Generally there are waves here year round. Typhoon season runs from May till December producing stronger storms than anywhere in the world. Okinawa gets lots of low pressures from November to May. The low pressures move quickly down from Korea ramming into Okinawa and giving us good, but chilly surf. Then super typhoons come delivering some very large surf on all corners of the island. One of the best waves is actually at the Sunabe seawall. This wave on a south swell has been ridden while throwing much like “Pipe”. Now, on any given day that you walk your dog or snorkel down at the seawall you wont see these waves, but when the window opens and the south lines start to light up the west side you would really be surprised. Spring offers a mixed plate of south wind swell and leftover low pressures. Fall is the opposite with left over typhoons (but very strong) and fresh new northern low pressures .
The corel reef is live, sharp and shallow. I would say the most breaks range from .5 to 1.5 meters of water at high tide. The tides are extreme with a swing of about 6 feet. The good rule of thumb for someone just getting here is surf 2 house before and 2 hours after high tide. 90% of the waves are high tide breaks, but if you learn what you’re doing you’ll find plenty of low tide waves. There are only two real sand bottom beach breaks on Okinawa. Most everything else is reef.
The water temp ranges from 68 F to 88 F. Blue crystal waters with pools of piss. It gets really hot in the baking summer. Hot spots of water migrate north with every south swell. In the winter the westside cools down to 68 F. That doesn’t sound bad if your from California or Florida, but believe me after a year or so after your climatized and that cool 68 F water combined with a North Korean wind and you’ll wish you had a 3/4 full wetsuit. Most of the year you can run a spring suit (2/2 type) when it’s chilly, but then bust out the board short for about 6 months. This year I wore a 3/3 full suit for about 3 months straight.
Don’t forget the wave maker. The wind. Lot’s of this stuff. In the winter months the lows usually bring the wind out of the northwest with the approach of the storm and ending up out of the northeast to east direction. This makes for good surf on the westside. In the summer the winds come from the south.
Typhoons are the best thing about Okinawa surf. We get about 3 to 4 typhoons on the westside and lot more on the eastside.