How to Catch Waves—From a Couple Who's Surfed Japan, Hawaii, and New York
Whether you live in a place with surfable beaches (lucky you) or are just finally (finally!) taking a vacation somewhere rash-guard-worthy, you’re gonna be impressed with—and inspired by—the husband-and-wife duo behind 8.6.4, Tats and Ena Otake, former Hawaii residents who hit the Long Island waves multiple mornings a week. Yep: before work. Here’s how they got hooked—blame them when you’re waking up before the sun to hit the water.
Q: How did you guys become so good at this?
Ena: “My father is a surfer and used to take me to the beach in Japan all of the time when I was young. It also helped that Tats and I lived in Hawaii for years before moving to Brooklyn in 2011.”
Tats: “Surfing was really popular when I was a teen in the nineties, so I naturally got into it with my friends.”
Q: How do you find time for this—and where do NYC locals surf?
Tats: “We take our boards out and hit the waves in Long Beach, New York, about three days a week. After we surf, we work 10 to 12 hours a day, so it is a great way to set our minds free—and it refreshes us to start the morning in the water.”
Ena: “It feels good to watch the sunrise and to catch fun waves. Surfing is very addictive because it’s challenging. Another bonus is that, after surfing, breakfast tastes so good!”
Q: Okay, what’s your advice for total newbs?
Ena: “The best first step is to take beginner lessons. You won’t get it right away, so stick with it! It also helped me to watch tons of surfing videos—Surfline has a whole library of them.”
Tats: “I recommend getting a mid-length board to start. It combines elements of both the shortboard and longboard. The design allows waves to be caught more easily than a shortboard and makes it more maneuverable than a longboard.”
Q: What’s your go-to gear?
Tats: “The basics are a board, a wetsuit, a leash, and surfboard wax. My favorite board is a Mitsven Simmons Quad Fish because it is so fun to ride.”
Ena: “I definitely recommend Japanese wetsuits. The fit and flexibility are amazing. The best shop to find them is Maine Surfers Union, located in Portland. They carry Axxe, these really great custom-fit wetsuits. Also, Pilgrim Surf + Supply in Brooklyn carries Rash, an established Japanese wetsuit company.”