Extreme Nomads is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn More

Are you wondering if square waves are actually a thing? Well, they are extremely rare, but they do exist. They make the ocean look like a giant chessboard.

Don’t they sound too gorgeous to exist? That is what I thought when I first heard about them.

After some research, I learned there’s more to them than I thought. According to the “internet,” you need to get out of the water if you encounter them. And that they can be extremely dangerous for swimmers and surfers. But how true is that?

I’m here to guide you about that and much more. So keep reading, and let me help you find more about the square waves, so you don’t have to keep scrolling.

Don’t worry! After reading this article, all your questions and queries will be resolved. So let’s begin.

What Are Square Waves?

square waves

A square wave is also known as a cross-sea wave. It is formed when two opposing swells collide from opposite directions. Those waves are from different weather systems.

The angles of collision of those waves are 90 degrees. As a result, they form a square-shaped wave. This results from the intersection of two seas, forming a gorgeous grid-like pattern.

A beautiful quadrilateral-shaped pattern is formed on the ocean. This is pretty rare, so consider yourself lucky if you have witnessed square waves. Note that it is not only present on the surface level. There is an entire grid underneath that surface as well. And makes square waves dangerous.

Are Square Waves Dangerous?

square waves in ocean

If you have heard about square waves, you would have heard that they are dangerous too. Most people would advise you to get out of the water immediately.

Although this is a very rare phenomenon, there is obviously a chance of it happening. So, what should swimmers do in that case?

As the square waves are from two opposing swells from two different directions, they can result in mighty currents and rips. But you don’t need to be scared at all if they are small.

Only the huge and powerful square waves are dangerous. You can still enjoy surfing if you are an experienced surfer. Surfing on a square wave is very similar to surfing on wedges.

What Happens If You Swim in Square Waves?

what do square waves mean

The cross-seas can swell up to as high as 10 feet during square waves. These cross waves are way more powerful than regular sea waves.

So, if you don’t want to get into a big problem (I know you don’t want to transition your best holiday time into a nightmare), I would advise you to get out of the sea immediately when you witness square wavers.

It is never a good idea to risk your life and continue swimming when you notice square waves. I’d rather advise you to witness this captivating view from a considerable distance.

If you don’t care about the view, don’t be offended. The square waves last for only a few minutes and then disappear. You can resume swimming and surfing in just some minutes.

It’s better to learn from a detailed surfing guide to take your experience to the next level with safety.

What Causes Square Waves?

what are square waves

As I mentioned earlier, it s all about the converging angles the cross waves have while colliding. If the sea waves in the ocean are at a right angle to each other and are from opposing weather stations, it will result in forming square waves.

The surface of the open ocean gives a really splendid look. Don’t miss the view if you ever get a chance to see square waves.

Furthermore, it is not just about the superficial surface. This whole pattern is actually present underwater too. There’s a ginormous pattern of symmetric square wave grids beneath the surface. They soon start to lose energy as they continue to tra,vel and after a while, they vanish completely.

How to Stop Cross Sea Square Waves?

why are square waves dangerous

This epic, rare natural phenomenon is not in our control. You cannot change or divert it. So it is better to either be ready and get away from water immediately. It is a game of different angles forming a mighty square wave.

Whether you are going to start sailing, swimming, or surfing, be ready for such an encounter. It can prove to be a lifesaver if you already know about it.

Once you get stuck with the powerful square waves, it is tough to escape. And 10 feet high swells can really be a problem if you ignore them.

There is no way of stopping those strong waves. But the silver lining is that you don’t have to wait long for them to settle down. You can enjoy the view from the shore.

Where Are Square Waves Found?

squares in the ocean

There is a high chance of viewing square waves where two oceans meet. This is because, at such places, the direction of the flow of water is such that it can form those squares. Yet, this scene is pretty rare, and consider yourself lucky if you get the chance to view it.

Very eager to witness it? I’ve got your back. There are some famous places for watching square waves.

One of them is the coast of la Rochelle, located in France. Although square waves in la Rochelle occur only during a certain time of the year, the place is worth visiting. It is a very common tourist attraction.

The chances of these grid waves are also greater in Gordan Beach, Tel Aviv, Isreal, and Lisbon, Portugal. Don’t miss the chance if any of these places are closer to you.

Square Waves And Shipping Accidents

what does square waves mean

The square waves are amazing only when they are not that strong. If they become powerful, they can result in havoc. These epic waves are responsible for many ship accidents. Shipwrecks and boating accidents are pretty common due to these waves.

This has been happening a lot because there is a combination of waves in different directions. This results in producing severe rolling. And the ship loses its balance, and accidents happen. Square waves have been resulting in the sinking of many ships.

The ESA (European Space Agency) has reported many shipwrecks due to these cross-sea square waves. It is not difficult to figure out the square pattern in the sea. The squared sea pattern is visible from the top of a lighthouse or a cliff. This pattern is very prominent too.

Final Verdict

Strong square waves can prove to be extremely dangerous for both ships and swimmers, and surfers. No matter if you are a pro at swimming, you can’t escape them if they are powerful. So, it is advised to evacuate the sea if you spot such waves.

This was all about what are square waves. I hope you found the article helpful and interesting. Enjoy your time in the sea.

Just make sure you are not in the water when square waves occur. That was all about square waves for today. Stay safe and enjoy!

Categories: Surfing


Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

en_GBEnglish (UK)