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Waihua Swell Statistics, February: All Swell – Any Wind

This picture illustrates the variation of swells directed at Waihua through a typical February, based on 2664 NWW3 model predictions since 2007 (values every 3 hours). The wave model does not forecast surf and wind right at the coast so we have chosen the best grid node based on what we know about Waihua, and at Waihua the best grid node is 49 km away (30 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 show increasing wave sizes. The smallest swells, less than 0.5m (1.5 feet), high are coloured blue. These were forecast only 55% of the time. Green and yellow show increasing swell sizes and red illustrates the largest 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 most common swell direction, shown by the biggest spokes, was S, whereas the the most common wind blows from the ENE. Because the wave model grid is away from the coast, sometimes a strong offshore wind blows largest waves away from Waihua and out to sea. We lump these in 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 surfable at Waihua, 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 February, swells large enough to cause good for surfing waves at Waihua run for about 45% 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.