Disappointed Again

joggly's picture
joggly started the topic in Saturday, 20 Feb 2010 at 2:41am

Anyone else seeing a pattern emerging with online surf forecasting and its effects on us. 5 days ahead a few are big noting themselves trying to claim it first, THE SWELL thats on its way , 3 days getting excited everyones talking about IT. Arrival date nothing. Next day something but ... EVERYTIME it's a total overkill and all of a sudden all the forecasts are downplaying it. Would love to know the statistics predicted swell events have on the online activity of these sites. Don't get me wrong I'm one of those big noters. Checking for updates daily. Swellnet is top of my bookmark bar, however I am loosing the faith. THANKS

nosedrip's picture
nosedrip's picture
nosedrip commented Saturday, 20 Feb 2010 at 3:56am

Hey joggly - Ben sent me a text saying that next weekend will be epic. Just before I received one from the boys at CW....so stop all the hand wringing and dust off those rhino chasers.....trust me.....it's going to be all time....

maddog's picture
maddog's picture
maddog commented Saturday, 20 Feb 2010 at 7:28am

This was a topic i mentioned last week and stunet shot it down, then this weeks swell event didnt really live up to the hype, and again it was a day or 2 later. I then checked the up dated reports and they were different!

ross-a's picture
ross-a's picture
ross-a commented Saturday, 20 Feb 2010 at 7:49am

When Stunet bets his undergarments on it - that's when you need to take note

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Saturday, 20 Feb 2010 at 12:36pm

Look Ross -A, I can't argue with someone who has no Scrooples. And Maddog , do you remember two wednesdays ago when the swell was undercalled? Voodoo ten foot in the morning....

Big fucken hype, eh?

Yeah, it was an undercall stuff-up, but this notion of yours that they hype things up is boolshit. I work beside these pricks day in and day out and they read every swell that's coming. Every fucking day they pour over charts just so blokes like you can pop their head in on the off swell and say they were out by a foot.

Arghg...fuggit...big night pissoff.

nosedrip's picture
nosedrip's picture
nosedrip commented Saturday, 20 Feb 2010 at 6:47pm

They were out by a foot

maddog's picture
maddog's picture
maddog commented Saturday, 20 Feb 2010 at 9:13pm

and the goldcoast stuey was a third of its predicted size and 2 days late i, dont give a f..uck for your forecasting i just check it (the beach)!Maybe you guys should try it . Classic to see a photo of lennox the other day here , but you guys were still unwilling to name it..Its not some north coast pointbreak its LENNOX and its not a secret spot .

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Saturday, 20 Feb 2010 at 11:42pm

^^We predicted 12 foot??

Maddog, you tell me what size we predicted, and then tell me what size it got to. Finally, let me know when you think it arrived.

clif's picture
clif's picture
clif commented Saturday, 20 Feb 2010 at 11:45pm

There was swell. But it was lumpy and not really lining up well. I chased it all over the shop, practically whole east coast LOL. The swell size was there. But the conditions: banks and "cleanliness" of the swell wasn't (it had a real wobble to it and a lack of grunt). Hard things to predict. You need to do that work yourself. I did and I lost. Sigh. Next one please because I will do it all again. I am a stubborn fucker Huey, you bastaaaaard, you will never beat me down so much I don't come back again. Grrrr

"Don't try. That's very important: not to try." Charles Bukowski

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Sunday, 21 Feb 2010 at 12:08am

Classic to see a photo of lennox the other day here , but you guys were still unwilling to name it..Its not some north coast pointbreak its LENNOX and its not a secret spot .

By: "maddog"

That photo was on Coastalwatch!

Don't bother verifying the sizes Maddog. First you get 'reports' and 'forecasts' mixed up now you get the two forecasting sites mixed up. You're not a very reliable source of information now are you?

rail2rail's picture
rail2rail's picture
rail2rail commented Sunday, 21 Feb 2010 at 1:21am

You mean you can get a text sent to you 7 days in advance telling you the surf will be epic? What's Huey's number? I could use some of that info. Seriously, the Swellnet forecasters are probably looking at similar charts that everyone else is looking at and nature is a hard thing to predict.
I don't visit Swellnet for the forecasts (and definately not the WA reports - we're onto you blokes), I visit the site for current surf news and sessions (pity it's so saturated with Goldie and Sydney content - but you got to satisfy your market I S'pose).
I spoke with a crusty old fisherman in Denmark(WA) recently who told me that a 5 metre swell was due in a few days. A fisherman forecasting the swell size.....
The point is that sites like this are just a guide. Collect as much info as you can from various outlets and mediums and you can then make an informed decision yourself. Or do it the old way - Check out synoptic charts, tide predictions and you're on your way. That way you have no one else to blame because the swell is too big...too small...wrong winds etc. Surf forecasting has become the mobile phones of the surfing world - people are lost without them. It's always essy to write someone off because their forecast was wrong, but how many people would post a comment saying that the forecast was spot on? Remember, real surfers surf waves and not the net (ok,so I'm a hypocrite...).
P.s. - Stuey, I can see that your diplomacy suffers somewhat after a big night on the turps. When you have a forum page on your new "fresh looking" and "easy to navigate" website, you got to expect some criticism.

clif's picture
clif's picture
clif commented Sunday, 21 Feb 2010 at 3:41am

I like Stuey after a night on the turps. Honesty off the leash. LOL.

"Don't try. That's very important: not to try." Charles Bukowski

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Sunday, 21 Feb 2010 at 5:16am

^^^In vino veritas!

In beer too,
and scotch,
and bourbon,
and vodka,
etc
etc
etc...

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Monday, 22 Feb 2010 at 12:22am

and the goldcoast stuey was a third of its predicted size and 2 days late i, dont give a f..uck for your forecasting i just check it (the beach)!Maybe you guys should try it . Classic to see a photo of lennox the other day here , but you guys were still unwilling to name it..Its not some north coast pointbreak its LENNOX and its not a secret spot .

By: "maddog"

Hi MadDog, Steve Shearer here.
If your referring to Fridays forecast cyclone swell then your wrong mate.

Friday was forecast as 3-5ft with poss. of bigger bomb sets. The Gold Coast report came in at 6ft that morning.
An easing trend was predicted by the a'noon.
The actual easing trend was earlier than expected.

Thats the way it goes with cyclone swells. They're very unpredictable by nature.

On Monday before the swell hit I said in the forecast notes: "At it moves south-westwards along a sub-tropical ridge into open ocean, into our swell window proper, it is expected to weaken as it moves into an area of greater vertical wind shear."

Weakening as it enters our swell window.
That is hardly hypeing the swell.

On Wednesday, two days before the swell I said in the notes: "The weakening of TC Rene occurred at a greater rate than previously expected and mostly as it moved into our swell window proper. We're still expecting a strong burst of long period E swell from Rene but the lack of reliable windspeed data and Visible satellite images which clearly showed the weakening as Rene moved SW of Fiji into the prime position means a downgrade in wave size compared to Monday's forecast."

Another clear caveat that this swell wasn't going to be the event of the century.

I grew up on the SunnyCoast, lived on the Goldy for ten years and am intimately familiar with every surfbreak between D-Bah and Lady Elliot Island.

Forecasting is a game of probabilities and likely outcomes. Error bars occur but savvy operators join the dots, use the information and score.
Sheep join the herd and surf in the crowds.
Same as it ever was.

Every forecast is a learning experience for me and I accept that errors occur. Especially in unpredictable systems such as cyclones, hybrid lows and close range Tasman lows. In such cases small variations in reported real-time data can lead to large errors in actual surf-size. All experienced surfers know that.
Every swell has it's own particular signature......so you go back over the charts, quikscat. Ascat, sat images and try and hindcast so you know a little more for the next one.
It's a never ending process with a curve ball waiting around every corner.

If you've got feedback, then that is much appreciated and if you think something is being over or under-cooked then why not sack-up and make a call in advance of the event.
Whinging after the swell just makes you look like a goose.

I'm doing this because I love surfing and this gives me the flexibility to surf and still feed my family.
My aim is to give general and specific info about swells so people can use that to have fun......alot of crew I know use it to score uncrowded surf but that is more difficult in SE QLD, but not impossible.
Have a good day, Steve.

wiseman-designs's picture
wiseman-designs's picture
wiseman-designs commented Monday, 22 Feb 2010 at 1:39am

I wasn't sure about posting a reply on the forum, but in defence of those hardy souls who pour over maps for hours on end to give us an idea of what's going on out there, here goes.
These predictions are called forecasts for a reason. You want to know what happened, read a report post event. I, like many others (maybe these days too many, but that's another forum topic right there) use the forecast for wind and rough wave quality and direction, then use my knowledge of my local breaks to determine where would most likely be the best spot to be. Noone can forcast exactly what's going to actually occur pre event 100% correct all the time. To the best of my knowledge forecasts are based on computer modelling worked of prior swell and weather events. Not everything goes down the same way every time. Life would be borting if it did.
At some point you have to use a bit of your own nous too in deciding where to go. I can't speak for you all but even if waves heights aren't what's predicted, generally I still have fun out there.
I have no association with any forecasters.

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather commented Monday, 22 Feb 2010 at 3:01am

Forecasting is a game of probabilities and likely outcomes. Error bars occur but savvy operators join the dots, use the information and score.

By: "freeride76"

That's exactly what I got this morning. 2-3ft A frame beachies with a bit of grunt on the low tide and just me and my mates (and a few dolphins) to enjoy it all to ourselves.

sir-yehudi-wooody-the-75-1-2th's picture
sir-yehudi-wooody-the-75-1-2th's picture
sir-yehudi-wooo... commented Monday, 22 Feb 2010 at 3:17am

On friday the 19th of February, the Tweed River waverider bouy was reading 1.9 - 3.4 metres with the wave period 7 - 15 seconds.
What I found interesting about this swell was the wave period, 2 different swells in the mix, the long period 15 second swell from the cyclone and the short period 7 second swell generated by the local winds.
During friday morning often when a 15 second swell arrived there would be a 7 second swell just ahead of it causing the 15 second swell to fill up and not break in the spot it would usually break in.
A pure 15 second swell without interference from shorter period swells is much better.
Did any one notice this at their local spot?

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Monday, 22 Feb 2010 at 5:03am

Yes I think I noticed it but down in Manly.

I headed out during the evening and there were still inconsistent but solid 3-5ft sets from the E/NE. We also had a solid SE swell in the 3-4ft range across Sydney on Friday and it seemed as though when a few of the bigger sets from the E/NE swell pushed through, they had the smaller SE swell just ahead of it making for wierd double ups which missed the outside bank and just closed out on the inside.

Don't know if there's any studies looking at whether mixes of swells get entrained with each other and then arrive at similar times to the beach, causing this effect.

simsurf's picture
simsurf's picture
simsurf commented Monday, 22 Feb 2010 at 5:31am

wow i dont think i have ever heard a swear word from the stunet!

@maddog do you need your hand held too when you cross the road? its a forecast just like the weather...do they always get that right even after centuries of trying? Or maybe your just pissed because you chucked a sickie and the surf didnt show up? lol The swellnet guys work bloody hard for minimal reward ...I reckon doing swell models would be a bloody nightmare with all the variables you have to take into account...i will leave all the hard work to stu and ben...just when you think you mother nature sussed she will turn around and slap you in the face...

edit: whoops just read wisemans post and i pretty much rehashed what he said...and i do have an association with swellnet in that i am lucky they run my photos and I knew ben when we used to deliver pizzas about a century ago haha but i stick by my words:)

edit 2! and there was a time when you had to pay about $10 a minute just to get any kind of swell forecast over the phone! about a century ago too! the phone bills we used to rack up living in the city in adelaide! so i reckon things have come a long way!

bombora's picture
bombora's picture
bombora commented Monday, 22 Feb 2010 at 6:03am

On friday the 19th of February, the Tweed River waverider bouy was reading 1.9 - 3.4 metres with the wave period 7 - 15 seconds.
What I found interesting about this swell was the wave period, 2 different swells in the mix, the long period 15 second swell from the cyclone and the short period 7 second swell generated by the local winds.
During friday morning often when a 15 second swell arrived there would be a 7 second swell just ahead of it causing the 15 second swell to fill up and not break in the spot it would usually break in.
A pure 15 second swell without interference from shorter period swells is much better.
Did any one notice this at their local spot?

By: "sir-yehudi-wooody-the-75-1-2th"

Yep, happened up on the Sunny Coast, too.
It's not an uncommon phenomenon especially if there's a large variation in the size of the two swells. (IMO - Steve and Don may have different ideas). Can be very frustrating and means a lot of moving around to catch waves.

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Monday, 22 Feb 2010 at 6:12am

Maddog....

Swellnet is great....surfing is great....but it all means shit unless you turn up in the morning ready to enjoy whatever Huey dishes up....get in the water....quit whingeing and enjoy....actually stay on your computer....there's enough wankers in the water as it is..

I'm not cheap,
But I'm free.

maddog's picture
maddog's picture
maddog commented Monday, 22 Feb 2010 at 10:09am

Touche crg , i surfed twice yesterday for more hours than i can actually remember .Im almost never on this machine during daylight hours. I do agree that there are lots of wankers in the surf though.You dont know me ,i dont know you , but calling me names is only detracting from the topic of this forum topic..For the record not that it means anything but ive surfed for 40 yrs.

maddog's picture
maddog's picture
maddog commented Monday, 22 Feb 2010 at 10:28am

Steve , thanks for taking the time to actually reply to the points i have made, its appreciated.My issue i guess is the overcrowding that takes place due to the availability of this info.I work in an office that actually looks up the cooly greenmount stretch and score relatively un-crowded sessions by timing crowd change overs etc .100% correct or not in regards to the arrival of a swell the simple existance of forecasting has added greatly to the amount of bodies.....

maddog's picture
maddog's picture
maddog commented Monday, 22 Feb 2010 at 10:31am

ive never been disappointed for having gone surfing!

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather commented Monday, 22 Feb 2010 at 10:40am

The simple existance of forecasting has added greatly to the amount of bodies.....

By: "maddog"

Yes and no maddog. Forecasting sites like this may add the masses to the peak of the swell, but they also provide less of a crew on the upward or downward spike of the swell, which is what I usually aim for. Although I personally believe that even without sites like SN and CW, most of the masses would arrive on the peak of the swell courtesy of the loads of free and highly sophisticated wave model data on the web these days anyway.

Take this morning for example. Every man and his dog surfed their brains out from Friday through to Sunday, mostly at crowded over-rated point breaks. Me, I just waited and scored some super fun 2-3ft A frame beaches this morning with just me and handful of mates for as far as the eye could see....excluding the friendly dolphins of course. These days you just have to plan your surfs either side of the peak swell days and you'll be laughing. Or alternatively, do what I also do and do my own forecasting to see if I can spot swells that sneak under the radar......that makes it all the more sweeter when you score on those days.

No point bagging sites like SN and CW. They're here to stay and they aint gonna go away cause you don't like em. Deal with it, move on and enjoy the ocean for what she has to deliver.

simsurf's picture
simsurf's picture
simsurf commented Monday, 22 Feb 2010 at 11:02am

Steve , thanks for taking the time to actually reply to the points i have made, its appreciated.My issue i guess is the overcrowding that takes place due to the availability of this info.I work in an office that actually looks up the cooly greenmount stretch and score relatively un-crowded sessions by timing crowd change overs etc .100% correct or not in regards to the arrival of a swell the simple existance of forecasting has added greatly to the amount of bodies.....

By: "maddog"

i thought you issue was swellnet didnt provide you with an accurate wave forecast down to the mm?

maddog's picture
maddog's picture
maddog commented Monday, 22 Feb 2010 at 11:27am

^^^ no mate i just check it..i have an issue with the over calling of swell and then the hasty retreat by those callers when it didnt happen.It was also a point i made in one of the other similar topics in these forums!

simsurf's picture
simsurf's picture
simsurf commented Monday, 22 Feb 2010 at 11:59am

^^^ no mate i just check it..i have an issue with the over calling of swell and then the hasty retreat by those callers when it didnt happen.It was also a point i made in one of the other similar topics in these forums!

By: "maddog"

I would have to agree that on a few occasions this year swells have been called that havent arrived. But i will stick by my words that it is a forecast and the amount of variables are mind-boggling:) Maybe it is my bias but i have always though SW have the most accurate forecasts going in Aus, though I am sure there are people out there that will always disagree. Not you specifically but people in general. Surely you must agree that that since you have about twenty yrs more surfing experience than me, that surf forecasting has come a long way? eg there would have been nothing available when you started surfing except the synoptic charys on the nightly news and sticking your finger in the air to feel the wind:) lol

Good to see forums that don't degenerate into name calling etc in my opinion! I ama actually enjoying some of these "debates"

quik edit: for example if you check the history of BOM:

The Bureau was established under the Meteorology Act of 1906 by formally bringing together the individual colonial/State Meteorological Services that had existed prior to that time. It commenced operation as a Commonwealth agency on 1 January 1908. Following the repeal of the Meteorology Act of 1906, the Bureau was formally re-established, under the charge of the Director of Meteorology, by the Meteorology Act 1955.

BOM regulary issues storm warnings that never turn up which they then retract and they have been forcasting for 100 years+! So i dont mind cutting the surf forecasters a break now and then:)