Typhoon No.12 "MALAKAS" September 24th - 27th 2010
Sept 17, Email – "hey mate, chase Typhoon #9 to Kyushu or wait and hope that the storm forming in the South pacific changes direction and sends us decent waves up this way - looks promising for next week"
Flying to Kyushu, organising accommodation and a rental car is more expensive that a 10 trip to Bali with hotel included.
Sept 18, First thoughts: the fetch off the storm actually pointing towards Chiba is limited and any waves it generates will be of short distance and time. not so good. Second thoughts is this is becoming a typhoon and hence unpredictable. Third, Huey owes us at lest one great typhoon, we've been good all summer!!!
Sept 20, National Holiday, Friends go north and get small waves. I spend the day on family time and tracking the storm movement with every available weather service.
Watching the merging of two storms, one crossing over the North of Japan and stalling just off shore and the other, the storm to the souht has been named - Malaka - Typhoon #12 for 2010. 1000 nautical miles to the South East of Tokyo, down in the Pacific.
In the nearer term it looks like the swell being driven south by the Low up near Hokkaido will produce some sizable waves at around 8-9 second period. After the flat summer we've had any waves are a god send.
Tuesday 21st, Work comes to a stand still, Malaka has started tracking NNW straightening the fetch and pointing straight at the Reefs of Tokyo - OH YEA too excited to focus on work!!!
Racing through every available web page looking at predictions and backing them up with manual calculations of wind strength and initial swell height at the center of typhoon Malaka, working out probable swell period and using the nomograms to see what possible wave heights at my favorite coastal reefs might be. No need to do this as two sites I use the most break the significant swell down into the individual swell components, Just a fun project at the office rather than working.
The free internet weather sites only give the significant swell height and predict a wave height off of this - close to accurate when there is ONLY one swell event.
Sept 22nd start of the Chiba Billabong 4 Star professional event in knee to waist high waves, the Japanese surfers are killing it.
Sept 23rd – National holiday in Japan, still no size wind picking up from the NE. Hang at home, trying to pay attention to other things, no chance!! packing the car, all three boards, extra legrope, wax, nerves twitching !!!!
Friday 24th - leave at 2:30 am and head out to Chiba, arrive just before dawn and see waves at head high on the Reef.
A friend calls from Hebara and says its overhead there, we both paddle out and surf clean fun waves for a couple of hours then meet up for breakfast - nothing better than surfing while the rest of the country is working -
Get back in the water just after the low tide and surf another session at one of the best reefs in Chiba, head & 1/2 and clean with offshore winds - stoked. Heavy locals paddle out in a group mid session and ruin the good vibe but still good waves.
Dark, Raining, Windy, shite, its gone from 35ºC on Tuesday to 16ºC and a rain storm on Friday. Warmer in the water than out.
Hebara in the late afternoon has picked up in size with double over head waves coming in and breaking on the reef, paddle out for the last light surf and have a blast, really good fun, peaky waves with punch, just what the doctor ordered.
Over to the Katsuura Hotel for an onsen and some beers then crash out in the back of the car on the 4th floor of the carpark out of the wind and rain. 5 1/2 hours surfing in great conditions - the most in one day since spring 4 months ago
Saturday 25th -
Shonan is showing waves in the head high range and every surfer for 100km radius is in the water. Picture of Unmigasaki - too big for many it seems :)
The River mouth breaks in south Shonan are pumping out very solid dirty water barrels over the perfectly formed river mouth pebbles and the tight local crew there are having a storming session. (pics from www.surfdayz.jp - Kimoto san and Akai san)
Ibaraki, up north, is suffering under massive NE gale force winds and huge swells, friends spend all day driving looking for a sheltered spot to get in the water - Skunked and frustrated....
North Chiba (picture below)- It’s a victory to the ocean and the 4 star Billabong contest is called off for the day
Southern Chiba, Hebara is closed out with 8 ft bombs everywhere.
The morning session is at either Malibu or Matsube, everywhere else is closed out.
Matsube is double overhead on the sets at 6am, increasing in size and breaking on the 2nd reef by 8am (8ft). Only a few of the serious locals are out as its heavy and keeps getting heavier as the swell builds. The wind is howling up the face so take offs are late and critical, no ones dropping in that’s for sure..... One of the Pro’s from the contest turns up and on a small board rips it apart - good to see. I catch 5 massive waves and make it to safety, take off on another 15 and one way or another get thrashed - I’m done.
Malibu is smaller in the morning, head & 1/2 on the sets and at 9am has 80 people trying to get waves. The swell really starts pushing in and Malibu looks like it is close to closing out by mid day. The sets are breaking close to perfection, 150m right handers. (Picture below is Malibu early on Saturday morning)
Out in Katsuura bay 'Shotgun' is starting to come to life, first time in 4 years, Jet skis are ferrying surfers out to it. Tow-in surfing is not allowed in this area so its paddle power only. (3 pics from Kimoto san again)
After recovering from the mornings beating paddled out at Malibu, 8-10ft, the wind here was half what it had been in the morning and while the crowd was huge the waves were amazing. Long right handers or short sucky lefts off of a very solid take off.
Picked off some big waves from out the back - Sooo much FUN - and also lots of inside waves, still of excellent quality, L&Rs.
Friends cruised around the bays to Moriya beach and surfed the afternoon session there, sounded fun and the pictures and video on www.surfinginjapan.com show how crazy it was.
Later on in the afternoon after a nap and refueling - same spot, wind had died completely, 12ft swell with 16 second period so set waves still in the 8ft range, but the tide much higher, nabbed some of the best waves I've ever had, most of the heavy locals were being ferried by jet ski out to Shotgun bombie in the middle of the bay, so it was no where near as crowded, got to really play around and make some power turns on some big faces, stoked - Stayed out after dark it was so much fun, could hardly lift my arms. Surfed 5 1/2 hours, totally shagged, asleep at 8:00.
Sunday 26th - surfed for 4 1/2 hours - back at Hebara beach/reef break 6 ft - conditions not perfect, wind offshore early then cross shore by mid morning. Lots of sand seemed to have washed into the lineup creating a huge deepwater trough parrell to the beach, even the reef there seemed covered and not breaking cleanly.
Matsube was close to perfection but SOOOO crowded.
Sunday afternoon: Surfed back at the first reef again, Solid 6 ft, in-tune with the swell and had the best session of the weekend, lots of solid waves.
Had to stop on the drive home crawl into the back of the wagon and sleep
Summary: Waves continued into the following week, Pictures from all over have started showing up and its guaranteed there are a lot of happy surfers..........................................
Check out the Picture and video sections of www.surfinginjapan.com for more