Why Use A Forecast Anyway?

22 May 2017 3

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

The Easter swell when Queenscliff Bombora was breaking, Photo by Mark Murray

The Easter swell when Queenscliff Bombora was breaking, Photo by Mark Murray

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Why use a forecast?

There are surfers who simply don’t use swell forecasts. Some live by the age-old mantra: “I just wake up and check it” – which is nice if you have a view of the beach and you have the flexibility to just get out there when it’s on.

Others are simply too busy to worry about the forecast; their hectic schedules only allowing for short, inflexible time-slots to fit in a surf. Usually, that means just getting in the water for an hour or two, regardless of what the swell, wind and tide might be offering up.

For most of us, fitting in a surf means some form of forward planning; juggling the various responsibilities of work and/ or family to get some time in the big briny.

Being a surf forecaster with a family, I often employ my trade to great effect. When there’s a high quality swell-event showing on the forecast for a weekend, I’ll give the missus the heads up a good seven days or more in advance – and that goes a long way to softening the blow when I’m gone for a day or two over a weekend.

To illustrate how effective surf forecasting can be in improving your day to day surfing life, here’s a hypothetical comparison between a surfer in a relationship who employs forecasts and one who doesn’t:

Scenario One: The surfer who employs surf forecasts

SURFER: “Babe, the surf is going to be the best it’s been in a decade next weekend, so I’m heading down the coast.”
PARTNER: “Oh, too bad, we’ve already RSVP’d to So and So’s daughters second birthday party on Saturday and then we’re going over the Old Mates on Sunday”.
SURFER: “Well, this is most incredible groundswell I’ve seen on the horizon since 2001. It’s arriving from 140 degrees at 16 seconds and there’s no way I’m missing it”.
PARTNER: “That’s what you said about the swell last week”.
SURFER: That was 80 degrees at 12 seconds. This one is looking even better. The spectral density is super high and Deepwater Reef down the coast will be cranking. I’m definitely going to surf the peak of it on Sunday. I can go early on Saturday and still come to So and So’s birthday party. No way I’m missing out on that fairy bread”.
PARTNER: “Ok, so I’ll reschedule our catch up with Old Mate for the following Sunday.”
SURFER: “You little beauty”.

SCENARIO 2: The Surfer who doesn’t employ forecasts

SURFER: “Babe, the surf is the best it’s been in a decade today!”
PARTNER: “Oh, too bad, we’re already on our way to So and So’s daughters second birthday party and tomorrow we’re committed to going over to Old Mates”.
SURFER: “Well, I have no idea why it’s suddenly so good and now I’m missing it”.
PARTNER: “Sucks to be you”.
SURFER: “At least I’m not missing out on that fairy bread”.

The point of the above dialogue is to illustrate how useful advance knowledge of a good swell-event can be in the art of negotiation and compromise. But regardless of your circumstances, a thorough understanding and regular reading of surf forecasts can put you in better waves on a regular basis. To sum it up, using surf forecasts on a regular basis facilitates:

  • The adjusting of schedules to allocate surfing time on days when the waves are good.
  • Allocating time to other responsibilities/ activities when conditions are bad.
  • Ensuring you have the right equipment on hand at the right time.
  • Planning surfing-trips when the waves are good.
  • Planning trips inland when the waves are bad.
  • Targeting specific breaks when the conditions are just right.
  • Planning who to go surfing with: Eg Your big-wave charging mate or your 6-year-old daughter.
  • Effective management of personal and professional relationships.

At the end of the day, mother nature always has the final word on what conditions will be like at any given moment, but a surf forecast always gives you a leg-up in your day-to-day surfing existence.

COASTALWATCH FORECASTING TOOLS INCLUDE;

  1. The NEW 16 Day Swell Forecast powered by Boost
  2. Coastalwatch Wave Tracker
  3. 5 Day Surf Forecast
  4. Extended Swell Analysis
  5. Weekend Surf Forecast
  6. Indo Surf Forecast
  7. How To Forecast Your Next Surf Trip
  8. Surf Forecasting Basics

16 Day Surf Forecast powered by Boost

16 Day Surf Forecast powered by Boost


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