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Anonymous surfer in south-west of France. Photo by C. Naslain, 2016.

Surf spot atlas made by surfers for surfers
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Japan, Okinawa

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By 5 rocks local , 23-12-2004

bowls - nah, 5 rocks is way longer than bowls and noone surfs it, maybe because of the 25 foot tiger shark. sick 100 yard rights and lefts off a A frame peak. Okinawa goes orfff

By American ripper , 09-12-2004

Bowls is way longer than 50-70 meters - Bowls is 150 feet? On a bad day maybe! The way it wraps around the corner and breaks into the bay is awesome Dude. It reminds me of Santa Cruz or Blacks or Newport. And most people don't know that you can surf it dead low tide.oops, did put that on the worldwide web. Oh yeah, I rip.

By ex-Oki-expat , 06-08-2004

Quick Summary of Bowls - It's a left - I lived there for 8 years and surfed it for about 5 of those years. Bowls is essentially a left, as shown in the photo you guys published. The break gets it's name because the reef there forms a small bowl (you can fit only about 4-5 surfers in it comfortably, though you might find 20 sitting there at times) that jacks up fast over a very shallow section of reef, then breaks left for maybe 50-70 meters on a good day. It is a fast, relatively hollow ride over mostly worn-down reef with some nasty live coral too.

By ex-Oki-expat , 06-08-2004

Bowls is a right, not a left - It will also break right when the swell is decent size, but the right is relatively mushy and few surf it - one good reason to grab it occasionally. One of the best reasons to surf bowls is because it is one of the few lefts on Okinawa that is within an easy commute from the Kadena area (major population center).

Okinawa has some great surf, but you have to know the spots and understand the weather, wind and tides. I was surprized that you guys seem to think that it is surfable under any tide. Well, there are a few places on the island that you can surf at low tide or mid tide, but most are high tide breaks. That is, you are generally surfing very shallow reef breaks that will only be surfable about 2 hours either side of high tide. Surfing the incoming tide is usually best, of course. If you have the time to learn your way around, you can almost always find somewhere on the island that is breaking, though often under less than optimal conditions. Given the sometimes dismaying traffic, getting to the surf within that 4 hour tidal window is usually the hardest part.

Swell is fairly consistant on the west side during the fall to about February, which brings in north swell from storms as far north as Siberia. Then, a less consistent wave will hit the south and east shores as the south monsoon kicks in during the later spring and summer. Trick is to find semi-protected breaks where the wind isn't completely on shore.

Typhoons can roll in as early as May, though they usually hit in August-October. Typhoon swell is sometimes epic a few days before and after the storms hit.

The crowd consists of lots of overtly mellow Okinawans with a competitive streak under the surface of their relatively benign exterior, plus a bunch more of American GI's who are usually cool if a bit clicky and typically cocky. There is a modest amount of surfer comraderie however and fights are pretty rare. Not a tourist destination really, but clean, warm water, some pretty Japanese girls, and a number of hollow reef breaks within commuting distance if you have the time to learn your way around.

By Traveler , 26-05-2004

Okinawa - Needs lots of swell. I went there and saw nothing but a mere trickle of a wave.

Also, Suicide Cliffs is along the 107 bus line, south of Itoman. Take it to the 7th stop past Nashiro, get off and head south. It`s east of Cape Kyan.

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