Measured probability distributions of shoreline elevation, swash height (shoreline excursion length) and swash maxima and minima from a wide range of beach types are compared to theoretical probability distributions. The theoretical distributions are based on assumptions that the time series are weakly steady-state, ergodic and a linear sum of random variables. Despite the swash process being inherently non-linear, results indicate that these assumptions are not overly restrictive with respect to modeling exceedence statistics in the upper tail of the probability distribution. The RMS-errors for a range of exceedence level statistics (50, 10, 5, 2, and 1%) were restricted to <10 cm (and often <5 cm) for all of the swash variables that were investigated. The results presented here provide the basis for further refinement of coastal inundation modeling as well as stochastic-type morphodynamic modeling of beach response to waves. Further work is required, however, to relate the parameters of swash probability distributions to wave conditions further offshore. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.