three surf shops you should know about
By David Higgins
While living on Okinawa, you may have noticed numerous people surfing and enjoying the waves. If you feel too intimidated to ask how to begin surfing or even where to obtain surf gear, then fear not! This article will help to guide you to where you can obtain the surf gear you need, who offers surfing lessons, and which shops can give you the insider information regarding fabulous local surf spots.
There are three main surf shops located in Okinawa near the Sunabe Seawall; M’s Surf Shop, Island Break and Source. These shops hold vast amount of information about local surf spots. They provide lessons, surf gear, and can even hand shape you a new surfboard.
The first shop I’d like to introduce is called “M’s Surf Shack”. They provide every type of surfing-related service. All surf gear and accessories can be bought here. One very special thing about M’s Surf Shack is that they also shape surfboards. You can get a custom surfboard made and you can even shape it yourself with the help of a professional. My personal favorite thing about M’s is their surfboard repair service. They are reasonably priced and the board always ends up looking terrific. The owner, Kumi Itokazu, has some good advice to beginners surfing the Okinawan ocean; “All surf points have a reef bottom so be careful of the reef as it is sharp and you can hurt yourself easily”.
The second surf shop is called “Island Break” and is located in the middle of Sunabe. They have a wide variety of surfboards, surf trinkets and surfing wear. Right beside the shop is a wetsuit manufacturer. A wetsuit is necessary for the winter months of surfing in Okinawa and rumor has it they create the best fitting wetsuits on the market as they can measure the wetsuit to your exact size. The owner of Island Break, Ken Maeshiro, says, “You can only surf on Okinawa during high tide, and that usually lasts only three hours, so be aware of the tides if you want to go surf”.
The third surf shop is called “Source”. This is an American-owned surf shop located right on the seawall. They have a wide selection of surfing gear and surfboards, and they also perform surfboard repairs. One great thing about this shop is that they carry some American brand wetsuits that I personally think are the best on the market. The owner of the shop, Scott Ellison, also has some advice for surfers in Okinawa. He says, “When you surf in Okinawa, as long you mind your manners and speak a little Japanese, Okinawan local surfers are very friendly and helpful”.
Once you have a decided to take on the challenging sport of surfing, it can become a lifelong passion. The beautiful blue sea of Okinawa is a great place to get in touch with nature and release stress from your daily routine. The local surf shops on Okinawa can be a great starting point for information and advice on how you can begin surfing or continue surfing on Okinawa. Frequenting companies such as the surf shops above continue to help to support Okinawa’s local surfing community.