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Gull Rock Swell Statistics, January: All Swell – Any Wind

The figure shows the range of swells directed at Gull Rock through an average January. It is based on 2868 NWW3 model predictions since 2007 (values every 3 hours). The wave model does not forecast surf and wind right at the coastline so we have chosen the most applicable grid node based on what we know about Gull Rock. In this particular case the best grid node is 51 km away (32 miles).

The rose diagram describes the distribution of swell directions and swell sizes, while the graph at the bottom shows the same thing but lacks 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 79% of the time. Green and yellow illustrate increasing swell sizes and biggest swells greater than >3m (>10ft) are shown in red. In each graph, the area of any colour is proportional to how often that size swell was forecast.

The diagram indicates that the prevailing swell direction, shown by the biggest spokes, was SW, whereas the the prevailing wind blows from the SSE. Because the wave model grid is away from the coast, sometimes a strong offshore wind blows largest waves away from Gull Rock and out to sea. We combine these with the no surf category of the bar chart. To keep it simple we don't show these in the rose graph. Because wind determines whether or not waves are clean enough to surf at Gull Rock, you can select a similar diagram that shows only the swells that were predicted to coincide with glassy or offshore wind conditions. In a typical January, swells large enough to cause surfable waves at Gull Rock run for about 9% 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.