Surf Waves and Global Warming

surf waves

As surf waves, they also act in certain ways. Shoalading is important to both surfing and tsunamis. Here are a few facts about these awesome surf waves.

The distance the surfers can go over a particular stretch of water defines how strong the surf is. The best way to get a feel for how strong a surf wave is to watch it hit the surf tops or the break. The closer the surfers get to the break the stronger the wave becomes. Surfers can help determine the strength of a surf by keeping a few things in mind when riding.

The Slack

A man riding a wave on a surfboard in the water

There are three distinct types of wave height, which are known as the slack, the pressure and the steepness. Each one has different factors that will affect how easily surf waves can be generated. In New Zealand, where there are many large deep troughs and deep points deep enough to generate surf waves, the best conditions for surfing often include shoaling near the breaking waves. Many surfers prefer surfing near breaks because they can ride closer to the break – which also means more shoaling.

Shallow surf is considered the most powerful and easiest type of wave breaking. This happens when the surfers are coming back from an excursion into the ocean. As a surfer comes back, he is traveling at a higher altitude, approaching deeper water and therefore creating larger wave heights. This is because the surfers are closer to the shore and therefore are generating higher waves to hit the beach. Shallow surfing is great for beginners because it is relatively easy to learn.


A person riding a wave on top of a body of water

When it comes to surfing, it is important to remember that the biggest problem is from the surf hitting the beach at too high of an angle. Waves which reach the shore too far offshore will often break and create larger surf waves which can cause problems with the infrastructure which supports swimmers. For example, the International Business Centre in Christchurch was destroyed when a huge tsunami caused a number of offshore breaks. This meant that the Tsunami could not be dealt with on time and caused massive damage to the region.

A more powerful wave known as a tidal wave can be created when the tide is too large and is hitting the coast too hard. As a result, swells of up to six feet can form. These types of waves can be particularly dangerous. However, many experienced surfers believe that a tsunami can help surfers in their career. Surfing near ocean swells can allow surfers to ride waves which would normally be too big to surf. Many have found that riding these waves gives them the experience of surfing in conditions where it would be too difficult to surf in.

The Richter Scale

Experts believe that the best place to find these waves is around the north coast of New Zealand. In 2021, a tsunami measured 9.1 on the Richter scale and came close to killing people. The country was slammed with ocean swells in the months following the disaster, but has since been able to recover.

In 2021, another massive tsunami brought heavy beach erosion and waves to coastal areas, along with more killer weather conditions. These have all led experts to believe that the increasing frequency of large ocean swells along the coastline could be linked to climate change.


It is believed that the number of breaking waves can also increase as a result of global warming. If global warming is a contributing factor to more breaking waves then there is a chance that we may see fewer and shorter surfing breaks in future years. Some surf industry professionals believe that we may not see an end to the increasing frequency of breaking waves within the next 15 years. Unless something is done to address the issue of global warming, experts believe that the frequency of breaking waves will continue to increase.

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