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Angles of the Reef and How they Change the Wave micro-lesson

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Learning time​

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This lesson is about angles of the reef and how they create surf waves. Waves have all different shapes, and, in this lesson, I will explore what makes waves surfable. As the waves approach the shallow reefs, this is what makes it surfable or not. Because waves can come from different angles, we need to pay attention to the direction of the wave. If a wave actually hits the reef directly perpendicular, this is not the kind of wave we can surf, and this is actually called a closeout. Surfers want waves that actually hit at a slight angle. This is what causes it to peel. It's actually the slight angle that makes the waves start at one end and gradually go in one direction or the other which is what we are able to surf. These waves here all hit the reef at a very slight angle which means they go from left to right in a uniform way. Surfers want the correct wave direction so that they hit the reef at the slight angle and allow us to surf the breaking wave just like this wave seen here.

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Answer time

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  • Waves that approach shallow reefs are usually surfable if they hit the reef at what?

    1) A shallow angle
    2) A steep angle
    3) A perpendicular angle
    4) An oblique angle
  • What is a wave called that hits the reef directly perpendicular?

    1) A closeout wave
    2) A surfable wave
    3) A breaking wave
    4) A uniform wave
  • Waves peel (or move uniformly from one side to the other) because they hit the reef at a slight... ?

    1) Shallow angle
    2) Steep Angle
    3) Oblique angle
    4) Perpendicular angle
  • Can surfers surf close out waves?

    1) No
    2) Yes
  • Surfers want waves that go from one side to the other in a uniform way because it allows us to surf the breaking wave.

    1) Yes
    2) No
  • This video talks about angles of waves hitting reefs, is the same true for waves that hit a sandy bottom?

    1) Yes
    2) No

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Meet your educator

Our micro-courses are developed and delivered by qualified educators from around the world.

Sarah Sanchez Medrano

Sarah Sanchez Medrano

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