The response of physical models of beach profiles to random breaking waves was studied to investigate size-selective sediment transport and cross-shore profile evolution. Three types of beach profiles with different sediment mixtures were considered and subjected to waves until profiles reached equilibrium. Size-selective sediment transport was evident in the experiments, with the mean sediment size varying up to 20% along the beach profiles. Consistent coarsening and fining of the surface sediment in the experiments revealed size-selective sediment transport governed by cross-shore variations in energy dissipation, affecting important beach profile features such as sandbar structures and offshore and foreshore slopes. The theoretical basis of the transport phenomenon was described by analyzing the relationship between the transport processes and essential wave and hydrodynamic parameters obtained using a new set of numerical models. The results showed that beach profile changes and associated sediment grain sorting are most sensitive to instantaneous total water velocity and local energy flux under propagating waves. (C) 2014 American Society of Civil Engineers.