Riding the waves in Japan

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 September, 2007, 12:00am

Japan plans to build its first artificial reef to respond to the growing number of surfers as more Japanese enjoy hanging ten on the waves.

Japan has a vibrant surfing culture, with tanned surfers sporting bleached hair seen even in the coldest months of winter at Shonan beach near Tokyo.

But hardcore surfing fans tend to head overseas, particularly to Hawaii, The western territory of Wakayama, just south of Osaka, plans to make a boomerang shaped reef out of natural stones, which would produce waves of up to 1.5 metres to 2 metres.

The reef, to be built off the coast of Nachikatsuura, a seashore village, will not only target experienced surfers but also beginners, says Koji Naka, a local tourism official.

'There is a growing number of surfers in the local region as well as surrounding areas. We hope to attract surfer tourists and make it as famous as Shonan.'

The reef will be built on sand, which will be safe for beginners.

Agence France-Presse