Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surf_break

    A surf break (= break / shore break / big wave break) is a permanent obstruction such as a coral reef, rock, etc., that causes a wave to break, forming a wave that can be surfed, before it eventually collapses. The nature of the seabed determines the shape of the wave and type of break. 


    A point break refers to the place where waves hit a point of land or rocks jutting out from the coastline. The bottom can be made of rocks, sand, or coral. 

    A beach break takes place where waves break on a usually sandy seabed. A shore break is a wave that breaks directly on, or very close to the shore. This happens when the beach is very steep at the shoreline.

    A reef break happens when a wave breaks over a coral reef or a rocky seabed. In Australia these open ocean reefs are sometimes called Bombora or 'Bommie' waves, after the aboriginal word for offshore reef, 'bombora'. Sometimes reefs which occur in open ocean but which do not breach the surface are also called 'Banks' (e.g. Cortes Bank off Californi a).

    'Shipwreck breaks' usually form from sand build up over totally or partly submerged shipwrecks.

    A rivermouth break breaks at or near the entrance to a river or creek. The bottom is usually sand, but can be pebbles, rocks, or even coral reef. They are sometimes called 'Bar' breaks because of the way the sand piles up along the shoreline.  


    As opposed to obstructions which cause waves to break, surfable waves are sometimes defined by the nature of their generation.

    Swell waves : ocean swells form from the longer term amalgamation of wind-generated waves on the surface. The stronger the wind,  the longer the area over which it blows, the larger the swell.

    Wind waves : If large enough, local wind-generated chop can be surfed in certain conditions.

    Ship waves are created by a large ship (an oil tanker) :  although rare, surfable tsunami waves from earthquakes have been recorded.

    Also found are Backwash and Sidewash waves (formed from the returning backwash of a wave which has previously gone up a steep shoreline)

    Some rivers can also exhibit a surfable wave 'front' during flash flood events, particularly within narrow canyons. It is technically a wave front, but may be classified as a 'surf break'.

    Tidal Bore waves form where strong tidal currents enter a river or deltaic system,

    Rogue waves are a specific type of rare open ocean wave which is generally defined as being more than twice the significant wave height, and may be up to 30m or more in height.


    barreling wave : Fr. Rouleau.

    Rogue wave : Fr. Vague scélérate.

    ·      Another website for surfing glossary:          


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