Surf-zone Kinematics

Neville John de Mestre, Gary McCoy


A new method is described for making field measurements of broken surf fronts (turbulent bores) on coastal beaches. The position of a Garmin watch attached to a bodyboarder riding the surf front is recorded every second. The results of a large number of experiments on various beaches indicate that the surf fronts are uniformly retarded. From this, the retardations and initial breaking wave speeds are then obtained. The constant value of the retardation may vary from one wave to the next. The results are applied to derive a heuristic method for determining the approximate width of the surf zone by noting the total time of travel of any broken surf front.

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