Some beachfront properties welcome us with weather stones to humor us with the weather. If you don’t know what a weather stone is, it is a rock hung to poke fun at the intricate technology used in current weather forecasts. Typically hung from a tripod with a sign how to read it, the accuracy is less than perfect.
Fortunately, we never had to rely on the weather stone. Otherwise, the chances of getting swept by big waves or bored by slow ones could be high. Technology brought us so much convenience, including reliable surf forecasting websites that we can reach through a touch of a finger.
This article lists out 5 of the best surf forecasting websites you can check out before you head out to the beach. We also tossed in some handy information that might answer some of the questions you have, like:
- How to predict surf
- What is a good surf forecast?
Table of Contents
How To Predict Surf
Offshore swell data is what the process of surf forecasting utilizes to predict wave conditions. The same technique is used by millions of people globally, including experts who put their forecasts online.
While the exact prediction of the surf, such as the breaking waves’ shape and size, the offshore swell date is an excellent factor to consider in making a close to accurate prediction. Predicting surf requires understanding how waves are formed, bathymetry, and data such as tides and location.
Bathymetry is the study of the depth of water in oceans, rivers, or lakes. It digs deep on the “beds” and “floors” of any body of water.
Top 5 Best Surf Forecasting Websites Reviewed
The internet has brought us abundant surf forecasting and weather information resources, but not all of them may have the essential details you need. This results in visiting multiple sites to get the complete data you need for the upcoming surf.
There have been many attempts to create a one-stop go-to website for all surf forecast needs. And, with all sorts of buoys, satellites, and measuring tools, surf forecasting evolved and is now easily accessible through surf forecasting websites. Five of the best surf forecasting websites are:
- Headquarters: Huntington Beach, California
- Founded: 1985
- Area Served: Worldwide
- Website: surfline.com
One of the earliest surf report systems, Surfline was founded in 1985 as a pay-per-call telephone surf report. Southern California surfer Jerry Arnold partnered with David Wilk ad Craig Masukoa to form a unit that can relay dawn surf conditions.
A unique phone system made the reports available to callers for 50 cents each. 976-SURF became popular amongst surfers, and the company started receiving more than 6,000 calls per day. The system later expanded to Northern California, Florida, and Texas. The 6,000 calls per day grew bigger eventually.
Surfline became an online service in 1995. It began offering live video streams of surf breaks on top of the written surf reports. These live video streams had a significant impact on surf culture. The increase in real-time footage changed surfer’s lifestyles.
One of the million Surfline’s users, Rob Machado, claims it is his go-to every day to know where to go. In one of his interviews with Surfline/Wavetrak, he went, “I’ve used it from day one and will be a lifetime Premium Member.”
|Simple to use||Too many adverts|
|The large volume of spots|
- Headquarters: Kingsbridge, Devon, United Kingdom
- Founded: 2002
- Area Served: Worldwide
- Website: magicseaweed.com/
Since 2002, MSW or MagicSeaweed has been offering detailed and free long-range surf forecasts on the web. Travel pros, big waves afficionados, local heroes, and weekend warriors have widely used this platform.
MagicSeaweed is a favorite surf forecasting website because it is simple to use but is packed with all the necessary details you need to arm yourself with on your way to the beach. This website gets about 1.5 million users every month.
What people love about MagicSeaweed is how it tells you where and when to go, rather than becoming your own surf forecasting expert. It takes just a few clicks here and there to get you your accurate surf prediction, wherever that surf break is.
MagicSeaweed covers more or less 3,000 beaches in 180 countries. It uses live winds, ocean buoy readings, HD webcams, detailed long-range forecasting, hurricane tracks, videos, and a lot more to cover all the surf spots from around the globe.
|Easy to use and navigate||Forecasted wave height can be inconsistent|
|Surf cams available|
|The large volume of locations|
- Headquarters: Wales, United Kingdom
- Founded: —
- Area Served: Worldwide
- Website: www.surf-forecast.com/
Surf-forecast monitors 7,000 of the world’s best surf spots to provide daily surf forecasts and surf reports for almost 1 million users every month. You can take this handy surf forecasting platform anywhere you go – on surf holidays or for scoring a local break before the crowds.
This surf forecasting website offers a collection of swell, wind, and wave maps that help you have a bigger picture of what a specific spot is. This picture, along with an email alert system, lets you know whether you can get waves or not.
Surf-forecast doesn’t have that trendy and exciting look for a surf forecasting website but, that’s what makes it stand out. Its simple layout allows for easy navigation, even for a grom.
|Live swell maps||No mobile app|
- Headquarters: New South Wales, Australia
- Founded: 1998
- Area Served: Core focus is Australia, with surf reports for other breaks around the world except for Indonesia and parts of the Americas
- Website: www.swellnet.com/
In 1998 when the world was just beginning to appreciate the internet, Swellnet was born. This surf forecasting unit’s initial forecasts were sent out to a small network through fax and email. Over time, it evolved into an online service.
In March 2002, when it finally became a surf forecasting website, many WCT competitions, including the Quiksilver Pro, the Rip Curl Pro, and the Billabong Pro, contracted them to give surf predictions.
Swellnet is one of the most frequently visited established surf reports and surf forecasting websites not just for Australian surfers but every rider from all over the world.
|38 surf cams available||Limited to some areas only|
|App available for iOS and Android users|
- Headquarters: Praha, Czech Republic
- Founded: —
- Area Served: Worldwide
- Website: www.windguru.cz/
One of the most comprehensive winds and weather forecast websites, WindGURU offers surf forecasting reports for different locations worldwide. Navigating it is as simple as selecting the region you want to check.
After picking the location, WindGURU displays a comprehensive graph with details ranging from swell size, wind direction, gusts, sea temperatures, and everything else in between. You will also fin the spot map that lets you pick and see surf conditions anywhere on earth.
WindGURU’s forecasts are based on data from weather forecasts models. One of their main goals in creating the site was to get forecasts quickly and easily sans the wild clicking of the mouse while looking for meteomaps across the internet.
|Hourly forecast||Hard to read for beginners|
|Live swell buoys|
What Is A Good Surf Forecast?
A good surf forecast is ideal when factors such as swell size, wind direction, wind speed, and swell period. This means that if the surf forecast says one to three meters (three to nine feet), then it is an excellent time to ride your surfboard.
Swell period-wise, at least eight seconds of waves or longer are ideal. This allows for the swell to build momentum, which is essential in most spots. The waves’ duration can be assessed by looking at how far the wave breaks out beyond the curl or within the tube sections.
Another factor to consider is wind strength or speed. Generally, the lower the number, the more likely will the wave be sound. Speeds under three miles per hour (five kilometers per hour) are great regardless of whether you’re going in or against the wind direction.
The internet has brought us access to weather reports all across the globe. We are no longer limited to local news’ weather updates. We can take a peek at what’s going on in any surf spots all around the world.
This innovation lets us understand spot swells and weather patterns, which allows us to score perfect waves no matter where we want.
Surf forecasting websites are advantageous, especially if you can read graphs, maps, and tables. Here’s a quick guide in case you are starting out.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q: Why are offshore winds best for surfing?
A: Onshore winds tend to blow down the wave’s crest, making it foamy and poor to surf. On the other hand, offshore winds are best at holding up the crest of the wave. This results in steeper and cleaner waves that are perfect for surfing.
Q: What is an advanced surf forecast?
A: Advanced wave and tide information found under regular forecast tables. This data allows you to determine the direction and size of the wind chop that occasionally can spoil the waves’ shapes.