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SURFING LESSON PEMBROKESHIRE

Surfing Lesson On Understanding Different Types of Waves

Here in Pembrokeshire we are so luck to have different types of wave right on our door step, Open Ocean Swell Reaches Shallow Water When the open ocean swell reaches shallower water it becomes steeper and finally breaks into surf. Several factors influence the amount of growth that occurs from a deep water swell to a breaking wave. These include the angle of approach the deep water swell makes with shore, the configuration of shallow water bottom contours, the slope of beach, and the deep water steepness of the wave (the ratio of wave height to wave length).

PLUNGING OR DUMPING  WAVES

The greater growth occurs when swells having little steepness and long period approach a strongly sloping beach or reef resulting in Plunging waves.

 

SPILLING WAVES

In areas of gently sloping bottom contours, waves of average steepness break at a water depth of about 1.3 times their height and are known as Spilling waves.

These waves are ideal for beginners

 

Winter waves frequently found on the reef breaks of the North Shore of Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands

Many beach breaks with gently sloping bottom contours found in areas where the continental shelf extends a long way from land.

SURGING WAVES

A third type of wave is the Surging type. This is where a swell hits a very steep obstruction and does not break in a rideable form.e.g. Waves that hit breakwaters, piers or very steep banks

FACTORS AFFECTING WAVES

FACTORS AFFECTING WAVES TYPES OF SHALLOW WATER BOTTOM MATERIALS

 

As previously noted, the type of breaker produced depends largely upon the slope of bottom contours near shore.  Shallow water coral and rock bottoms are firmly anchored and quite often have steep slopes resulting in hard breading waves.

Sand bottoms consistently move due to currents and surf. From one day to the next the best place to surf may change drastically. The seaward edge of sandbars usually slope gradually. This often results in less violent spilling breakers that may tend to become "mushy".

TIDES AFFECT THE WAVE IN WALES TO

Most surf sports seem to break best at a preferred water depth that varies according to surf height. In some areas of small tidal range, such as Hawaii, the 2 foot variation in water level is not too important. In some sections of Europe which have 30 feet (9 metres) tides, the time of tide is very important. It can mean the difference between unbroken swells hitting a steep beach, closed out conditions over low tide continuous sandbars, or good surf at a tide stage in between.

 

LOCAL WINDS AND CURRENTS

 

The effect of local wind direction on waves in Pembrokeshire is well known by any regular surfer. Offshore winds prevent a wave from breaking until it is steep and hollow. On shore wind cause a breaker to collapse early, producing a spilling, mushy wave. Furthermore, the wave faces will be marred by wind chop produced by the onshore wind.

If you happen to surf at a place exposed to a seaward moving current or a rip, the waves will steepen and break in unusually deep water. Shoreward moving currents reduce wave height much as an onshore wind does. In either case, a strong current will cause choppy, bumpy waves. Currents near shore can be produced by tides, winds, or fluctuations in sea level due to surges of white water.

PRESENCE OF MORE THAN ONE SWELL

At times, especially during the winter storm season, two or more major swell trains may be present simultaneously at a point. This is particularly apt to be true for islands in mid-ocean. If two or more swells arrive simultaneously that produce surf, complex interactions can occur. To determine the resulting wave height, one must account for the size, direction, and period of each of the contributing swells.

SET WAVES

Whenever the wave trains of the swells are in phase with each other (the wave crests of both swells arrive at the same time), the resulting wave height is the same as the sum of contributing wave heights. These are called set waves.

LULLS IN THE WAVES

When they are out of phase (the wave crests of one swell arrive at the same time as the trough of the other swell), the final wave height is the difference between the individual heights. The surfer will recognise this phase as a "lull" between sets. It is important to recognise the pattern of sets and lulls on any given day. Good surfers will use lulls to paddle out in whereas beginners may find themselves paddling out too far and then being caught by the sets. Or paddling out in the sets.

There are 3 main types of surfing waves of which only the first is generally suitable for teaching beginners.

TYPES OF SURFING WAVES

BEACH BREAKS - SOME COMMON CHARACTERISTICS

Surfer rebounding of the white water on a beach break wave.  The “mushy” nature of this wave is partly the result of an on-shore wind and a shallow sloping beach.

Offshore winds and steeply sloping sand banks can give rise to good hollow waves.Water surging towards the beach often gives rise to strong cross currents leading into rip currents as it returns seaward.

Gently sloping contours and a large continental shelf often gives rise to slow beach break waves Shifting sand banks often create a series of breaking waves and deeper water channels separating them. Beach break waves generally break over sand bottoms and various factors will determine their suitability for the beginner.  Ideally the beach will have a gently sloping bottom giving rise to gently sloping, spilling waves with several lines of soup. These are often found on beaches at high tide where a steep bank may cause the waves to break almost onto the sand. The waves rise up quite suddenly, break top to bottom and close out. They are unsuitable for beginners or experts.  Other factors e.g. a strong rip current can give rise to dumpers.

REEF BREAKS - COMMON CHARACTERISTICS

Offshore winds may contribute to the hollowness of these waves In many areas the lack of a continental shelf means that the waves do not loose much of their power prior to breaking If the reef is at an angle to the approaching swells they will "peel off" along the reef edge The waves often break hard in shallow water.

Surfing Lesson in Pembrokeshire For All Ages & Abilities

SURF LESSONS | UNDERSTANDING THE WAVES IN PEMBROKESHIRE

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