Inlets effect on surf

Discussion in 'All Discussions' started by EmassSpicoli, Mar 15, 2014.

  1. EmassSpicoli

    EmassSpicoli Well-Known Member

    Apr 16, 2013
    Ok so I can read up on all the marine science but want to get the anecdotal experience and knowledge from you guys on how inlets interact with the ocean to produce or fail to produce good surf conditions. LBCrew, et al, this one's for you.

    How does it potentiate points at its entrance, interaction with tides, rips and currents, etc. drops the knowledge on us buoys!
  2. KillaKiel

    KillaKiel Well-Known Member

    Feb 21, 2012

    If I am not mistaken, inlets typically have at least a jetty. The jetty makes a rip next to it. The jetty stops the flow of sand in a "dead area" so to speak. In other words, sand congregates. The rip pulls sand and extends the bar and helps make it more consistent and flatter thus making a better surf spot! Now take this knowledge to Congress and build a new jetty at your next oceanfront spot!

  3. EmassSpicoli

    EmassSpicoli Well-Known Member

    Apr 16, 2013
    Thanks K2. Any other surf scientists here want to add?
  4. Swellinfo

    Swellinfo Administrator

    May 19, 2006
    There is a lot of dynamics that come into play with inlets.
    1) The currents flowing in and out of the inlet influence the swells
    2) The sand transportation is greatly influenced by inlet structures.
    3) The currents flowing in and out influence sand/ocean bottom depths from this current

    These are all influential, but Id say the current could have the biggest impacts as it interacts with the ocean swells in a fairly intricate. Each inlet has varying current dynamics and influence on sand transportation, so its hard to make a generalization for all inlets, but here are some common features:

    Inlets are likely to have sand built up on the side in which the average long shore current is coming from. For, example, in Delaware the longshore current is from south to north, so on the south side of the Indian River Inlet, sand builds up along the inlet rocks.

    Flood tide (incoming) tends to focus swells into the inlet, whereas ebb tide (outgoing) can have the opposite effect.

    Inlets jettiies/rocks can produce wave reflection and create side waves and mutant waves, like the Wedge in Newport, CA.
  5. LBCrew

    LBCrew Well-Known Member

    Aug 12, 2009
    Anecdotally, I've never really seen an inlet that didn't produce better surf than the surrounding beaches in the immediate area... the downdrift side better than the updrift side. Which makes sense because the surf zone bottom profile on the downdrift side has more sandbars.

    There are all kinds of natural inlets, and geomorphologists have tried to classify them down to a few basic types... I think four. Then there are inlets that have been stabilized by hard structures. They're all fairly complicated systems, but there are some basic generalizations that hold true for both natural and "man-made" inlets: The net movement of sediment is out the inlet, where the sediment forms deltas or shoals/sandbars, which are transported by longshore currents and deposited on the beaches by wave and tide action under normal conditions. During storms, the net movement of sand is back up the inlet, where it's deposited in the inlet itself or in the back bay or lagoon. This sediment should find it's way back out the inlet eventually, where it will be returned to the shoals and sandbars (mostly on the downdrift side), and later beaches. If this process does not happen fast enough, and the inlet is not navigable, we dredge them.

    When we develop the land around lagoons and bays, build bulkheads, pave over soils, etc., we cut off the source of sediments that would normally flow out the inlet and ultimately find its way to the ocean shoreline, nourishing our beaches. Without that sediment source, the net movement of sand is changed from a zig-zagging, inshore-offshore, along with constant lateral longshore drift, to only downdrift via longshore current. This results in a net loss of sediments from beaches.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2014
  6. cepriano

    cepriano Well-Known Member

    Apr 20, 2012
    I don't know much about inlets,but I know squan usually breaks way better than everywhere else.i think its a rivermouth with a jetty,and rivermouths always produce good waves.i do know during big swells,the best place to be is on the inside of the inlet near jenks,always huge waves breaking but no takers.
  7. wcec

    wcec Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    why can't all forum discussions be this relevant and informative thanks you science...
  8. Heywood Jubleume

    Heywood Jubleume Active Member

    Mar 16, 2014
    Ok smart guys, how come I always drift south (mostly) ? I surf the North side of an inlet, and I'm always drifting south towards the jetty. It don't matter if it's two foot and light winds, or if it's 4.8 foot at 19 seconds with 15 mph south winds - I'm always drifting south. Oh, the best peaks aren't right off the jetty rather about 30 yards south of said jetty. But man, I'm always drifting south no matter what the swell/wind direction be.

    Yeah, answer me that one smart guys.

    Spicoli, are you, like, taking a doctorate class on surfing or something? Oh man, isn't there some quote from Point Break alluding to that? Like, that little crew cut girl says to Johhny Utah...." You always have this intense look on your face, like, you seem to be doing a school project or something......."

    Oh snap, Spicoli is an FBI agent. I AM AN F-B-I AGENT

    Wow, that would explain a lot. The constant travels both domestic and foreign, and the desperate attempt to learn all that is surfing within one year's time. He might be trying to take down Sid Abruzzi's stronghold on the Rhode Island surfing scene. Sid Abruzzi invented punk rock. I know you guys like the punk rock.

    God, I love the internet. It has just made everything so much better.
  9. brek

    brek Well-Known Member

    Jun 17, 2008
    You'll find if you are on the other side of the inlet, you will drift in the other direction towards that jetty. You always drift towards a jetty because gravity.

  10. ChavezyChavez

    ChavezyChavez Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    A seal keeps popping up at my break. I named him Heywood last week. My break is not all that far away from your inlet. Are you Heywood the seal?
  11. Heywood Jubleume

    Heywood Jubleume Active Member

    Mar 16, 2014

    No, I'm not a seal though I did play one on TV back in the 1950's. I was, also, on the classic show FLIPPER. May I suggest to the Floridians to check that show out. You guys will be stoked. Like, totally.

    I saw a new seal last Sunday, several miles south of world class Sandy Hook. He didn't just stare at me like the other one. He would pop-up and then immediately dive down. He seemed to be on a mission. Oh man, On A Mission, a classic surf company founded by pro surfing darlings. Sweet.

    Chavez, you should come up to my spot sometime. You like foxes? The waves suck but the scenery is awesome.
  12. LBCrew

    LBCrew Well-Known Member

    Aug 12, 2009
    I think from about Barnegat south, the longshore current goes southward, and north of Barnegat it goes northward.

    Makes a kind of natural dividing line between "north jersey" and "south jersey."

    What is a Barnegat, anyway?
  13. Heywood Jubleume

    Heywood Jubleume Active Member

    Mar 16, 2014
    Yeah, but sometimes it's south at 20+ and I'm drifting south, man !! Totally whacks-me-off. Oh, some days I drift in the appropriate direction, and those days please me. But good Lord!! And there's always a drift there no matter size, direction nor wind. Luckily, I learned how to align myself with markers on the beach by reading Spicoli's, Intro to Shredding, Brah Vol. 1

    Hey, what is a Loveladies?

    Without using our computers, that is a good question, LBC. What is a Barnegat? Maybe Spicoli will discover the meaning during his doctorate dissertation on SURFING.

    I do know that legend has it Nags Head had something to do with tying lanterns to beached horses to lure or warn people about the approaching shoreline. That's pretty cool, especially the luring part.
  14. seldom seen

    seldom seen Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2012
    Hi Heywood, awesome post man.
  15. ChavezyChavez

    ChavezyChavez Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    Yeah man, I haven't been to your spot in a long time. My brother in law has seen the fox in the dunes there but I didn't believe because he used to be high 24/7. A fox once sh!t on my deck in South Nags Head. I just got back from Wildwood. I'm happy because I did not get arrested for once. That town is like being in a Hunter S Thompson novel. Fear and loathing in Wildwood.
  16. Heywood Jubleume

    Heywood Jubleume Active Member

    Mar 16, 2014
    Now, I haven't been to Wildwood in a long time. See how that conversely works? It's been so long I don't know how I feel about Wildwood these days. Ah long past days of Diamond Beach, skee ball, Mack's pizza and birch beer. Yeah, I'd like to get high for 7 of 24 hours and tool around the boardwalk.

    Listen, if any of you guys want, you get me high and I'll hang out on the boardwalk with you.

    I had a fox defecate on my flops on the beach two summers ago. I swear. That fox was a little whacked-off. It looked like a junky with HIV, and it was acting like Courtney Love. I watched it from the water.

    Ha, it would approach people, and some people, at first, thought it was a dog (EL PERRO). Then they realized it was a fox and then they jumped. Ha ! Good times Good Times. It happened around 9:00 am so the lifeguards weren't there to save us. Then it eventually went were my beach footwear were sitting. I watched with apprehension on my face. Well, yup, fox defecated on my slaps, flops, sandals thingamajigs.

    Oh Chavez, believe your brother-in-law. You bes' believe him as thems foxes are there. They are there.
  17. Swellinfo

    Swellinfo Administrator

    May 19, 2006
    It happens at our inlet as well, and it has to do with the current moving in and out of the inlet due to the tides. You will probably notice a big difference in that current between incoming and outgoing.
  18. Heywood Jubleume

    Heywood Jubleume Active Member

    Mar 16, 2014
    Oh, I made a big boo boo in that original post. It should have said: The best peaks are 30 yards NORTH of said jetty. Man, botched that one. I get confused sometimes.

    Yeah, I reckon the tides are responsible. I couldn't even say about one tide or the other because the intensity of the drift changes every twenty minutes. Everything changes every twenty minutes. The place is skitzo. Maybe that's why I like it.

    But why?

    I'm conditioned to paddle out expecting to drift the way God intended. 14 years later and I'm still stubborn about it all. My spots before maintained the natural order of things, albeit they were just jetty spots with no inlet. But no American should be drifting on a two foot glassy day.
  19. DawnPatrol321

    DawnPatrol321 Well-Known Member

    Mar 6, 2012
    This is something I can believe in.
  20. EmassSpicoli

    EmassSpicoli Well-Known Member

    Apr 16, 2013
    SI admin brah and LBCrew -

    Priceless stuff, thanks brads! Next question: what if a rock reef was situated just outside one of the entrance points of the inlet? Would that take from sandbar and point (if jetties were present) activity resulting from the inlet functioning you've described?