A beach is a landform alongside a body of water that is composed of loose particles such as sand, pebbles or rock. Unlike a shore, which is broadly defined as the area between land and water, a beach is specific to a particular body of water such as an ocean, lake or river. Beaches are constantly changing, being shaped and formed by wave action and weathering that is continuously wearing away or depositing material. This accretion or erosion creates different textures, colors and gradients of materials along the shore.
Beaches are usually dominated by fine to coarse grained sediments and are formed through a complex process that requires the interaction of many natural processes over long periods of time. This process begins with the weathering of rocks. Once the rocks have been worn down by wind and water they are then carried downstream until they reach the coastline where they are deposited as sand or gravel. Beaches are also influenced by the availability of material, its size and state of compaction, the speed and turbidity of the flowing water, the presence or absence of vegetation, and the strength of the winds.
In addition to influencing the formation of beaches, beachfront flora can play an important role in preventing erosion and stabilizing the sand dunes by trapping sand particles from the flowing water. In addition, flora with network root systems such as sea grasses and palms can act as a barrier to the inland movement of dunes.
One of the most fascinating aspects of a beach is the shape and size of waves that break on it. When we think of a surf break we often imagine the famous world class right-handers such as Jeffreys Bay in South Africa, Chicama in Peru or Pavones in Costa Rica. The reality is that there are many different types of surf breaks ranging from small, hollow waves to large mushy waves.
A beach can be a beautiful place to relax but it can also be a dangerous place for wildlife and humans. The sand, rocks and other debris found on a beach can cause injury or even death to animals such as birds, dogs and cats that run into the surf or are swept out to sea. The sand can also be slippery, making it difficult for humans to walk across.
Indulge in your sense of adventure by exploring the many wonders of a beach. With the beach as your playground, you can practice your balance and coordination, exercise your core, and enjoy a whole new level of outdoor fun and excitement. Whether you are an experienced paddler or just starting out, there is a beach board for every skill level and budget. Wider boards offer greater stability and tracking ability while smaller, narrower boards provide more maneuverability and are better suited for beginners.