Waves have always fascinated people.

Watching waves breaking on the beach is something we do a lot – sometimes with anxiety during winter storms and sometimes, in the summer, with a sense of calm wonderment as the wavelets break almost imperceptibly on the shoreline.

For years, scientists and engineers who study the shoreline have wondered at the apparent fickleness of waves breaking on the shore. Of course studies have shown that the action is not random and is determined, apparently, by the physics of the nearshore  – the area of shallow water beyond the low tide mark – and the dynamics of waves in the surf and swash zones. The surf and swash zone is that region where waves crest and ends where the foamy white water barely covers our feet.

Perhaps, at times, our lives are subject to random events and actions and we’re being thrown through the surf and swash zone. Hopefully, we’ll all end in the gentle foam that leaves us resting on the sand.