Waves, Tides, and Breaks23 January, 2013
Your first wave: training1 March, 2013
So you now know how it all goes with waves and stuff. Still, what do you do when the people from Atlantik Surf don’t watch out for you? When you want to go surfing on your own, you also need to know how to inform yourselves about tides, conditions, currents, cliffs and other dangers. After a few brave crazy people á la Rob Machado discovered it all through trial and error, thank God that books were written and websites programmed to make your lives easier. Today I’ll show you the most important ones.
The most established webpage summarizing tides and all kinds of weather and wave conditions is MagicSeaWeed. It provides a quick and dirty overview of the direction and size of swells, wind and weather information, as well as tides for the major spots. On top of that, the wave period is also shown. Because we didn’t talk yet about wave periods, here’s a brief explanation: the period is the time distance between two waves measured through ocean buoys. The longer the period, the more powerful and regular the waves. At a period of 15 seconds, waves only 5ft tall can be a lot of fun. When the period is short, so under 6-8 seconds, the waves come in irregularly and very weakly and even high waves are not really surfable. Besides this essential information you can also get more data on materials, spots etc. on MagicSeaWeed. But that would be too much for now.
MagicSeaWeed is strong when it comes to swells and periods. But when looking for weather and most of all wind information, be sure to check Windfinder. Initially conceived for sailors and windsurfers, Windfinder belongs now to a standard morning checkup. The website is very straightforward – choose your spot and you’ll be shown the wind power and the weather according to the time of day. As simple as that.
Last but not least: the good old Stormrider Guide! This is a book. The kind with pages to flip through. There you can find *all* the relevant surf spots categorized by different regions with all their specific characteristics, currents, seasons, plagues of jellyfish, cliff points, locals with anger management problems, etc… Most of all, when you enter a new area, the Stormrider Guide warns you about unpleasant surprises. And no worries: the Stormrider Guide – as well as MagicSeaWeed and Windfinder – are available as Apps. Although not for free.
So, this was a short overview of the most important tools and reference books for your own surf trip. Still, the best forecast remains the same as before: at sunrise be on that cliff and watch those waves!
Have fun and until next time!