Surf Terms

Mark Healey<br />Photo: John Harry Lackey
Mark Healey
Photo: John Harry Lackey

Swell: A group of waves traveling together in deep water offshore. Swells are usually generated by storms, sometimes thousands of kilometers from where the waves finally break. Because they travel great distances, these waves get organized into neat lines before they reach the beach.

Set: A group of waves separated by a lull. Sandbars: The mounds of sand on the sea floor that determine bottom contours and wave shape.

Beach break: Where the waves break over a sand bar.

Current: Moving water. Rip currents move water back out to sea, after the water has been brought landward, across a sandbar, by breaking waves.

Off shore wind: Wind coming from land. Off shore winds help form the shape of a wave. When they hit the face of a wave they can cause a feathering effect that keeps the breaker from spilling over.

Puerto Wave Map

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