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Wave tattoos have been in tattoo culture for centuries but has recently grown as a distinct trend. Often small and discreet tattoos, they evoke thoughts of freedom and tranquility.

You can put as many meanings as you want into the simple symbol. People interpret waves differently, but there is one never changing understanding – transition.

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Representing water the wave brings ideas of purity and motion. You know water is a sign of life and renewal in many religions and traditions. But the wave is raging water. You can accept it as a manifestation of power, inspiration or change.

In the tattoo world, you will find many types of wave tattoos. They are bound in a different context but carry the basic interpretation, and it is motion.

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The Hokusai Wave

“The Great Wave of Kanagawa” is the name of the original woodblock print by the Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai. Hokusai made his original prints in 1830 and now is in every art history book. This print inspired hundreds of tattoo lovers to get the wave inked.

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Hokusai’s wave is considered as a representation of nature’s mightiness and unpredictability. It is a notorious and beautiful print. As well as an amazing and meaningful idea for a tattoo.

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Surf Wave Tattoos

The surf wave has a simpler interpretation, a passion for the ocean and danger. We’re pretty sure 90% of the surf tattoos include waves. These tattoos symbolize passion and devotion to the ocean. For surfers the wave is everything. It’s their dearest friends and deadliest enemy. Surf waves can represent dualism, controversy, and struggle.

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Wave in sailor tattoos

Waves are common in nautical tattoos. The wave itself is part of a bigger design, but it always links to deep meanings. Ship and wave tattoos can speak for bravery or good luck. Sometimes they represent a new direction or hard times.

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