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  1. #1

    Ground swell vs windswell

    hey all i was wondering is a ground swell less seceptible to change then a windswell? cause mondays looking pretty good and i wouldnt wanna miss it

  2. #2
    Do you mean as far as the accuracy of the forecast goes?

    I'm no forecaster but if i had to guess i would say that because the difference between short period and long period swells is the distance they travel from their source, then the forecasting accuracy would be nearly the same. A storm is a storm and i would think you could forecast it just as easily whether its East of Bermuda or right off of Cape Hatteras.

    The difference, i would think-- would be that its harder to figure out how the longer period swells will interact with your local Bathymetry... Making the ground swell a little more fickle for any particular beach. I've seen ground swells be overhead at one spot and then waist high a few miles down the coast.

    So basically the forecasting models will be the same as far as accuracy, but ground swell could be more fickle at your local spot.
    That's my guess anyway. Anybody know for sure?

    I think there are also multiple topics on this site about ground vs wind swell if you search around.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    I think the groundswells are more consistant than the windswells. Also, how clean they are going to be really depends on the winds that day. You could have a huge storm off the coast generating waves at 5ft 14 seconds but if you have winds from the south it will make it choppy and sloppy.

  4. #4
    thanks everyone!

  5. #5
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    Keep in mind that when you get the higher periods of say 12 and 13 seconds or higher, you tend to start getting alot of closeouts.
    Good rule of thumb...if it's a groundswell with a medium period, you get out; no questions asked.

  6. #6
    If I recall correctly, although we all use the term ground swell, all of our swells are created by wind.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haig Bakhtiarian View Post
    hey all i was wondering is a ground swell less seceptible to change then a windswell? cause mondays looking pretty good and i wouldnt wanna miss it


    Depends on the accuracy of the forecasted wind swell. Like the guy said above, you want a medium period ground swell (9-12 seconds) for places like Va Beach with a shallow bathymetry vs. a long period ground swell focusing it's energy on deeper waters or reef/rock.

    Ground swell gets people excited, whereas there are some windswell events that create a better quality wave depending on the angle of the beach in conjunction to what direction the wind swell is focused. An ideal swell would be a medium period combo swell from a northeasterly and southeasterly direction (for an east facing beach) that when combined would generate peaky conditions/a-frame type waves with less closeouts.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by JWD View Post
    If I recall correctly, although we all use the term ground swell, all of our swells are created by wind.
    disingenius. thanks for not understanding the topic of the thread.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by havanasand View Post


    Depends on the accuracy of the forecasted wind swell. Like the guy said above, you want a medium period ground swell (9-12 seconds) for places like Va Beach with a shallow bathymetry vs. a long period ground swell focusing it's energy on deeper waters or reef/rock.

    Ground swell gets people excited, whereas there are some windswell events that create a better quality wave depending on the angle of the beach in conjunction to what direction the wind swell is focused. An ideal swell would be a medium period combo swell from a northeasterly and southeasterly direction (for an east facing beach) that when combined would generate peaky conditions/a-frame type waves with less closeouts.
    i've also found that longer period swells prefer a higher tide (at least around here) b/c this allows them to "feel" the bottom more gradually, allowing more of an opportunity for a rideable/makeable wave. long(er) period swells on low tide=close out city.

  10. #10
    Great thread, lots of good info.