The Coastalwatch Story

7 May 2008 15

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...

Sally Mac – Editor

Sally Mac is a gun-slinging warrior woman with a passion for surfing, sharks and intense massage that exceeds that of any human currently alive on Earth. A native of Sydney’s Whale Beach, she grew up pig-dogging the wedge on days when Tom Carroll and Martin Potter were too scared to paddle out. “That’s right, beat it pussies!” she’d scream at the former World Champs as they drove up the hill headed for Kiddies Corner with their tails lodged well between their legs.

A journalism graduate of Charles Sturt University, Sally now takes the reins as the first woman to edit Austalia’s number one coastal website. She's more hungry for news than a uni student for a kebab on a Thursday night, she talks super loud on the phone and won't take no for an answer.

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 Guru.

Between keeping the site and our apps looking fresh with creative solutions, 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.

He's been chairman of Surfing Queensland and been involved with positive growth of the surf industry and culture for many decades between stints as a professional producer and presenter for various TV shows.

He's the grand master of everything Australian surf culture and has a wealth of knowledge that we haven't yet begun to unearth.

Justine Elderfield - Customer Service & Subscriptions Manager

Justine joined Coastalwatch over five years ago. Since that time she's been the eloquent, comforting voice of the company, taking care of our loyal audience's concerns and questions each and every day. Justine is the first point-of-call for Coastalwatch, Surfing World Magazine, Mountainwatch, Transfer Magazine and Transmoto Magazine. 

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 Western Australia and has undertaken 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.

Dan Wyer – 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.

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. MacquariePeter 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.

Daniel "Pezza" Mason - Newcastle - Pezza is a well known local Newcastle boy who enjoys surfing the reef breaks at Nobbys, Flat Rock and his beloved Newcastle beach and loves nothing more than a solid north swell at Newy point. He's worked as a professional lifeguard at Newcastle beach for years and can’t wait to get his 2 young girls into the surf on their pink softlites. 

Ben Horvath - Sydney City and Southern Beaches - Ben is an experienced Sydney surfer with intimate knowledge of all the beaches in and around the big smoke. He has surfed competitively and has a recorded solid results at State, National, APSA and ACC level. He was the publishing editor of Underground Surf Magazine for a decade, the foundation editor of Coastalwatch for five years. Ben is now the global marketing manager at The Perfect Wave.

Jason Gribble aka "Captain" - Sydney Northern BeachesRaised 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 is 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. You can catch Phil and his two sons at the Byrne Surf Store & Cafe in Thirroul.

Kev Fisher - East Coast Victoria - Lucky Kev doesn't mind the cold because his local Woolami, has some brisk mornings. The Phillip Islander spent his younger years with his rowdy mates, sleeping in the San Remo Primary School sheds so they wouldn't miss a swell, before any of them got a licence. He got his act together after surfing competitively at the ASA and in the 30 years since, he has worked in the surf industry as a surf coach and with Island Surfboards as well as being a 20-year member of the Phillip Island Boardriders.

Nigel Muscroft – Surf Coast VictoriaNigel has grown up on the Surf Coast and has been a surfer all his life. Nige has competed at all levels from Club level at Torquay Boardriders Club and Otway Boardriders Club (4 club Championships), to State, National and ASP WQS and ultimately achieving multiple Club wins, State wins and an Australian National Surfing Title in 2006. A keen runner all his life, Nige developed a deeper passion for fitness in his mid to late 20’s and during the past 10 years Nigel has been actively competing Triathlon and Adventure races all over Australia. Nige now combines his 2 passions in Surfing and Fitness and is Head Trainer at Surf Fitness Network based on Victorias Surfcoast. Check out

Peter Mariner – South AustraliaPeterlives 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 AustraliaDan 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 & technical staff

Kim Sundell - Executive Chairman, Sundell Group
David Wooldridge - Director, Sundell Group 
Russell Holt - Luminary, Sundell Group
Troy Pitman Operations Manager, Sundell Group
Romiko Derbynew - Technical Lead, 3CMG
Doug Lees - General Manager 3CMG
Simon Barratt - Director of Marketing & Products, 3CMG
Warren Randell - Advertising Account Manager, 3CMG
Miles Finlay - Ad Traffic Manager, 3CMG
Shane Newman - Sales, 3CMG
Ella Risby - Sales, 3CMG
Robbie Warden - Events Manager, 3CMG
Justine Elderfield - Customer Service & Subscriptions Manager, 3CMG
Professor Andrew Short - Coastal Scientist, CoastalCOMS
Darrell Strauss - Oceanographer, CoastalCOMS
Jeff Callaghan - Meteorologist
Chris Lane - General Manager, CoastalCOMS (Coastalwatch Founder)
Nigel Sim - Snr Software Engineer, CoastalCOMS
Vaughan Blakey - Editor, Surfing World
Danny Johnson - Creative Director, 3CMG
Corbin Nash - Art Director, Surfing World
Hugh Wyllie - Digital Editor, Surfing World
John "Reggae" Elliss - Senior Contributing Editor, Surfing World 
Sean Doherty - Senior Contributing Editor, Surfing World
Nick Carroll -  Senior Contributing Writer, Coastalwatch 
Jock Serong - Senior Contributing Writer, Surfing World & Coastalwatch 

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