Connect to Windsurfing/Wind & Waves
The most famous winds of the world
Some winds have standard behaviors. Planet Earth is inhabited by several regional winds which appear and blow with pattern rules.
Air temperature, land temperature, water temperature, mountains and geographical locations play critical roles in the behavior of the famous winds of the world.
Windsurfers, kitesurfers and also wave-powered water sports rely on special winds to get quality surf sessions. Consistency and power are important issues when it comes to wind and board sports.
After learning what is wind and how wind is formed, it's important to know what are the best winds in your region for windsurfing, kitesurfing and even riding waves.
With good anemometers, you can easily check the wind speed and air pressure. Cloud types also tell us much about weather patterns, while the Beaufort Wind Force Scale relates wind speed to observed conditions at sea or on land.
Abrolhos: a violent squall blowing off the Southeastern coast of Brazil, between May and August.
What is wind? How wind is formed?
All sailing crafts depend on the strength and direction of the wind. Sails and kites are driven by the power of winds.
Wind is responsible for the creation of waves. As wind touches the surface of the oceans, it helps the formation of swell, sometimes far away from continental shores.
It is quite easy to understand how wind is formed. The atmosphere and its four layers rise more than 100 kilometres above the crust of the Earth.
In this aerial region - troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere and termosphere - there are several gases flowing around which, for example, help give the blue tone to our skies.
Wind is simply the result of the differences of pressure in the atmosphere. A baloon loses its air because the higher inside pressure finds less pressure on the outside and flows off.
There are three types of wind, when it comes to the duration of the blow. Short strong winds are usually called gusts. Termed squalls are intermediate strong winds and durable strong winds may be a typhoon, hurricane, storm, gale or breeze.
Physical forces such as the rotation of the Earth, Coriolis effect, geomorphology of the planet's surface, solar energy and gravity are responsible for the distribution of multiple wind systems over the globe.
The strongest wind gust ever was registered in the automatic weather station of Barrow Island, Australia, on the 10th April 1996. The local anemometer marked 408 km/h (220 knots, 253 mph) and was mounted 10 meters above sea level.
The windiest region in the world is Cape Farewell, in Greenland. Planes only flew over this Antarctica spot, for the first time, in 2008, because of the strong blows that inhabit the place.
Wind can blow anywhere, anytime and in any direction. The official measurement format for grading the power of winds are knots.
If you want to measure wind speed, it is important to use an accurate digital anemometer. There are several portable anemometers in the market.
How is a wave formed? Understanding Swell and Surf Forecasts
How is a wave formed? The surf report, the swell and surf forecasts are a result of scientific studies and weather prediction models. In order to know what type of surf we will get in the next days, it's important to learn how waves are created.
Waves are mainly a product of the wind. The best waves for surfing are the result of the interaction of winds on the surface of the ocean, far away from the coast. Wind is the first step in the formation of surfable waves.
Local shore winds can also produce waves, but they can also destroy the quality of the breaking waves. Onshore winds are typically known for creating choppy and bumpy waves because their effect is added to the direction of the wave.
In a way, offshore winds are a sort of a counterbalance. Swell comes from miles away and the ground wind works as a "pause-hold" effect on the wave face, allowing longer unbreakable waves.
Low Pressure Systems | Good Waves for Surfing
In theory, low pressure systems are responsible for creating good and strong waves. In deep low pressure systems, wind speed is greater and more waves are generated by the power of the gusts.
The friction created by these winds helps to form energy waves that will travel thousands of miles until hitting final obstacles, which means, coastal areas where we live.
If winds created in low pressure systems keep blowing the surface of the ocean for a long time, swells will be bigger because energy is accumulated in all waves produced.
Also, if low pressure winds affect a very large area of the ocean, all waves produced by the swell will have even more energy and power, resulting in even bigger waves.
From Ocean Waves to Surfing Waves | Sea Floor and Swell Obstacles
We've already analyzed the "birth" of swell and correspondent waves, but there's a large distance to be traveled by those waves. Original oceanic waves may have to run a long journey until they reach continental beaches.
Along the way, until they are ridden by surfers, these waves will have to challenge other variables. The height of a wave when it is created is not the height of the waves that is ridden by a surfer.
Waves make their way through the ocean and are affected by the differences in the ocean floor. When large volumes of water move and pass by higher sea floors, the overall energy of the swell is changed.
For example, offshore continental shelves are friction resistances to moving waves and when these waves reach coastal areas in shallow water conditions, swell has already lost intensity, energy and power.
When waves travel without obstacles, in deep water regions, they tend to reach a beachfront with huge force. Bathymetry studies the underwater depth of ocean floors and its changes over time.
In the bathymetric map, its easy to understand the highest and lowest depths on the entire planet Earth. Sea floor topography is very important to avoid disasters and accidents with ships and line cruisers.
Also, the study of sea floor can deliver precious forecasting information for your local surf spot. When waves reach shallow waters they tend to slow down. Despite that, wavelength is shortened and the crest of waves grows, meaning that the wave height rises.
Sand Banks | Increasing the Wave Crest
Sand banks, for instance, are always changing in beach breaks. Thats why the quality of the waves is better or worse through time. The sand bumps in the ocean floor allow the formation of clear and localized wave peaks, from where surfers can take off on a ride.
A new sand bank normally means a new wave peak because swell hits the sand obstacle and pumps the wave crest allowing surfable waves. Other swell obstacles are jetties, sunken boats or simply natural and artificial reefs.
Waves start wind winds and are influenced by sea floor, rainfall, tides, coastal backwash currents and local winds and sea bottoms. All these weather and geological variables result in waves for surfers, kitesurfers, windsurfers and bodyboarders.
Surf Forecasting: Wind and Wave Truths
1. Long-period waves tend to be larger and stronger
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