Thread: Swell period question

1. Originally Posted by burdturd
Whats up with all you retards? Someone asks a question, either answer it or don't answer it. This is the reason why these forums are practically dead.
he did answer the question, turdmo. bascom's book is one of, if not the, best book on the subject ever written. & it was written over 40 years ago. you clearly haven't read it or you wouldn't have said what you did.
"the act of self discovery provides the sauce for the meat of knowledge."

at any rate, the time between sets is generally more a function of the distance a swell travels to get to where you are b/c the distance allows the swell to organize itself into coherent packages, or "sets". faster moving waves move to the front of the wave train & slower moving waves fall to the back. given that hurricane swells are traveling a max. of about 500 miles, they don't have a lot of time to separate into distinct groups, hence the shorter time between sets. the waves that hit the north shore of hawaii every winter traverse thousands of miles of open ocean, giving them much more time in between sets, upwards of 30min. at times.

2. Hi,

I will get to updating with more tutorials sometime, when I find the time.

As for your question, it is actually a really good one, because a lot of people are a bit confused about this... When we receive a long period swell, this doesn't implicitly mean there will be a longer interval between "sets", but yet there generally is. BUT, that doesn't always mean it will be an easier paddle.

Ya, I know that wasn't helpful whats so ever, so I'll try to explain more, all though its harder without pictures.

The wave period is the time it takes for one wavelength (from one wave trough to the next) to pass a certain point in space. So, of course, a 15 second period will actually give you more time in between individual waves. And, since the source of the longer period swells are further away in the ocean, this spreads out the "set waves", so that in fact the bigger set waves are spread out further.

This, however, really doesn't imply that it will be an easier paddle. Because, for one, the longer period waves have more energy. So, if your sitting in impact zone getting worked, your might need a lot more paddle energy. And, also, when it comes to the randomness of the ocean waves at the shoreline, it doesn't always come in nice and organized like in the opean ocean. When the waves start to feel the ocean bottom, the waves are getting refracted, defracted, absorbed, deflected, blah blah blah... so there is much more randomness around the surf zone.

And one more thought, is that if you have bigger waves, then even the smaller waves during that day will be a bit harder to paddle through....

Having said all that, which prob didn't help at all, if you are surfing reef breaks with nice clearly consistent peaks and channels, then there will be much less randomness than at your average east coast beach break. Surfing a beach break on a long period ground swell, can be a hell of a paddle.

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Not always. As long period energy begins to "feel" the ocean bottom, refraction occurs causing the wave to slow down. This gives the waves behind it a chance to catch up forming a wave train. These trains create that relentless onslaught of waves you experience when paddling out. This is why you need to time your paddleouts and/or find your rips. Waves that propagate from their wind field will have a longer period than those created within the windfield (i.e. 4 ft @ 10 seconds vs 4 ft @ 4 seconds).

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period is the thing that happens usually around once a month to many of the people who post on this forum that causes them to bicker and send whiny posts back and forth. dont see how that affects your paddle out unless you spend a lot of time reading those posts on this forum and get super bummed that you lose your surf vibe

5. Originally Posted by bananadogpizza
period is the thing that happens usually around once a month to many of the people who post on this forum that causes them to bicker and send whiny posts back and forth. dont see how that affects your paddle out unless you spend a lot of time reading those posts on this forum and get super bummed that you lose your surf vibe
Not me. I am over it already.

It is called PMS.

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Originally Posted by LVl<E
a long period swell does not mean more time between "sets". It simply means that the period being 10 secs is the time usually between each wave. The longer periods as you will see give the wave more time to build in size, speed and power which leads to better waves. A 1 foot swell @ a 10 sec period will always be better than a 10 foot swell @ a 5 sec period. youll learn with experience. just pay attention.
seriously? have you ever ridden a groundswell?

the longer the period, the longer time between sets: fact

generaly the longer the period, the slower a wave actually breaks (depending where you are): fact

as for 1 ft @ 10sec being better than 10 ft @ 5 sec...........CRAZY TALK...!!!!

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Originally Posted by bb.rider
seriously? have you ever ridden a groundswell?

the longer the period, the longer time between sets: fact

generaly the longer the period, the slower a wave actually breaks (depending where you are): fact

as for 1 ft @ 10sec being better than 10 ft @ 5 sec...........CRAZY TALK...!!!!
Yeah 1 foot at 10 seconds if flat as a lake.

8. Originally Posted by bb.rider
seriously? have you ever ridden a groundswell?

the longer the period, the longer time between sets: fact

generaly the longer the period, the slower a wave actually breaks (depending where you are): fact

as for 1 ft @ 10sec being better than 10 ft @ 5 sec...........CRAZY TALK...!!!!
10ft @ 1 sec= Sponger heaven.

9. Originally Posted by bb.rider
seriously? have you ever ridden a groundswell?

the longer the period, the longer time between sets: fact
I agree..Longer period swells have travelled a much longer distance and have had a chance to group into "sets" with longer gaps in between the sets. Anyone who surfed 16-20 sec. swell in the pacific knows it. You wait, and wait,...then comes the 8 wave set...then you wait, and wait. Paddling out in between sets is pretty easy. But your never really sure if you paddled out far enough until that first set arrives.

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Wave energy from a tropical storm along the East Coast is not just (for example) a wave or set of waves that are all 7 feet @ 14 seconds. A tropical system such as Danielle pulses producing different wave sizes and periods. Mother nature is never that cut & dry but lord knows Sean Collins has down an excellent job figuring it out. The buoys will report the primary data, & if you look, secondary data. This is why on a rockin swell the inside is breaking, the outside is breaking, & then you have your cleanup sets!!!!!!