Gaku Watanabe has become the first ever AMBASSADOR for StarVie and also for UI Sports, company in charge of StarVie’s distribution in Japan. Gaku Watanabe represents what we call a padel maker or a padel influencer. Gaku is doing an astonishing job to develop this sport in Japan, more specifically in Kanto area. Setting one of the most well-known events in this part of Japan, the so called GAKU PADEL BBQ where he was able to set 12 events along 2018 with more than 400 attendees.
UI Sports has interviewed Gaku to know him a little bit better:
GOOD MORNING GAKU. WELL, TALK TO US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOU.
Gaku: Good morning. I was born in Tokyo but rised in Nigata where I spent my childhood until I moved to Kanagawa in order to study at Tokai University. Afterwards, I became a salesman in IT industry related and I am currently living in Kanagawa where I got married and I have 3 beautiful daughters.
WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND IN RACKET SPORTS?
Gaku: Well, I played tennis during 20 years. We could say that this is the sport I have always practiced.
WHEN DID YOU START PLAYING PADEL? HOW DID YOU KNOW ABOUT THIS SPORT? AND WHAT DID YOU LIKE FROM IT?
Gaku: First time I saw padel it was while I was watching a beach tennis match on YouTube, on the related videos a padel match came up and I took a look on it. This was on 2014; however it was not until December 2015 that I was interested on it. At that time Mr Tamai was holding a crowd funding campaign and ever since then I have played padel.
What I like from padel are mainly three things: firstly, it is a sport played in doubles. Secondly, it is very interesting the fact that you use walls in some sort of cage with a tennis court in it. And finally, the strategy you have to set with your partner to face any match.
It is also very interesting the different shots there are in padel. They are different from tennis and allow you to have fun no matter what your level is. I think it is an easier sport to play rather than other racket sports.
WHEN DID YOU START GAKU PADEL BBQ? AND WHAT ARE THESE EVENTS ABOUT?
Gaku: I have played padel since April 2016. First I used to play padel with some friends and from 2017 I started to set my own events. Exactly I set my first GAKU PADEL BBQ on June 2017.
These events are a way to enjoy a good time while we play padel and eat. They usually consist of 5 hours rental courts and a lot of food that is cooked during this time. In this sense people enjoy playing, meeting new people and making new friends while they practice a healthy activity as padel is. Therefore all sorts of people are welcome to them: from families to singles, from beginners to advanced players, from kids to elder people, groups of friends or even foreigners.
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS SETTING THESE EVENTS?
Gaku: At this moment I do not have any specific goal other than attracting people to this new beautiful sport called padel through these events. It is also true that I am a very social person so I really enjoy when I meet new people and I see them having fun at GAKU PADEL EVENTS. It makes me feel happy.
HOW MANY PEOPLE ATTENDED GAKU PADEL EVENTS? AND HOW MANY OF THEM WERE TOTALLY BEGINNERS?
Gaku: During 2018 I held 12 events in different clubs in Kanto area and more than 400 people attended them. Among them, there were around 15% of attendees that they had their first ever experience on padel.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE THAT GOT YOUR ATTENTION ON PADEL?
Gaku: Well, it is not exactly something that it got my attention but on 2008 I got married and we went to Spain on our Honey Moon. So I feel that there has been some sort of connection or destiny between padel and myself because this sport has been mainly developed in Spain. Since then I have felt very attracted to Spanish culture.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH GAKU AND WELCOME TO OUR FAMILY! WE ARE DEEPLY HAPPY AND PROUD TO HELP YOU AND SUPPORT YOUR EVENTS.
Gaku: Thanks to you too!