When surf reaches 8ft plus only experienced surfers should paddle out for many many reasons. If you do not fall in to this category we advise to watch from the safety of the beach.

On this page you will find - Wave scale & Understanding the size / Surf Condition Terminology

Wave Scale & Understanding The Size

Wave height is a constantly debated question So we have made the simple graphic to the left to show our readers how we determine this through out the Surfing In Japan Website.


Swell height - is a deep water measurement and very different to the breaking wave height

Wave heights - Assuming you are looking from the beach at a surfer riding a wave and he is crouching at the knees

Surf Condition Terminology

Team Surfing In Japan for years have had like many surfers their own type of Language when it comes to talking about the conditions on any particular day or during a certain session. Below are just some of those.


Remember the day for years to come must be clean and powerful and really well shaped, small is ok but small and barrelling / perfect shape and peeling

(we should be clear and call the session, ie morning, as it is almost never epic all day)

Going off / Cranking / On-Fire

(are the same or so close they should be used interchangeably), amazing session remembered for the year, (again usually only a morning or afternoon)

Rip-able / Slash & Burn / Fun

Waves and a session you ride non stop more waves than you can count, one turn punt, quick down the line slash, bottom turn pull in....

Outta Control / Blowing a Hoolly

To big to go out in with too many waves breaking / Huge surf with strong winds blowing on shore

White Horses

Big surf with strong off shores blowing white spray off the back of the wave

Wind Swell Waves

Weak and junky with normally not so much power to them

Long Period Clean & Small

Longboard Heaven