Wave Tattoo Meaning, Design & Ideas

Nature has its way of impacting us is ways that can be positive or negative. From the winds that provide us the means to cool down or the means to tear up a home in a tornado, to fire which can heat us or burn things to the ground, nature is very temperamental.

This is why nature has been worshipped since the beginning of time. The sheer power it possesses lets us know that we are not in control. In the case today, we are talking about water and more specifically, the wave. Waves are formed from a mixture of things, but they can provide us a lot of good times and things like electricity if you harness the power. Waves can also destroy whole cities if they are big enough. This is why many people try to harness the power of the wave by getting it tattooed on their body.

The wave tattoo is extremely symbolic, and it has a great deal of meaning. Not only does the wave tattoo symbolize many traits, it also looks great and it is important to many cultures around the world. Everyone respects the ocean and the waves that it is able to create and by getting your own wave tattoo, you can try to get some of that respect as well.

In this post we are going to talk about wave tattoo meanings and what it symbolizes for those that choose to have the image immortalized on their skin. We will also talk about what this image means in different cultures and how it might be tattooed in different variations. We hope you take something from this post, so you feel more informed about waves going forward.

Facts About Waves

When talking about waves, we usually think of water. Those crashing waves that land on the beach. You might also think of waving your hand back and forth to say hello to somebody. If we are being technical, the definition of a wave in terms of physics is a disturbance that travels through matter and space while transferring energy along the way from one spot to another. If you are studying waves, know they move energy and not matter.

In everyday life, there are waves all around us whether we are talking light waves, sound waves or waves in the water. In terms of this post, we are focusing on ocean waves because this is what we usually see when looking for wave tattoos.

In terms of waves breaking, there are four different types of them including plunging waves, surging waves, spilling waves and collapsing waves. The reason why they break is because when a wave goes into a shallow area, the bottom of the waves actually starts to slow down and the top of the wave is moving at a faster speed. At the point that the wave depth is around 1.3 times the height of the wave, the top of the waves will break.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the heights of waves vary much more than the waves in the Southern Hemisphere. Because of this, surfers get powerful swells in the wintertime while getting small waves during the summer.

You’ve got the waves that surfers enjoy but then there are things like tsunamis, which destroy homes and families. Generally, the length of a tsunami is somewhere around 100 times the depth of the wave. Because of this, the speed that the wave travels is around 440 mph which is how fast a jet plane moves. Knowing this, you can see how devastating a tsunami can be.

On a positive note, scientists have learned how to harness the energy of the wave and turn it into energy that we can all use in our everyday lives. IN 1799, Girard & Son created and patented an apparatus that would take that wave power and turn it into energy for things like heavy machinery, mills, saws and pumps. It is said that the potential of wave power in the States could be around 2.64 trillion kWh. This means that soon, around 65 percent of the energy being used by Americans could be coming from the power of the wave. Portugal is the home of the first farm that is only powered by wave energy.

Wave Tattoo Meaning

The wave tattoo can also serve as a symbol of a passion. Someone who is passionate about their job, their family, or even life in general might find the wave tattoo to be perfect for them. This is considered to be a personal tattoo design since many observers will not recognize this wave tattoo meaning initially. Of course, the owner of the wave tattoo could add in a few more designs around the wave to make the meaning a bit more clear.

A high-arching wave can be designed in many different ways, namely realistically or with simple line work. More realistic images have less contour lines and more shading, often with sky in the background to emphasize the wave in the foreground. Some people will get this type of wave tattoo for its beauty alone, while others will use one of the other wave tattoo meanings and choose to get a more realistic wave to give it a bit more life.

Simpler wave images contain more definitive lines, moving closer towards illustration all the way to minute line work. These are considered to be classic wave tattoos and are unsurprisingly popular with people who life simpler tattoo designs. Using definitive lines does not take anything away from the wave tattoo meaning, but instead makes each meaning a bit more subtle; this might be what the owner of the tattoo is going for.

Smaller waves with less detail convey a tone that is less intense than a design with more intricacy. Again, this doesn’t mean that these wave tattoos are less meaningful. It just means that the owner prefers the wave tattoo design that is more understated. It’s a design preference rather than being an alternative meaning.

Wave Tattoo Variations

Waves, rendered very simply or with incredible detail, are a representation of the ancient and natural undulation of the Earth’s oldest resource. The image of a wave is a symbol of the daunting power of the ocean as well as the calm waters that lie beneath.

Unsurprisingly, people who love these things about the ocean might want to get some form of the wave tattoo. These tattoos can be small enough to fit on the hand or large enough to cover one’s entire back. There are nearly endless possibilities with this type of tattoo since there are so many wave tattoo meanings and design choices to be made.

Nature Scene Wave Tattoo

Most wave tattoos are pictured on their own or they’re accompanied by a horizon scene in the background. In most cases, a wave on its own will have other designs around it, but it is not uncommon for people to use a single wave to represent something important to them. Of course, a wave with a horizon and other designs can have additional meanings since they bring the wave to life a bit more.

These nature scenes are perfect for a full sleeve or back piece as the surrounding nature scenes have the opportunity to take up a lot of space. You can add anything you want to fill in that extra space.

Crashing Wave Tattoo

Crashing, arching waves are generally a representation of rough waters. They could signify a period of turmoil that was overcome. Someone who has been able to get past a lot of tough times in their life might find the wave tattoo to match the feeling that they have when they are ready to get past those hardships. Sometimes we need a reminder of how strong our spirit can be and to look down at your wave tattoo might be the only reminder that you will need.

Alternatively, the image of a crashing wave could simply convey the love of the ocean, appropriate for surfers, other water sports enthusiasts, or anyone who has found themselves struck by the vast depths of the ocean. There are plenty of people around the world who love the ocean, which is why the wave tattoo continues to be so popular.

New School Wave Tattoo

Images that appear more illustrated, rather than realistic, include heavier lines, giving a more traditional tattoo-style look. These designs are often encased in a thick-lined geometric shape, adding a sense of completion. These tattoos can look a bit more like paintings than other wave tattoos and can add more drama to the image. This style is perfect for someone who loves the open ocean and all of the beauty and danger that it brings.

Japanese Wave Tattoo

Japanese-style waves are a commonly used design, stemming back to ancient ink paintings and woodblock printing. These tattoos are generally larger and used for sleeves and half-sleeves. Koi fish or dragons are sometime included in this design as well. These wave tattoos can hold five or more meanings, which is perfect for someone who wants a full representation of themselves in one tattoo.

Tribal Wave Tattoo

Tribal-style designs are also often used with wave imagery, generally because of the connection between the ocean and Polynesian culture. These images feature thick links, almost exclusively in greyscale, and represent the relationship between ocean and island. It is not uncommon for people from other cultures to use these designs simply because they look great on the skin.

Single Line Wave Tattoo

Single lines are often used for wave designs. One line completes the entire image, usually including three or four hooked peaks to serve as the arching waves. Watercolor-style ink splotches are sometimes added to these simple tattoos to give the image a bit more depth.

As you can see, there are plenty of wave tattoo meanings and designs to choose from. This is always a good thing when it comes to tattoos since you can start with one meaning and find many others that work for you in the future.

The key is to make sure you find an artist that can complete the job you are looking for. Make sure you determine what style of wave tattoo you want to begin with and when you figure this out, look at the artists’ portfolios online to see if they do it in the style you like. After you think you’ve found an artist, have a consultation with them to see if you feel comfortable because this tattoo will be long lasting.

If you have tried and are still having trouble finding someone to get your tattoo from, let us know. The team at Tattoo SEO is well versed in matching up tattoo artists to customers. We want to see your tattoo vision come to life.

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