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  1. #1

    Tidal Effects during Big Swells

    How much do you guys notice the tide effecting bigger swells (like the one hitting tomorrow)?.

    I find low-incoming the best for spots around OCMD, but with wave heights over 5' will we still have good surf in the deeper water tomorrow afternoon when the wind is predicted to be better?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    587
    It's totally dependent on the break. To keep it as simple as possible, you want the waves to break far from shore so you can get longer rides. When the waves are small my home break sucks at high tide because they break right on sand. When the swell is chest-high + it's much less of a factor, but low tide is still a bit better. It could be the other way around at other spots. To make a general statement, when the waves are big the tide is typically less of a factor.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Lewes, DE
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    Quote Originally Posted by omatto View Post
    How much do you guys notice the tide effecting bigger swells (like the one hitting tomorrow)?.

    I find low-incoming the best for spots around OCMD, but with wave heights over 5' will we still have good surf in the deeper water tomorrow afternoon when the wind is predicted to be better?
    In Delmarva, the tides are very influencial, and I agree with Mad Atom that it varies for each break. Even in Ocean City, some areas are better at lower tide and others at a higher tide. But, in general, in our area, the incoming tide is better. In Ocean City, it can often be best around mid tide, but it varies with how the sand bars are setting up and the wave period. Longer period swells often do better during a higher tide, and vice versa with shorter period swells.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Hilton Head Island - OB, SD
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    Yeah and down here on Hilton Head Island, we have the largest tide swings in the continental US. And they make or break a session. you CANNOT, ever surf here at low tide. Period. You need mid-tide incoming about 2 hours before the tides peak and then it starts crapping back out on its way out.

    Sandy was 4-6 feet and perfect 2 hours before high tide. When the tide dropped out, it was literally a lake. ANKLE HIGH.

    I used to surf many different tides in OC MD. low tide is never ideal, but you get a MUCH bigger window up there.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Singer Island
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    If you surf near an inlet, tide is important and fast changing. I like the incoming push. More energy is focused on the impact zone. If it is really big, high tide can cause backwash at certain beaches with lots of slope. This can be really fun, or it can ruin a swell. Luckily we have some reef breaks - when it is too deep everywhere else it can still be longboardable at the reef. As long as it is waist high or better.

    Youze guyz get higher/lower tides than we do down here in Florida. I always wondered if you can get a wave off a full moon incoming flood tide on a flat day up there in certain spots like Chatham or Hilton Head.

  6. #6
    Great thread and posts. Keep em coming. Not enough people check differential between tides when looking at a report. Two full moons ago I was up in Maine and it was a difference of like 11-12ft from high to low. Then you go to Rhodey and it's only 2.5ft difference at times. Tide has a ton to do with conditions and that makes windows of good surf very tight at some spots certain days.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by EmassSpicoli View Post
    Not enough people check differential between tides when looking at a report.
    Thats the one thing everybody checks..

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by KookieMonster View Post
    Thats the one thing everybody checks..
    When I'm talking "not enough people" I'm talking about the whole surfer population, not the informed, calculating ones that make up a lot of the posters on this forum. And as we know, "most" of the surfer population (including all those who surf just a couple times a season) doesn't know their arse from their ear.

    If anything, I'm saying tide IS key.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    York Maine
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    Quote Originally Posted by EmassSpicoli View Post
    Great thread and posts. Keep em coming. Not enough people check differential between tides when looking at a report. Two full moons ago I was up in Maine and it was a difference of like 11-12ft from high to low. Then you go to Rhodey and it's only 2.5ft difference at times. Tide has a ton to do with conditions and that makes windows of good surf very tight at some spots certain days.
    Spicoli raises a good point. In NewEngland mostly especially Maine (having 12 ft tides) rock reefs tend to appear as good surf then suddenly vanish with the tide making a spot entirely rocks and not surf worthy. I find that that beach breaks are more immune to the shifts of tide but it's so hard to really define it because each spot has it's own unique details.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    York Maine
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    I think the Canadian surfers in nova scotia would have some cool things to say. They deal with insane tides !