The problem of shoreline erosion has become a matter of much interest in the recent press. To some extent this interest has been driven by the slow rise in sea level that has lent an air of inevitabilty to matters. However, the discussions certainly become more focused by the approach of a major storm or hurricane: for instance, the 1985 scare associated with Hurricane Gloria. In fact, it is these major events that dominate the episodic erosion history of an area, and so it is on the basis of knowledge of these events that decisions are made on the development and management of our shorelines. Unfortunately, both our understanding of the fundamental processes and the extent to which our knowledge is transmitted to coastal planners is less than we might hope.