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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, September: All Swell – Any Wind

This picture shows the variation of swells directed at Charleston through a typical September. It is based on 2400 NWW3 model predictions since 2006 (values every 3 hours). The wave model does not forecast wind or surf right at the coastline so we have chosen the best grid node based on what we know about Charleston. In the case of Charleston, the best grid node is 38 km away (24 miles).

The rose diagram describes the distribution of swell sizes and swell direction, while the graph at the bottom shows the same thing 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 were forecast only 10% of the time. Green and yellow illustrate increasing swell sizes and red represents the biggest swells, greater than >3m (>10ft). In either graph, the area of any colour is proportional to how frequently that size swell occurs.

The diagram suggests that the prevailing swell direction, shown by the biggest spokes, was WSW, whereas the the prevailing wind blows from the W. 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 graph. Because wind determines whether or not waves are surfable at Charleston, you can select a similar diagram that shows only the swells that were predicted to coincide with glassy or offshore wind conditions. Over an average September, swells large enough to cause good for surfing waves at Charleston run for about 83% 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.