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  1. #1

    Best Swell Situations for Local Beaches

    I am hoping some here can share some of the knowledge they have learned. I have been surfing for quite some time but never really had anyone teach me about swell and the best situations for our local beaches. I was hoping someone here could let me know what the best swell direction, wind direction and bouy intervals for our local beaches is (WB, Mase, CB, Topsail, Holden, Atlantic, Emarld etc) and why. I am not looking to learn of any spots or anything but I would just like to better educate myself.
    Thanks and I appreciate any info shared

  2. #2
    here are a couple options

    Look around for older post with the same question(s) you have. There are a ton of good threads up here.

    Second, get a map and look at the direction the beach in question faces. As long as you know offshore winds are good it's not that hard to figure out what wind is good for what beach. Same thing applies with swell.

    It's not that hard to figure out. Also, when you keep your eye on a swell for a week and then you catch one of the best sessions of your life there's no feeling like it. On the other side, if you drive for hours to catch that swell and you get skunked you won't make that call again. You live and you learn

  3. #3
    I completely agree trial and error bro. figure it out yourself. if you cant...dont surf

  4. #4
    generally kure north to figure eight likes any swell from the ene through south swells... depending on the spot it'll be bigger depending on which way the beach faces (all are a little different)...4-8 ft out of the se @9-12 seconds with light wnw winds would be ideal almost anywhere around here. I really can't divulge anymore without pissing some people off... good luck

  5. #5
    swell direction probably does not matter as much as you think, at least for the common spots that i know of here in nc. what makes a difference is wind strength, duration, and direction. also the wave period and bottom topography, including tide, all play a role in the way a wave will break. what makes those epic swells? i dont know either.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Carolina Beach , NC

    Made this jerky myself...Good eh.....?

    Well, I know I am chiming in a bit late and have enjoyed reading these posts. Things like this are always good discussion....But when it comes down to it......we surf when we get it....enjoy what we have when we have it.

    As far as EI/AB.....Don't they also face almost directly south as well....which I would imagine helps them pick up swell...combined with what someone else said about them sticking further out. The bottom countours of the ocean also have alot to do with ridable surf as least power and shape. Ever notice how we will get some fun surf in WB that isn' what we exactly hoped for(especially during long period hurricane surf) , yet if you were in a certain area pretty close by on some of the same swells, or see the photos on surfcarolina's web page that were barreling left and right? The ocean gets deeper quicker after the sandbars in these areas...thus pushing harder and making it stand up better...Which I think is why a certain area (stretch of beaches) holds long period bigger swell alot better than WB....Nothing is secret around here, but if you know your area you can find super fun waves if you know where to look based on data...

    Please correct me if I am wrong.......

  7. #7
    aight look, it's all about the continental shelf. Look at google earth deeper water=power. The shelf doesn't extend nearly as far on pea as it does towards carolina beach.
    the crystal coast is sheltered like hell from swell. Sure they might get an ene wrap (granted it has to be at least 4-6ft at 12 seconds) but their swell window is relatively small. I could go into the whole refraction and reverb thing, but I'm not. If you look at the SURFABLE not rideable days of the year the obx takes first with wb/cb with a close second. This is because of the direction the beach faces. WB and cb get well over more than 90 degrees more of a swell window than ab/ei.

    Geographical knowledge is a must, but I wish people would put half the time into learning what priority, right of way, and snaking are that they put into trying to forecast the next epic swell

    also, those two waves you are talking about have little (if nothing) to do with the depth of the "sandbars" (one of those breaks doesn't break on a sandbar" It has to do with dredging.

    The effect you are talking about ( the water being pushed harder) is cause by how rapid the shoreline acsends. As a wave begins to break the bottom starts to slow down as the lip keeps truckin.

    NC beaches can only hold swell so big anyway, Any break can shut down on any swell.
    Last edited by gnargnarshredda; Feb 17, 2010 at 04:56 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Carolina Beach , NC
    Well gnargnarshredda, I will quote you and agree fully:

    "Geographical knowledge is a must, but I wish people would put half the time into learning what priority, right of way, and snaking are that they put into trying to forecast the next epic swell"

    We could wish this away until our minds can't possibly do it any longer, but unfortunately we get a lot of those people. You know what really gets me? A very reputable surf school having surf lessons, snaking people left and right, including the instructor, during some good, clean, and fun swell last summer. Just getting their students drilled and creating a hazard for those around at the time. On their site it says they focus on safety first...Well, how exactly is teaching people the wrong etiquette teaching ocean safety? Now, don't get me wrong, these people are very nice and have been ruling for a long time, but I didn't understand the logic behind that...

    Alright dukes, we were basically talking about the same thing, you just explained certain parts better. I was speaking of Wb vs. CB by the way.....And the bottom contours and slope have alot to do with why CB pitches hollower when things come together. CB in my opinion, also has more punch during better surf. What I meant was it being deeper past the sand bars, or rather a more pronounced or steeper sloping floor, thus creating a wave that jacks up do to the rapid change of depth. All of our beach breaks around here break on sand bottoms-sandbars, with the exception of sandstone in Fort Fisher. What you said is also exactly why the OBX has more punch and gets hollower....Brett Barley is proof of that with his sick volcom pipe showing....
    Last edited by respecttheocean; Feb 19, 2010 at 12:15 AM.

  9. #9
    slope.... that was the word I was looking for

    Brett Barely said it best when he said he is more scared of 10ft banks than 10ft pipe. I can't vouch for the 10ft pipe but I can vouch that 10ft banks is some scary sheet

    fort fisher is just a crazy place case of the rock formation and it sucks super bad to get washed over them

  10. #10
    So, for those of us who learn by doing, let's check out Tuesday's surf forecast for WB. I personally won't be surfing because, damn, that's cold, but it looks like it could be fun based on what swellinfo says:

    Tuesday AM the prevalent swell is 3ft @ 7 seconds, dropping off after noontime. Not great, but the swell direction being 159 degrees is favorable (SSE). Looking at the tide, it will be low at 8:41AM, so a low-incoming tide works in our favor. Finally, the wind should be blowing moderately (10kts) from the NW so offshore.

    Are the conditions likely to be flat? whitewash? small and clean? optimal for a small swell? What would be the best time to go out?

    I'd like to guess that the wind will be pushing it down, so if you were to go out on Tuesday morning, the closest to low tide you can get out to the beach the better, since the swell will fall off in the afternoon plus the wind factor.

    What do you guys think of my analysis? Are there any major factors that I missed?

    Of course, I'm not going to rely on what you say, I'll have to go check the swell on Tuesday morning to see what it's doing, but I think I'm on the right track.