Thursday, May 21, 2009


Many beaches are very popular on warm sunny days. Many flock to beaches such as Joss Bay beach in southern England despite its reputation for unpredictable and wet summers. In the Victorian era, many popular beach resorts were equipped with bathing machines because even the all-covering beachwear of the period was considered immodest. This social standard still prevails in many Muslim countries. At the other end of the spectrum are topfree beaches and nude beaches where clothing is optional or not allowed. In most countries social norms are significantly different on a beach in hot weather, compared to adjacent areas where similar behaviour might not be tolerated.

In more than thirty countries in Europe, South Africa, New Zealand, Canada, Costa Rica, South America and the Caribbean, the best recreational beaches are awarded Blue Flag status, based on such criteria as water quality and safety provision. Subsequent loss of this status can have a severe effect on tourism revenues.

Due to intense use by the expanding human population, beaches are often dumping grounds for waste and litter, necessitating the use of beach cleaners and other cleanup projects. More significantly, many beaches are a discharge zone for untreated sewage in most underdeveloped countries; even in developed countries beach closure is an occasional circumstance due to sanitary sewer overflow. In these cases of marine discharge, waterborne disease from fecal pathogens and contamination of certain marine species is a frequent outcome.


A beach is a geological land form along the shoreline of a body of water. It usually consists of loose particles which are often composed of rock, such as sand, gravel, shingle, pebbles, or cobble. The particles of which the beach is composed can sometimes instead have biological origins, such as shell fragments or coralline algae fragments.

Beaches often occur along coastal areas, where wave or current action deposits and reworks sediments.

Although the seashore is most commonly associated with the word "beach", beaches are not only found by the sea or ocean: beaches also occur at the margin of the land along lakes and rivers where sediments are reworked or deposited.

The term 'beach' may refer to:
small systems in which the rock material moves onshore, offshore, or alongshore by the forces of waves and currents; or
geological units of considerable size.

The former are described in detail below; the larger geological units are discussed elsewhere under bars.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Beaches as Habitat

A beach is an unstable environment which exposes plants and animals to changeable and potentially harsh conditions. Some small animals burrow into the sand and feed on material deposited by the waves. Crabs, insects and shorebirds feed on these beach dwellers. The endangered Piping Plover and some tern species rely on beaches for nesting. Sea turtles also lay their eggs on ocean beaches. Seagrasses and other beach plants grow on undisturbed areas of the beach and dunes.

Ocean beaches are habitats with organisms adapted to salt spray, tidal overwash, and shifting sands. Some of these organisms are found only on beaches. Examples of these beach organisms in the southeast US include plants like sea oats, sea rocket, beach elder, beach morning glory aka Ipomoea pes-caprae, and beach peanut, and animals such as mole crabs aka Hippoidea, coquina clams aka Donax, ghost crabs, and white beach tiger beetles.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Surf Mania

Surfing refers to a person or boat riding down a wave and thereby gathering speed from the downward movement. Most commonly, the term is used for a surface water sport in which the person surfing is carried along the face of a breaking ocean wave (the "surf") standing on a surfboard. Surfboards can also be used on rivers on standing waves. Both are sometimes called stand-up surfing, to distinguish it from bodyboarding, in which the individual riding the wave does not stand up on the board, and only partly raises his upper body from the board.

Two major subdivisions within contemporary stand-up surfing are reflected by the differences in surfboard design and riding style of longboarding and shortboarding. In tow-in surfing (most often, but not exclusively, associated with big wave surfing), a surfer is towed into the wave by a motorized water vehicle, such as a jetski, generally because standard paddling is often ineffective when trying to match a large wave's higher speed.

Depending on wave size, direction, and on wind conditions, also sailboats surf, namely on larger waves on open sailing waters. Unlike "surfers", sailors usually do not surf in beach waves, and they usually do not go out in order to surf; instead, the wave and wind conditions may let them boat surf while during a sailing trip. More recently, the same principle of craft-based surfing has been increasingly used by kayakers, notably in the sport of playboating, which is mostly carried out on rivers.

Surfing-related sports such as paddleboarding and sea kayaking do not require waves, and other derivative sports such as kitesurfing and windsurfing rely primarily on wind for power, yet all of these tools may as well be used to ride waves. Recently with the use of V-drive boats, wakesurfing has grown. Surfing behind a boat is done by riding the wake created by the boat.