ANATOMY OF A 66-FOOT WAVE

posted by / Magazine / January 6, 2004

HEIGHT: 66 feet
PERIOD: 18 sec.
BREAKING DEPTH: 20 feet
DISTANCE TRAVELED: {{{600}}} mi.
DEEPWATER SWELL HEIGHT: 15 feet+
DEEPWATER WAVELENGTH (distance from crest to crest): 1660 feet
DEEPWATER SPEED: 55 knots or 92.2 feet per second (1 knot =1.151mph = 1 minute of latitude per hour)

SHALLOW WATER WAVELENGTH: 457 feet
SHALLOW WATER SPEED: 15 knots
“It’s interesting. The wavelength and speed decreased to one fourth their values, while the wave height quadruples — basically, the shallow depth forces all that wavelength energy to condense, which then stacks up to increase the height.”
HORSEPOWER: over 1600 horsepower per foot of length. This ride was 150 yards, which transfers into {{{720}}},000 horsepower. That’s the equivalent of 1920 {{{Ferrari}}} 355 F1s or 6545 {{{Ford}}} Escorts.
KILOWATTS: 12,680 kilowatts per foot or 5,706,000 kilowatts for the entire wave — enough power to light up the Eiffel Tower for 11 years.
VOLUME IN CUBIC FEET: 1700 cubic feet per foot x 450 feet = 755,000 cubic or 5.6 million gallons of water, enough to fill 22 Olympic sized swimming pools

Calculations and comments by Dr. Lee Harris, Ocean Engineering Program, Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne Beach, Florida

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