keeperslady77 asked in SportsSurfing · 10 years ago

Surfers learn how to read wave sets to catch the biggest wave of a set.?

Surfers learn how to read wave sets to catch the biggest wave of a set. What explains the different sizes of waves within a set?

I am lost trying to research this question.

3 Answers

  • 10 years ago
    Favourite answer

    Just enter Marine Biology 101 or Marine Biology For Beginners and and you will come up with a myriad of sites which will give you the basic principles and simple scientific answers as to the cause of this occurrence.

    However, you need to know that the answers will differ slightly from a surfers point of view. The first thing that a surfer has already determined is the direction and size of the swell. They have also deciphered the conditions and place that they are going to catch the best waves according to that information mentioned above.

    The first thing a good surfer does almost religiously is to determine not only the best place to paddle out but when to paddle out to make it easier to get to the outside where the swell is at its best. Depending on the length of the paddle and the size of the tide which by the way also makes a difference as to the size of the swell and especially the speed at which it breaks. Also, are you surfing a rock bottom or a beach bottom or are you one of the lucky ones and have a break that are called "Cloud Breaks" and break out about a half mile from shore. They have that here in Northern California during big swells.

    Another thing which goes into the calculations of the surfers brain is experience. Experience of what happened before when that same type of swell had hit this surf spot before. Was it able to hold the size and were the conditions at that time similar to that of this time? Or did the size , depending on that size, close out the sets and make for unrideable crunchers. Surfers who do not travel much and who surf point breaks locally are going to give you without a doubt the best feedback as to the size and same characteristics as they had seen in the past at their break.

    So you can get the answers from the scientific point of view or you can get the direct answer from the surfers who ride the waves. Either way it will give you your answer just one is a little more pragmatic and more hands on.

    Waves do break in sets generally and depending on the size of the swell will have a different amount of seconds of intervals. All surfers know that most of the time you have waves that increase as the set begins which is why most people do not take the first wave in the set. Another thing that surfers know is that there are such waves that are called "Sneaker Sets" which are usually the largest and don't happen with every set that comes in and most of the time happen in between sets which catches everyone (almost everyone) inside scrambling to get over the crest of each one. Sneaker sets are exhausting and can have you even waiting out a set if you aren't in good enough shape to take on that size of swell.

    There you have it, two schools of thought on the answer to your question.



  • 10 years ago

    Conditions are always changing. Generally, as a set comes you will find that the 3rd or maybe 4th wave is the biggest. The first wave is almost always followed by a bigger one. Some times you get king waves which are basically big waves that come out of no where and usually catch a lot of surfers off guard.

    I'm not sure why wave sizes vary in a set but I do know that you will usually never have a huge wave then a small one then a huge one again. They generally ascend and then descend in size as each wave in a set breaks.

    Time between each breaking wave may have a factor in it. If there is anything from 12 - 16 seconds between waves then you know these are big rolling waves most likely from a storm out a sea. The shorter the time between the wave the crappier and more inconsistent it will be. Check out this link from Magic Seaweed in sources.

    Hope this helps you

  • liva
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    units of waves are a mixture of two or greater waves that shuttle close mutually. the 1st wave has to push the water in front of it and so is smaller. the subsequent waves are greater with the aid of water rushing returned that facilitates build the wave. the peak is a few the place while the friction of the return water slows the water down and does not impact the subsequent wave. so some distance as surfers bypass the units can seem all day and that they word the dimensions of the waves to confirm that's the utmost.

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