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Surf Break Rating

Rate Otama


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Otama Swell Statistics, May: All Swell – Any Wind

This image shows the variation of swells directed at Otama over a normal May. It is based on 2838 NWW3 model predictions since 2007 (values every 3 hours). The wave model does not forecast surf and wind right at the shore so we have chosen the best grid node based on what we know about Otama. In this particular case the best grid node is 32 km away (20 miles).

The rose diagram describes the distribution of swell directions and swell sizes, 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 59% of the time. Green and yellow represent increasing swell sizes and red represents biggest swells greater than >3m (>10ft). In either graph, the area of any colour is proportional to how often that size swell occurs.

The diagram indicates that the prevailing swell direction, shown by the largest spokes, was ENE, whereas the the prevailing wind blows from the WSW. Because the wave model grid is out to sea, sometimes a strong offshore wind blows largest waves away from Otama and offshore. We combine these with the no surf category of the bar chart. To avoid confusion we don't show these in the rose plot. Because wind determines whether or not waves are clean enough to surf at Otama, you can select a similar diagram that shows only the swells that were forecast to coincide with glassy or offshore wind conditions. During a typical May, swells large enough to cause surfable waves at Otama run for about 3% 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.