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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, Winter: 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 southern hemisphere winter and is based upon 7266 predictions, one every 3 hours. The direction of the spokes show where quality surf generating swell comes from. Five colours represent increasing wave sizes. Very small swells of less than 0.5m (1.5 feet) high are shown in blue. Green and yellow represent increasing swell sizes and highest swells greater than >3m (>10ft) are shown in red. In both graphs, the area of any colour is proportional to how frequently that size swell occurs.

The diagram suggests that the most common swell direction, shown by the largest spokes, was WSW, whereas the the dominant wind blows from the SSE. 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 31 days. Open water swells exceeding >3m (>10ft) only happen 1.3% of the time in a typical southern hemisphere winter, equivalent to just one day but 15% of the time we expect swell in the range 2-3m (6.5-10ft) 15%, equivalent to (14 days). Taking into account the ratio of these swells that coincided with forecast offshore winds, and given the fact that Charleston is slightly protected from open water swells, we estimate that clean surf can be found at Charleston about 34% of the time and that surf is blown out by onshore wind 47% of the time. This is means that we expect 74 days with waves in a typical southern hemisphere winter, of which 31 days should be clean enough to surf.

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.