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  1. #1

    Post Swell Numbering | Swell 1, Swell 2 etc..

    Hi, I'm new to surfing, swellinfo and in general surf conditions monitoring. I'd like to know what the number of the swells means. I thought they would be in order but I realized the swells over lap and leap frog one another. Any info or guidance you have in regards to learning more about swells and studying the science behind waves will be appreciated.<br /><br />Thanks!

  2. #2
    I know that in the nervous system, action potentials ("waves" of ions) undergo what is known as temporal summation, in which numerous small "waves" overlap, acquiescing into larger, more powerful waves. I'm assuming this is similar.

  3. #3
    powsimian, your description is fairly accurate. It's also the demise of many a good first swell. Happens all the time at my main beach break. Can't stand the second swell. Or third. Always shows up in the evening. As if shifting peaks and side chop aren't bad enough. Now we've got moguls too. Take short period and makes it ultra-short period.

    To the un-American second poster: Stop talking about APs and using words like you're Mike Tyson. You took a simple ocean wave dynamic question and steered it to neuroscience and quantum physics. Your assumption is wrong and for multiple swells to combine for one larger swell, they'd need to adjust their path to the same wind direction and similar speeds and for several hundred miles (close to 1k or more). Otherwise, the result is disorganized chop creating an active sea state. We don't want that and it can ruin a good first swell. If the first swell is significantly more powerful and longer period than another simultaneous swell, it won't have the same detrimental effects. We seldom see such power and long period of ground swell on the east coast.

    Ocean waves are wavelengths, yes. APs in synaptic excitation also have wavelengths, yes. Consider that the addition of bathymetry, topography, and meteorology to ocean wave dynamics makes your analogy to neurology akin to the neurology of a schizophrenic (i.e. disorganization of active sea state~disorganized neural firing, thoughts and speech).

    The SI forumites here have a conniption when I speak voodoo that is actually founded with scientific basis and empirical evidence. Don't dizzy them further with buzzwords from disciplines that couldn't be further from analogous to surfing. Stick to detaching your lips from your parents' nips and getting your very own big boy crib. Baby steps. No need to try and be the next Newton when you don't even do your own laundry.

    BTW...you know who we are honoring a day from now? You guessed it...those who've put their lives on the line so betas like you can freely spout off whatever Tysonian vocab and pseudo-scientific jargon you please. Celebrate by having a couple cold ones with your veteran officer father and laugh about his paraplegic comrades. Let us know how that goes over.

  4. #4
    True masshole

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    1st to the OP, the numbers are the different swells coming together. The primary swell may be a SW swell 4.5 ft @ 10 sec. Then there may be a small 1.2 ft E swell mixing with it and maybe another S @.9 ft too. So there are Swell 1, 2, 3. As to Emass why are you such a douce bag?

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarter View Post
    1st to the OP, the numbers are the different swells coming together. The primary swell may be a SW swell 4.5 ft @ 10 sec. Then there may be a small 1.2 ft E swell mixing with it and maybe another S @.9 ft too. So there are Swell 1, 2, 3. As to Emass why are you such a douce bag?
    Exactly. With multiple swells, numbering the swells helps you keep track of which swell is building, fading, rotating to a different direction, which swell is a new swell filling in, and when a swell has faded to the point it is no longer significant, etc.

  7. #7
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    I love a good combo swell when it's lined up right.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Wilmington
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    Smaller, shorter period secondary swells are necessary to keep large, long period swells from just closing out on beach breaks and they can help spread out the lineup on points.

    When picking a day for offshore fishing it's best to avoid days when there are multiple swells from different directions. They don't necessarily make it rough but can be a real pain when you're running out, running in, trying to anchor on a precise spot and gawd help you if you have people prone to seasickness on board...

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by EmassSpicoli View Post
    powsimian, your description is fairly accurate. It's also the demise of many a good first swell. Happens all the time at my main beach break. Can't stand the second swell. Or third. Always shows up in the evening. As if shifting peaks and side chop aren't bad enough. Now we've got moguls too. Take short period and makes it ultra-short period.

    To the un-American second poster: Stop talking about APs and using words like you're Mike Tyson. You took a simple ocean wave dynamic question and steered it to neuroscience and quantum physics. Your assumption is wrong and for multiple swells to combine for one larger swell, they'd need to adjust their path to the same wind direction and similar speeds and for several hundred miles (close to 1k or more). Otherwise, the result is disorganized chop creating an active sea state. We don't want that and it can ruin a good first swell. If the first swell is significantly more powerful and longer period than another simultaneous swell, it won't have the same detrimental effects. We seldom see such power and long period of ground swell on the east coast.

    Ocean waves are wavelengths, yes. APs in synaptic excitation also have wavelengths, yes. Consider that the addition of bathymetry, topography, and meteorology to ocean wave dynamics makes your analogy to neurology akin to the neurology of a schizophrenic (i.e. disorganization of active sea state~disorganized neural firing, thoughts and speech).

    The SI forumites here have a conniption when I speak voodoo that is actually founded with scientific basis and empirical evidence. Don't dizzy them further with buzzwords from disciplines that couldn't be further from analogous to surfing. Stick to detaching your lips from your parents' nips and getting your very own big boy crib. Baby steps. No need to try and be the next Newton when you don't even do your own laundry.

    BTW...you know who we are honoring a day from now? You guessed it...those who've put their lives on the line so betas like you can freely spout off whatever Tysonian vocab and pseudo-scientific jargon you please. Celebrate by having a couple cold ones with your veteran officer father and laugh about his paraplegic comrades. Let us know how that goes over.
    You realize you're the biggest joke on SI, right?

  10. #10
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    The integer values (1-6) are meaningless... #1 isn't more significant then #6, etc.
    Using statistical methods, the wave spectrum for a particular location is broken down into "swell groups", and that is what swell1, swell 2, etc are. It isn't a perfect system, but much of the time you can see the distinct swells.