The Explaination

"Wave prediction is "the art" of making educated guesses as to where to surf, or whether it's worth going for a surf. These "guesses" are based upon a number of factors that are combined together, then interpreted and finally, a conclusion, or decision reached. To predict waves successfully we need to have an understanding of the earth's weather, understand how swell is generated, possess a tide table and have a good local knowledge of the area you surf (i.e. the breaks in your area and the best conditions they work on)."

Elements of Wave Prediction
Wave prediction can be divided into two facets. These are: 
· dynamic elements 
· static elements 
Dynamic elements are those that change. The change can occur over a period of few days to a matter of 30 minutes (sometimes less). Wind, swell and tides are examples of dynamic elements. It can be argued that shifting sand banks caused by wave action and long shore currents are dynamic. Sometimes changes can occur to sand banks over a couple days, but rarely do significant changes occur within this time at most sandy beaches. 
Static elements include the breaks themselves, both beach and reef breaks. These elements change over large time scales in comparison to dynamic elements. 
In wave prediction the most important factors that determine what the surf is going to be like are the dynamic elements. Secondary to this are the static elements (the breaks themselves). 

Swell Formation
Swell is produced by wind blowing over the ocean. The factors that control the size of the swell are the speed of the wind, the length of time it blows and the size, or length of the area it blows over (i.e. the Fetch). Swell sizes can be mathematically calculated using the latter parameters, but I'm not going to get into the gory details here. Have a look at the physics page for that information.


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