Wave erosion depends on several factors: openness of shoreline, rock structure, and abundance and size of tools. The openness of the shoreline relates to the exposure of the shoreline and effectiveness of the waves attacking the shoreline. Areas of land extending into the water can be more directly and continually subjected to wave impact whereas land inside a cove or protected by an offshore island will undergo less erosion.
Rock structure, such as joints and bedding planes, also affects the erosional process. A highly jointed and fractured rock will undergo erosion much more easily than unjointed and unfractured rock. The mechanical breakdown of the rock will also depend on the type of material. For example, a well-bedded sandstone will break down much differently than a granite or basalt.
A third important factor involves the availability of sand, gravel and pebbles (abrasive tools). This action of the tools involves the abrasion or corrosion as these clastic particles move over the shoreline material. Without these tools, the waves may be an ineffective erosional agent.