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Surfing

Surfing:

Swells in Fukuoka are predominantly brought on by winds (hokuto) generated from low-pressure systems to the Northeast of the prefecture. Generally, waves can be counted on to come at the tail end of a bout of good strong NE winds. However, swell windows are short and usually come and go within a few days. Most of the time conditions will be in the 1 foot range, 2-3 on the best days (measured from the back). Even in the most exposed locations, waves rarely get over four feet.

Typhoons coming up through the Japan Sea are wind-generating beasts and can spit some good stuff this way a few days before and after it passes through the area. Typhoon season is typically July-September. However, surfing typhoons is not recommended. Jellyfish usually start becoming a nuisance in late August/September.

The peak of surfing season is November through April, and yes, it gets cold. A 5/3mm wetsuit is protocol in the winter. Gloves, booties, and a hood are optional, but helpful. Japanese rubber is expensive, but high quality.  

Surf spots in Fukuoka are distinctively split between the Eastside and Westside depending on what side of the city you live on. Try your best to initiate conversation, let your surfing do the talking and in just a few sessions you will have made friends for life.  

Newcomers to the ancient Hawaiian sport of kings will find summer is a great time to get started. The water is warm and the waves are playful. Most surf shops also give lessons in the summer.

Cult Surf is a highly recommended surf shop headed up by Yoshinori Murayama (Mura-san) found right on Fukuma Beach. As one of the pioneers of surfing in Fukuoka, he is a local legend and there are few who do not know him. His surf lessons are 3500 for two hours. Also he does a ¥5000 package that includes the lesson, a BBQ, and beverages. Mura-san will you with anything and everything you need in terms of gear without robbing you blind. Mura-san: 090-3323-0007. Pick up and drop off at JR or Nishitetsu Fukuma Stations also available.

The local spots are definitely enough to get your fix, but get ready to travel if you crave bigger and better waves. You will find most of the spots listed below are all dumpy beachbreaks that work best slightly before and after the peak high tide.  

Eastside

Mitoma ?? About a 20 minute walk from the Nishitetsu Miyajidake Line, Mitoma Station. Mitoma picks up a lot of wind-swells and has an inside left section that occasionally lines up with the outside peak. More than other places, jellyfish like this beach towards the end of summer.  

Shingu ?? About a 10 minute walk from the Nishitetsu Miyajidake Line, Shingu Station. A right that crumbles off the southernmost tetra-pod facing the ocean. Actually holds typhoon swells okay.

Tsurikawa ?? A river mouth spot that produces waves on both sides and directly in front of the tetra-pod jetties. Look for a sandbar that sometimes forms directly in front of the river mouth. It is your best chance to find a barrel on the Eastside.

Hatsu Gyoko ???? About a 20 minute drive north of Tsurikawa, Hatsu is a semi-deep water break best in the winter and is probably one of the best waves in the prefecture on a good swell.

Shioiri ?? Much like Tsurikawa in that it is a river mouth break, Shiori is different only because its location allows it to pick up more swells than other areas. Crowds can be frustrating at times.

Westside

Futamigaura ???? Take the Showa bus #32 from Hakata Bus Center (¥470 one way) to Nishinoura (about 40 minutes). About a 15 minute walk from Nishi-noura. Sandy beachbreak with a cool shrine planted in the middle of the ocean.

Nogita/Keya ??/?? Often the site for many amateur surfing contests in the prefecture and is probably one of the best known spots on the Westside.

Oguchi ?? A 15-20 minute walk West of Futamigaura. Similar beachbreak just down the road.

Tategami ?? Actually in Karatsu, Saga-ken, Tategami point is a combination cobblestone/sand

bottom that creates waves with a little more juice. A welcome escape if you can get out there.

Tips for Surfers Find a friend with a car. Taking public transportation to surf spots is more of a hassle than it is worth. The waves in general are soft and mushy, and therefore your board selection should be adjusted accordingly. 

Miyazaki is the closest viable alternative to finding good waves. Swells come from the Pacific Ocean and are therefore more substantial.