Friday, February 10, 2012

Surf Glossary: C

Caught Inside
A circumstance in which a surfer is trapped between the shoreline and breaking waves. This usually means the surfer will have to wait for a lull between the larger breaking waves for a chance to slip into clear water.

Central Pressure Index (CPI)
The minimum atmospheric pressure in the eye or center of a hurricane, which is used to estimate the wind velocities in the storm. The lower the CPI, the faster the wind speeds.

Bumpy ocean and wave conditions that are rough due to strong winds and/or currents. Wind velocities are usually over 12 knots to create choppy conditions.

Good surfing conditions with decent wave energy, a smooth or glassy ocean surface and very little onshore wind. Offshore winds blowing into the faces of the waves can create clean, groomed conditions.

Clean-up Set
A much larger wave or a set of waves, which breaks further outside than normal. A clean-up set usually "cleans" the line-up of surfers caught further inside.

When all parts of the wave-down the line or crest of the wave-break at the same time. (Opposite of closeouts, the ideal waves for surfing are ones that break from one side to the other so the surfer can angle across the face of the wave.)

Combo Swell
A combination of swells from varying directions, which will create peaky and crossed up conditions as the waves merge together. Combo swells are great for most beachbreaks but break up the perfect lines at most reef and point breaks.

A surf condition when waves are coming in very frequently and in predictable quantities.

Continental Shelf
The underwater shelf extending from a continent out to sea to a depth of about 165 fathoms or 1,000 feet. Long period swells of about 20 seconds will begin to feel the ocean floor at about 1,000 feet.

A line on a map or chart representing points of equal value compared to datum or starting point. An isobath is a line connecting points of equal depth below a datum to measure bathymetry, and an isobar when used to represent atmospheric pressure.

Describes the vision of a series of swells marching in from the horizon.

The end sections or shoulders of waves. A term usually used on the more closed out days when surfers try to find shoulders or corners to ride.

The top part or lip of the wave or swell.

Older term used to describe the concave face of the wave just before breaking; the area just before the barrel. ("Shoot the curl" was a popular longboard expression from the '60s.)

An atmospheric closed circulation rotating counter-clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.

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