Swellnet Saves The World

Stu Nettle
Surfpolitik

Science fiction bores the shit out of me. It really does. Yeah, I can get beyond the stereotype of undersexed and overanxious young men dressing like Trekkies and playing World of Warcraft but the plotlines just don't grab. All those parallel universes, time travelling wizards and nasty aliens leave me colder than a Klingon's heart.

Yet when the theme of man versus machine arises in the genre I sit up and take notice. You know the one: man relinquishes dominion to the machines, a hero is born, and an epic struggle for humanity's freedom ensues. I pay attention because it's starting to come true.

"It is?" I hear you ask.

Yes, it is. Let me give you an example of how humans are beginning to hand control of their minds over to the machines:

"18 feet @ 20 seconds"

And here's another example:

"10 feet @ 18 seconds"

That data comes straight from the mind of the machines and is blindly consumed by humans. Upon hearing such numbers they froth like Pavlov's dog and alter their behaviour to maximise the reward.

Such willing and unquestioned subservience has seen an insidious plague of replicants spread across the web: Buoyweather, Windguru, Seabreeze, Wavewatch. Each replicant claims to be helping humanity, even giving the false appearance of being run by us, yet all of them are merely chips and processors whirring away in temperature-controlled server rooms telling you, me, all of us, when to surf.

The sites listed above, and many more just like them, are all controlled by the same mother computer, known as GFS, or Global Forecasting System. It's the underlying model of all their data. If one replicant appears to display different information it's only due to the location of their data point, or it may be something as superficial yet no less powerful as how colourful their graphs are. Blue and green evokes trust, red danger, yellow appeals to the human eye. The replicants have the key to your mind.

But the point I make is this: It is all the same information. Unchecked and unintelligent.

The most worrying aspect however, is that we've all been drawn in and come to rely on it. Humanity is handing the controls over to HAL and we're locking ourselves out of the pod bay doors. Fortunately, as I mentioned above, the science-fiction script requires a hero to be born...

Last Wednesday, Craig Brokensha, Swellnet's surf forecaster, spotted something only discernible to the human eye; a confluence of data meaningless to replicants but triggering rich emotion in sentient beings. A sudden wind switch was due in Sydney, while two swells - a south-east and a north-east - were in the water, the combination offering a small window of opportunity. For a few hours it would be offshore and peaky though dropping quickly as the wind blew the short-range swells flat.

Being a lover of humanity Craig informed everyone via Swellnet's Wednesday forecast notes. He broadcast the exceptional event and explained in explicit detail – to the hour, to the inch – how it would unfold.

Come the time and the Swellnet office was empty. I paddled out at Manly - Australia's Most Popular Beach - just before the expected wind change. I was the only Earthling on the bank. The wind, as predicted, switched from onshore to offshore and the transformation began: the surface smoothed and the bank defined itself, the two swells became apparent, they gathered in peaks and wedges and barrelled either way.

One bodyboarder paddled out to join me. I was still the only Earthling.

An hour into the session, while the replicant computers were punching out their meaningless data, it really began to pump. Craig paddled out. There were now four people on the bank at Australia's Most Popular Beach one day after a glowing surf forecast was issued. Half the crowd was Swellnet.

Where was everyone? They'd been duly warned. The situation was more dire than expected.

All good science fiction stories carry a message and this one is no exception. We must fight back before our cause becomes hopeless. Reclaim your lost humanity by only reading forecast notes and reports written by humans.

(Photos taken by Craig after the session)

Comments

ryder's picture
ryder's picture
ryder commented Wednesday, 24 Aug 2011 at 10:06am

Quote: One bodyboarder paddled out to join me. I was still the only Earthling.
Had me ROTFLOL that one.

Yeah, it's funny isn't it. All the computers in the world are useless without the help of humans who collate the data and put it all to good use.

Well done Craig. A credit to your employer. Oh, and... they would like to thank you for the surf forecast.

poncholarpez's picture
poncholarpez's picture
poncholarpez commented Wednesday, 24 Aug 2011 at 11:16am

Ahhhh, I get it. This was really a test to see if SN has ruined the world for all locals with its surf forecasts. I guess this confirms SN stance on the previous topic of localizim.

www.sunshinecoastsurfimagery.com or facebook:sunshinecoastsurfimagery

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather commented Wednesday, 24 Aug 2011 at 10:37pm

I assume this article needs to be read as sarcasm at it's best!!! ;)

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 24 Aug 2011 at 11:09pm

Maybe more satire than sarcasm, Don. But as you'd well know, there's also a hell of a lot of truth.

batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink commented Thursday, 25 Aug 2011 at 12:02am

So if swellnet are ruining everything for the locals poncho, how is it that the god-like locals weren't on it.

And if they weren't on it, how was it ruined?

barstardos1's picture
barstardos1's picture
barstardos1 commented Thursday, 25 Aug 2011 at 12:03am

One beach north and I had a similar uncrowded experience at the same time as you. Despite some average in-between days, i have had 6 excellent surfs in the last 7 days. Just as well we had a good winter because I suspect the spring doldrums will be on us for a while.
Yes I check MSW and surf-forecast for variations on the GFS feed - but it is always just one part of my surfing decision process (ie: do I get out of bed at 5.15 tomorrow morning and paddle out 30 minutes before dawn). After a week of good waves It will be mountain biking for the foreseeable future

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 25 Aug 2011 at 1:22am

You're wiser than Yoda, Barstardos. By using GFS sites alone I knew you would be fooled not.

batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink commented Thursday, 25 Aug 2011 at 2:00am

While you're patting yourselves on the back there stu, it seems the nor easter got up a lot earlier this morning than suggested by the charts I was looking at, and your venerable forecasting as well.

I thought I might get a fair bit of the morning offshore. Not round these parts.

Yeah yeah. I know it was offshore from 6.25 to 6.37 am this morning. :-)

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 25 Aug 2011 at 2:08am

We always leave room for a bit of mystery and surprise in the forecasts, Batfink. Life's rich tapestry and all that...

Doclach's picture
Doclach's picture
Doclach commented Thursday, 25 Aug 2011 at 8:17am

Even the non-earthlings enjoyed reading this one Stu ;)
Personally I'm not one for trusting machines with their blind data too much. Hand crafting by human-earthling-things will always have the upper edge of the discerning mind to sift and interpret IMO.

poncholarpez's picture
poncholarpez's picture
poncholarpez commented Thursday, 25 Aug 2011 at 10:47am

@Batfink, exactley my point. Nothing was ruined by advanced warning by SN forecast. Even at one of the more crowded beaches in Sydney.

www.sunshinecoastsurfimagery.com or facebook:sunshinecoastsurfimagery

batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink commented Thursday, 25 Aug 2011 at 11:21pm

@poncho, ah yes, irony, it doesn't always get read as intended.

I feel like a yank now.

And stu, was this glorious day this Wednesday last week? Either way I was busy working, but next time you see this I expect a personal email. Don't tell Ben about it or he will want it set up as a premium paid service.

I'll pay you and Craig in shouts.

mundies's picture
mundies's picture
mundies commented Friday, 26 Aug 2011 at 3:05pm

This may not be the most appropriate forum - it has nothing to do with science fiction, or the Global Forecasting System (GFS) for that matter as this happened in about 1991-92 when I was sponsored by Power Plug in Victor Harbour (thank you Andy Inkster) as was Ben Matson founder of Swellnet, but here goes; I wrote this recently to a friend in recollection of an amazing experience:
I met a southern right whale with her baby when I was younger. My mate Chrissy Harper freaked cos he saw this massive dorsal fin heading for us and he went in, but I saw barnacles which I knew meant it was a whale. It was at least 6ft tall (ie the dorsal fin). I was maybe half a kilometre out to sea at day street between middleton and goolwa. The whale approached me and cruised so close that I could touch her. She keeled over onto her side and looked at me from about 1 metre away - I looked deeply into her intelligent football sized eye. She checked me out. She cruised past with her baby on the other side of her - as she passed me she was so close I was able to gently drag my hand along her flank and tail. She repeated this pass twice and I repeated my gentle touch along her flank, only it started further up her flank and lasted for longer upon each pass of her amazing bulk. At the very end of the third pass of this amazing creature my fingers dropped from the soft end of her tail and she then raised her tail and SMACKED it into the water - she was saying goodbye and dont follow. This was a mother teaching her child about humans, and in particular about surfers. I felt, and I still feel, blessed. I will remember this experience, and take it with me, into the grave....

mundies

hirsute's picture
hirsute's picture
hirsute commented Saturday, 27 Aug 2011 at 2:45am

Hi Mundies, do you know what Andy's doing now? I heard through the grapevine that he had given up shaping and was back nursing.
One of surfings great unrecognised shapers and a great bloke as well.

hirsute

mundies's picture
mundies's picture
mundies commented Saturday, 27 Aug 2011 at 9:35am

Hi Hirsute,
I'm not sure what he's up to. He came up to the Goldy a few months ago and visited Curly up at Burleigh. I was hoping to catch up (I'm on the north coast NSW) but it didn't pan out. He is a good man for sure, him and his wife Angela were always good to me....

mundies

blueberrybill's picture
blueberrybill's picture
blueberrybill commented Wednesday, 31 Aug 2011 at 5:39am

Hi Mundies, sorry to be an annoying prat but are you sure you weren't coming down from a massive bender in 1991-92? Southern Right whales don't have dorsal fins. Are you sure you weren't patting a circling mumma great white? And while I am being an annoying twat, Stunet isn't your story really just a thinly disguised age old surfer's rub in that you scored it and we missed out?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 31 Aug 2011 at 6:02am

@blueberrybill,

Me, bragging? Of course not! I'm here to inform and educate.

But jeez it was good...did you read the bit about it being uncrowded and pumping?

blueberrybill's picture
blueberrybill's picture
blueberrybill commented Wednesday, 31 Aug 2011 at 9:34pm

@stunet

Yep, I did. I'm only bitching cause I'm jealous. The bit that got me was - the surface smoothed and the bank defined itself, the two swells became apparent, they gathered in peaks and wedges and barrelled either way - Oooohhhhh Man!!!!! how good does that sound.

johnnosa's picture
johnnosa's picture
johnnosa commented Thursday, 1 Sep 2011 at 2:03am

@mundies @hirsute

Andy doesn't surf anymore - he's doing the nursing thing.
I'm pretty sure he's split from Angela too.

The last ever board he shaped was for me - I'm still riding it everywhere from Waits to Caves.

tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden commented Sunday, 11 Sep 2011 at 3:05am

From what I can see Stu, the point of this article is that if a user of swellnet had followed Craig's advice closely then he or she would have scored good uncrowded waves.
So therefore two possible reasons why the surf wasn't crowded that day were:
1. Not as many people use swellnet as what you think and/or
2. Those that do did not act on Craig's prediction
Swellnet, like every commercial website relies on readership and hit rates to determine it's advertising fees, so I guess you are hoping that it is not reason 1.
I am also guessing that Craig hopes it is not reason 2 as this would mean he does not have much credibility as a surf forecaster amongst your readership.
So what do you and Craig want? For swellnet to be as popular as possible and for everyone to follow Craig's advice to the letter?
This would have resulted in a lot of people paddling out at the time when Craig predicted the conditions would come good ie. the same time as you did. This would have been a good testament to the popularity and success of swellnet but would have meant that you didn't get those nice conditions so uncrowded.
So what do you really want?

the-roller's picture
the-roller's picture
the-roller commented Sunday, 11 Sep 2011 at 6:12am

Got to agree Stu, Those dudes who are heavily into science fiction are nothing but nerds dancing for our collective entertainment.

Prime example being that old dork, rottkamp.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zWNJHS9PBE

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Sunday, 11 Sep 2011 at 6:49am

@TylerDurden,

What I really want is to rile you up and have you question every facet of internet surf forecasting. I want you to sit at home and think about flaws in our business model and I want you to take time constructing lucid arguments about why we, Swellnet, should disappear off the face of the Earth.

That's what I really want. And I seem to be getting it.

Thanks Tyler Durden.

rees0's picture
rees0's picture
rees0 commented Sunday, 11 Sep 2011 at 8:04am

Stu.......... Are you Tyler Durden?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Sunday, 11 Sep 2011 at 8:27am

Perhaps I am....and I don't know it! That'd be life imitating art.

But no, Reeso, I'm not. So it's life irritating art.

tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden commented Sunday, 11 Sep 2011 at 8:57am

Avoided dealing with the issue yet again, well done.
Have a good nights sleep mate

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Sunday, 11 Sep 2011 at 11:39pm

(Next day. Stu wakes, stretching and yawning after 10 hours of log-like sleep)

Sorry Tyler, you were saying?

tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden commented Monday, 12 Sep 2011 at 1:43am

Stu, I am genuinely confused here.
Did you want the readers of this website to follow Craig's advice or not?
If they did then the nice uncrowded conditions that you had would not have been so uncrowded.
So which is it?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 12 Sep 2011 at 1:51am

You're not confused at all mate. You're obstinate and now you're laying on the befuddlement for effect as if this is a courtroom drama. Sorry, not convinced...

...but mildly amused though.

fitzroy-21's picture
fitzroy-21's picture
fitzroy-21 commented Monday, 12 Sep 2011 at 2:33am

Yeah Tyler, every single person that read it and took note would of travelled to and paddled out to that one single bank at Manly.

Haven't we been down this road before, beating that same worn out, tattered drum.

tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden commented Monday, 12 Sep 2011 at 8:56am

Befuddlement? Court room drama? What are you talking about?
This article is about how if a reader of the report had followed Craig's advice closely then they would have scored good conditions.
But how many people did you actually want to follow that advice given that you were out there surfing yourself?
This is the question that I am asking and that you are refusing to respond to.
I may be obstinate but you are in denial.
Long range surf forecasting has it's negatives but you have yet to acknowledge this publically.
If enough people followed Craig's advice then eventually your bank would have filled up and you would have had to deal with a larger crowd.
I think privately you probably realise there is a foundation of truth in what I say...and that is where your conscience comes into it.
Good luck with that, and have a great nights sleep mate!

whaaaat's picture
whaaaat's picture
whaaaat commented Monday, 12 Sep 2011 at 9:15am

***yawn***

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 12 Sep 2011 at 11:08pm

Yes Tyler, there is a 'foundation of truth' in what you say. Logically it makes sense - if everyone who read Craig's forecast would've followed it than each bank from Eden to the Tweed would've been crowded. That is the black and white reality of it.

The actual reality - the one where real life steps in - is that not many people could do it, would do it, or, as my article was suggesting, actually pay heed to the finer nuances of forecasting. I know this, it's why I wrote it in the first place. It's why I had a bit of fun with the topic. Yet you use it as a launching pad to mount another attack using the same ill-informed, unimaginative, and unsuccessful logic as you have in the past.

It's old ground and it's boring.

seal's picture
seal's picture
seal commented Tuesday, 13 Sep 2011 at 1:07am

I've gotta say most of the locals at the beaches where i live don't talk too favourablely about surf forecasting in relation to crowding especially when swell and wind conditions are talked up nearly a week in advance. The reports are not the only thing that causes the crowds though as mobile phones are also a huge contributor to the problem with numerous punters lobbing to a break and calling up all their mates to come and join them thus adding to the problem.
Of course the crowds are now here to stay and probably get worse, but to say that the reports don't contribute to the problem is being a little bit obstinate imho and that is probably as there is some earnings involved with those that write said reports.
I use the reports myself and do find that they give a heads up in advance to possible good conditions so i like them in that regards but don't like it when they give too much info and think reports should be just general information, not give details of when and where the surf is going to be the best, days in advance.
Of course I'll be dragged over the coals by all those that travel to surf, but i stand by what i say in that most locals don't like what reports have done in regards to crowding at places that are mentioned in any way be it detailed or in round about terms.

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather commented Tuesday, 13 Sep 2011 at 3:06am

Seal, swell forecasting is here to stayand even without CW and SN, there's soooooo much information freely available on the net these days that anyone can practically work out the peak swell events/days.

Ask those locals that you're talking about who complain as to whether they use any of the these freely available surf forecasting tools on the net and I bet the answer is of course they do.

One just has to understand this these days and work around these forecast "peak swell event/days" to avoid the crowds. That's what I do these days, and it works a treat.

Last Friday afternoon, I waited for the approaching front to hit the Goldy, turning the winds from onshore to perfect offshore and I got some excellent quality waves at one of the Gold Coast's swell magnets with a moderate crew (if it wasn't raining half of the tradies would have still been at work and the crowd would have been even less).

Sunday afternoon, same thing again...waited for the winds to swing offshore and hit up the same break, only this time, there was no more than 15-20 blokes spread out over a few hundred metres. Spoke to a guy and he said the morning session was hideous with 200+ blokes on it.

Ya just gotta use the freely available tools to your advantage these days and one can easily beat the crowds!!!

tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden commented Wednesday, 14 Sep 2011 at 1:51am

Stu, I chose to respond to the example provided in the article above because it directly involves you and in the past you had shown no insight to perhaps acknowledging that I had a point.
The session you had is in some ways a testament to swellnets success but not in others. You followed Craig's advice and you scored good, uncrowded conditions. But the great irony is that the only reason you scored those conditions uncrowded is because very few others acted on the advice.
Craig writes the Manly report, you were surfing at Manly and therefore if enough people acted on his advice you would have had to deal with a bigger crowd where you were surfing.
With all due respect Stu, if you consider that to be flawed logic then we have very different ideas on what constitutes good logic.
If swellnet is as successful as the owners of the website (and presumably you) want it to be it can only make those uncrowded session like you had less likely to occur.
You have made a few personal comments my way but if you are going to say my argument is illogical I don't think you are going to win much support

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 14 Sep 2011 at 2:01am

You're like a fucking mosquito you are.

Annoying and relentless.

goingsouth's picture
goingsouth's picture
goingsouth commented Wednesday, 14 Sep 2011 at 2:14am

@Tyler - Please just shut up!!! Apart from yourself with a totally meaningless and pointless (and seemingly endless) rant, nobody gives a rats ass what you are crapping on about!

Give it up with your negative point of view, NOBODY cares. Just go away please. You want a debate with someone who isn't interested, do you get that?? Surely you have bigger issues in your life you can put your time and energy into.

seal's picture
seal's picture
seal commented Wednesday, 14 Sep 2011 at 3:56am

Don, your right there is no stopping surf forecasting and yes there is plenty of info on the net to use and thats my point. Let those that are prepared to sort through all the info and come up with their own forecast score the good conditions, don't serve it up to them on a silver platter with times and places that should be good on such and such day. Make the average punter work a bit for the good sessions by only giving out general info and I'm sure a lot of the local surfers at numerous beaches will be grateful.
And yes I'm sure a lot of locals use surf forecasting as well as the tried and true practice of actually getting off their arse and having a look out the window or down at the beach.
What I'm getting at is those that are willing to do a bit of work should be able to score a good surf in front of those that only rely on the forecast sites to tell them were to go on any given day so please guys dumb down your reports a little, cause your getting too accurate and making it too easy for the multitudes.

whaaaat's picture
whaaaat's picture
whaaaat commented Wednesday, 14 Sep 2011 at 4:22am

Gawd, I'm gonna hate meself for doing this but here goes....

@tyler

Mate, the premise that you're defending (relentlessly, remorselessly, ad infinitum, ad nauseum) is irrelevant to the central point of Stu's article.

Simply, utterly irrelevant.

Stu's central point, made so long and so many posts ago that I have grown grey just reading them all, was this: only trust forecast notes and reports written by humans, not those spewed out by machines.

He was not making an argument for or against the utility of forecasting websites per se, or the causative effect they may or may not have on crowds. That is your bag, not his.

If you're gonna make an a priori argument, at least get your basic premise(s) sorted properly.

Peace, brother.

z-man's picture
z-man's picture
z-man commented Thursday, 15 Sep 2011 at 4:11am

It appears some people spend much time debating the usefulness of forecasting.
Surfing is supposed to be fun, and just for the fun of it, lets all go out at the same place and see how crowded one spot could be.
Make sure there is a surf cam to record the event.
I won't be there.

my signature

whaaaat's picture
whaaaat's picture
whaaaat commented Thursday, 15 Sep 2011 at 7:37am

There is such a recording....

http://vimeo.com/25299330

rees0's picture
rees0's picture
rees0 commented Thursday, 15 Sep 2011 at 9:14am

Hahahaha. How many would you need to take over Snapper?

z-man's picture
z-man's picture
z-man commented Thursday, 15 Sep 2011 at 7:23pm

Surf War Erupts!

Surfers take up arms.

Thousands killed.

Some surfers are happy.

Bodies litter lineups.

Surfboards float away, only to be gathered by new crew.

Can surfing be stopped?

my signature

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Thursday, 15 Sep 2011 at 10:47pm

There's a haiku in there somewhere Z-man.

rail2rail's picture
rail2rail's picture
rail2rail commented Friday, 16 Sep 2011 at 6:19am

@Whaaaat...that video clip you posted was friggin hilarious. It reminded me of Trigg Point.

tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden commented Saturday, 17 Sep 2011 at 2:42am

Hey Whaaat, there was a little bit more to the story than that. It was basically a self promotional piece about how if you had followed swellnet's advice you would have scored a good uncrowded session at a otherwise crowded beach.
My original point was actually a question to Stu asking him whether or not he actually wanted anyone to follow that advice, given that he was out there himself.
And that is the situation we are all in, it is great to have the exact info but each time you use it to plan your surfs you pray that nobody else has read it. Kind of a defeatist system in that it only really benefits you when by and large it fails.
Has it's good points for planning trips up and down the coast (although not that great for the locals where you are going) but bad for the built up areas.
That's my point, something that perhaps the users of this website do not readily appreciate.
Enough said, see ya later!

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather commented Wednesday, 28 Sep 2011 at 3:41am

Sounds as though tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon could again be one of those sneaky sessions for you boys.....but shhhhhhhh, don't tell anyone!!!

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 28 Sep 2011 at 4:12am

We're onto it Don. Booked in and waiting.

tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden commented Wednesday, 28 Sep 2011 at 11:08am

If you get another uncrowded day at Manly it will be proof that nobody reads this website....but shhhhhhhhh, don't tell the paying sponsors

camboboog's picture
camboboog's picture
camboboog commented Wednesday, 28 Sep 2011 at 3:23pm

@ tylerdurden

A recent report on swellnet proposed that the Port Elliot bakery was 6ft and offshore. I went there and it was uncrowded, with plenty on offer. Jeez, i'm fortunate no-one reads this site.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 28 Sep 2011 at 10:46pm

You're dead right Tyler. We've got a bunch of potential advertisers sitting in a coffee shop opposite North Steyne right now, waiting for the westerly change. If it's any more than an hour behind schedule, they're pulling their campaigns for the rest of the financial year.

ryder's picture
ryder's picture
ryder commented Wednesday, 28 Sep 2011 at 11:55pm

Is tylerdurdin actually Roy Stewart?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 29 Sep 2011 at 12:55am

Not a chance. Roy Stewart, for all his perceived shortcomings, has got chutzpah. Posts under his real name, (albeit incessantly) and he has an interesting worldview. I like him.

Tyler I only like because he drives traffic to my old stories. Which is to say, he's a right pain in the arse but he's good for business.

Which is why our paying sponsors love him.

tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden commented Thursday, 29 Sep 2011 at 1:13am

I've got this afternoon off work and am going for a surf at my local (North Steyne). Hopefully swellnet fails spectacularly and nobody paddles out despite the expected "rapid improvement in conditions".
Here's hoping!

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 29 Sep 2011 at 5:22am

Just got back in the office after a two hour shackfest, Tyler. Unfortunately I didn't have it all too myself, there were a few others on the bank. Did they hear about it from Swellnet? Dunno, didn't do a survey. Plus it's school/uni holidays. The experiment will have to wait till next time.

tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden commented Thursday, 29 Sep 2011 at 10:55am

Another good and bad endorsement for SW again today Stuey. Good because blokes like me who only work a few hours a week can get out there on a day like today and get it uncrowded. Bad because given the above article and all the comments surely the readers would be acting on the reliable advice of Craig this time around!?
But not really, pretty uncrowded given that Craig again predicted it to be good.
Why oh why? Maybe nobody is actually reading his reports?
I like this system, just hope swellnet doesn't become more popular

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 30 Sep 2011 at 12:34am

You know Tyler, I hate to burst your bubble but we do have web stats. I know exactly how many people are reading each page, including Craig's forecast page. If it wasn't feasible we wouldn't do it.

Glad to hear you got a few waves yesterday.

fitzroy-21's picture
fitzroy-21's picture
fitzroy-21 commented Friday, 30 Sep 2011 at 3:09am

Craig, you lucky bastard scoring my old home beach in such conditions in swellnet sessions today!!!
I'm only jealous 'cause I'm no longer there to have scored it myself!!
Great photo's.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Friday, 30 Sep 2011 at 3:28am

Cheers Fitzy, was a magical afternoon, with no more than 10 or so on the bank! One of my fav places on the NB's

rees0's picture
rees0's picture
rees0 commented Friday, 30 Sep 2011 at 3:59am

yeh yeh yeh you guys have made your point! no need to rub it in. seriously but those waves from yesterday look spectacular. It would hurt me more but i am however waiting for my lift to the airport. Wouldn't want to miss my flight to indo. Hearing it's pretty good right about now...

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 30 Sep 2011 at 4:49am

Nice one Reeso. Hope you hook into a few hollow ones.

z-man's picture
z-man's picture
z-man commented Friday, 30 Sep 2011 at 3:37pm

There are some photos up/Brokenshaw?

Not one photo of a surfer in the slot. Lots of slots though.

my signature

camboboog's picture
camboboog's picture
camboboog commented Saturday, 1 Oct 2011 at 6:43pm

During this week I had many different surf experiences. I got some long lefts at waits with only 2 guys out, rode my 5'11'' and had a blast, got some tubes and open walls. Surfed Middleton with a shifty bank on my 7ft single fin pintail, it was a great session with some loose flowing turns. To mix it up I got shacked and boosted at knights on my 42.25'' bodyboard. During this week, I used Swellnet as a guide for basic information on conditions. The rest was up to me. 'Real forecasts by real people' yes, it's a nice slogan, but unless you have the disposable time to act on short term forecasts, the GFS is going to be our savior. And guys, can you stop the ego bullshit? I'm pretty jealous that you guys scored good Nth Steyne, I lived in Manly for quite a few years and seldom had the opportunity to surf the beachie in good NE swell conditions. But when it's on, ohhhh lordy, it's gold.

I'm not ignorant to the fact that Craig Brokensha is well educated and passionate about his work. I think it is fantastic that the information for up-to-date conditions is put out there when possible. The point, if any, is that unless you are unemployed, self employed, or don't really care about your job, you won't be able to drop everything and rush to the beach for a wind/swell window based upon a very short term report. The best thing you can do is become self educated about your local conditions and use ALL the information to decide where to surf. Swellnet saves the world? Not really. Has it become Sell.net? I don't think so, but it looks like the jury is out. Will I check the site for a report??

tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden commented Monday, 3 Oct 2011 at 3:35am

Cambo you would be surprised how many people in the recognized surf zones (ie Margs, Torquay, Goldy and Nth beaches Sydney etc) have manufactured an existence for themselves whereby they can go surfing virtually every day of the week.
For the second time in the last couple of weeks Craig has accurately predicted when the conditions would be very good, not just to the day but virtually to the minute.
Twice however, the crowds have been virtually non-existent as per the above article and Craig's own photos from last Thursday.
So basically, this indicates that very few people actually read his report.
The dilemma for Stu is that he works for this site but also is a surfer. Therefore more people following Craig's advice stands to worsen his own surfing experience by increasing crowd numbers.
Swellnet worked great for me last Thursday really only because I acted on the advice and very few others did.
Had a session at Long Reef at about 1.30 with about 20 guys scattered throughout the whole length of the beach and a late one at Queensy with 6-10 guys on a left/right peak.
So it is quite a bizarre system because the more successful it is, the more we all stand to lose.
If I was a billionaire I would buy Swellnet, Coastalwatch and every other forecasting site, shut them all down then employ the forecasters for my own personal benefit.
It is great to have the info but gets progressively less useful as more people act on it.
This is a difficult concept for Stu and Ben to acknowledge and one that as you can see they have staunchly defended and/or denied.
The end point of a supremely successful SW is greater crowds on the best days, no debate

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Monday, 3 Oct 2011 at 4:03am

TD, I used my own knowledge regarding this swell and wind combo to focus my attention away from the major surfing spots and crowds and it payed off. Also I think everywhere was pumping so it helped spread out the crowds.

My forecasts give a rough idea on the swell and wind combo, and everyone else works it out from there.

As you'll notice I regularly travel up and down the coast when ever there is swell and score good and relatively uncrowded waves because I put in the effort to learn what spots work in certain conditions and then act on that knowledge to beat the crowds.

If you put in as much effort as you did on here into searching for uncrowded waves you'd also be duly rewarded.

I'm glad you got some decent waves last Thursday, as anyone who was out that afternoon would understand, it was a pretty special combination of conditions.

ryder's picture
ryder's picture
ryder commented Monday, 3 Oct 2011 at 9:02am

TD, I have a mighty big rock i'm holding up. Please crawl under it.

camboboog's picture
camboboog's picture
camboboog commented Monday, 3 Oct 2011 at 2:38pm

Got great waves today at a location that Swellnet has never named. I had to walk for 45 minutes, past many sheep and pastures. Craig will know where i'm talking about. I had it all to myself. Anyone who knows the Victor coast would have known that there were waves at this location, it just takes a bit of effort to get there. It was a public holiday today. The forecast was for favourable winds with a dropping swell. Perfect.

Tyler, you propose that there is an army of surfers on the Northern Beaches who have the time to pack their boards an hit it whenever they like? Sheet, when i lived in Manly 10 years ago, even the so-called ghettos of Dee Why and Collaroy were so out-priced for dole recepients that there was no overcrowding from professional bludgers. I'm sure that this statement goes for most surf locations. To add more, without being stereotipical, the majority of people in the circumstance to chase waves on a daily basis more than likely have a greater need to see their local drug dealer, not heir local surf break. Perhaps you just need another hit to calm down, Tyler.

z-man's picture
z-man's picture
z-man commented Tuesday, 4 Oct 2011 at 2:17pm

craig;
those were sweet photos you took of empty barrels. take a friend that rips next time and get a few shots of them poking out of the womb we all strive to re-enter.

my signature

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Tuesday, 4 Oct 2011 at 11:02pm

Will do Z-man!

tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden commented Wednesday, 5 Oct 2011 at 8:49am

Craig, with all due respect, the above article is about how you accurately predicted good condition yet despite this how few people there were out surfing.
The same thing happened last Thursday and on my way home from work at about 1.00pm I drove back past Mona, Little Narra, Coll-Narra and then surfed at Longy and saw basically only a handful of people at each location.
So basically, I think the reason why there were so few people out despite your (accurate) prediction was the same as the first time round: nobody read your report.
As far as flexibility to surf goes, I will give you a couple of anecdotes. Firstly, of my wife's mothers group which is in Manly, only one of the blokes out of 11 has a full time office job where he works 8-6 in the actual office. All of the others have web based jobs or project based jobs whereby they can work from home or have long days sometimes and go surfing on the others. They don't all surf but none of them have a conventional full time office based job.
Secondly, there was a realsurf forum a couple of years ago about what people did for work and from memory the majority of the respondents (if not all) had flexibility in their jobs to surf essentially whenever they wanted provided they had a couple of days notice.

Craig, Stu has been ducking and weaving this question left right and centre, so I will give it a try on you.
Do you want people to act on your advice, given that this will only make a day like last Thursday (when you predicted a rapid improvement in conditions around midday) more crowded?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 5 Oct 2011 at 9:03am

Ducking and weaving, eh Tyler?

Remember the web statistics I mentioned? We KNOW how many people read the reports. Get it? So why do you persist with the premise that no-one reads them. Ducking and weaving perhaps?

If no-one was out then it comes down to the fact that people are either only reading the short 5 day graph, and thereby missing the crucial information, or we're not conveying the information properly in words.

Again, because you seem to be missing the point, this is a website, we know how many people visit it. If Craig's reports weren't feasible we wouldn't do them.

tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden commented Thursday, 6 Oct 2011 at 12:27am

Sorry Stu, a correction.
Do you want people to read (and act) on the "crucial information" given that this is only going to increase crowd numbers?
How silly of me to suggest that you are ducking and weaving the key point.

tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden commented Saturday, 8 Oct 2011 at 11:56am

Stu, your failure to respond to the above question absolutely confirms my original point. The common term is avoidance, also known as "DUCKIND AND WEAVING".
You know exactly what I am talking about.
Do you want the readers of this site to read the specific advice of Craig and your other forecasters, given that if they act on this advice more people will be out surfing and hence the crowds will be worse?
If not, what is the point of employing Craig?
If you don't want people to read his advice, sack him and just put out the graph of the 5 day forecast and save yourself a whole lot of money.
What do you want, I am genuinely intrigued.
Stu, Stu, wher are you?

Please address my points and finally establish some credibility.
I know you are a proud man and your failure to address my questions is a blight on you existence and a testament to your denial and weakness of character.

So please Stu:
Do you want the readers of this website to act on the "crucial information" provided by this website given that if they do it will only result in more surfers in the water and therefore a bigger crowd problem?

Give it a go mate, you might find it quite cathartic

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Saturday, 8 Oct 2011 at 3:57pm

Tyler,

I've just got home from a mammoth night out. 'Nomie hodie' or 'as much as you can drink' in Japanese.

I don't care what comes back at me. I am soooo sick of your fucking lap dog barking.

Give it up bro. No one, and I repeat NO ONE, gives a flying fish, Wasabi infused fuck about the fact that you think no one reads this site, or acts on said advice. Maybe you should try harder?

I live here, would love to sneak away for a CB heads up sesh. Lamentably (is that a word?) I'm 6000 k's away. But, It's cool to know that someone, somewhere is getting tubed. You my friend seem to be whacking off in the shower.

Fuck credibility, Stu is a big boy. How about you man?

Paddle harder sunshine.

Dan H- Out!

PS I know this doesn't make much sense, but I'm guessing 5'6'' and total fucking kook! Am I close Tyler?

1173

tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden commented Saturday, 8 Oct 2011 at 10:43pm

Z, just read my previous comment this morning and realized it is a bit over the top in the choice of language, although I stick by the sentiment. Tried to delete it but couldn't.
Just for the record, I've been surfing for 20+ years, surfed the entire coast line from Margs to Noosa plus lots of overseas trips. Riding a 6-3, never ridden a longboard.
Next time you are back in Oz and swellnet predicts the surf to be good after a bit of a lull, head down to your local car ark at dawn and you will see multiple blokes suiting up, even though they haven't seen the conditions yet. They are there, just like you, because swellnet told them to be.
Perhaps then you will see what I mean

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Saturday, 8 Oct 2011 at 11:16pm

Hey Tyler,

Cardinal sin- never post when you are drunk. I apologise, I was a bit rough.

Mate, my local was Burleigh and often would surf Snapper (not the Superbank) and Kirra. All I've ever known is crowds. I can work a crowd but never really enjoyed it. Today I get the shits if there's more than half a dozen in the water here.

I just think it's a fact of life mate. Everyone wants to be a surfer and everyone wants to be a rock star. You and I both know that surfing is fucking awesome and surf forecasts or not, savvy punters are on it regardless of whether they logged on. If I had a magic carpet I probably would have flown there too.

I can't look at the surf cams. Snapper- mutilple drop-ins, chandeliers the length of the wave. Fuck that.

Take it easy bro. Sorry about the harsh words.

1173

grug's picture
grug's picture
grug commented Sunday, 9 Oct 2011 at 9:26am

in vino veritas...

whaaaat's picture
whaaaat's picture
whaaaat commented Monday, 10 Oct 2011 at 8:07am

Me ineptum - cogito sumere potum alterum...

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Monday, 10 Oct 2011 at 9:08am

me pudet eius...

1173

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 10 Oct 2011 at 9:18am

Romans go home?

southey's picture
southey's picture
southey commented Monday, 10 Oct 2011 at 1:11pm

@ Stu ,

after putting up with TD ( and i don't mean the guys that drive ya home after having a few ) [ but the parallels are obvious ] .

i thought you may enjoy this , google " WWTDD " ,
it seems that TD is in fact a 16 yr old middle american girl .... lol
When in Rome....

" SA's Reserve Capacity "

grug's picture
grug's picture
grug commented Monday, 10 Oct 2011 at 1:59pm

So many good Latin phrases for mr Durden... but i'll leave the pretentions on the table and cede to current trends... what's Latin for OMFG, STFU and LOLZZZ?

tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden commented Thursday, 13 Oct 2011 at 2:50am

As you all would have noticed, Stu and Craig still have yet to answer my question.
There's been a lot of bluff and bluster and quite a few attempts at discrediting my point by trying to ridicule me personally, but still the question remains unanswered.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Thursday, 13 Oct 2011 at 2:54am

Tyler, we're all bored with your remarks - I suspect that's one reason why no-one's responding (the other is that Craig's on leave). But just for finality - I pay the Swellnet bills, and I can assure you that we know where our content priorities lie.

p-funk's picture
p-funk's picture
p-funk commented Thursday, 13 Oct 2011 at 3:32am

"The same thing happened last Thursday and on my way home from work at about 1.00pm I drove back past Mona, Little Narra, Coll-Narra and then surfed at Longy and saw basically only a handful of people at each location.
So basically, I think the reason why there were so few people out despite your (accurate) prediction was the same as the first time round: nobody read your report."

Or... (shock horror).... people are actually at work! Or am I the only one who does that now?

fitzroy-21's picture
fitzroy-21's picture
fitzroy-21 commented Thursday, 13 Oct 2011 at 3:56am

On countless previous forums where TD keeps beating that same line he still doesn't get it. He will not give in until he hears the answer he wants to hear. Doesn't matter how subtle the answers are or how many people give him the hint, its got to be answered the way he wants to hear it.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Thursday, 13 Oct 2011 at 3:57am

That's the irony p-funk. Plenty of people assume they have a flexible schedule, but it's not always the case. I also missed this swell (despite having every intention of taking the afternoon off), because I got swamped with a bunch of critical deadlines at the last minute.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Thursday, 13 Oct 2011 at 5:00am

The Point old Tyler seems to be so oblivious too is that there are heaps of these surf windows, spread over regions, coastlines and time frames.

Savvy operators use the info from surf forecasting to find these windows and use them to score uncrowded surf.

Big open windows at known spots in populated surf zones during certain times will be crowded.

Other windows will be unattended.

The art is using the information to find the unattended windows.

whaaaat's picture
whaaaat's picture
whaaaat commented Thursday, 13 Oct 2011 at 10:22am

What freeride did not mention - him being a gentleman and all - is that when you, Tyler me lad, do find an unattended window, you should throw yourself out of it.

Hopefully it's not a ground floor one...

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2012 at 12:25pm

Thread revival time. Just got back from one of Sydney's more popular beaches, which has a long stretch of golden sand (over a couple of kays in length).

The waves are pumping. Solid 3-4ft peaky barrels as far as the eye can see, light offshore winds, not a cloud in the sky. One of those 'I'm glad I spend my winter in Sydney' kinda days.

Today's waves/winds/weather were accurately forecast by Craig well in advance (last Friday in fact, and confirmed again in Monday's forecast).

And there are four individual surfcams across this beach broadcasting live vision.

Yet there was only one surfer in the water. He had over 2km of peaky beachies to himself.

And, it's school holidays.

When the waves are good on weekends, this stretch of beach is usually quite busy.

But where are the crowds today?

sidthefish's picture
sidthefish's picture
sidthefish commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2012 at 12:45pm

well Ben, the Surf Industrial Complex, aka BIGSurf Inc., are the evil forces undoubtedly 100% responsible for that whole one (1) surfer in the water.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2012 at 12:47pm

Thanks Sid. Figured that was the case.

I'm out there! That'll make two of us (actually, I just checked the cam and there's now half a dozen out. They must have read my comment, joined the dots, and bolted to the unnamed beach).

silentp's picture
silentp's picture
silentp commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2012 at 9:58pm

similar thing happened on the noosa points this morning,some very decent waves coming through and no manic crowd,helped in part by the coastalwatch reporter saying only pus was on offer!

surferjoe's picture
surferjoe's picture
surferjoe commented Thursday, 12 Jul 2012 at 12:17pm

True... JC at times erratic, inaccurate...

blow-in-9999's picture
blow-in-9999's picture
blow-in-9999 commented Thursday, 12 Jul 2012 at 12:20pm

Friday the 29th of June (on the SC) was another, I went on the strength of the forecast, and scored solid, clean waves. Both here and CW said noosa only... No (serious) crowd at all at my non noosa break -- normally a circus in similar conditions.