The pressure variations exerted on a vertical wall in a constant water depth are computed from the calculation of a short-crested wave system using the Fourier series approximation method. The numerical results have been compared with experimental results from literature. The comparison with the linear solution of the present theory gives a good estimate for the variation of dynamic pressures. The double peak formation in the experimental results for pressure curves at still water level and at the bottom for the steeper waves was not observed for the linear case. In the case of surface elevation, deviations with the third order perturbation results are observed for higher waves. In addition, deviations are also observed within the elevation results for higher waves. © 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.