Waves are created by energy passing through water, causing it to move in a circular motion. However, water does not actually travel in waves. Waves transmit energy, not water, across the ocean and if not obstructed by anything. Ocean waves are most commonly caused by wind. Wind-driven waves, or surface waves, are created by the friction between wind and surface water. They form when the wind blows across the surface of the ocean. That is how ocean waves form!