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Where do the waves come from?

Norbert Ferenczi
27 of July 2023
Where do the waves come from?

You must have enjoyed a good amount of waves already but have you ever wondered. Where do those waves coming from?

In this article we reveal the origin of those mind blowing waves. 

When we talk about waves we must talk about swell first. Before your wave actually became a rideable moving force ,there was swell. Swell is an open ocean wave. It hasn’t broken yet, it’s created by the transfer of energy from the wind into the ocean.

As the swell  nears the shore,sandbank, perhaps the reef, its bottom is slowed down so much that its top overruns it and falls with a crash, churning up a line of foam. 

But from how far the swell is coming from is crucial for the quality of the waves. By distance we separate windswell and groundswell.


are most of the time not prefered by surfers. When you are surfing waves generated by windswell , you are surfing local storms. This means you are right in the middle. You can feel the wind and waves are appearing very sudden as it blows. Many times not having time to react quick enough and position yourself. 


are coming from a long distance ,perhaps from the middle of the Atlantic ocean and the energy of the storm goes all the way until the coasts. These waves are mostly well organized with a good distance in between them and more noticeable from far away to the surfers. 

To give you examples:

Denmark has a sea but because of the lack of distance, waves can only come from relatively close to the shore, so they are going to be mushy and most of the time neither the right size to surf. That is one of the reasons why people don’t buy tickets to Denmark to surf. On the other hand if we have Portugal as an example, the possibility is huge to receive storms from further away and from different directions. That is why it’s one of the hottest destinations to get your ticket and ride those picture perfect waves from youtube