Okinawa, Japan

In a nutshell. Incredible surf from typhoons, virtually all reef breaks, cannot surf during low tide, culture somewhat reminescent to Hawaii, great food, great people. I've been there three times, and have seen decent surf every time.

Trip #1 -- October 1990. Heard about the great diving, so I brought fins and a springsuit, but left the bodyboard at home. When I got there, I regretted that decision dearly. I had to beg around and finally borrowed a board from a Navy Captain's son. Caught head-high plus surf one day at Sunabe Breakwall.

Rode a ferry to an offshore island in search of waves. The water was crystal clear, the beach was absolutely empty, and the surf was... tiny! Still had a fun (but lonely) session, but when I got back I found out Sunabe was firing.

Trip #2 -- February 1992. This time, I went prepared, but I ended up working a lot and had very little free time. I did manage to drive out to Ikei Island and caught two foot dribble. The fullsuit was a bit much.

I also scored a short session at Sunabe as twilight as the low tide approached. It was dredging with no one out, so I was tentative to say the least. Still, it was a welcomed relief to the heavy work sked.

Trip #3 -- August 1993. Big time score! A comfortable schedule allowed us lots of beach time after work and on the weekends. Hooked up with this crew of military surfers and we had a blast! Check out the surfmobile!

Partied at a huge local festival with the biggest beer garden I have ever seen. A drunken marine started hassling our gang and my friend (a Navy second class) just false-cracked him squarely in the jaw. Blood spattered all over me. To his credit, the grunt didn't fall, but boy was he angry!

A category 5 typhoon came near the isle and rocked us, bringing strong winds and huge surf. After getting ordered out of work, we checked out Sunabe, where it was going off. I paddled out as the tide fell and caught a few big ones, including this high-spraying wall.

Saw a lot of Japanese pro surfers doing a shoot for Surfing World. Right after the typhoon, they were out en force at Sunabe. They were pretty damned good, but the local Okinawan surfers were better.

Caught two good days at Zanpa Point. Very shallow, very pretty. These photos were taken on the smaller, less clean day. This guy's name is Frank, a "local nonlocal."

"Hiro", a stylish dropkneer. Check the ripples from water being drawn off the reef.

That's me on the cliff, getting ready to jump in for a nice session.

I also hooked up with some local surfers. They busted out some photo albums to show me another Gaijin from Hawaii--he was my classmate from Kauai! This one will go down as one of my best surf trips ever.