PLEASE can this site use metric!

btxtsf's picture
btxtsf started the topic in Tuesday, 22 Feb 2011 at 6:12am

It doesn't have to replace the imperial stuff, but please can Swellnet put metric heights on the graph & forecasts? I have no idea what a foot is - i have grown up in Australia and we have been metric since far before i was born. I understand that there are Americans and older folk here, so keep everyone happy and use both!

What do you think? Can't be that hard right?

seethesea's picture
seethesea's picture
seethesea commented Tuesday, 22 Feb 2011 at 7:20am

All around the world including Australia and not just with us 'old' folk waves are measured in Feet. Surfboards are also. Oddly enough though wetsuits are in mm.

They could use metric but nobody would know what they were talking about.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Tuesday, 22 Feb 2011 at 7:25am

Hey Btxtsf,

We'll look into it, but I have to say it's a bit surprising. Every surfer I know measures waves in feet and I'm yet to hear of surfboard length being measured in metric. Hard to believe, then, that a surfer wouldn't know what a foot is.

What do other site users think?

btxtsf's picture
btxtsf's picture
btxtsf commented Tuesday, 22 Feb 2011 at 7:55am

Thanks stunet.

I know surfers often use feet, but i have many international friends that want to learn to surf when they come here, and they are utterly confused by wave height in feet, one to the point of getting into serious trouble because they thought 6ft was going to be perfect for her 1st day on a board.

Also, if we're serious about the weather (which we are), the BoM measures wave height in metres.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Tuesday, 22 Feb 2011 at 8:33am

btxtsf.

Say the forecast for 6ft was changed to 2m.

How does that change your friends perception of the surf. It is the same size, just in a different measurement.

I think what inexperienced surfers struggle with is that 6ft or 2m is actually double over head in surfers talk, or 12ft/4m when measuring the wave face.

Nearly all surfers use the feet measurement, and I'm sure a lot of people would be confused if it was changed to metres.

Any other opinions out there?

kbomb's picture
kbomb's picture
kbomb commented Tuesday, 22 Feb 2011 at 9:28am

btxtsf

I too was born in Australia and was brought up using the metric system in school, however, I have always heard and used feet to messure a wave. Where have you been?

If you have no idea what a foot is then compare the waves at the beach against the swell graph, it won't take you long to get the hang of it.

As for your friend going out in 6ft surf for her first paddle....checking the conditions at the beach is something everyone should do before jumping in.

ed's picture
ed's picture
ed commented Tuesday, 22 Feb 2011 at 10:10am

Problem is most of the time, surf is under a meter like 1-3 Foot. I dont want to deal with decimals, meters is irrelent on the goldcoast. The crews and social circles im in talk feet.

brendo's picture
brendo's picture
brendo commented Tuesday, 22 Feb 2011 at 9:54pm

feet is used everywhere I've been and I grew up on metric too... just easier to say 2-3 foot, instead of 0.75 to 0.9 of a metre.

btxtsf's picture
btxtsf's picture
btxtsf commented Wednesday, 23 Feb 2011 at 12:36am

craig,

i'm not saying change it, i'm just suggesting that they add metres on the other side of the graph.

Feet would obviously still be there as most surfers use feet, but just asking if metric could be available for those that use metric, foreigners, beginners, and to stay in-line with the Bureau of Meteorology. It wouldn't take anything away!

non-local's picture
non-local's picture
non-local commented Wednesday, 23 Feb 2011 at 1:43am

if you don't know what a 3 foot wave is then beat it out of the surf and take up a metric sport.

one good turn deserves another

wink's picture
wink's picture
wink commented Thursday, 24 Feb 2011 at 6:01am

btxtsf - Wave heights need to be kept in feet, and the reason being is that "surfing feet" aren't "regular feet". I know it sounds stupid, but it's just the way it is. Having a parallel metric measurement would be confusing, because the metric measurements would be "real metres" and would not correspond in any logical way to "surfing feet".

The important thing is that if someone says the surf is X feet, you know how big it is. If you truly have no idea, here's a quick guide:

1ft: Barely worth surfing
2ft: Small. Around waist high or so.
3ft: Fun size. Chest high or so.
4ft: Still fun. Bit over head high.
5ft: 1.5 times over head, starting to get a little serious. Total wimps won't go out.
6ft: Double over head.
7ft: No one says 7ft. It's either 'solid 6' or 'close to 8'.
8ft: 2.5 times overhead. Most places in Sydney, the surf gets very noticeably less crowded when it hits 8ft.

I'll stop there. I'm assuming that if you currently don't know what feet are, then anything over 8ft is out of your ball park, and it's starting to get out of mine, too.

goatboat's picture
goatboat's picture
goatboat commented Thursday, 24 Feb 2011 at 6:18am

Well the other day I took off on a wave that must have been all of one chain high only to hesitate on take off and be sent several fathoms 'down the mine' resulting in me swallowing at least half a hog's head of sea water.

Fisherman also choose to ignore the metric system, however I believe this something to do with adding prestige to their catch claims (i.e. 20 pounds sounds rather more impressive than 9kg)

I for one am thoroughly for metric myself, but why stop with just wave heights? Must run, it's 80 past 5!

GB

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Thursday, 24 Feb 2011 at 8:05am

Wink,

3ft chest high?? and then 4ft bit over head. That's a big jump between heights.

I'd say with my forecast 2ft is around waist to nearly shoulder high, with 3ft being head high, not chest high.

But here's where everyone's different interpretations come in..

wink's picture
wink's picture
wink commented Thursday, 24 Feb 2011 at 8:21am

Craig,

Yeah, fair enough. By 'chest high or so', the 'or so' was meant to imply up to about head high haha. Similar situation with the 'or so' with regards to 2ft.

btxtsf - here's another rule for you: no matter how big or small you call a wave, there will always be someone who says you're over-calling it. To look cool, always errr on the side of calling it smaller.

toby's picture
toby's picture
toby commented Thursday, 24 Feb 2011 at 8:37am

Metric? Really? Straight away if you rock up down the beach and say "Wow, it's 2.5m today" you'll be pinpointed as a kook. Although it's acceptable to use metric measurements for swell size these days. Never for wave size though.

What we need is some kind of universal scale. Just for fun we could call it the "Iggy scale". Although wink has mostly covered it already.

benski's picture
benski's picture
benski commented Thursday, 24 Feb 2011 at 7:36pm

Well I for one thought goatboat's post was pretty funny. Even if he is a goatboater.

And non-local's suggestion of taking up a metric sport.

Good stuff.

MarkPridmore's picture
MarkPridmore's picture
MarkPridmore commented Thursday, 24 Feb 2011 at 8:34pm

surfing is in feet and inches, waves and board measurements, always will be, always should be...use the metric for everything else, surfing is special, dont change what is working just fine, you should adjust not 90% of surfers....

heals's picture
heals's picture
heals commented Thursday, 24 Feb 2011 at 8:50pm

It does seem like a slightly odd, even a little self-interested, request. I've never met a surfer who uses metric to measure waves, so why should this site have to start catering for the one or two learners who don't know it? Ever thought that it might actually be a part of the learning process the same as learning to wax a board, getting to your feet or understanding a weather map. Besides, as someone mentioned on the last page (sorry, can't remember who) the surfers system bears little similarity to the actual measurement anyway so the argument of 'public safety' is a furphy.

Sounds like just one more attempt to homogenise and dumb down surfing for the masses. Swellnet, please resist it.

goatboat's picture
goatboat's picture
goatboat commented Thursday, 24 Feb 2011 at 10:38pm

surfing is in feet and inches, waves and board measurements, always will be, always should be...use the metric for everything else, surfing is special, dont change what is working just fine, you should adjust not 90% of surfers....

By: "markpridmore"

Agreed, continuing usage of the imperical system aids in the exclusivity of surfing to a degree, as non-surfers (in Australia anyway) struggle to grasp the foolishness of paddling out on a 6ft day on a 5ft board etc etc

On this notion of exclusivness I must also bring up the use of the name 'Hughie" as a God of surfing i.e. "Hughie sent us some quacking waves today etc" that seemed to be popular in the mid-late 90's.

An amusing anecdote was once passed on to me regarding a main stream sports journalist who had gone down to Manly to watch the now defunct Coke Classic. Upon arrival and with the surf barely lapping the shoreline all he was hearing from spectators was how "Hughie had abandonded the contest, Hughie wasn't doing his job etc'.
So the journalist approached the contest organisers to ask if they could introduce him to this Hughie fellow, and perhaps set up an interview?

new-here's picture
new-here's picture
new-here commented Friday, 25 Feb 2011 at 12:01am

Yeah right ,.... We have 86 degree swell and out front there are some fun 62 to 86 cm waves ! News from Hawaii is that the Eddie got under way in 635 cm waves and the crowd enjoyed some spectacular wipe outs in the 203 to 254 cm beachbreak .

tommo2's picture
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tommo2 commented Friday, 25 Feb 2011 at 4:24pm

try this site, http://www.willyweather.com.au/vic.html you can change it from ft to metric. It's usually pretty accurete with swell hieghts. Your better off just sticking to ft even though everyone's idea of how big a foot is is as long as a piece of string.

ricco's picture
ricco's picture
ricco commented Friday, 25 Feb 2011 at 10:29pm

btxtsf

It's a shame you don't live in Europe. This form of blatant discrimination could go all the way to the European Court Of Justice or the European Court of Human Rights.

Not only is it your right to have wave heights and surfboards measured in metric, but also in other langauages such as French.

I personally would like to see reports in Arabic to encourage more Lebanese surfers into the water and to prepare us for the new Australia, a holy Islamic state.

Do not argue with stupid people. First they drag you down to their level, then they beat you with experience

crip's picture
crip's picture
crip commented Tuesday, 1 Mar 2011 at 2:02am

I'm all in favour of getting rid of the old imperial measurements but after surfing for 35 years, I'm used to calling waves in feet rather than metres. But I'm willing to change (who said you can't teach an old dog new ticks).

I know that the Americans and yank-lovers won't change, but that's actually a great reason to change to totally alienate them.

The other reason (& a big bugbear of mine) is the inconsistency of the actual size. I cannot understand how someone can call a head-high wave 3ft. I mean, head-high is 5-6ft, unless you're height-challenged or a kneeboarder ;-) Why call the unit "feet" when it has nothing to do with the imperial measurement unit known as "feet"? Call it "thingys", or "widgets" or something, but not "feet". I heard years ago that it measured the height of the back of the wave but that's bullshit because a wave like Teahupoo has no back.

No, the only way to measure a wave is the height of the FACE of the wave. So if it's the same height as the surfer riding it, then call it 5-6ft or about 2m. If it's waist high, then 3ft or 1m. If it's twice overhead, then it's 10-12ft or about 4m. Simple! Accurate! No leeway for those too cool who have to downgrade the height to make their balls appear bigger.

No, call it the right size and cut out this "I'm cool" or "I surfed Hawaii" bullshit.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Tuesday, 1 Mar 2011 at 2:13am

And the ongoing argument about sizes continues :p ...

toby's picture
toby's picture
toby commented Tuesday, 1 Mar 2011 at 2:21am

The other reason (& a big bugbear of mine) is the inconsistency of the actual size. I cannot understand how someone can call a head-high wave 3ft. I mean, head-high is 5-6ft, unless you're height-challenged or a kneeboarder ;-) Why call the unit "feet" when it has nothing to do with the imperial measurement unit known as "feet"? Call it "thingys", or "widgets" or something, but not "feet". I heard years ago that it measured the height of the back of the wave but that's bullshit because a wave like Teahupoo has no back.

No, the only way to measure a wave is the height of the FACE of the wave. So if it's the same height as the surfer riding it, then call it 5-6ft or about 2m. If it's waist high, then 3ft or 1m. If it's twice overhead, then it's 10-12ft or about 4m. Simple! Accurate! No leeway for those too cool who have to downgrade the height to make their balls appear bigger.

By: "crip"

I might want to make my balls appear bigger, but using your method is just advertising that you're a kook or a Californian. By all means adopt your method, or the metric method. Just don't be surprised when people laugh at you and call you a kook.

crip's picture
crip's picture
crip commented Tuesday, 1 Mar 2011 at 4:27am

@toby, nobody has laughed at me or called me a kook for 30 years when I call a head-high wave 5ft, or a double-overhead wave 10ft. "Californian", give me a break! You don't know me so how can you call me a kook?

It's only been in the last 5-10 years (maybe before your time!) that I've noticed the "new" measurement being used more widely. Before that we laughed at people like you who called a 10ft wave as 5ft, called them wankers or wannabes. I'm a bit wiser now, and probably wouldn't laugh at you unless you are actually being a wanker.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 1 Mar 2011 at 4:54am

crip, one of the problems is that we can't even get people to agree how big a head high wave is, let alone a numerical value. I've seen people call 2-3ft overhead surf as 'shoulder high', amongst other variations.

ftl's picture
ftl's picture
ftl commented Tuesday, 1 Mar 2011 at 5:04am

^ 100% agree with ben on this. you hear people saying "great 3ft of swell today eh!!" when its clearly not either head high, stomach high or anything in between, but rather twice their height.
there will never be consensus on this issue, so really the conversation, while interesting, is completely pointless.
on the topic though, I think maybe that if the metric option were to be considered, it could be in the form of an account option for units, which would encourage more people to make accounts and be involved in the community. also, it could be in the form of including a note at the bottom of the graph / forecast such as (3ft = 1m, 1ft = 0.3m), rather than having it on both sides of the graph. I say this because this would lead to decimal places... eg. I remember a few years ago the forecast for margaret river said 19ft - this would be 6.333333333333 etc. on the graph... not cool man.

toby's picture
toby's picture
toby commented Tuesday, 1 Mar 2011 at 5:15am

Obviously it's different where you live (California, right?). Round here there's a standard, and it's pretty similar as was given by wink on page 2. I've noticed on the internet and forms of media that most Australians use a similar scale. Using otherwise generally advertises that you're a beginner or kook. Calling a head-high wave 5' or 6' will definitely generate laughs. It's 3', end of story. It might not make sense, but it's certainly not inconsistent. The scale is set in stone. But seeing as I've only been surfing for 2 years, maybe the scale is just a new-fangled thing ...

Reproduced for your enlightenment :

measuring from the back of the wave is pointless..
everyone knows that abrupt ledges can amplify swell etc..
stick to measuring face height..
here it is again for those who missed it..
print it out and stick it on your fridge.. :mrgreen: :P

The following is the unofficial Aussie but commonly understood wave measuring scale...
All measurements to be taken from base trim line of wave...
Heights are based on average Aussie male adult height (5 foot 10)...
Stated wave height is NOT a representation of the peak as it jacks up on take-off, it must represent the wave for the majority of its run...

½ foot = knee high
1 foot = waist high
2 foot = shoulder high
3 foot = just overhead (or 6 foot face)
4 foot = head and a half high
5 foot = just under double overhead
6 foot = double overhead
7 foot = nonexistent (it's either 6 or it's 8.)
8 foot = double and a half overhead
9 foot = nonexistent (it's either 8 or it's 10)
10 foot = a touch over triple overhead
11 foot = nonexistent (it's either 10 or it's 12)
12 foot = almost quadruple overhead
13 foot = nonexistent (there's a big void between 12 & 15 foot)
14 foot = nonexistent (there's a big void between 12 & 15 foot)
15 foot = is the bucket measurement for anything between quadruple and quintuple overhead for the entire length of the wave, and not just the take off)
...anything over 15 foot?
only very few people have the authority to even pass comment on this, and it’s likely that either you nor I are one of them, so shut up and don’t call that size unless you’ve surfed it, because you’d be too busy standing there slack-jawed to comprehend what the f*ck’s happening...

By: "iggy"

Poor old mrgreen, doesn't survive the transition ...

jimmy's picture
jimmy's picture
jimmy commented Tuesday, 1 Mar 2011 at 7:00am

Iggs must be so proud.. His scale has gone international!

shaun's picture
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shaun commented Tuesday, 1 Mar 2011 at 7:06am

This Toby character sounds like another Waynker personality. We've met Wayne the pro mal surfer, Scoop the body boarder, Foamballs the grumpy agro blowin local and now he's Toby the know all beginner surfer. If he keeps fornicating with himself, breeding more personalitys he won't need to us to argue with anymore..................hmm that might not be to bad.

I'm the scab you keep picking off and is there again the next day.

crip's picture
crip's picture
crip commented Wednesday, 2 Mar 2011 at 3:09am

Ben, you're right unfortunately.

However, I can't understand:

a) how people don't understand that 1 foot is an actual defined imperial unit of measurement, being 12 inches. If you went to school and had a normal school ruler (or maybe they don't have them any more), it would have been 30cm. That's pretty close to 1ft. It derived from the length of a man's foot (hence the name).

b) how people can call a wave with a average height stand-up surfer on it where the top of the wave is level with the top of the surfer's head as anything other than 5-6ft.

And Toby, I like the way that you confess to having been surfing for only 2 years, yet you have the temerity (look it up!) to say that, in effect, I'm a kook and don't know what I'm talking about! Hah! I've probably surfed more waves than you've seen.

Things may have changed. Easter Saturday 1981, when Bells was called (by all surfers there including the pros) as 15-20ft, I was out surfing at Steps and everyone out there called it 12-15ft. Using the "Hawaiian" scale which seems in vogue now, Bells would have been called 8-10 ft. But nobody called it that.

I like Iggy's scale except he also doesn't know how big 1 ft is. How is waist-high = 1ft? Imagine what someone would look like with a foot that long. Not even Ian Thorpe's feet are that big.

So, I will continue to call a head-high wave 5-6ft, and I'll continue to explain my position to those who disagree.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 2 Mar 2011 at 3:43am

crip - here's the clue - when surfers refer to 'feet', they're actually not talking about a strict interpretation of the imperial measurement. It's just a convenient, readily available term that's evolved through the years.

I know it's crazy, but it's just one of those things.

shaun's picture
shaun's picture
shaun commented Wednesday, 2 Mar 2011 at 7:49am

I always thought everybody said it was 12 to 15 at bells in 81, better sort this out and ask every body again.
It's funny every time I see a picture of that contest, I think it doesn't look that big.

I'm the scab you keep picking off and is there again the next day.

toby's picture
toby's picture
toby commented Wednesday, 2 Mar 2011 at 8:16am

And Toby, I like the way that you confess to having been surfing for only 2 years, yet you have the temerity (look it up!) to say that, in effect, I'm a kook and don't know what I'm talking about! Hah! I've probably surfed more waves than you've seen.

By: "crip"

Well, it'll be 2 years in August. Where can I look up temerity? I only finished grade 9 at school and don't really know about the interweb yet?

Look, you can protest all you want but the fact is that the scale I quoted is in full effect. Unless, it seems, if you're in parts of Queensland. Maybe that's it ...

There's no point arguing about it, and I agree that a foot might not be 12" of wave face if you take a ruler to is, but it's just the common way to call waves. A bit like despite growing up well and truly in the metric age, I can't get my head around people's height being given in centimetres. Or board lengths, as someone mentioned earlier. I have to convert them to feet and inches.

And so, once again, I'll reiterate - around where I live, call waves in metric or face measurements and you'll be considered a kook.

shaun's picture
shaun's picture
shaun commented Wednesday, 2 Mar 2011 at 8:56am

Toby we're all kooks, it's just that some of us don't realize it.

I'm the scab you keep picking off and is there again the next day.

bigwayne's picture
bigwayne's picture
bigwayne commented Saturday, 5 Mar 2011 at 11:09pm

to whom it may concern, toby is not my offsring (at least i dont think so)he tries to emulate my good self but fails! 24 months of surfing and we have an expert?thank god for that! there is no room for two massive egos on this site so be gone with you young man. mr shaun its good to read that missive and you took the words right out of my mouth it must have been while you where fellating me. mr toby how many waves have you caught? i suspect maybe 50 in total in your 2 years of riding a board only and not surfing so what makes you an expert? i myself am an expert read bull shitter (I didnt just say that did i) on all things and dont use my undisputed reputation as such to further your point. go sit on the shoulder old mate and leave the business of definition of waves to people that know what they are on about. messers shaun, spongy, and bigwayne will be happy to set you straight and maybe mr ben will be the level head among us all? he has given the best account of this wave height and moral dilema we are facing. this was bought to you by the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world and this sites only male supermodel

toby's picture
toby's picture
toby commented Sunday, 6 Mar 2011 at 3:08am

It's gotta be at least 60, and it's not quite 2 years. I reckon I'll tally up at least 100 by the 2 year mark. I try to get out every Saturday morning. Sunday's are off because I've got to work on my golf game. But my 8' mini-mal is awesome for catching smoking peelers. The Surftech sticker's fading a bit but it says "4 inch thick and 50-50 rails for maximum performance".

Fuck, seems like some of the swellnet forum regulars are dumber than a box full of hammers. This whole thread demonstrates it - using metric measurements and then a supposed 35 year surfer who doesn't understand why we don't use face heights to measure. And others defending him, like they agree with him. WTF? Are you all really that stupid?

shaun's picture
shaun's picture
shaun commented Sunday, 6 Mar 2011 at 5:22am

See , I told you Toby was Bigwayneker that rant just proved it

I'm the scab you keep picking off and is there again the next day.

bombora's picture
bombora's picture
bombora commented Sunday, 6 Mar 2011 at 5:49am

I think Toby's makin up stories.
And you guys are falling for it.Image