Woonona Swell Statistics, Winter: All Swell – Any Wind
This image describes the combination of swells directed at Woonona over a normal southern hemisphere winter. It is based on 7266 NWW3 model predictions since 2006 (values every 3 hours). The wave model does not forecast wind and surf right at the shore so we have chosen the optimum grid node based on what we know about Woonona. In the case of Woonona, the best grid node is 11 km away (7 miles).
The rose diagram describes 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 were forecast only 76% of the time. Green and yellow illustrate increasing swell sizes and red shows highest swells greater than >3m (>10ft). In either graph, the area of any colour is proportional to how frequently that size swell happens.
The diagram suggests that the most common swell direction, shown by the longest spokes, was ENE, whereas the the dominant wind blows from the W. Because the wave model grid is offshore, sometimes a strong offshore wind blows largest waves away from Woonona and away from the coast. We lump these in with the no surf category of the bar chart. To keep it simple we don't show these in the rose plot. Because wind determines whether or not waves are good for surfing at Woonona, 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 southern hemisphere winter, swells large enough to cause clean enough to surf waves at Woonona run for about 24% 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.