The Coastalwatch Story

7 May 2008 1 36,469 VIEWS

The Company

Since its inception in 1998, Coastalwatch has been committed to bringing the coast to you. With live camera vision, daily surf reports and forecasts and news and features from around the country’s coast, it’s grown into the Australia’s most comprehensive coastal reference site.

Using our camera network and working with some of the country’s pre-eminent coastal scientists our monitoring arm, CoastalCOMS, provides vital real-time data on beach erosion, risk and surf quality for councils and governments, lifeguards and rescue services.

Coastalwatch’s community focus also lends support to groups and charities such as Surfrider Foundation Australia, SurfAid International, Surf Life Saving Australia and numerous volunteer rescue organisations.

The Team

The Coastalwatch crew are a mixed bunch, brought aboard from the distant shores of media, meteorology and atmospheric science, corporate management, computing, information technology and infrastructure, even professional snowboarding. And then there’s our army of contributors scatted around the country, armed with cameras and keyboards to keep you up to speed on the best swells and pressing issues affecting our coast.

Despite our mixed heritage, we’re united in our goal of bringing the best of the coast to you, wherever you are in the country. From the reporters who roll out of bed before sunrise so you know what the waves are doing to the meteorologists who burn the midnight oil pawing over weather charts to tell you what tomorrow’s got in store, from the technicians who keep the cameras oiled to the academics who use the data to model sand movement for city councils, it’s all one big family.
So come and get to know us...


Mike Jennings – Editor

Mike Jennings was kicked out of his punk band in year 7. His friends told him at the end of rehearsal in the lead singer's parents' garage sitting somewhere around the suburban Melbourne they all grew up in. "You're out of the band," they had said. MIke's heart sunk and he had to hide his face from them as he packed up his guitar and awkwardly got back on his pushbike. Bandless and with plenty time on his hands, he took to the beach everyday after school and developed a passion for surfing in Port Phillip Bay's onshore slop on a single fin he bought at Cash Converters.

Now he's 26, moved to Sydney and calls himself a writer, even though it sounds kind of awkward and maybe a little arrogant or weird. His work has been seen in such fine publications as Spook, Stab, Monster Children, Japan Surfin' Life, Surfer's Path and Surfing World Magazine where he has just finished a two year stint as Deputy Editor. He has never played in another band.

Nick Gregory - Digital Product Manager

Nick’s previous life as a professional snowboarder saw him chasing powder around the globe on an 11-year endless-winter. After a five-year stint on the Billabong team, he hung up the boots and picked up a video camera to produce a TV series on professional snowboarders in Australia and New Zealand.

This led to work with Coastalwatch’s sister site, Mountainwatch, and Transfer Snowboard Magazine. When the Coastalwatch office moved to his hometown in Avalon in Summer 2010-11, he took over as our Digital Content guy.

Between keeping the site looking fresh, Nick finds time to show up the rest of the office staff during lunch-time surfs at Little Avalon, make regular cameo appearances in Manly surfing e-newsletter, Sprout Daily, and hit the slopes for the odd spot of heli-boarding.

John Charlton – Chief Surf Reporter/Associate Editor

JC spreads his time between the Gold and Sunshine Coasts. He’s been surfing this area for many a year and is totally in tune with all the different breaks and how the varying swell and wind patterns affect this wave plentiful region.

The Surf Forecast Team

Ben Macartney - Chief Forecaster - Ben joined the Coastalwatch team in 2005 and has grown to become the lead of the forecasting team. On a daily basis at Coastalwatch Ben forecasts for the east coast regions of Australia including QLD, NSW and down through Victoria, and also tracks major swells for INdonesia and the South Pacific region that take in some of Australia's most favourite surfing destinations like Indonesia.

Katie Jackson - Swell Forecaster / Meteorologist -  Katie joined the Coastalwatch team as Swell Forecaster and Meteorologist after moving to Australia from the States. She resides in Queensland where she is currently undertaking a PhD at Griffith University on the topic of Wave Analysis in the nearshore region. Prior to her Australian adventures Katie has worked for the US Navy and for the biggest surf forecasting site in the US, Surfline - both as a swell forecaster and meteorologist. Katie forecasts for Western Australia and South Australia.

The Surf Reporting Team

Johnny Charlton -  Sunshine & Gold Coast - JC spreads his time between the Gold & Sunshine Coasts. He’s been surfing this area for many a year and is totally in tune with all the different breaks and how the varying swell and wind patterns affect this wave plentiful region.

Earl Jones - Byron Bay, Lennox-Ballina  - Earl is a mystical character who roams the beaches of the Far North Coast of NSW between Byron Bay and Ballina. He looks out along this stretch of coast from his headland retreat and is always out there amongst when it is at it’s best and has this area totally wired.

Lee Winkler - Coffs Harbour - Lee started surfing in his home town of Coffs Harbour when he was a schoolboy. He “took it to the limit” and was a touring pro on the WQS and WCT circuits for many years before returning home to Coffs, where he runs his Surf School and raises a family.

Peter Hudson - Pt. Macquarie - Peter and his sons Grant & Wayne have been surfing the waves around Pt. Macquarie all their lives. Peter is a multiple Australian Title holder in both short and longboards and Grant and Wayne have both competed on the WQS international tour. When they’re not out surfing, they’ll be coaching at their Pt. Macquarie Surf School.

Ben Horvath - Sydney City and Southern BeachesAs an experienced Sydney surfer with intimate knowledge of all the Big Smoke’s beaches. He dabbled in contests, recording some decent results at State, National, APSA and ACC level. He was the editor of Underground Surf and has written for many other mags.

Jason Gribble aka "Captain" - Sydney Northern Beaches - Raised in North Curl Curl, now calls South Narrabeen home. Marine broker by profession with a background in meteorology. Captain enjoys the solitude of offshore bombies, sailing the east coast in search of tasty slabs, wetting a line for dinner and beach combing.

Phil Byrne -  Wollongong and South Coast - Phil s a surfer and master shaper who lives on the beach in the Wollongong area. He’s been surfing the ‘Gong area and the South Coast all his life and knows these beaches like the back of his hand.

Mal Gregson - East Coast Victoria - Mal lives on Phillip Island and has been surfing there since has was a grommet. He’s been involved in the local boardriders club, Surfing Victoria and Surfing Australia since the early ‘70’s and knows every reef, point and beach break on the eastern coast of Vic. inside out.

Carlo Lowden – Surf Coast - Carlo is a second generation Surf Coast surfer. He runs a surfing based marketing business in Jan Juc which allows him plenty of time in the water and he worships Huey the Weather God, who brings him surf & snow, the 2 big passions in his life.

Peter Mariner – South Australia - Peterlives and surfs on the mid coast of South Oz and flees down to South Coast and to the Yorke Peninsula to hunt more consistent sized waves when time allows. He runs his own web site Surfsouthoz, and has an intimate knowledge of all the various local SA conditions.

Dan Wyer & Mark Cooper – Western Australia - Dan Wyer lives in the South West of WA. He’s passionate about the waves in this region and is constantly searching and researching the rest of the WA coastline from the NW, to the Perth metro beaches, to some secret spots way down south and has his finger on the pulse of all the action that’s happening in WA. Mark stands in when Dan's out surfing.

3CMG (Three Crowns Media Group) Management, associates and technical staff

Kim Sundell - Executive Chairman, Sundell Group
David Wooldridge - Director, Sundell Group 
John MacNaughtonOperations Manager, Sundell Group
Russell Holt - Head of Digital Media, 3CMG
Anish Roy - Technical Lead, 3CMG
Doug Lees - National Sales Manager, 3CMG
Phil Osborn - Advertising Account Manager, 3CMG
Warren Randell - Advertising Account Manager, 3CMG
Miles Finlay - Ad Traffic Manager, 3CMG
Justine Elderfield - Customer Service & Subscriptions Manager, 3CMG
Professor Andrew Short - Coastal Scientist
Darrell Strauss - Oceanographer
Jeff Callaghan - Meteorologist
Chris Lane - General Manager, CoastalCOMS 
Nigel Sim - Software Engineer, CoastalCOMS 
Robert Cleave - Camera Technician, CoastalCOMS 
Troy Pitman - Camera Technician, CoastalCOMS 
Vaughan Blakey - Editor, Surfing World
Danny Johnson - Art Director, Surfing World
John "Reggae" Ellis - Senior Contributing Editor, Surfing World 
Sean Doherty - Senior Contributing Editor, Surfing World

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