Wind, Waves & Swells (Part 1 of 2)
Looking for some SUP Touring and Adventure fun around the Welsh coast?
If that is you we’re fairly certain you’d be looking gorgeous flat-water snap taken of
The Gower Peninsula, South Wales!
That said, we cannot control what the science does within the Ocean, all we can do is obey, respect, act or plan to protect ourselves. A good way to remember and take self-stock is that you are always a guest in the ocean, and anything can happen at any given moment. This includes changes in natural forces of energy pulling and pushing the water in different directions which can be assessed and categorised as Wind, Waves and Swells.
We have highlighted each below to give you an insight of how each are formed.
Wind is air in motion, and produced by the uneven heating of the earth's surface by the sun. Where the warm air rises (Land or Sea) the cold air gushes to fill the void creating a gas force we known as wind. If this process happens within the sea, where the wind gushes from the land this known as offshore winds, and the reverse cycle (wind blown to land) is known as onshore winds!
Ok, now you have a basic grasp of wind formation, how do we get to surf, well this happens due to friction between wind and surface water out in the blue ocean or can even happen inland on a Welsh lake. The continual disturbance creates a wave crest and these are known as Wind-Driven or Surface Waves. *Also it's worth mentioning that the gravitational pull of the sun & moon on earth also causes tides creating further movement within the water - we've seen it recently with Spring extreme tides here in Wales, however, we will cover this in more detail another day!
Finally, we have the Swell, you know that secondary force that pulls & pushes you whilst on the SUP which feels like someones underneath the board meddling with your touring day!
Aye! Swells are formed through a combination of wind strength, wind duration, and fetch (distance without interruption). When this happens for a sustainable period of time the build-up on the ocean surface creates significant energy which is channeled down in the murky depths underneath the surface forming deeper waves which we commonly refer to as Swells.
*Swells can even travel thousands of miles without changes in height or shape*
So there you have it, we hope you learned something SUPer lite about the weather forces today, if so, stay tuned for next weeks blog (part 2) where we will be discussing......
Wishing you all a safe & productive day