1. What Kind of Ocean Wave is It?

There are several kinds of ocean waves. Wind waves are generated by the wind. They can be small or large depending on many factors. Strong winds traveling over great open expanses of ocean create the biggest waves. Wake are waves created by a passing boat. Ocean swell are large, rounded, flat crested waves. Tidal waves are waves created from the gravitational pull of the moon, the sun and the earth. A tsunami is an enormous wave caused by an undersea earthquake.

2. Anatomy of a Wave:

The peak of a wave is the crest. The lowest point of a wave is the trough. Wave length is measured from crest to crest between two waves while wave height is measured from the crest to the trough of one wave.

3. How Do Waves move?

Waves move vertically up and down. The water in a wave is not actually moving forward much at all, although it appears to. Waves travel in sets of 5 to 7 with a slight pause between sets. The ocean floor and the shoreline play a large role in how waves move in relation to land. As the ocean floor becomes shallower the waves become steeper and will crest as they reach shore. The shape of the shore line can cause the waves to bounce back or refract which creates more movement on the water. As the waves bend around headlands it can create very calm areas near the corners of beaches. When the wind is opposing the movement of the tide the waves will be higher than if it is moving in the same direction.

Stay tuned for our next post where we will explore how ocean waves effect your sea kayak outing.

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