All ocean waves are orbital; which means water molecules beneath the wave are moving in a circular motion. They get smaller as the ocean gets deeper. Much of the waves we saw were capillary waves, which are the smallest ocean waves with very small wavelengths. We calculated the period of a wave by doing 1 divided by the frequency. The waves were crashing at 0.1 seconds. The waves were coming in uneasy sets because of the increasing winds from the Santa Ana River jetties located at the South end of the beach. The cause of sets is by the wind and ocean floor bathymetry.
By using a measuring tape, we were able to determine that the swells were about 3.3 feet that day and lasted for about 10 seconds. They were coming from the South and the West. South swells are usually generated from winter storms that started in New Zealand or from small hurricanes off the Mexican coast. We suppose the swells on Tuesday came from New Zealand because by checking the weather report from New Zealand that day, there was a storm happening; bringing the cool swells to the Pacific Ocean. As we walked onto the beach, the sand looked very coarse. We figured that sedimentary rocks came onto the beach