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  1. #11
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Lewes, DE
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    Quote Originally Posted by seldom seen View Post
    Basically, if the spot you are surfing is within the fetch that is generating the swell then that is windswell. If you are not in the fetch then it's groundswell. Either way, it's still just a label we attach to it.
    That is where the term "wind waves" came from, as being from the area that is generating the waves. The term ground swell is not actually a scientific term. No Oceanography books use that term, and I don't really like it, because its not very meaningful. All swells reach the bottom at some point, and the longer the wave period, the further in depth the wave energy will be. But, on Swellinfo, we use the descriptive terms as text categories, but of course all the integer values are there as well. Putting the linguistics aside, the wave period is what is meaningful.
    Last edited by Swellinfo; Dec 3, 2013 at 04:33 PM.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    Turtle Island
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    Thanks SI...not sure how that quote happened w/ my name but that's Valhalla's, don't wanna steal his thunder.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    In the embrace of HIS noodly appendage!
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    147
    Quote Originally Posted by Swellinfo View Post
    That is where the term "wind waves" came from, as being from the area that is generating the waves. The term ground swell is not actually a scientific term. No Oceanography books use that term, and I don't really like it, because its not very meaningful. All swells reach the bottom at some point, and the longer the wave period, the further in depth the wave energy will be. But, on Swellinfo, we use the descriptive terms as text categories, but of course all the integer values are there as well. Putting the linguistics aside, the wave period is what is meaningful.
    When you get right down to it, almost all the waves we surf are "wind waves". Windswell, groundswell or whatever you want to call it all starts from winds blowing on the water's surface. Sure there are other non-wind related waves one can surf. Tsunamis are caused by seismic disruptions. A standing wave is caused when the path of flowing water is disrupted. And you can have a tidal bore caused by the incoming tide. Few of us surf those so, for the rest of us, we are all surfing wind generated swell. It has always seemed quite arbitrary to me to say that groundswell is, say, 15 seconds (or whatever number you choose). So if it's 14.5 seconds it's now windswell? Please. Besides, to me, groundswell is kind of a poor term. It seems to imply that it is generated by the ocean floor or something...

    As Swellinfo says, swell period is where it's at. A smaller swell height with a longer period is definitely preferable to the opposite. It will always have more energy.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    In the embrace of HIS noodly appendage!
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    Quote Originally Posted by seldom seen View Post
    Thanks SI...not sure how that quote happened w/ my name but that's Valhalla's, don't wanna steal his thunder.
    Seldom, go ahead and steal all the thunder you want, bro. I seek no glory by posting on the forum of a surf predictin' site. Besides, that was somebody else's definition. I just don't recall by whom or in which thread.

    Also nice to see another thread make it to the second page while still on topic and not being degenerated with wisecracks and name calling. Probably just jinxed it...

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    MB 07750
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    I've surfed 1 ft @14 seconds in NJ

  6. #16
    It's all relative. If your in the South Pacific you could use the swell info key of determining the type of swell. Down here in tejas we get pumped on 8 and 10 second swells. Sure some may laugh and make snide remarks. But if it's lined up from jetty to jetty how can I complain? That's my groundswell....

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    sea
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    1,344
    ok lets start with windswell.the weakest of all swells,can pop up for afew hrs and disappear,its basically local winds blowing offshore.
    medium period swell(I could b wrong but..)is alocal storm moving across the Midwest to the east,a typical noreaster.its basically a nice sized low pressure system and when it moves offshore it gets epic.i prefer winter storms medium period over summer/fall hurricane groundswells.my state doesn't handle long period swells that good and its usually a giant closeout at the peak of the storm,and becomes surfable as it drops a few ft

    ok groundswells,the mother of all swells.thats a hurricane far far away that sends groundswell through 100s of 1000s of miles of open ocean.its a long period,and handles well off of large piers.

    most giant xxl surf storms u see are groundswells.like I said I prefer a good winter south swell.south swells brings lots of current,while north swells are very fair and less rippy.also cant forget tide conditions..in new jersey,hightide usually breaks right on the beach,and its the type of days where as soon as u get to the shorebreak,the bottom drops off immediately.low tide is a barrel breaking in a foot of water a couple dozen yards out.hope that helps

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    VA Beach
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    929
    Quote Originally Posted by Valhalla View Post
    To me whether you call a swell windswell or groundswell, short, medium or long period is all just semantics....
    ....Bottom line, my process for getting some surf: Check the forecasts then the cams, go to my spot(s) and finally get out in the water. Sometimes it's better (or worse) than it looks even from shore. I say, if in doubt, always go out. I have never regretted paddling out for some waves.
    A refreshingly good surf-related topic.
    Good input, Valhalla. Thanks.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Monmouth Beach, NJ
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    2,416
    Quote Originally Posted by stinkbug View Post
    I have found 9-10 seconds seems to be the best for NJ.
    That's right on, IMO. Depending on size and direction, 10 sec. can be about as good as it gets at my local. Longer period than that and weird things start to happen with refraction... a lot of it having to do with Hudson Canyon in Northern Monmouth.

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Chadwick
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    yesterday the surf forecast here was @9 seconds and the swell table was @10 seconds but the buoy was @5 seconds.

    can you please explain what this means? why was the buoy reading such a shorter period than the surf forecast and the swell table?