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We all know what waves look like from the top, they are pretty cool to watch for hours on end. But have you ever had a close look at a wave from the bottom? The beauty of these "rib vortices" forming under a wave will blow your mind

We have tried to find a simple, layman's, explanation for this phenomena but battled. This phenomena is called 'rib vortices' because of their rib like structure around the breaking wave. Vortices are essentially a swirling mass of water or air (like a whirlpool or whirlwind)  A breaking wave forms when the amplitude (highest point) of a surface wave becomes so high that the tip of the wave overturns and plunges forward. This overturning causes a swirling motion to the entire wave structure in these "rollers". Rib vortices are secondary structures that form along the edges of these rollers. It's complicated, but if you want a full scientific explanation, read this article. But we'll forgive you for just being OK (like us) without fully understanding how this works. In the mean time, we opted to just enjoy the eye candy - These images are simply incredible :) 

wave vortex

Photo: Zak Noyle


Photo: Clarke Little


Photo: Gordon Becker




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