Sailors know this, but I have never given it a thought. I am still a little confused how wind can move the flat surface of water if it is traveling horizontal and perpendicular to one another. Everyone has seen waves on a lake or oceans. But what are they? Waves are actually energy. Energy, not water, moves across the ocean's surface. Water particiles only travel in a small circle as a wave passes. How are waves energy? The best way to understand waves as energy is to think of a long rope laid on the ground. If you pick up one end and give it a good snap --there's a ripple effect all the way to the other end -- just like the waves on the ocean! That means that energy is applied at one end and it moves to the other end. The energy is released at the other end of the rope, just as the energy of waves is releases on shores. What provides the energy? In the case of ocean waves, wind provides the energy. Wind causes waves that travel in the ocean. The energy is released on shorelines.