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Surfers Swell Talk!

Posted by Beau Young on

© Ray Collins

In far northern NSW and southern Queensland these last few months it seems there has been an endless run of swell. Normally late January and early February see the beginnings of some cyclone activity that generate large ocean swell and amazing waves. This year has had a phenomenal amount of consistent wave activity and what appears right now to be an endless supply.

©Sean Scott Photography

Tropical cyclones in our region generally form the most powerful and strongest waves. These swells are generated by low pressure systems off our coast, a cyclone swell is generated from this pressure system and make the waves much more powerful in comparison to what is known as a wind swell.

The easiest way to explain the difference between the two swells would be that a low pressure system cyclone driven swell or what is also known as a ground swell comes from far out to sea and by the time is gets to shore it has much greater force than a wind swell.

A wind swell is much less powerful and is generally generated from a wind that pushes onto shore, much more locally isolated and without developing far out at sea it does not have the time to generate power like that of a groundswell.

Waves come in groups called sets. Swell size (wave height) varies depending the weather activity at the time. Right now there seems to be lots and lots of consistent tropical cyclone systems basing themselves off New Caledonia, which is great news for us surfers in this region!!

Please always remember to only surf waves that are suited to your ability because the ocean is a powerful thing, along with this when the waves are good the breaks are crowded so always be aware of where the other surfers are along with there surfboards. Most of all have fun!!

- Beau Young.

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