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16 October 2014
Wales Surfing

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Pembrokeshire surf by Aled Evans


Surfing lingo explained. This section is dedicated to waves and conditions...

beach breaks - wave is formed over sand and sand bars, can shift seasonally and from storm to storm.

backwash - flood of water returning off the foreshore against incoming waves.

channel - a channel of deeper water where excess water, piled up by waves, flows out to sea.

clean - faces are unrippled - usually offshore or no wind.

cnoid waves - as waves come in to shallow water their shape changes to something called a 'cnoid' which has a short, steep crest and a long shallow trough - those are what we see as lines of corduroy.

fetch - determines the size of a wave. wind speed X time X distance.

frequency - the increase of wave period within a fetch ...a decrease in frequency is an increase in period.

ground swells - waves formed over vast distances, well formed and powerful.

glassy - describes a condition when the wave face becomes silky smooth and the wind drops to form perfect waves.

impact zone - the point where the waves break for the first time.

inside - where waves continue to break, reform, and break again if it's big enough.

lip - curling lip at the top of a wave.

line-up - just beyond the impact zone where you wait to catch waves.

outside - offshore, beyond where the waves break.

pitch - the act of the lip throwing out in front of the wave.

period - time between waves. wind swell less than about 10 seconds /approx/ 12 seconds and longer is ground swell (the energy / power of a wave is proportional not only to its height but its period).

point breaks - wave forms in reaction to the land form consistently.

reef breaks - wave is formed over an underwater reef or rock consistently.

river mouth breaks - wave forms on the sediments deposited at the river mouth, similar to beach breaks but sometimes more susceptible to change & often sharky.

section - any appreciable length of wave that has common characteristics and timing.
e.g. normally the whitewater to beat before finding the face again.

shore-break,shorey - mean dumping wave closing out on the water's edge.

soup / slop - unorganised sloppy foam.

sine waves - in deep water swells are very well-approximated by pure sine waves.

steep - refers to angle or pitch of wave face.

wind swells - waves formed close to the shore by local wind conditions, unorganised, tendency to be slop.


Phil - Nuneaton
Rip - Either a predominent current taking you along or away from the beach or where there is a current under the surface which is not obvious.

K from Cambridge
Toombstone:- A way of indentifying a surfer that has been held under. So named because one end of the board sticks out of the water and looks like a gravestone.

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