Crest of a Wave – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Are you reaching peak performance at work? You could say you're riding the 'crest of a wave.' This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.


The expression 'crest of a wave' means to reach the pinnacle of success in society, your career, or your home life. The phrase is subjective, as one person's idea of success may differ from another's. However, if you're riding the 'crest of a wave,' you're doing well regardless of your societal status or where you live.

If someone is riding the 'crest of a wave,' they're experiencing a series of positive events in their life, driving them forward. They create momentum through one success after the next, leading them to achieve their life goals. If you're riding the 'crest of a wave,' you're doing well in life, and people notice your success.

Example Usage

"Tim's riding the crest of a wave right now. His career took off after he landed that spot on JRE, and he hasn't looked back since. Now he's the top comedian in the industry."

"Samantha's riding the crest of a wave right now. She's landed her dream job, found the right guy, and moved into a gorgeous apartment on the lower east side."

"Kim is riding the crest of a wave. She got a promotion and a salary increase, and she met the man of her dreams, all in the last week. I feel happy for her and I want to see her succeed."

"We're riding the crest of a wave this month. The business is doing better than ever, and we have a decent salary coming this month, thanks to all the extra profit we made during the seasonal rush."

"I feel like I'm riding the crest of a wave. Everything seems to be going right for me in life, and I'm grateful I get to experience a good run for once."

"I'm glad things are going well for you at the moment. You seem to be riding the crest of a wave. Keep the momentum going and make the most of it while you can."


The expression' crest of a wave' originates from the early 1800s. Language experts cannot pinpoint when the term entered the English lexicon or who coined its use.

However, many believe it originates from the maritime industry. Sailors would 'ride the crest of a wave' to limit the amount of rowing required to move the vessel forward.

While no one knows the true origin of the expression, it's a common term used in the UK and the US and well understood throughout most English-speaking nations in the world.

Phrases Similar to Crest of a Wave

  • Riding high.
  • High flying.
  • Doing well.

Phrases Opposite to Crest of a Wave

  • Down in the dumps.
  • Utter failure.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Cres of a wave.

Ways People May Say Crest of a Wave Incorrectly

The phrase 'riding the crest of a wave' doesn't refer to watersports like surfing and wakeboarding. The 'crest' refers to the pinnacle of success; the 'wave' is your life. It is incorrect to describe riding a wave in the ocean or river.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Crest of a Wave

You can use the phrase 'crest of a wave' to describe someone experiencing success in their life. They achieve one goal after another, creating momentum that has them riding high in life. The phrase suits social and professional use. For instance, you could say your business is riding the crest of a wave, and you're making more profit than ever before.

Or you could say your child is riding the crest of a wave after being the school's valedictorian and receiving acceptance to Harvard for their college career. The term suits verbal exchanges and text-based communications. If you're riding the crest of a wave, you're doing well in life. You receive sustained momentum propelling you to success with your goals.

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