Understanding our new forecasting system

Craig Brokensha
Swellnet Analysis

The new Swellnet website contains a brand new forecasting system which we've been developing over many years. As a result we are changing the way we deliver forecasting information to you.

One of the exclusive benefits of this system is the ability to visualise how varying swell directions affect your region of the coast.

Regions known for multiple swell directions (ie the East Coast of Australia) show a large range in size depending on which direction the swell is coming from. Take for example the Sydney region.

During southerly swells Bondi, Curl Curl and other 'south facing' beaches will pick up a lot more size compared to Manly which faces east. During north-east swell events the opposite occurs with Manly and Maroubra picking up the most size, while Curl Curl and Bondi are much smaller.

Our new forecasting system now knows how to differentiate between open beaches and south or north-east facing beaches, and this is represented by the orange bar on the graph below.

The tooltip above is highlighting the forecast for Tuesday 6pm and what we can see is that there is 1-2ft of E/NE swell breaking at open beaches, but north-east facing locations should be picking up more size to 2ft.

This first example isn't the best as there isn't much disparity in the size from the E/NE swell, but if we look into the end of the week on Friday, we can see a new southerly swell is forecast across the region.

The image below shows that open beaches should peak at 2-3ft during the morning, while south facing beaches should be much larger and up to 3-5ft.

We will continue to refine and improve this aspect of the forecasting system over the coming weeks and months.

Additionally we'll provide subsequent chapters explaining the other features new to the site.

Comments

JM Manning's picture
JM Manning's picture
JM Manning commented Monday, 21 Oct 2013 at 3:25pm

Absolutely love the new Swellnet setup - I now only need your site for all my surfing needs where previously I have been using 3-4 different sites each day to get my forecasts. The ability to have separate wave forecasts for different swell direction is great. Well done guys ! JM

braithy's picture
braithy's picture
braithy commented Monday, 21 Oct 2013 at 4:01pm

Fark. How good are the new WAMs and forecast models?! No way.

You must be wrapped working with them, huh CB?

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Monday, 21 Oct 2013 at 4:08pm

Fark yeah Braithy! 

Could scour the charts all day, and I can't live without the 16 day forecasts now, 5 days isn't enough, haha.

braithy's picture
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braithy commented Monday, 21 Oct 2013 at 4:05pm

lol, the avatars work, incase you were wondering.

barley's picture
barley's picture
barley commented Monday, 21 Oct 2013 at 4:16pm

I reckon its shit..WTF did you need to more spots up in SA for?..It used to be you could see what victa/mid were doing and only guys that knew their stuff would cotton on..now your just hand feeding for the masses!!c'mon lads poor form!!

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Monday, 21 Oct 2013 at 4:33pm

Everyone who travels to those spots have been using windguru/buoyweather etc for years. Our forecasts are just regional overviews and not break specific, and still recquire local knowledge to score waves.

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Monday, 21 Oct 2013 at 4:24pm

Your face looks familiar Braithy. Like I've seen it somewhere before...

braithy's picture
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braithy commented Monday, 21 Oct 2013 at 5:40pm

lol ... It's an old screen print of MP. I think I've had it since the asl days.

Speaking of such things, Stu. Ann and I were watching Inglorious Bastards on the weekend, the german general in it. Have you seen him? He's a dead ringer for you. Or you're a dead ringer for him. I'm not sure.

Col. Hans Landa

http://www.imdb.com/media/rm3401746688/ch0113048

Hoochie mama on the doppelganger front.

Hope you're well mate and enjoying the new digs down the coast.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 21 Oct 2013 at 5:53pm

Are you kidding me? That dude doesn't look like me.

I part my hair the other side.

braithy's picture
braithy's picture
braithy commented Monday, 21 Oct 2013 at 5:55pm

C'mon, someone must have said this before!

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Monday, 21 Oct 2013 at 5:58pm

Sorry Braithy, looks nothing like Stu, haha!

braithy's picture
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braithy commented Monday, 21 Oct 2013 at 6:04pm

dislike!

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 21 Oct 2013 at 5:54pm

And yeah, Thirroul is great. Space for the kids, space in the surf. Luxury.

braithy's picture
braithy's picture
braithy commented Monday, 21 Oct 2013 at 5:58pm

awesome.

Amazing how much it changes kids having space to run and trash around the place. We just moved from the villa into a bigger house with a big yard. They're like two different kids now.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 21 Oct 2013 at 6:21pm

Yeah, speaking of doppelgangers. I saw a pic of your youngest throwing a double shaka (know the pic?). Braithy Junior OG. Scion of the lion. Could not be confused with anyone else.

braithy's picture
braithy's picture
braithy commented Monday, 21 Oct 2013 at 7:07pm

Yep, I know the pic. He's a ripe royal pain in the arse too (not really).

My wife really accrued some bad karma in a former life, landing with us two.

Thommo's picture
Thommo's picture
Thommo commented Monday, 21 Oct 2013 at 6:46pm

if overcrowding wasn't already an issue now we have live web cams on the peninsula so people can watch the conditions from town and be up here as quick as can be.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Monday, 21 Oct 2013 at 7:13pm

Erm, you're a little late to the party Thommo - we've had surfcams for almost eight years now.

barley's picture
barley's picture
barley commented Monday, 21 Oct 2013 at 7:17pm

Where are they Thommo and who's ?so we can break 'em!!
@Craig so why put them up then? you have 3 for KI..whats up with that? and its not just SA now you've done it for WA..funny but you've left a lot of QLD and NSW spots out but you decided to ramp up SA's..Your 'we never contributed to crowd' argument is officially bullshit!!
What is your argument for adding places?

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Monday, 21 Oct 2013 at 7:30pm

barley, there are three KI locations because it's an island that has surf spots which face north, west and south.

Our location database is divided up into regions (not surf spots), and it's reasonably equal between most locations. The only reason there is an apparent 'increase' in SA forecasts is because previously had (and still have) a low number of surf reports (2 locations vs 10).

Thommo's picture
Thommo's picture
Thommo commented Monday, 21 Oct 2013 at 7:17pm

On the mornington peninsula ??? First I've seen !!

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Monday, 21 Oct 2013 at 7:26pm

I personally installed our Portsea surfcam in early 2006 (offhand). Flinders went in around 4 years ago.
 

Thommo's picture
Thommo's picture
Thommo commented Monday, 21 Oct 2013 at 7:25pm

Your Live streaming of a surf breaks takes all the guess work out of it means that living near a surf break and being able to check conditions regularly has no extra value I agree with barley ..... bullshit

Thommo's picture
Thommo's picture
Thommo commented Monday, 21 Oct 2013 at 7:32pm

Hahaha what's next swellnet shuttles city to surf in twenty minuets plus a free ticket if ya bring ten dickheads with ya

barley's picture
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barley commented Monday, 21 Oct 2013 at 7:41pm

Those ten dickheads have now been given updates to areas they used to have to put in time to understand..
@Ben your 'apparent' increase is a definitive increase..at 500% if my maths is correct.
WHY, WHy, Why???!!!.. Cactus is a region?...Sleaford a region? c'mon mate there is NO reason to increase locations. I just don't get it bro.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Monday, 21 Oct 2013 at 8:59pm

We've got over 2,000 international locations being launched barley. I think you'll find the rollout is pretty standard across all areas.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Monday, 21 Oct 2013 at 7:55pm

haven't most of those areas been avail on magic seaweed anyway

southey's picture
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southey commented Monday, 21 Oct 2013 at 9:44pm

Remove PC Please ...... for the exact same reasons that people have tripled your forum traffic . As Barley has mentioned perhaps have locations near but different to sensitive areas . And let people have a little mystique ....... the other sites you have mentioned are far harder to read for accuracy than what you will deliver to Johnny " Naughties Gen " web surfer .....
And Thommo I'm not sure what planet your on .... theres no secrets or mystique in that neck of the woods . Unless of course here , BOM and most of the Computer animated Model world get the forecast Wrong .
Just like Sunday Arvo :-)))))))

" SA's Reserve Capacity "

mick-free's picture
mick-free's picture
mick-free commented Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 at 10:29am

http://www.seabreeze.com.au/graphs/vic_last7.asp

Saw that Southey it was supposed to go onshore at lunchtime.

Mick Free FIFOFOMO

barley's picture
barley's picture
barley commented Monday, 21 Oct 2013 at 10:13pm

I agree with Southey(obviously) but I didn't want to say about the accuracy thing part of knowing your own shit as well;)

z-man's picture
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z-man commented Monday, 21 Oct 2013 at 10:32pm

Could you add one for Pt. Partridge, WA. That's on Whidbey Island in case you're baffled.

it is the definition of 'fickle' - good luck!

my signature

z-man's picture
z-man's picture
z-man commented Monday, 21 Oct 2013 at 10:34pm

have you added drag and drop for photos? that would be nice.

my signature

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Monday, 21 Oct 2013 at 10:36pm

Not yet but we have a couple of similar tweaks in this department that we'll make soon.

Tigerboy's picture
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Tigerboy commented Monday, 21 Oct 2013 at 10:43pm

I did enjoy reading the extended forecasts, are they coming back?

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Monday, 21 Oct 2013 at 10:45pm

Yes, we'll have a revamped written section returning to the site shortly. Just needed to free up Craig's time while we launched the site.

z-man's picture
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z-man commented Monday, 21 Oct 2013 at 11:54pm

surf 4casting is great - I use it a lot. I will be in CR for a few months starting mid-Nov - I usually use StormSurf/MSW - fairly accurate.

"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows" - B. Dylan

But you do need a surf-forecaster!

Raise their pay!

my signature

Thommo's picture
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Thommo commented Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 at 1:19pm

Don't have a problem with forecasting because the forecast isn't 100% accurate always but live streaming is bullshit it means that a place like flinders which is overpopulated with surfers anyway is going to get more people coming here and there's not enough waves as it is.. This winter there was no Noticeable drop off in the number of people in the water and more and more the people that are in the water are unfamiliar faces, doing stupid shit like bailing boards and dropping in.. and that's not just coming from me !!! Live streaming of a surf break isn't going to help the situation

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 at 1:52pm

C'mon Thommo, we've had a Flinders surfcam for over four years, a Portsea surfcam for almost eight years, and Trigger Bros had surfcams on the Peninsula many years before we did. The fact that you've only just been made aware of our surfcams now seems to debunk your theory.

braithy's picture
braithy's picture
braithy commented Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 at 1:54pm

There's plenty of places up here (Northern NSW and SE QLD) that don't live stream breaks, but every year they increase by about 25-50% with crowds.

imo, it's the nature of surfing -- a massively growing sport -- in the tech age. You don't need to live stream a place when 99.6% of australia has mobile phone coverage to see a bump in crowds.

Now, I rarely surf without seeing a grom on his iPhone msg'ing mates, taking photos or video of it and then bringing in the instant crowd. And once word's out, it's a shit fight forever after.

Stacky's picture
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Stacky commented Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 at 2:37pm

G'day Swellnet. The thing that gets me about the plethora of surf forecasting sites is their anonymity. They do what they want to improve the commercial viability of their sites without any accountability (beyond forums like this) to those who stand to suffer most from the detailed information they provide...I looked at your new format and the spots listed in Vicco this morning and just thought 'WTF?' Clearly others around Australia have got the same objection. Who are you serving? Advertisers, and hence yourselves? I just ask you show some respect (and support) to the surfers who don't always rely on you to bag a wave. Cheers for the rant.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 at 2:53pm

Stacky, I think you'll find that Swellnet is very transparent. All of our staff are active on the forums and we answer almost every single post, comment or email that comes our way - I don't know of any other Australian surfing websites (or even magazines) who actively engage with their audience like we do.

And that's all on the public record. You're reading it right now.

Who are we serving? Well, yes we're a business, and we're here to serve our customers - and that's the surfing community. The fact that we're still in business after 12 years (when many, many similar websites have disappeared) tells me that we're doing something correct. We're not funded by crowd sourcing, or government grants, or rich investors - Swellnet is a small business that has (to date) relied entirely on advertising to continue to provide this free service.

Our choice of locations is not decided by our advertisers. In fact, I think you'll find that we've employed the most considerate approach to surf spots listings of any surfing website worldwide. If you want to discuss our approach in more detail over the phone I'm happy to do so - that invitation goes out to you or anyone else (how many websites offer that kind of service?).

I completely understand that we can't please everyone. But you've posted an angry rant on Swellnet, so can I presume you've also emailed Wannasurf, Surfline, MagicSeaweed, Windguru, Buoyweather and the dozens of other surfing websites that have even more site-specific detailed break information than Swellnet?

southey's picture
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southey commented Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 at 3:37pm

@ mick free ....

I'm glad your using that site as your local weather / wind input ......

That hindcast you linked to , was attrocious ..... The forecast i hung my hat on was a forecast spat out by one of the Models on the Wednesday i think from memory . Observations confirmed it for me and in the end it could only have been better if it was a tad earlier .

And pretty much the entire weather planet fucked up Sundays wind regime from then on out including the same model i saw the Prog. from .

BOM , Swellnet , all of the above mentioned in Ben's post got it wrong .
I only saw one other bloke who was onto it , but no-one knows that spot better than him . One other guy reacted fast and joined us .

In BOM and everyone else's defence no-ones really had a handle what this local weather feature / low system ( still unfolding ) was is going to do exactly ....

But that still doesn't excuse this sites now further reaching concise forecasting , i don't want to have to wait till they get it wrong ( NOT OFTEN ) to get a crowdless local surf or worst still a crowdless wave after travelling for it .

Not Happy Fella's ........

When i can , I'll contact Stu to discuss .....

" SA's Reserve Capacity "

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 at 4:29pm

I don't understand what you're saying southey. What are you not happy about?

Thommo's picture
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Thommo commented Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 at 4:02pm

I know you keep telling me that you have had a camera for four years and trigger have had a camera at flinders but if you had ever used that camera you would know that they were only stills and often there would appear to be no waves (due to luls)but often the surf would be quite reasonable also if I didn't realise that there was live cameras on this coast how many others also have now discovered this!! After all there was never a report for flinders before.. If you have a look to the the top post on the thread,that user used to need 4 sites to get there information now it's there for anyone to see without needing to be looking for it in the way of the live stream.. I realise that surfing is a growing sport but our coast has become more accessible to people from town via a new freeway already this year I know it's not swellnet's fault but I feel like the days of having a surf with just you and a few mates are done for round these ways

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 at 4:13pm

Let me pull you up on a few things Thommo.

"I know you keep telling me that you have had a camera for four years"

Actually, it's nearly eight at Portsea, 13th Beach and Lorne. Four at Flinders though.

"if I didn't realise that there was live cameras on this coast how many others also have now discovered this!!"

I dunno.. Swellnet is the most popular surfing website in the country, and we've had a big link on the top of our page forever which says "surfcams". I suspect you were in the minority.

"After all there was never a report for flinders before.."

That's not true. Before we had our daily 'Western Port' surf report, we had a daily 'Flinders' surf report, done by none other than Skeeta Derham (Vicco charger extrordanaire). He provided a daily surf report with photos for (off the top of my head) around three or four years, starting in (again, off the top of my head) around 2006 or 2007.

We changed it to be a Flinders report with the new website, however I am thinking Western Port is more reflective of the region so we may change it back.

"I know it's not swellnet's fault but I feel like the days of having a surf with just you and a few mates are done for round these ways"

Yeah, those days are long gone just about everywhere.

Thommo's picture
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Thommo commented Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 at 4:30pm

Yep that's probaly why skeets out of the country all the time no chance for an un crowded wave here... Sorry I was to busy surfing and living my life to notice your stupid cameras..

mick-free's picture
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mick-free commented Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 at 4:38pm

@Southy,

Seabreeze, I used it as its the only model that I know has the previous weeks wind patterns in a nice graph to illustrate. Its also got a good live reading updating every minute e.g. you can monitor the wind change especially as it swings N to SW here in Manly (like it did last Thursday). However it's a WA based website and often gets the forecasts wrong, esp for over East.

in vicco - Yes it was Wednesdays BOM forecast - had it Northerlies all day Sunday and on Monday with an afternoon S change. But then it changed Friday.

It was funny when I looked at the synoptics I just thought it would blow northerly all day with that solid ridge, but then everyone changed and the ridge was going to get broken down and everyone was calling afternoon onshores. Also early in the forecast it looked perfect for a river mouth down there for the Monday with NE winds. I'm sure you know the spot - longest sand bottom barrels I have ever seen.

From the photos posted - it looked like a great 4 days of waves in Vicco!! Hope you got a few

Mick Free FIFOFOMO

goofyfoot's picture
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goofyfoot commented Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 at 4:45pm

Thommo your just sounding like a whinging little school girl now. Flinders is a shithole anyway, surf the beachies and you can get plenty of waves

Thommo's picture
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Thommo commented Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 at 5:10pm

I surf the beaches same problem with crowds , or have you not surfed there with twenty or so dudes on a shit bank recently... Didn't think so or are you one of those ten dickheads I was talking about???

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 at 5:16pm

So with almost 28km of beaches and reefs between the Rip and the Cape (plus another 25km of surfable coast from the Cape to Balnarring), how is one surfcam at Portsea - which annoyingly suffers from regular salt/grime issues - and one surfcam at Flinders crowding every single session of yours?

scum-dog's picture
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scum-dog commented Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 at 5:17pm

Well well....
(sarcastically) I wish all at Swellnet the best in their business development and profit making. I am sure they will become very rich......at the expense of every local surfer in the world!

It now means nothing to be a surfer who learns to read weather maps and to develop and calibrate their own forecasting abilities through diligent: study and trial and error.

Swellnet has just upped the game (over its competitors) by providing one easy to swallow pill (i.e. re-formatted model output), complete with maps for everyone to swallow.

'Yeah, those days are long gone just about everywhere',= =self justified bullshit...

Whats next....online dating via swellnet.

I'm boycotting and going back to the synoptic chart.
See you all out there on the shoulder.... me looking out from the tube

Mark D

doobs

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 at 5:50pm

C'mon mate, what do you expect any small business to to? Sit there and become absorbed by their competitors? You're just reinforcing the tall poppy syndrome that seems to pervade the country from time to time.

By the way, I'll send you a link to our dating site once it's live.

Thommo's picture
Thommo's picture
Thommo commented Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 at 5:38pm

No but it's not helping that's all

mick-free's picture
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mick-free commented Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 at 6:06pm

Ben, does that dating site - is that free with the pro upgrade or is that extra?

@ scum dog. There aren't any maps. Wannasurf been doing the map thing for years if you haven't noticed complete with winds and swell directions needed. Also if you are doing this gig to be very rich, I think you are in the wrong game. however swell.net.xxx maybe be a valuable domain name on the porn url, but its probably already taken.

The long range forecasts are pretty fun to play with. Great week in Cloud Nine coming up. XXl conditions off Southern Japan with 20 - 25 foot waves and Fiji on the cook next week for 3 days of 6-8 foot perfect SSW direction Cloudbreak with forecast light winds.

Mick Free FIFOFOMO

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 at 6:09pm

There's more to the peninsula than gunna thommo. But stay there though

barley's picture
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barley commented Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 at 6:24pm

@ThermalBen..I did ask Craig or Stu if there would be more locations put up in South Oz..and I knew something was up when I received a politicians answer..At least its good to know I am not the only one fucked off!
And most people are annoyed because you are reliable-pretty bloody accurate. did you think locals would be happy with this? I cant see many waves or smiles coming your way when you go-a travellin this grand country of ours!
What would it take for you guys to remove some locations from your forecasting? surely its just the click of the button?

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 at 6:51pm

I've just been having a bit of a play around on the site and that WAMS page is fucking brilliant.

1173

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 at 8:15pm

Glad you like Zen!

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 at 7:19pm

@ zen ,keep us informed with the accuracy for your coast.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 at 9:27pm

Will do udo.

Only been two days so far but pretty much spot on for here.

We got double typhoons heading our way again after last weeks huge one. Killed 20 people at Oshima Is. off Tokyo.

Biggest swell I've ever witnessed with my own eyes- had to be 30ft +.

Got some pics on my mobile and if I delve intot the site a bit more, I might try and post a couple. Pretty spectacular.

Coincidentally, last weeks typhoon mowed right over where Blindboy was staying a couple of weeks ago. Hope his friends came through ok.

1173

tommmo's picture
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tommmo commented Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 at 11:38pm

What is Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary swell?

t.ommo

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 at 7:12am

Great question tommo. At any one time, there may be a number of individual swells in the water, each swell having being generated by its own unique swell source. Each swell will exhibit its own size, period, direction and other characteristics.

This phenomena is much easier to see on the East Coast of Australia, because we can experience swells from the southern, eastern and northern quadrants. In the southern states, swells originate from a much narrower window (ie mainly west thru' south) so they're not as easy to distinguish at the beach.

Our swell forecasts now break down the individual swell components, so that you can estimate what might transpire at different beaches. The more common virtual buoy websites offer a single size forecast yet it's impossible to know if more than one swell is contributing to the mix.

For example, on a single day in Sydney we may have a moderate short range NE windswell plus an underlying long period S'ly groundswell. The short range NE windswell will be most prominent at NE swell magnets like Manly, but is unlikely to show any notable surf at Bondi (which faces due south, and is mainly shadowed from short range NE swells).

Conversely, the long period S'ly swell will only show up at south swell magnets like Bondi and Curl Curl, whilst delivering tiny waves at Manly due to its shelter from southerly swell energy.

By looking at the swell train breakdown, we can see a greater level of detail as to what energy is in the water, which can help you to plan where and when you'd like to surf.

southey's picture
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southey commented Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 at 1:07am

Ben , I've sent a Text to Stu , with my Issues ....

Mick , I lived in WA for a while and yeah everyone over there loves it . As you've said , It serves a purpose but nothing on BOM's ability . ( Hint check the live Atmospheric pressures in real time obs . )

I think it was Access R , but it doesn't matter as they chopped and changed a million times getting closer to the Sat. Arvo when they rightly or wrongly called it . But that depends where you were targeting . ;-) .
I wasn't holding out for the Nth to survive . My interest was the 1-1.5 Hrs of dead calm between the NNW - SSE 30 + Kts ........

As for whereever else your talking about . thats just fanciful .

I got one or two . ...;-)

" SA's Reserve Capacity "

salt's picture
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salt commented Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 at 7:45am

I understand where barley is coming from and I often stand on the cliff cursing SN when I see the multitudes that have had a week to organise a surf. In saying that I'm the first one to check SN and love having the heads up for when we are going to cop some swell. Looking at the three forecast sites for KI, it seems the boot could have got at least another area for a forecast but I'm glad it didn't. It is the way of the new world I suppose, you can't blame Ben and the boys for creating the best forecasting/surf site in the country, they are in business. I reckon that they show a huge amount of respect in regards to not naming breaks, cropping photos etc to keep places out of the headlines.

shoredump's picture
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shoredump commented Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 at 9:40pm

^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

By looking at the swell train breakdown, we can see a greater level of detail as to what energy is in the water, which can help you to plan where and when you'd like to surf..

It is the new way of the world I suppose

barstardos1's picture
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barstardos1 commented Thursday, 24 Oct 2013 at 1:52pm

Hi Craig and Ben, I love your new system and format. Means wont have to worry about looking elsewhere for the full picture.
However I think the system has failed the test today. It has completely missed the significance of the South Groundswell that started to show yesterday arvo and peaked across Sydney beaches mid morning. The swell forecasts were showing only a minor pulse of S groundswell and a forecast for just 1 foot this morning yet there were solid 3' sets at South facing beaches last night (combo of NE and S swells). Todays groundswell on the MHL bouy is well over 2m tsig and is still pulsing.
I have had some awesome waves in the last 24 hours - would like to see you do a hindcast and work out why the swellet system missed it. (Thankfully I didnt!)

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Thursday, 24 Oct 2013 at 1:59pm

Thanks barstardos.. appreciate the feedback. I've actually addressed this in another forum post from this morning.. happy to continue the discussion there if you like?

http://www.swellnet.com/forums/website-troubleshooting/25831

mundies's picture
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mundies commented Thursday, 24 Oct 2013 at 2:48pm

Good job. WAMS = excellent, especially all 4 (i think its four) play through models eg Hsig. Its available on FNMOC etc but a pain in the arse to look at all separately and harder to compare.
Different swell trains is novel and useful. Do you make the primary one the one with the longest period or the biggest amplitude, or have you factored in location / orientation (eg facing SE vs E or NE on the east coast) and modify which swell train is the primary one based on location?
Location of the "home" button got me a couple of times when first checking it out, its tucked away a bit.
The issues around including extra breaks in the forecast aren't that relevant to my area - I completely understand the frustration with increasing crowds but I think its fairly tenuous to lay all of that at the door of swellnet. If swellnet wasn't here then there'd potentially be room for more unscrupulous surf forecast websites. Swellnet is not responsible for the growth of surfing as a sport/lifestyle.
Barley, there's lots of nooks and crannies on your coast, west coast, even the almost coast (fleurieu). As crowd pressure increases on the well known spots the crowd dodge/fickle spots become more valuable. The premier wave coming into the national park there is not actually that difficult to predict when there is gonna be waves, its often part of the usual winter or change of seasons cycle. Now, as always, it pays to keep an eye on unusual and changing conditions to make the most of windows of opportunities, as the weather patterns that stick out like dogs balls are not hard to identify.

mundies

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thermalben commented Thursday, 24 Oct 2013 at 4:47pm

Thanks Mundies... nice to hear some rational thinking!

mundies wrote: Different swell trains is novel and useful. Do you make the primary one the one with the longest period or the biggest amplitude, or have you factored in location / orientation (eg facing SE vs E or NE on the east coast) and modify which swell train is the primary one based on location? Location of the "home" button got me a couple of times when first checking it out, its tucked away a bit.

Without giving too much of the business IP away, the smarts are used to calculate the 'surf height' (and yes, it factors in a huge amount of data along the lines of what you've suggested above).

However, the 'swell trains' are essentially raw numbers straight out of the model, which are not tweaked at our end - we let the model do its work (and can calibrate it to a small degree) - but the end result is based on its own interpretation of bathymetry/coastal alignment, etc against the characteristics of the swell.

As such, at funky locations like SA you'll see raw swell data of (say) 5.2m @ 15 seconds, which produces (say) 3ft of swell on the Mid Coast - but way bigger surf at exposed rural spots.

BTW, we've actually had that exact same WAMS display on Swellnet for the last four years. it was just in a terrible spot on the site, so no-one really knew where to find it.

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Damothediver commented Friday, 25 Oct 2013 at 7:13am

HI guys,
I have enjoyed your website for a while and enjoy reading all the comments in forums and articles, often shaking my head at the controversy they generate.
I signed up just so I could comment on this one though............

I am in a position where, with a young family and a demanding job, I don"t have the freedom many others do to surf whenever I want, I only get a couple of days a week and so enjoy the and reap the benefits that come with the ability to plan a few days ahead.
If I am honest, in the past I used cwatch for the forecast and swellnet for entertainment, only because the there was more accuracy for where I like to surf from the former. I am however, super impressed with your upgrade and will use you guys from now on and praise your name for every good barrel I get.

We live in a digital world and anybody who says they have never used the internet to check a report, forecast or weather prediction is either living under a rock or lying........be honest with yourselves.........

Anyway thanks to you guys for helping a young family man to get the most out of his limited surfing opportunities.

Take it easy.

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thermalben commented Friday, 25 Oct 2013 at 7:24am

Thanks for the nice feedback Damo. Out of interest, on which coast are you located?

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Damothediver commented Friday, 25 Oct 2013 at 7:44am

Gold Coast, I only really surf TOS and getting it right can be a bit tricky as it faces a different direction to the rest of the coast so a forecast for north n.s.w is more appropriate.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Friday, 25 Oct 2013 at 8:06am

Yeah, TOS is a little tricky at times as it's always bigger than the rest of the Gold Coast.
 

I love to surf's picture
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I love to surf commented Friday, 25 Oct 2013 at 7:59am

some of the reports are a little late today, how big is it on the goldy?

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Friday, 25 Oct 2013 at 8:05am

Hmmm, our Gold Coast surf report has 6:54am in the database. Perhaps there's a caching issue. I'll look into it (surf looks OK though, 2-3ft with S'ly winds and close to the expected forecast - although I think the model might be overcooking it for the afternoon wave heights).

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I love to surf commented Friday, 25 Oct 2013 at 8:10am

ok thanks

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mitchvg commented Friday, 25 Oct 2013 at 4:23pm

Ok so here's an analysis of the coming weekend for a Brissy surfer, don't know how to put a photo inline here so follow this...

https://www.dropbox.com/s/vq2k017pzq5fh9n/1320%2025th%20Oct%202013.jpg

SC stands for Sunny Coast, etc going down to Bal(lina).

Now, if I just look at the heights briefly, the Sunny Coast has the largest surf. I really highly doubt that on a sth swell, the Nthn pocket of Sunshine would be bigger than Cozy Corner or south wall. As a general rule of thumb, agree or disagree?

Next, I look into the details...

https://www.dropbox.com/s/hbawdl1libpmdcm/SC%20Bal.jpg

There's Sth & E swells in the water. Comparing the surf heights at their south facing peaks (6am sat on the SC, 12am on Bal coast) you see: Bal is larger & better aligned, same period (low end groundswell). Comparing the E component, SC is almost 2x bigger, better aligned, but lower (windswell) period.

The E swell train is also decreasing in period over time. I've looked at BOM's graphical models to do a quick hind and forecast to search for E'ly sources, and it looks to me like the E swell train is the dying tradewind swell, plus a top up from the very end of the front/ridge which passed on Thu/Fri.

So, on paper, the SC forecast peak sf surf height is bigger because of the secondary component of E swell, right? But the open/unexposed beaches are smaller due to the angle of the primary swell train?

My gut reaction though is... will the two trains actually combine to form bigger sets in the surf? Won't we just be chasing 2ft (on SC) peaks on the inside? Whereas at cozy corner, it'll be more like just waiting for the sets?

It makes me think of other automated forecasts where the sunny coast is forecast to be bigger, probably because the nearest gridpoint on the model is more exposed than the goldy or nth nsw gridpoints...?

If this is all more or less correct, then that'll explain why Caba is bigger for longer too then right? And maybe my mindset is still too winter-centric.

This really is the crux of it...
Will Caba SF heights really exceed Byron SF heights? In other words, do you expect the most exposed Tweed spots to be bigger than Tallows? Is the east component really that significant? Especially under the longer period Sth stuff? From what I've seen and could decipher from text forecasts, you wouldn't expect it... or have I chosen a bad example of a weekend, the E swell was cooking at NSI...

Massive comment, hopefully it's easy to follow

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woohcs commented Monday, 28 Oct 2013 at 2:57pm

I might just have a case of domestic blindness, but is there a legend to the colours used?

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Monday, 28 Oct 2013 at 3:34pm

In the Surf Forecast Swell Train Analysis?

The colours there match the colours used in the WAMs (see any WAMs page). Blue = small surf, then it grades through green, yellow, orange and on to red which = large.

Anything beyond that: purple, white and even black and it's run for the hills territory.

 

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belly commented Tuesday, 29 Oct 2013 at 10:45am

Ben, I have followed you since you used to post on the ski.com site way back when.. Same username :-) keep up the great work!!

Missing the extended written section though, is there an ETA for when this will be back??

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thermalben commented Tuesday, 29 Oct 2013 at 11:00am

Thanks belly! Wow.. that does go back a long while :) Even predates my joining the Weatherzone forums in 2001!

The written forecast section will return in the next week or so. We've got around 250 'tickets' of things to fix on the site which we're ploughing through right at the moment, however getting the forecast text back up on the site is a pr