It has to do with the motion of the water in waves. Waves are actually movements of energy through the water rather than the movement of water particles itself. The water molecules move up and down with the wave, staying generally in the same place. Because the movement of the water molecules is up and down, on the shore, the water molecules are actually crashing (falling) onto the sand. The motion of waves is vertical rather than horizontal, creating the impact and hence the sound.
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