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What Determines Surf Conditions?

Surf Tales General

What Determines Surf Conditions?


N 52° 22′ 12.778″  E 4° 53′ 42.605″ 

The first reason to go on a surfing holiday is of course to surf. In addition to your own motivation, nature has the greatest influence on the time you will spend in the water. You can select your surf destination based on the best natural conditions. But remember that the weather is very determining. Unfortunately, this is not always predictable, so we provide you with more information about the factors that determine your surfing. In addition, we also give you some tips to ensure that you are well prepared.

What determines surf conditions?

There are 3 factors that determine whether it is possible to surf. These are the weather, the wind and the wave itself. The weather speaks for itself, nobody wants to lie in the water during a rain shower. It is also important that you are not in the water during a thunderstorm. Now lets move on to the wave itself, how these come ashore is determined by the wind and ocean currents. A storm hundreds of kilometers at sea can make the waves on land a lot more powerful. This allows surf spots with calm and safe waves to turn into a spot with high, powerful and sometimes even dangerous waves. It may therefore be that the weather is very good locally, but that it is not possible to surf because of a storm at sea. The tides and the local wind also influence the final surfing conditions. All these factors are easy to track, but more about that later.

How is a wave created?

Waves are created by the wind. The wind blows small wrinkles on the water and as these wrinkles get bigger, the wind gets more grip on them. This makes the waves grow bigger as long as the wind remains favorable. As the waves come closer to the shore, the water becomes shallower. This causes the water to work upwards, which increases the height of the wave. Under water the wave is slowed down by the seabed, while the wave on the water surface is not slowed down. This causes the wave to break, and as a surfer this is what you want! Other factors that determine how the wave lands are the seabed and the local wind. More information on the influence of wind on waves can be found in the linked article

The force of the wave

In addition to the role of the wind in the creation of the waves, wind also has a major influence on the power of the waves. In general, you can say that the more powerful and longer the wind is, the higher and more powerful the wave will become. In addition to the winds, the temperature also plays a role. When the temperature of the air is colder than that of the ocean, the waves grow faster than when the air is warmer than the ocean. A good example of this are hurricanes or tropical storms where the air is much colder than normal. Take the wind of such a storm and the waves will grow faster and longer. finally, the power of the wave is also partly determined by the seabed. If the water depth decreases rapidly as you get closer to the coast, the water cannot go anywhere except up. In locations where this is the case you often see a very powerful wave.

Monitoring surf conditions

All influences that determine the surfing conditions are well monitored and used to predict how the waves will land. Weather and water are closely monitored via buoys at sea and satellites. With which later predictions are made about the surfing conditions. This information is also available for you and is easy to view via various apps and websites. Updates are given daily in the form of surf reports. Through these reports it is possible to see what the waves are like at your favorite surf spot every day. For more information about surf reports check the article in the link.

The following websites are popular to track and monitor surf conditions:

Thomas Oosterhof

Via mijn studie Tourism Management ben ik terecht gekomen bij SurfaWhile. Waar ik elke dag meer leer over het surfen, en het verkopen van surfreizen. Door het schrijven van artikelen over surfvakanties, ervaringen en prachtige surfbestemmingen zorg ik er voor dat jij goed voorbereid op surfvakantie gaat!

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