Struggling to understand how to read waves and how/why they are formed. Well Mike Young, English Masters Champion and Head Coach at Escape Surf School explains it in a simple and easy way so you can feel more confident when next entering the water.
Lets start from the beginning: Where does the swell start from? It occurs from storms that have occured out at sea; this creates wind blowing across the surface of the ocean, this is called FETCH. The further the storm is out to sea, the bigger the swell. This happens just like a pebble being dropped into a pond, it acts like a ripple effect.
Most of the storms that create our swells in the UK/Europe are generated from storms in the Mid Atlantic. This is why the surf is less consistent on the east coast especially in the months between June-August; there are fewer strms in the north sea in the summer season
In the UK and especially in Newquay, Cornwall we have a long continental shelf. This means the ocean bed is flat and continues quite far out before dropping off. This is great for people wanting to learn to surf as it creates gentle waves which are "fat" (not steep) and crumble slowly at the top. The longer the shelf the more the waves lose their energy further out at sea. This then transforms into a small green waves which is great for quick and easy learning.
If we then compare Newquay to Hawaii, Hawaii has a short continenal shelf which makes the waves a lot more high impact, which form very close to shore.
If you are looking for the best time to Learn to Surf in Newquay, Cornwall, this is Mike's suggestion.
"Over the last 5 years September has dropped off as being the best month to surf, due to the warm weather sticking around later in the year so the best time to Surf is in the month of October - March."
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