Breaking Waves

Introduction

Waves in the lonely stretches of the open sea are little noticed by anyone but the occasional sailor. But once they reach shore, they become much more interesting. When waves break, or become unstable and topple forward, they thrill beachgoers and dramatically reshape the coastline.

Few people study breakers with more passion than surfers. As you investigate wave behavior in this lesson, you’ll learn that catching the perfect wave is as much a science as an art.

Click on each image below to learn how waves move and break.

Catch a Wave

Measure a Wave