Understanding the Ocean Course

CHOOSE either a one day introduction or a two day comprehensive course on everything that creates the swells you ride. From internet forecasting to swell propagation. No previous knowledge required. Taught by Tony Butt.

Tickets £50 for the weekend or £25 for just Saturday's introduction. Cornwall College Tolcarne, Tolcarne Beach, Newquay. Buy them HERE.

Part 1 - The Basics: Saturday 4th Sept 2010, 10:00 to 16:00 (what is a wave, swell formation, propagation, breaking waves, basic forecasting)
Part 2 - Further Understanding: Sunday 5th Sept 2010, 10:00 to 16:00 (further forecasting, geology, directional spectrum)

Who is it for?

Surfers and other coastal water-users, with or without any previous mathematical or scientific qualifications

What would you get out of it?

An insight into where the waves come from, what happens to them as they travel towards the coast and why they are the way they are when we surf them, in addition to some knowledge into how to read weather charts, how wave-forecasting models work and how to make the best of the forecasting resources. The course does not lead to an academic qualification of any sort and there are no exams or certificates at the end.

Prerequisites: None.

Number of places: Minimum 30, maximum 40

Price: £25 or £50

© 2017 - Marcelo Diaz

Session 1: Saturday 10:00 to 13:00

1. Introduction and basic concepts
• Who am I and what's this course all about?
• Anatomy of a wave: height, period, wavelength etc.
• Journey of an energy packet, from the Sun to your surfboard

2. Generation of waves on the ocean surface
• Where do the waves we ride come from?
• How waves grow out of the ocean surface
• Why waves don't just keep growing forever

3. Swell propagation in deep water
• The difference between swell and windsea
• Swell dispersion
• Real swells propagating from the storm centre

© 2017 - Juan Fernandez.

Session 2: Saturday 14:00 to 16:00

4. Grouping
• The formation of wave groups (sets) in deep water
• Individual wave speed and group speed
• The strange properties of wave groups

5. Approaching the coast
• The slowing down of waves as they hit shallow water
• Refraction: how waves bend around reefs, points and sandbars
• Height transformation: why waves 'jack up' before breaking

6. When the waves break
• Why do waves break?
• When will a wave break?
• Breaking wave profiles and factors that influence the profile

7. Summary and questions

© 2017 - Inigo Guillonnet

Session 3: Sunday 10:00 to 13:00

8. Coastal geology
• Basic principles: how the waves move the sediment
• The importance of feedback
• The formation of beach sandbars: two- and three-dimensional
• Rivermouth sandbars: why they are so special

9. Wave forecasting 1: history of wave forecasting
• What did we do before the internet?
• The all-important isobar chart: analysis and forecast charts
• Development of the first numerical wave models
• Empirical models v. models based on real physics

10. Wave forecasting 2: modern wave forecasting
• How they do it nowadays
• Public access to data
• Why the information they give us sometimes isn't quite enough
• Examples of typical problems

Session 4: Sunday 14:00 to 16:00

11. Wave forecasting 3: the directional spectrum
• What is a spectrum and why is it so important?
• Bandwidth: the sea doesn't just contain waves of a single period
• Directional spread: the waves don't just come from one direction
• Dissecting the directional spectrum
• Practical examples

12. Summary and questions

Book now HERE and stop guessing, start knowing.

Ed Temperley

MSW editor. Instagram @edtemperley