Employee of the Month: Shunichi Matsuuchi, taskmaster at Surf Stadium Japan

In person, you can tell that Shunichi Matsuuchi is constantly thinking, coming up with solutions to any number of problems presented during a day at work. From ill-tempered weather to surf wax stuck on the pool waiting area, his brain is always puzzle-solving. Shunichi, or simply Shun, is the Assistant General Manager of Business Development at Surf Stadium Japan.

Like most working in the space, he wears many hats, filling quite a few roles. In our case, he became tour director and helped us navigate Japan’s impossible entry requirements happening on the backend of COVID. Thankfully Shun was ever-patient with our requests and went so far as to call different government agencies to help us out. Choosing wave settings is one thing, but wilfully jumping into Japan’s red tape is on another level. Shun, in a nutshell, is a taskmaster of the highest order not easily deterred.

How long have you been surfing?
I have been surfing for 3 years and 4 months.
How often do you get to surf and where?
I surf twice a week at the stadium and about three times a week in the ocean. My favorite board is a Roberts EPS, 5.6 feet, 27 liter shortboard.

How long have you been working at Surf Stadium?
I have been working here for two years. I am currently the Assistant General Manager for the Business Development Group.

How did you find your job here?
I found a news article about the pool’s construction and ran to the check out the company’s location.
I was curious and wondered what the vision for this wave pool would be, and of course, if there were any job openings. Mr. Nagakura, the manager of Jack Ocean Sports, a historic surf store here in Shizunami, introduced me to three of the stakeholders, President Adachi, Mr. Hoshi, and Mr. Ibe, and got me in for an interview.

What is the work that you do here at Surf Stadium Japan?
I am responsible for corporate planning, public relations, and human resources. Occasionally, I fill the role as an attractions instructor. I go into the pool with guests and advise them on wave timing and take-off tips.

Shunichi Matsuuchi
Shunichi Matsuuchi on location, ensuring that Surf Stadium Japan is running smoothly.

What do you find rewarding about your job?
Recently, I have been most impressed by the growth of my colleagues. When the crew members I was involved in recruiting and training begin to grow and become active in the company, I am just as happy as if it were me. It is a joy that comes from being in a position to watch over them before they join the company, and I guess you could say that is a privilege that comes with being an HR person.

In addition to general sales, the stadium has events all year round, from local to national competitions involving the entire country, events for the community, and private surf park use by various corporations. It is a lot of fun to work closely with our clients and make things happen. Next, I would like to bring a world renowned event like “Stab High” to the area.

What do you find most challenging about your job?
I find it challenging to make important plans for the future of the company. There is responsibility and risk of failure, but it is also very rewarding and I am enjoying my work every day. It is also very exciting for me to be able to present myself as a decision maker for the company and to make those decisions, and then have the management team follow through. It is a bit of a downer when my ideas are wrong or when the plan never develops and remains a blank sheet of paper, though. It is very hard to keep up with fresh information in such a situation, and it puts a lot of pressure on me, but at the same time, it is very rewarding.

Tell us something that most people don’t know about Surf Stadium.
Surfing in a session with a small number of participants allows you to surf more waves than in a session with a full house. You get an average of 9-10 waves in an hour, but with a small number of people you can get up to 15. So try to time your sessions for off peak hours.