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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, January: All Swell – Any Wind

This chart shows the range of swells directed at Charleston through a typical January and is based upon 2372 NWW3 model predictions since 2007 (values every 3 hours). The wave model does not forecast wind and surf right at the coastline so we have chosen the optimum grid node based on what we know about Charleston. In this particular case the best grid node is 38 km away (24 miles).

The rose diagram illustrates the distribution of swell sizes and swell direction, while the graph at the bottom shows the same thing but lacks direction information. Five colours show increasing wave sizes. The smallest swells, less than 0.5m (1.5 feet), high are coloured blue. These occurred only 6% of the time. Green and yellow represent increasing swell sizes and red illustrates biggest swells greater than >3m (>10ft). In each graph, the area of any colour is proportional to how often that size swell happens.

The diagram indicates that the most common swell direction, shown by the largest spokes, was WSW (which was the same as the prevailing wind direction). 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 diagram. Because wind determines whether or not waves are good for surfing at Charleston, you can select a similar diagram that shows only the swells that were expected to coincide with glassy or offshore wind conditions. Over an average January, swells large enough to cause clean enough to surf waves at Charleston run for about 76% 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.