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China Beach Swell Statistics, Maio: All Swell – Any Wind

The figure describes the range of swells directed at China Beach over a normal May. It is based on 2838 NWW3 model predictions since 2007 (values every 3 hours). The wave model does not forecast wind or surf right at the coast so we have chosen the most applicable grid node based on what we know about China Beach, and at China Beach the best grid node is 67 km away (42 miles).

The rose diagram shows the distribution of swell sizes and directions, while the graph at the bottom shows the same thing but lacks direction information. Five colours represent increasing wave sizes. Very small swells of less than 0.5m (1.5 feet) high are shown in blue. These happened only 31% of the time. Green and yellow show increasing swell sizes and red represents the highest swells, greater than >3m (>10ft). In each graph, the area of any colour is proportional to how often that size swell was forecast.

The diagram indicates that the dominant swell direction, shown by the biggest spokes, was W, whereas the the dominant wind blows from the WSW. Because the wave model grid is out to sea, sometimes a strong offshore wind blows largest waves away from China Beach and offshore. We group these with the no surf category of the bar chart. To keep it simple we don't show these in the rose diagram. Because wind determines whether or not waves are good for surfing at China Beach, you can view an alternative image that shows only the swells that were forecast to coincide with glassy or offshore wind conditions. During a typical May, swells large enough to cause clean enough to surf waves at China Beach run for about 56% of the time.

IMPORTANT: Beta version feature! Swell heights are open water values from NWW3. There is no attempt to model near-shore effects. Coastal wave heights will generally be less, especially if the break does not have unobstructed exposure to the open ocean.