Question Sheet: Surf Watch
- What are two reasons why people would need to know or want to predict the
types of waves approaching a beach?
- Have you ever tried surfing? If you haven’t, would you like to try it? Why
or why not? If you have tried surfing, what do you like about it?
- How do surfers learn about waves and surf conditions?
- Why is wind important when making wave predictions?
- When did wave forecasting begin? Why?
- What does NOAA stand for? What role does this agency have in predicting
- Why is it hard to predict waves more than 36 hours in advance?
- Why does Julie Cox say that surfers often end up being “kind of like
- What sorts of roles can science play in sports? Give an example of a sport
other than surfing in which science helps athletes perform better. How does
- What kinds of waves are best for surfing? How would the seasons affect surf
conditions? See www.surfing-waves.com/peeling_waves.htm (Surfing-Waves.com) or en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surfing(Wikipedia).
- Why are waves typically bigger in oceans than they are in lakes? In which
regions of the world would you expect to find the largest waves? Why? See www.oceansonline.com/waves.htm(Oceanography Online).
- Besides making wave predictions, what other roles does NOAA have? See www.noaa.gov/(National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).
- Using a fan or some other means of producing wind, generate waves in a bowl
or tub filled with water. What factors seem to affect the size of the waves?
Test such variables as water depth, fan (wind) speed, water surface area, and
the length of time the fan is on. Under what conditions do you produce the
- Waves can move around and wash away sand at a beach. What factors affect the
movement of sand? See www.science-projects.com/Beach.htm (Science-Projects.com).
Certain beaches around the world are famous for their waves. Where are some of these beaches? Why are their waves of particular interest to surfers? Why are the conditions for surfing generally better along the coasts of the Pacific Ocean than along the coasts of the
Atlantic Ocean? See www.paddlermagazine.com/issues/2000_3/article_54.shtml
(Paddler Online) and dest.travelocity.com/Tips/Item/0,3295,462_TRAVELOCITY,00.html (Travelocity).
- What would you expect to find at a surfing museum? Go to the Web site of the
International Surfing Museum at www.surfingmuseum.org.
Write a review of the Web site. Is it easy to use? What sort of information does
the site include? Is there anything on the science of surfing or waves? How
would you improve the Web site?
- Write a script for a short movie about a surfing adventure or about someone
learning to surf.
A wave’s speed is the distance traveled by a given point on the wave (such as a crest) in a given interval of time. If the crest of an ocean wave moves a distance of 20 meters in 5 seconds, what is the wave’s speed?