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Surf Forecast


Surf Forecast

Surf Forecast

Surf or wave forecasting is a method of estimating condition of the waves by using offshore swells data. Forecasting of waves is not restricted to surfers. The process is used by meteorologists, news reporters and by the Navy throughout the world. Surf forecasting does not give an accurate result but only a few good elements to estimate the surfs. To forecast, a person should know a good deal about the ocean, waves, how they are formed and some knowledge of bathymetry. Some of the professionals put the obtained data online for others to use.

Offshore Swells and the Data

Waves are made by the wind blowing over the sea and transfer of energy from the air into the water. Swell is a series of surface gravity waves. It is influenced by three factors; the duration and velocity of the wind and the distance it covers. Swells are of two kinds; groundswell (made far away from the shore) and a wind swell (formed by the wind near the surf spot). Groundswell is better for surfing. It breaks the waves nicely and has a more orderly pattern. Windswells are choppy, hard and not large enough to surf. To create a swell data by forecasting the surfs, three factors of swells are analyzed;

1- The direction of the swell which is measured in degrees like on a compass.
2- Period of a swell which is a time between consecutive waves. It is measured in seconds. It indicated the growth of a swell.
3- The height of the swell in deep water

Bathymetry and Prediction of a Surf Break

Bathymertry is a study of waves, tide, currents, and weather. The waves are much more energetic towards the shallow water and hence tend to turn towards it. Here the swell period can largely affect the waves very much. If the swell period is long then the waves are likely wrap into a spot causing inconsistency of the waves.

Types of breaks

The breaks are largely affected by the shape of the oceanic floor. If the ocean floor has a gradual slope, the waves are crumpled and slow (which are great for longboarding) and if ocean floor is steep, it will offer a more hollow and speedy break (awesome for short boarding). Some of the common breaks are; beach break which have sand bottoms (they are very easily forecast), reef break that have rock bottoms and point breaks which are very consistent and regular.

Weather and Tides

Wind, currents and tides play a major role in influencing the quality of the waves. Waves are more surfable when the weather is less Wave Forecast1windy. However, the waves are also good to surf if the wind blowing away from the shore and towards the water. Tides occur due to a large variety of gravitational forces between moon, sun and our planet earth. Tides can affect the waves between surf breaks. In some places, low tides usually mean excellent breaks while high tide means poor quality waves. In other areas, the opposite is true.

No two waves are similar and only experience will teach a person to forecast the surf.

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