AbstractThe estimation of nearshore bathymetry by inverting the wave dispersion function is an accepted method. The performance of four different wave theories inverted with dispersive surface classificator for the derivation of the bathymetry is examined during gale oceanographic conditions. The physical and technical limitations for the inversion are taken into consideration. The analyzed data are radar image sequences, and ground truth is an in situ echosounder's bathymetry data set. All geomorphological features detectable with a 41-m spatial resolution have been identified, but there is an underestimation of the absolute depth. The applicable theories have mean error less than 7%. The nonlinear theories are compared with the linear theory, and the experimental difference of their performance is on the order of the theoretical expectation $O$ (6%–8%).