Adjust your Forecast

Our new forecast page attempts to bridge the gap between offshore swells (the source of all our surf and the key data needed to figure out your local waves) and the actual surf by adding a ‘surf’ column to the forecast which should reflect the actual breaking waves on the beach. This makes the forecast hugely more useful for the average, relatively inexperienced surfer (or surf forecaster) but does have some limitations (a lot more information here). Not least of all where we’re pretty happy with the idea that a 6ft wave is about head high but for a great many of you this same 6ft wave is double over head or more (It’s just a different, confusing, system for measuring the same thing). So we’ve added a new tool that allows you to directly configure both the optimum direction and breaking wave modifier for your local spot. Just click the settings icon highlighted in the image above on your local forecast page.

Optimum Direction

Nice and simple this is the swell direction that’ll give the largest waves, normally ‘straight on’ to the beach. Getting this right allows us to adjust swells coming in at an angle to the beach (Which will make smaller waves) and not even bother to show you swells that are coming at the wrong direction. Small sensitive changes to this setting can have a big effect especially if your break gets swells from a number of angles, or regularly has swells running at angles other than straight onto the beach (eg. particularly a point break).

Breaking Wave Modifier

Equally easy to understand this just scales our heights to match your call. It could be that we’re consistently over calling your spot, in which case a tweak of -10-20% might make all the difference. Or it could be you’re in favour of the¬†Hawaiian measurement system (which as a rule calls waves at about half the face height) in which case a setting of -50% will mean our heights match your scale.

All this should be fairly easy to have a play with, the only thing that will change is the surf height and rating, you’ll still have a full breakdown of offshore swells on the forecast to check against, and you can adjust as much as you like so keep tweaking it until it starts to work best for you. If you really want to get it dialled logging in to adjust the wave heights also gives you access to our session recorder at the bottom of your screen. If you take the time to note the wave heights when you surf your local spot you’ll be given a graph of the forecast and your observations, playing with the settings described above to get the two graphs to match will mean your forecast gets as tight as it can be.

We’re doing a weekly update with new features at the moment so plenty more neat bits like this coming soon and a few tweaks still to come on this feature.


Ben Freeston

MSW Forecaster