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Surging Wave - Help With Identification And What Does It Tell Me About The Beach?


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#1 Wannabelifeguard

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Posted 23 February 2020 - 08:00 PM

So, I have been trying to learn how to interpret beach conditions. It is easy to recognise spilling waves and plunging waves, but surging waves are a little harder (possibly because there are no surging waves - hence why I can't identify them).

 

I am aware that a surging wave is essentially a wave whose bottom half is unable to support the top half and so it essentially slides forwards and the whole wave collapses. 

 

Questions:

 

1. Can a surging wave start to break as a plunging wave before the bottom gives out?

2. When the bottom of a surging wave gives out, does it always look foamy?

 

The waves that I think might be surging waves begin as plunging waves and then they rush forward as white foam. But I can't tell if that is simply from the plunging wave crashing down or if it is the bottom of the wave collapsing and rushing forward as the top of the wave also comes down. Basically the only reason I suspect that I am seeing a surging wave is because these waves I see rush forward like I have read surging waves do. So for example, I mean see a couple of waves that are clearly plunging waves and then suddently the plunging wave comes forward further and faster than the previous waves...

 

Another question: what does a surging wave tell me about the beach (other than that the water is deep)? Deep want is not necessarily dangerous water right? Especially as it sounds like surging waves would push you towards safe. My interpretation would be a beach with surging waves (and no rocks) would be reasonably safe for adults because even if you get in to trouble the waves will bring you in to shore - kind of like a reverse rip current.



#2 Thoth101

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Posted 24 February 2020 - 04:37 AM

It must be nice to be at the beach! I do love waves and riding them. I am not so sure of your question but I do know the deeper the water the easier chance you have to get caught up into a rip current.



#3 Wannabelifeguard

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Posted 25 February 2020 - 02:40 AM

Thanks for your response. The trouble is, how can you tell the water is deep before getting in?

 

I guess if you see surging waves you should stay away - and maybe even for plunging waves...


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#4 Thoth101

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Posted 25 February 2020 - 03:25 AM

Thanks for your response. The trouble is, how can you tell the water is deep before getting in?

 

I guess if you see surging waves you should stay away - and maybe even for plunging waves...

 

You changed your name? :omg:

 

Your welcome. If you are at a beach most of the time it is shallow until you get a little farther out. I usually head for the wave if I see it surging.lol! I really have no fear of the ocean I grew up going to it every summer. About how many feet or the waves? Or we talking 2-3 feet or 10-15?



#5 Wannabelifeguard

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Posted 25 February 2020 - 03:55 AM

I am new to the forum and my name has been the same for the 24-48 hours I have been a member... perhaps you are confusing me with someone else?

 

Beaches are different, so there are certainly beaches that are shallow until you get further out - but other beaches get deep very quickly. You will often see spilling waves at beaches that have a gentle slope. A spilling wave is where the top of the wave kind of "spills" down the front of the wave.

 

However, on the beaches I grew up on, we had a lot of plunging waves. A plunging wave is one that curls down. The top falls over and forward of the lower part of the wave. You can sometimes see surfers surf inside the "barrel" of the wave. These beaches got very deep basically immediately. We would often have shorebreaks (so the wave is literally breaking on the beach) and it would be an immediate drop off if you went in.

 

A surging wave would indicate even deeper water...

 

In any case, I don't think that the issue is deep or shallow water. What matters (among other things) is the deepness relative to the surrounding water. So even if the water is shallow at half a yard in depth, you are still in danger if the surrounding water is is only quarter of a yard deep. Sorry, I am not too familiar with feet/yards. But I recall that a yard is very close to a metre so I will use that as a measure of depth.

 

So I certainly know enough to figure out where there is deep and shallow water. But I don't know enough to figure out whether the water is deeper in one area relative to another area. That is where you are going to find the rips - and people do get dragged out in shallow water rips often.


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#6 Thoth101

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Posted 25 February 2020 - 04:07 AM

I am new to the forum and my name has been the same for the 24-48 hours I have been a member... perhaps you are confusing me with someone else?

 

Beaches are different, so there are certainly beaches that are shallow until you get further out - but other beaches get deep very quickly. You will often see spilling waves at beaches that have a gentle slope. A spilling wave is where the top of the wave kind of "spills" down the front of the wave.

 

However, on the beaches I grew up on, we had a lot of plunging waves. A plunging wave is one that curls down. The top falls over and forward of the lower part of the wave. You can sometimes see surfers surf inside the "barrel" of the wave. These beaches got very deep basically immediately. We would often have shorebreaks (so the wave is literally breaking on the beach) and it would be an immediate drop off if you went in.

 

A surging wave would indicate even deeper water...

 

In any case, I don't think that the issue is deep or shallow water. What matters (among other things) is the deepness relative to the surrounding water. So even if the water is shallow at half a yard in depth, you are still in danger if the surrounding water is is only quarter of a yard deep. Sorry, I am not too familiar with feet/yards. But I recall that a yard is very close to a metre so I will use that as a measure of depth.

 

So I certainly know enough to figure out where there is deep and shallow water. But I don't know enough to figure out whether the water is deeper in one area relative to another area. That is where you are going to find the rips - and people do get dragged out in shallow water rips often.

 

Yes sorry, I definitely did confuse you with somebody else. :laugh: I am not even sure how or why.lol!

 

Can I ask what country you are in? Maybe that would help. I have only dealt with US beaches such as Ocean City, Maryland and San Francisco also Santa Cruz. No matter Pacific or Atlantic here they are pretty much the same.

 

Wherever you are at they sound pretty fun. Do you know how to swim out of a rip current if you get stuck in one? I had to do it a few times. To bad for buddy he didn't know how and the life guards had to fish him out. :laugh: He got sucked out pretty far to.


Edited by Thoth101, 25 February 2020 - 04:08 AM.


#7 Dubbelosix

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Posted 25 February 2020 - 04:30 AM

You could investigate the Bejan number and various other dimensionless number quantities related to fluid dynamics that can further help concerning various dynamics of how waves propagate in the water. There is even the water droplet experiment taken to be the analogue of pilot waves.
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#8 Dubbelosix

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Posted 25 February 2020 - 04:32 AM

Water is deeper in some areas, but that depends on the drag of gravity from the moon, and chaotic events from the surrounding fluid medium. Obviously raising water levels will also affect this. So there are many things to look at. The drag of the moon on surface waves here on Earth, is also a direct implication of gravity being soley a drag phenomenon of the pseudo force.
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#9 Wannabelifeguard

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Posted 25 February 2020 - 04:32 AM

Yea, I am from New Zealand - so we are literally surrounded by beaches. We have beaches of every type. I have been to safe ones and dangerous ones. 

 

I know how to swim out of a rip, though it is not always as easy in practice and some rips are stronger than others. Nowadays there are two main methods. Basically you should try to swim to the side. But if this does not work, you should follow the "three Rs": Relax, Raise your hand to signal for help, Ride the current out until it weakens and then swim out. 

 

I had trouble finding some good examples of the beaches in the places you listed (Ocean City is the coolest name for a city I have ever heard), but looking through Youtube and Google images, the breaches I saw looked reasonably safe. They had small plunging waves (deeper than a beach with spilling waves), but the plunging waves started further out (suggesting the water is still shallow enough for a wave to form) and there were no shorebreaks (which means it is possible to be in the water without risking being close to deep water). The picture of a Maryland beach here: https://www.planetwa...-ocean-city.jpg makes me think I could probably identify a rip on this beach if I was watching the waves in real life.... 


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#10 Thoth101

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Posted 25 February 2020 - 04:50 AM

Yea, I am from New Zealand - so we are literally surrounded by beaches. We have beaches of every type. I have been to safe ones and dangerous ones. 

 

I know how to swim out of a rip, though it is not always as easy in practice and some rips are stronger than others. Nowadays there are two main methods. Basically you should try to swim to the side. But if this does not work, you should follow the "three Rs": Relax, Raise your hand to signal for help, Ride the current out until it weakens and then swim out. 

 

I had trouble finding some good examples of the beaches in the places you listed (Ocean City is the coolest name for a city I have ever heard), but looking through Youtube and Google images, the breaches I saw looked reasonably safe. They had small plunging waves (deeper than a beach with spilling waves), but the plunging waves started further out (suggesting the water is still shallow enough for a wave to form) and there were no shorebreaks (which means it is possible to be in the water without risking being close to deep water). The picture of a Maryland beach here: https://www.planetwa...-ocean-city.jpg makes me think I could probably identify a rip on this beach if I was watching the waves in real life.... 

Nice! I know a couple people from New Zealand who I met on forums. Although I haven't been there yet. Yes to be part of where the sun rises first.

 

You definitely got it all down with the rip currents and all. Ocean City is great and it has a cool boardwalk also. Yea the waves don't get that big and you can only mainly boogie board in them. Not much waves for surfing but I love boogie boarding also. I am hopefully going to take a trip there this summer. I used to live 4 hours away from it now it is about 16 hours.lol! Are the waters at New Zealand warm or cold?


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#11 Wannabelifeguard

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Posted 25 February 2020 - 05:14 AM

The Ocean City beach looks really cool. Do you get American crocodiles up there or is it too far north?

 

Boogie boarding is pretty cool, I have never tried surfing. Just boogie boarding or swimming. 

 

The water in New Zealand is cold in the south but you can get warmer water in the north. Overall I would consider most beaches to have cooler water. I have never been in a warm water beach - even as a kid when we went on holiday.

 

New Zealand is a temperate country but as you get towards the upper North Island things start to look and feel a bit more sub-tropical.

 

The problem I am having is I have been unable to identify rips at beaches where the lifeguards have put out signs stating that there are rips there. Even though I know to look for the calm patches of water. My best guess is that the signs were put out earlier on in the day when a rip was visible and then with the changing tide the rip went away - but the signs were not taken down.

 

Have you ever swam in Florida? Never understood how people can swim there given the risk of crocodiles... 


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#12 Thoth101

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Posted 25 February 2020 - 05:38 AM

The Ocean City beach looks really cool. Do you get American crocodiles up there or is it too far north?

 

Boogie boarding is pretty cool, I have never tried surfing. Just boogie boarding or swimming. 

 

The water in New Zealand is cold in the south but you can get warmer water in the north. Overall I would consider most beaches to have cooler water. I have never been in a warm water beach - even as a kid when we went on holiday.

 

New Zealand is a temperate country but as you get towards the upper North Island things start to look and feel a bit more sub-tropical.

 

The problem I am having is I have been unable to identify rips at beaches where the lifeguards have put out signs stating that there are rips there. Even though I know to look for the calm patches of water. My best guess is that the signs were put out earlier on in the day when a rip was visible and then with the changing tide the rip went away - but the signs were not taken down.

 

Have you ever swam in Florida? Never understood how people can swim there given the risk of crocodiles... 

I am sure you would enjoy Ocean City. As far as I know most of the Crocodiles and Alligators are in Florida. I think some maybe even in South Carolina. Not so much in Maryland. It gets a little to cold for them in the Winter.

 

Surfing is fun and a heck of a workout. I always wanted to try those 20 foot waves in Hawaii. That would be an amazing ride. Also very scary.lol!

 

The water was very cold in Northern California. I imagine you have to wear a wet suit there in New Zealand. I do like warmer water better for the ocean the only problem is if it stays warm to long a lot of jelly fish come out and they are never fun to step on and some people are allergic to them. Although I would rather them sting me then a shark bite me.lol!

 

So it is opposite in the US where the farther south you go the warmer it gets. From South Carolina down to Florida it is mostly warm all year. Is there any other lifeguards that can give you some tips on that?

 

I want to go to Florida! I haven't been there but one of these days!!



#13 Wannabelifeguard

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Posted 25 February 2020 - 05:51 AM

I never would have thought that surfing is much of a workout. Might be time to give it a go.

 

I think if I lived in the United States I would go straight to the swamps to look for Alligators (but not crocodiles).

 

Hawaii certainly has some awesome waves (based on the TV show Hawaii Five Oh), but I would imagine they are too dangerous for inexperienced people like me. Beginner surfers usually start on spilling waves and work up to plunging waves - the ones in Hawaii that I saw are huge plunging waves.

 

No need to wear a wetsuit here. It is not that cold. I would say it is cold i when you first enter the water. Then you get used to it... then after half an hour you will want to come back in and sunbath because the cold is starting to get to you.

 

Because I have never been in warm tropical waters, it is hard to imagine what it is like. Probably not as warm as a bath, and presumably it still feels cold for the first 20 seconds until your body adjusts.

 

I don't know any lifeguards - unfortunately summer is coming to an end and they will no longer be at the beaches. I did ask them some questions the last couple of times I went - but that was mostly about the shape of the beach underwater (it has a very deep drop off - which explains the shorebreaks) - I did not want to bother them too much incase it distracted them.


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#14 OceanBreeze

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Posted 26 February 2020 - 03:09 AM

So, I have been trying to learn how to interpret beach conditions. It is easy to recognise spilling waves and plunging waves, but surging waves are a little harder (possibly because there are no surging waves - hence why I can't identify them).

 

I am aware that a surging wave is essentially a wave whose bottom half is unable to support the top half and so it essentially slides forwards and the whole wave collapses. 

 

Questions:

 

1. Can a surging wave start to break as a plunging wave before the bottom gives out?

2. When the bottom of a surging wave gives out, does it always look foamy?

 

The waves that I think might be surging waves begin as plunging waves and then they rush forward as white foam. But I can't tell if that is simply from the plunging wave crashing down or if it is the bottom of the wave collapsing and rushing forward as the top of the wave also comes down. Basically the only reason I suspect that I am seeing a surging wave is because these waves I see rush forward like I have read surging waves do. So for example, I mean see a couple of waves that are clearly plunging waves and then suddently the plunging wave comes forward further and faster than the previous waves...

 

Another question: what does a surging wave tell me about the beach (other than that the water is deep)? Deep want is not necessarily dangerous water right? Especially as it sounds like surging waves would push you towards safe. My interpretation would be a beach with surging waves (and no rocks) would be reasonably safe for adults because even if you get in to trouble the waves will bring you in to shore - kind of like a reverse rip current.

 

 

Whether a wave is a surging wave, plunging wave, spilling wave or collapsing is determined mainly by the slope of the sea floor but is also dependent on wind conditions, the tides and many other factors. In fact, waves seldom fit neatly into one of the four mentioned categories but are usually some superposition of several of them.

I could write a book about waves, and indeed many books have been written on this subject; but I will just steer you to these two links that I think you may find helpful.

 

http://labman.phys.u...ater_waves.html

 

https://www.surferto...-breaking-waves



#15 Flummoxed

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Posted 26 February 2020 - 03:29 AM

Rip currents are normally formed when there is a current flowing along a coast or when non uniform depths are found along a beach where waves are hitting a beach. Waves are pretty chaotic in nature. If you zoom in or take your snorkel mask and look at the movement of the sand, even in a linear wave on a even beach, you will see minute rip currents forming, the water will flow from a beach in the direction with the least resistance ie to towards the deep area. If a section of beach is deep and a section is shallow you will experience currents towards the deep area. 

 

Watch those Mako sharks of Auckland, they bite:) Cracking sailing you have down there around the bay of islands, and the coromandel peninsula, never got to south island due to the inclemency of the weather.