Concurrent video images of sand ripples and current meter measurements of directional wave spectra are analyzed to study the relations between waves and wave-generated sand ripples. The data were collected on the inner shelf off Huntington Beach, California, at 15 m water depth, where the sea floor is comprised of well-sorted very fine sands (D50=92 ??m), during the winter of 2002. The wave climate, which was controlled by southerly swells (12-18 s period) and westerly wind waves (5-10 s period), included three wave types: (A) uni-modal, swells only; (B) bi-modal, swells dominant; and (C) bi-modal, wind-wave dominant. Each wave type has distinct relations with the plan-view shapes of ripples that are classified into five types: (1) sharp-crested, two-dimensional (2-D) ripples; (2) sharp-crested, brick-pattern, 3-D ripples; (3) bifurcated, 3-D ripples; (4) round-crested, shallow, 3-D ripples; and (5) flat bed. The ripple spacing is very small and varies between 4.5 and 7.5 cm. These ripples are anorbital as ripples in many field studies. Ripple orientation is only correlated with wave directions during strong storms (wave type C). In a poly-modal, multi-directional spectral wave environment, the use of the peak parameters (frequency, direction), a common practice when spectral wave measurements are unavailable, may lead to significant errors in boundary layer and sediment transport calculations. ?? 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.