What is swell height?For all our forecasts we list 'swell height'. This is rarely exactly the same as the height of the waves on the beach. A report of 12ft@7secs will almost never create a 12ft breaking wave. Whereas a swell of 4ft@15secs *might* create a headhigh wave at the right spot. For many spots we now run a complex nearshore forecasting system that take much of the work out of the job of calculating the effects of this swell on the beach. For these forecasts we also list 'nearshore wave height' which, all other conditions equal (tides, banks etc) will correspond closely to the actual height of the swell just outside the surf zone. This article gives alot more information on working out the breaking wave heights from our forecast.
Many of these articles are older and some are less relevant now than the used to be. All will be replaced shortly.How it Works
Learning to Forecast
Our Swell Rating
How swell is born
Predicting surf size