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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: All Swell – Any Wind

The figure illustrates the combination of swells directed at Charleston over a normal August and is based upon 2480 NWW3 model predictions since 2006 (values every 3 hours). The wave model does not forecast wind and surf right at the shore so we have chosen the optimum grid node based on what we know about Charleston, and at Charleston the best grid node is 38 km away (24 miles).

The rose diagram describes the distribution of swell sizes and directions, while the graph at the bottom shows the same thing but without direction information. Five colours represent increasing wave sizes. Very small swells of less than 0.5m (1.5 feet) high are shown in blue. These occurred only 11% of the time. Green and yellow represent increasing swell sizes and largest swells greater than >3m (>10ft) are shown in red. 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. Because the wave model grid is out to sea, sometimes a strong offshore wind blows largest waves away from Charleston and offshore. We lump these in with the no surf category of the bar chart. To simplify things we don't show these in the rose plot. Because wind determines whether or not waves are clean enough to surf at Charleston, you can view an alternative image that shows only the swells that were predicted to coincide with glassy or offshore wind conditions. During a typical August, swells large enough to cause surfable waves at Charleston run for about 84% of the time.

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.