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Charleston ratings
Quality on a good day: 5.0
Consistency of Surf: 3.0
Difficulty Level: 3.0
Crowds: 4.0

Overall: 3.8

See all 18 ratings

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Surf Report Feed

Charleston Swell Statistics, August: Surf with Light or Offshore Winds

This image shows only the swells directed at Charleston that coincided with light winds or offshore conditions through a typical August. It is based on 2480 predictions, one every 3 hours. The direction of the spokes show where quality surf generating swell comes from. Five colours illustrate increasing wave sizes. Blue shows the smallest swells, less that 0.5m (1.5 feet) high. Green and yellow illustrate increasing swell sizes and red shows largest swells greater than >3m (>10ft). In both graphs, the area of any colour is proportional to how commonly that size swell happens.

The diagram implies that the most common swell direction, shown by the biggest spokes, was WSW, whereas the the most common wind blows from the SSW. The chart at the bottom shows the same thing but without direction information. For example, swells larger than 1.5 feet (0.5m) coincided with good wind conditions 34% of the time, equivalent to 11 days. Open sea swells exceeding >3m (>10ft) are unlikely to arise in a normal August but 15% of the time we expect swell in the range 2-3m (6.5-10ft) 15%, equivalent to (5 days). Taking into account the proportion of these swells that coincided with forecast offshore winds, and given the fact that Charleston is slightly protected from open water swells, we calculate that clean surf can be found at Charleston about 34% of the time and that surf is messed up by onshore wind 50% of the time. This is means that we expect 26 days with waves in a typical August, of which 11 days should be surfable.

IMPORTANT: Beta version feature! Swell heights are open water values from NWW3. There is no attempt to model near-shore effects. Coastal wave heights will generally be less, especially if the break does not have unobstructed exposure to the open ocean.