The 3 power sources of a wave

We’re switching things up a bit & are diving into some new topics to give you a better understanding of how the ocean & waves work. I find having an understanding of all the wider aspects of surfing really help round you out as a surfer & general waterperson.

To kick things off, let’s have a look at the 3 power sources of a wave.

You may have heard that the pocket is the power zone, & that’s absolutely right, but if we go one step further we’ll see 3 different sources of power within this zone:

An illustration of the wave's forward movement
  1. The wave's forward movement

Maybe a bit obvious, but waves are just energy moving through the ocean & simply by putting yourself in front of it, it will push you along.

In order for this to work, the wave needs to be breaking (or about to break) with the pocket of the wave having the most push.

Hydrofoils are an exception where the wave doesn’t even have to break – instead the foil taps into this same energy but below the surface.

An illustration of gravity on a wave
  1. Gravity

Often taken for granted, gravity is what pushes you down the face of a wave. The bigger & steeper the wave, the more gravity will come into play eg. at takeoff, the 2nd half of top turns, or as part of pumping down the line.

An illustration of water drawing up the wave face
  1. Water drawing up the face of the wave

Perhaps the least known source of power is how water gets drawn up the face of the wave as it breaks. The steeper the wave, the faster water gets drawn up.

When at the bottom of the wave, if you compress & lean on rail to build pressure against this power source & then release, you’ll get a boost of speed. This source can also be used to climb up the face of the wave on a log (see tip 17).

So there ya have it – the 3 power sources of a wave.

💬 The 1st one’s a bit of a no brainer, but what’d you think of the 2nd and 3rd sources?

🙏 Enjoying this series? Share the stoke & buy me a beer! 😄🍻

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