Walled up and on the rise

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

Today the paywall came down on one corner of the Swellnet website. Most users won’t have noticed it, however there will be some people who can no longer access their favourite surf camera for free. And that requires an explanation.

The cameras that are now behind the paywall are what we, for various reasons, consider premium content. For a long time we’ve planned to put such content behind a paywall, but it took some behind the scenes machinations to prepare the site for partitioning.

That work is done and now the only way to access the following cameras is via subscription. The premium surf cameras are:

  • Sunshine Beach
  • Alex Headland
  • Burleigh Heads
  • Currumbin
  • Cabarita
  • Yamba
  • Avoca Beach
  • Lorne
  • Trigs
  • Christies Beach
  • Knights
  • Yallingup

Swellnet will shortly be adding more cameras to its network and each additional camera will be pay to view.

The paywall marks a subtle change for Swellnet, though not a change in direction. We’ve never wanted to be the biggest surf website going, we’d rather deliver great content to a particular audience. Our editorial speaks for that.

Shortly the paywall will expand so that the thrice-weekly forecast notes - arguably the most valuable of all Swellnet’s products - will only be available to sub holders.

What the paywall does is mark a shift away from an advertising model towards a reader-supported business, and here is where things get exciting. Income generated via subscriptions will directly fund a series of new products: proprietary forecasting tools available only to Swellnet subscription holders.

Last year Ben Matson wrote an article about subscribing to something that helps you do what you love. We received a small throb of goodwill - and a huge thanks to those people who subscribed then! - but from this point on a subscription isn't just a matter of altruism, Swellnet members will receive exclusive access.

Part of Swellnet will always remain free of charge, that won't change, but all future report and forecasting products will only be seen by Swellnet members.

Thanks to everyone for your ongoing support and advice.

Comments

ryder's picture
ryder's picture
ryder commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 10:27am

Money well spent
Expect a decrease in crowds to follow : )

Philsurfbum's picture
Philsurfbum's picture
Philsurfbum commented Thursday, 23 Aug 2018 at 9:13am

wrong! I won't pay for reports that are often inaccurate, but I will still be out there surfing everyday :-)

pittsy's picture
pittsy's picture
pittsy commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 11:19am

Hey Stu,
Out of curiosity I'd be interested to hear the explanation behind why the above cams are considered premium (for at least some I'm guessing it's the fickle nature of required conditions)? Will be interesting to see where the new cams land as well. Appreciate the heads up and transparency as well, keep up the good work

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 11:31am

Mix of reasons Pittsy, partly to do with cost, most of the premium cams are newer ones on the network, and partly strategic. No point having a premium cam where there's already cams provided by surf clubs, Maritime NSW, or competitors.

50young's picture
50young's picture
50young commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 12:21pm

Hey Stu
I understand the reasoning but your statement " No point having a premium cam where there's already cams provided by surf clubs, Maritime NSW, or competitors."you have the Currumbin Cam as premium but your competitor has a couple of cams there?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 12:39pm

Yeah, it's not black and white 50Y (though it is high def colour!), but the cam is a new one, hence expensive, and we reckon the elevated view surpasses anything else going.

tommy123's picture
tommy123's picture
tommy123 commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 4:56pm

cant believe it . use swellnet tk read forcaster notes for years n years . just went online to read the notes n i got to pay ?? i dont look at cams . i only like the read monday wednesday and friday . . lots of waterman will be very bummed from this . im one of em . i live at bellambi wollongong . but moved to blacktown for
work n rely on the notes . not cool stan .stan not cool .......................

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 5:08pm

Did you read the article above? 

Look at it this way. Even if you don't use the surfcams, or read the surf reports (dawn, morning or afternoon), or look at the 16 day surf forecast graphs for more than two thousand locations, or read any of Stu's amazing articles, or watch the WSL events, or partake in the forums......

...... each episode of the Forecaster Notes will cost you 75c each.

That's 75c total, three times per week.

75c!

HORACE's picture
HORACE's picture
HORACE commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 3:39am

Yes and a measly $1,074 over a 10 year period.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 6:35am

Worst justification ever for not-subscribing.

HORACE's picture
HORACE's picture
HORACE commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 7:57am

Ha ha! I thought it was pretty good! We will see. Subscribing may save me petrol at some point.

HORACE's picture
HORACE's picture
HORACE commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 7:57am

Ha ha! I thought it was pretty good! We will see. Subscribing may save me petrol at some point.

HORACE's picture
HORACE's picture
HORACE commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 8:19am

Ben is there any plan to locate a surfcam at Clifton Beach to give Southern Tassie surfers some additional value for money?

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 8:22am

Yes there is. We've got five Tasmanian surfcam locations ready to go, actually. 

HORACE's picture
HORACE's picture
HORACE commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 8:35am

Woh. The big guns are out!

HORACE's picture
HORACE's picture
HORACE commented Thursday, 12 Jul 2018 at 7:39am

Eaglehawk Neck used to have a camera. It was a very useful location for one.

RJC6-Tas_kiwi's picture
RJC6-Tas_kiwi's picture
RJC6-Tas_kiwi commented Saturday, 6 Oct 2018 at 7:56am

Sounds good! Just signed up and live NW tassie would love a surf cam at Devonport and Marrawah. Are either of those s on the drawing board.

Daveleechef's picture
Daveleechef's picture
Daveleechef commented Wednesday, 18 Jul 2018 at 7:40am

Hi Ben, understand what your saying and think that you guys at Swellnet deserve to earn for your skills, talents etc. love the notes but rarely look at anything else as no time. Yes I love surfing, yes I love the notes and it is only, as you say 75c a read but in a larger context of my budget I will now have to make my own business decision in regards to purchasing a subscription. So for me it’s not cost it’s the cost on top of the foxtel, the Optus the Netflix etc etc A real shame as I love your stuff but do I want to pay yet more on media based subsricptions, not sure? Will have to see. Just thought I’d share my view Cheers

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 18 Jul 2018 at 12:03pm

Thanks Dave.

Yeah I think discretionary spending is going through a massive reset as people adjust to the new normal.

We all have new expenses, or increased costs to consider (i.e. Swellnet and other subs, increasing ISP costs as bigger data caps are required).

But this is also counter-balanced by cost savings elsewhere - for example, my monthly Netflix account costs me less tha I used to spend on DVD and VHS rentals, and my monthly Spotify account costs me less than I used to spend on CDs (and cassettes, and vinyl, etc). Most people don't buy newspapers or magazines any more either.

And - to bring it back to Swellnet - I am not having to pay for the 0055 or 1900 surf report hotlines any more either. I used to rack up hefty telephone bills there for a while in the late 80's and early 90's (much to my folks' chagrin).

lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 5:11pm

I think if you want to be described as 'watermen', you should already have a decent handle on forecasting swells without Ben and co.'s help.

batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink commented Sunday, 5 Aug 2018 at 8:48am

Exactly!

Nick Bone's picture
Nick Bone's picture
Nick Bone commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 11:52am

I wonder if VicLocal will pay for subscription to complain in forecaster notes.

linez's picture
linez's picture
linez commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 4:00pm

Haha indeed

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 12:01pm

I got into a funny little discussion with a Californian guy who has been living in Australia in Bali a few weeks back.

He was of the impression that the $8.00 a month subscription was expensive.
And no matter how much I tried to get him to see otherwise, by breaking it down into cost per day/week etc he just wouldn’t admit that it’s actually fuck all to pay for great content.

Some people!

Ps, that’s funny N Bone. You’ll probably be able to hear him screaming from Portsea once he reads this article.

Nick Bone's picture
Nick Bone's picture
Nick Bone commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 12:04pm

Portsea? I was under the impression that VL is from Torquay?

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 12:13pm

Sorry miscommunication, you in Portsea will be able to hear him screaming from winki car park

blackers's picture
blackers's picture
blackers commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 2:21pm

Think he lives in the big smoke, always talks about the drive.....I have the typical ear issues from a life in the water so won't be able to hear him either way.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 12:23pm

Mr Seppo would pay more than that per week in tips in the USA.

yocal's picture
yocal's picture
yocal commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 12:35pm

A move in the right direction. Looking forward to learning about the roadmap for the proprietary forecasting tools...

Go deeper Taylor, go deeper!

Banjonica's picture
Banjonica's picture
Banjonica commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 1:14pm

Given how woefully inaccurate the South Arm forecast is, why the hell would I pay you money for that?
Also, I guarantee all you subscribing suckers that moving to a "advertising free" model will NOT mean advertising free.
In the many decades I have been a surfer, I have watched the rich destroy coastal towns, the gentrification of surfing and now the rich are moving in to claim every aspect of surfing.
Wetsuits over 1000K. the last board I had made was over 1k.
Petrol at 1.60 and no sign of it going down.
Demolition of working wages and holiday pay.
You know what? fuck you swellnet, you fat greedy bastards. Just another scumbag trying to gouge a dollar out of me.
Great.
Again - with surf reports so grossly and consistently inaccurate, why should I pay for it?
I only come here for a very quick summary of swell direction & wind forecast. I can still get that off the BOM for nothing, and do my own long-term forecasting. It'll just take a bit longer to click on the info I need.
But when i see that fleet of shiny BMW's with paddle boards strapped on, I'll know for sure it's the swellnet staff enjoying their "hard earned" cash.

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 1:22pm

You’re paying over a grand for wetsuits and a grand for a board.. who’s the sucker?

Banjonica's picture
Banjonica's picture
Banjonica commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 3:39pm

Probably you buying sub-standard shit and surfing what we call down here as the "pussy waters" where the difference between a good wettie and a shit one is basically a little bit of sunburn, and not death.
Sorry if I hurt your feelings there big fella, I know you nancy boys from up that way have very...let's say dynamic hearts.
When you get to a certain level of surfing one day you might maybe understand why some people get specific designs on a board. My first was in 1992. Cost $500. Brand new including art and accessories.
But i can understand how someone at you level would be satisfied with $50 tip shop foam boat for splashing about in the shorey. Stay safe out there, ok?

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 3:57pm

Rough day mate?
Keep ripping big fella

Oh and what level of surfing does one need to reach before they have to start paying $1000 for a board? Your talking about your everyday board yeah? Not semi-guns and guns that I’ll happily pay over $1000 for

heals's picture
heals's picture
heals commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 4:01pm

"My first was in 1992"

Hardcore.

deckstrus's picture
deckstrus's picture
deckstrus commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 5:50pm

He was barley 3 at the time and already surfing Chopes!

haggis's picture
haggis's picture
haggis commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 5:30pm

Banjonica, I get my boards shaped by Wayne Webster https://www.webstersurfboards.com.au/shaping-bay/
He charges $690 for a custom made. Top bloke. Sends it down to Tassie.
He also had an article written about his Desert Storm model just recently on Swellnet. He shaped that board for my mate who lives in Lennox. Webby is a legend, give him a call, he's shaped three for me now. Cheers from Tassie, Webby

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 6:31pm

$690! Pffft you’re obviously not at the right level

boxright's picture
boxright's picture
boxright commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 1:43pm

You know you can just opt out mate. You don't even have to comment about it.

Banjonica's picture
Banjonica's picture
Banjonica commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 3:42pm

Well, neither do you mate. So why are you here?
Besides, I don't think you quite understand the issue. Color me surprised.

boxright's picture
boxright's picture
boxright commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 4:15pm

Point being you've accused a surfing website of everything from wage theft to petrol price collusion.....a little bit nutty, don't you reckon? You read more like a disempowered Trump-voting dandy connecting all sorts of arguments with your one man rage against the modern world.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 2:04pm

Disappointed in the BMW slight, mate. Swellnet's surf vehicle of choice is a customised Humvee.

Banjonica's picture
Banjonica's picture
Banjonica commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 3:43pm

Oh shit, sorry. It's been a while since I have associated with proper, well-to-do people or LNP members. I have no idea what they drive. I just know they're big, ugly, black and not from round here.

lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 4:51pm

How much over 1k was your board?
A $500 board in 1992 with inflation is about $950 today.
Doesn't seem like a huge increase in my book.

strictlybizness's picture
strictlybizness's picture
strictlybizness commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 3:10pm

+1 Beat me to it

offshoreozzie's picture
offshoreozzie's picture
offshoreozzie commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 5:33am

Banjonica, it never ceases to amaze me how people like yourself fail to see any sort of constructive or respectful way to raise your opinion. Instead you come across like a bitching loser who's mad at life.

You're clearly mad at a whole lot more than Swellnet's choices. Couldn't you have just as easily framed your grievances more along the lines of - "Fix/improve your South Arm resources/forecast and I'll consider it". Instead you launch into a diatribe of social pressures and faults well outside anything remotely connected or teh fault of Swellnet's decision.

It's $8/mth - peanuts.
This change seems reasonable to me. Ad revenue isn't that great - have you clicked any ad on here ever to give Swellnet a cent or two... didn't think so.

If I still lived in Aus and had the joy of surfing all the time (count yourself lucky and take a long look why you're so miserable!) I'd drop it in a heart beat and also be HAPPY just to learn more about surf forecasting and what's happening around the country and spots I may one day try strike. Something gives me the impression you don't travel much and that's probably a good thing.

Stay miserable, just go bitch elsewhere.

dangerouskook2000's picture
dangerouskook2000's picture
dangerouskook2000 commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 6:48pm

Well said mate.
And to you banjonica, Ben is the best forecaster in the business. Otherwise he would not have been on that red bull big wave project forecasting for the best big wave surfers in the world. I've read forecasts where he has picked the date and time of arrival of a swell that only lasted 4 hours. So don't tell me he doesn't give an accurate report. By the way, eat shit cockhead.

dannyp's picture
dannyp's picture
dannyp commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 1:43pm

Hi Stu, any chance of getting said premium cams up on the app? It's a pretty useful tool but I find myself having to flit between the app and the website for certain features...

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 1:50pm

Yep, it's on the dev table now Danny.

dannyp's picture
dannyp's picture
dannyp commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 9:00pm

Nice one mate, thanks for the reply.

nkbt's picture
nkbt's picture
nkbt commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 1:49pm

Any news about mobile app? It is so much worse then web that I've just made a shortcut to website and stopped using it...
IMO it would be another great premium advantage.

dewhurst's picture
dewhurst's picture
dewhurst commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 1:51pm

The website is responsive, why do you need the app?

nkbt's picture
nkbt's picture
nkbt commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 1:59pm

It is, so I use it all the time indeed.
Though having a nicely cached/synced app that would not have any extra loading delays on open (at least for fav stuff/forecast) and some notifications would be much more convenient.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 2:02pm

Totally agree. However Apps are structurally independent of the website/database, have different developers, and therefore aren't aligned with anything we do on the website. 

We are in the process of a major overhaul of the App (I'm not particularly happy with the current one) however it's not a small project - and thus ain't a cheap project either. But Apps allow us to do some cool things that websites won't, so it'll be worth the effort.

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 4:07pm

Ben will there be a superdooper one on the new Portsea club house when it is finished?

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 4:08pm

Yep.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 1:53pm

It's being worked on now.

JackStance's picture
JackStance's picture
JackStance commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 2:23pm

Yeah, Nah.
Cheers for the years tho, and all the best with it.
The editorials are ok, I think it's more the relationships between Stu and co and the regular commenters, and slight tensions and mutual kudosis, that shapes the narratives. Which, I probably read more out of habit than anything. The stories about characters from the past are good, and the forecasting is probably the best it can be given data and modelling limitations. I reckon you fellas do a good job, particularly with the language that assists to manage expectations.
But is it worth 8 bones a month? Not for a working breadline family.
I'll continue to use whatever free services you can provide. Thank you in advance for them, and thank you for all your efforts, past, present, future.
YEW!

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 2:34pm

All good Jack, thanks for your honesty, and positive words too.

We knew we weren't gonna please everyone when we launched our small subscription service five years (!) ago. And we know that this latest development wouldn't be seen favourably by everyone. But, we're just a small business (like the bakery, the hairdresser, and the kindy), and we have to adapt to meet ever-changing business and economic environments, just like other small businesses.

Hopefully we can get you on board as a subscriber in the future. All the best.

geoffrey's picture
geoffrey's picture
geoffrey commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 2:49pm

excellent im happy forecaster notes will go behind paywall as they are the cream. ben any reason my iphone never stays logged in, every 2 or 3 days gotta log back in. password is saved so its no hassle but any reason? is that a problem with my phone or a known problem with site?

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 2:54pm

Just fixed that problem yesterday. Can you clear cache/cookies etc and try again? Make sure you select 'Remember Me'.

geoffrey's picture
geoffrey's picture
geoffrey commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 2:58pm

cheers mate just did it, will be back on here to whinge if it logs me out again. thanks again.

Gary G's picture
Gary G's picture
Gary G commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 3:15pm

Gary assumes that this article is just a cry for help for your commentators to provide some hot takes on how to run your business.

Well, never fear, when Gary comes out of the shadows to expose himself in the forums you can be sure you've come in the right place.

To start, write some articles that are important to the facey-loving public.

For example, Gary clicked through to an article earlier this week thinking it was essential content on the recent surf-related activities of Australian hero Redmond 'Red' Symons, but instead it was about some nobody called Red Dog Symes.

Gary hopes you can enthusiastically jump on his tip before one of your competitors take it in both hands and run a series of Hey Hey-related surf content.

xoxo

You and me, Gary, ain’t nothing but mammals so let’s do it* like they do it on the aerobics channel

*faceys

Clivus Multrum's picture
Clivus Multrum's picture
Clivus Multrum commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 3:41pm

Has swellnet considered outsourcing operation of the cams to Gary G? I suspect that wouldn't be his first foray into surveillance and live streaming of humans enjoying themselves

Gary G's picture
Gary G's picture
Gary G commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 4:22pm

Gary would be happy to collaborate on new features, such as the reverse webcam, where the webcams will broadcast shots of Gary back to the viewers at random intervals.

You and me, Gary, ain’t nothing but mammals so let’s do it* like they do it on the aerobics channel

*faceys

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 4:13pm

People,
The 8 dollars a month for the cams will save you way more money in fuel costs. Let alone saving the environment from pollution , wasted fuel ....

Lastly remember that surfing hasn't always been a major sport.
Some could even remember it as a fringe activity....or whatever you may call it.
Swellnet is a small business that deserves your support, its 2 dollars a week people .
Thanks .

the-flying-dog's picture
the-flying-dog's picture
the-flying-dog commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 5:03pm

Ben/Stu, have you thought about putting all surfcams that aren't big name well known breaks behind the sub wall? Or would that cause too much of a hit to the non subscriber traffic to the sight?

.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 5:08pm

It's all about finding the right balance. Over time we'll tweak the ratio (and, any new cams - of which we've got over a hundred on the five year road map - will only be for subscribers too) but this current rollout is a good start.

savanova's picture
savanova's picture
savanova commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 11:31am

Im happy to pay for your service which is great (sometimes), plus I enjoy reading the banter, but I think you may need to rethink the number of cams (100?)and locations you install as there is a big chance of alienating your supporters (and damage to your equipment) by exposing their beaches to all and sundry wether they pay or dont. I think the range at the mo works well at giving an indication of whats happening at the larger sheep grazing grounds while still leaving some form of ownership from the individual to get off their ass and actually go to the beach and check the surf. Cheers

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 11:50am

There are 11,761 beaches in Australia (according to Prof Andy Short), so a hundred surfcams - if and when they eventuate (remember, they're bloody expensive) - would be work out to be 1 cam for every 117 beaches.

Sure, that's broad generalisation, but the point is: Australia is extremely big. US surf forecast site Surfline have some 300-400 surfcams across a similarly-sized geographical region (though obviously the US population is significantly higher than that of Australia). 

Also worth pointing out that Coastalwatch have been claiming 100+ Australian surfcams for quite some time - so my target isn't proportionly large.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 5:07pm

Will the comments section under the forecast notes still be a free for all?

I hope so, it's good value.

I won't be paying because it's not a product that is of value to me, but all the best.

I'm probably the reverse customer: the editorial is of more value to me than the forecasting or cams.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 5:16pm

Comments will remain accessible for non-subscribers.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 1:38pm

I wonder how that will work?

Forecast: 'XXXXXXXXX'
Ralph: "Yew! See you all at Spot Z! Hope you are waving to me as I share a wave with you!"
VL: "These subscribers are going to be crowding out Spot Z."
Me: "Why? What was written in the forecast notes?"

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 1:42pm

Gotta say, I've never seen anyone carry on like Ralph in the Forecaster Notes. 

And whilst I may occasionally utter a similar sound during a particularly good session, I despise the written form of the word 'yew'.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 1:58pm

Ralph was a classic. So stoked :)

Ralph's picture
Ralph's picture
Ralph commented Friday, 29 Jun 2018 at 3:54pm

Hi. Is (was there) another Ralph? I am Ralph but I rarely comment...

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Friday, 29 Jun 2018 at 6:27pm

There was one fellow who would put comments on the Vic forecast notes under that name I think - he would post that he would be coming down and would love to share waves at the Pop and enjoyed every one waving at him and calling out when riding on the shoulder.

Hootz75's picture
Hootz75's picture
Hootz75 commented Sunday, 1 Jul 2018 at 12:14pm

Reck it Ralph???

Hootz75's picture
Hootz75's picture
Hootz75 commented Sunday, 1 Jul 2018 at 12:14pm

Reck it Ralph???

haggis's picture
haggis's picture
haggis commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 5:22pm

For Tassie surfers we have no cams, so if we got one up and running that would be good (Clifton used to have one and so did Eaglehawk - not your cams though), and maybe if the South Arm reporter, top bloke that he is, did the forecast every day at an early hour then I might be interested in subscribing. Sometimes there is no report. I like the forecaster notes. Overall, I can't see the value in this for me in Tassie. I definitely can for people who surf on the mainland though - they get cams and good daily reports. The guy from Vicco is up at 0500 on some days in Summer to report daily, and sometimes two times. Thanks Swellnet.

bigredcouch's picture
bigredcouch's picture
bigredcouch commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 7:10pm

Haggis, I have a sneaky suspicion that those early dawn 'reports' that you speak of are taken from cameras/live bom observations and possibly written by people in other states. Swellnet sure wouldn't pay someone to do the forecast twice in the space of a couple of hours, would they? But if people think they're getting updated reports they are likely to check back in, thus increasing visits to the page and thus increasing revenue from advertising. So, Ben/Stu/Craig what is the story with these dawn reports? Today's report from Barwon Heads:

2018-06-26 07:16:00: clean 2ft SW, Light NW, mild 3/10
Small and clean this morning, pretty straight lines and pretty consistent worth a paddle - BR

2018-06-26 07:10:00: inconsistent 2-3ft SW, Light NNW, cool and cloudy 3/10
Dawn Report: It's a shame about the lack of consistency, as there's otherwise some fun small waves across the open beaches. Sets are occasionally 2ft+ but the long wait between waves will probably drive you crazy (if not chill you to the bone). But with very small conditions expected over the next few days you're gonna have to make the most of what's on offer right now. Tune in to the updated photo report around 8am.

Note: that there is a 6 minute time difference between the 'dawn report' and the BR photo report...

Whats the story here boys?

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 7:34pm

BRC, we're doing a few articles that detail our systems, one of which is an overview of the entire Surf Report system from go to whoa.

Can I point out this though: "....thus increasing visits to the page and thus increasing revenue from advertising"... isn't actually true. I know it seems that's how the websites work, but it's not the case.

staitey's picture
staitey's picture
staitey commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 7:20pm

As with a few of the above I’ve enjoyed swellnet but not for the cams. I actually wish you guys weren’t planning on rolling out more and more really.
Ben can I ask. Would there be any chance you can ease back on the screen shots of lineups in the forecast notes comments?
You already have cams, you have a fairly en point forecast, daily surf notes........do we need the equilvant of
‘ hey goldy small but come down the tweed it’s pulsing!’ ??
No one would post that, if they did they would mention something more cryptic.
I do thank you for the content over the years it is by far the best Aussie surf site, unfortunately for me it’s not a product I see value in (cams) and won’t be supporting them. Regards

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 7:48pm

Surfcam images are inserted into FC comments to validate/verify swell conditions (it’s a useful tool when hindcasting swell systems from previous months). I think you’d have to agree that the tone isn’t suggestive of “c’mon down to the Tweed” etc. 

I did mention above that comments will remain free for non subscribers however I have asked my devs to allow for Forecasters to have the ability to hide specific comments (such as when posting surfcam stills) if they want to.

staitey's picture
staitey's picture
staitey commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 9:07pm

I just wonder why it is nessecary really when there’s already more than enough content to give people ideas as to where to surf? I know you’re not saying ‘come down here’ but you may as well be.
Given it’s proximity to such a large surfing community I think you underestimate your influence on crowds down this way.
All’s I’m saying is can you please consider your influence with these stills and comments. You seem to enjoy your quiet beachie days down this way, it’s be nice if we can keep I this way.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 9:17pm

As I said above, it's a useful verification tool - for example there've been a few south swells recently that have shown strongly in Coffs, but haven't shown at all in Ballina. By posting the images from Coffs, I can verify a swell event that would otherwise be assumed as being a no-show (from people further north).

In any case, the Caba cam is now in the Premium section which means it's only available to a tiny fraction of the Swellnet audience. Shouldn't this ensure a dramatic drop in numbers from here on?

staitey's picture
staitey's picture
staitey commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 9:36pm

I guess we’ll see.
Mate I’m not having a go, I’m just asking can you consider your real time ‘hey the swells here’ style comments and stills.
Sounds like the answer is no.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 9:41pm

As above: "I have asked my devs to allow for Forecasters to have the ability to hide specific comments (such as when posting surfcam stills) if they want to."

This means (once implemented) only a fraction of the audience will see these posts.

offshoreozzie's picture
offshoreozzie's picture
offshoreozzie commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 5:42am

This action doesn't directly affect me at all but I have never been a fan of that practice (the screenshots into the forecasts/posts). I can get the validation on your end - but isn't that something you can track/measure internally? The validation for the punters is for those that actually get out and act on your forecast and their opinion. The screenshot just seems to support a "spoon feed the kooks" mentality.

Hard not to throw in a "see, we were right" screenshot I guess, but IMHO it comes with a discernible and tangible downside that should factor in to whether you d o it or not.

amb's picture
amb's picture
amb commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 2:59pm

Have to admit ive 'down-tools' when ive seen a few of these screenshot posts.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 3:02pm

Interestingly I haven't seen any more than a dozen guys out at Trigs since the cam went in, and that was just one or two occasions (in four months). Most often there's half a dozen guys or less. It's frequently empty, even on weekends.

beenjammin's picture
beenjammin's picture
beenjammin commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 8:36pm

I suppose it'a worth noting that cams are pretty obviously controversial. At best they rub people up the wrong way, at worst they contribute to crowds. I reckon you tread the line pretty delicately between creating more interested customers (surfers) and being a bit of a menace. Posting stills feels a bit like rubbing salt in the wounds. Looking forward to them being hidden...

billie's picture
billie's picture
billie commented Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018 at 8:47pm

I haven't paid yet because I haven't had. I will be glad to. I love the fair, balanced editorial and forecasting analysis.

Banjonica, you think binary. Lack complex thinking. Good luck not ending up a grumpy old man.

Billie

O-Men's picture
O-Men's picture
O-Men commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 8:09am

I guess the organisation thinks it will lead to more subscriptions, and it must be a hard, time consuming job to continuously censor and sterilise the level of discontent. More cams rolling out? Who wants one of these hanging over their strip? Jeez if we get one of these in our neck of the woods I can't see any outcome but war boys.

stan1972's picture
stan1972's picture
stan1972 commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 8:46am

Speak for yourself Omen, I can't afford to live where I grew up and where I mainly surf. It's the old coastal real estate chestnut that's put prices somewhere just south of the stratosphere. Are you saying bankers and brokers can get the morning surf check and no-one else??

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 2:18pm

Lawyers too.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 8:53am

Haven’t deleted a single comment on this article. It’s a rare event that we do anyway.

alan smithee's picture
alan smithee's picture
alan smithee commented Tuesday, 17 Jul 2018 at 2:02pm

well then, whats the chances of having comments deleted and username blocked twice in one day cause of a sooky tantrum??

O-Men's picture
O-Men's picture
O-Men commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 8:27am

It's a bad O-Men.

JosephStalin's picture
JosephStalin's picture
JosephStalin commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 9:31am

I vood not open a GULAG at alexandra headland - dreadful place

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 2:20pm

lolol

It vos not alwayz zis vey...

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 9:35am

Hope the 100 new cams stay well away from certain spots. Get the Lennox crew onto you lol. I guess you can't run a site like this and not be a massive fucking hypocrite when it comes to sensitivity and crowds. Your daily morning reports definitely have an impact on numbers (of retarded sheep) in the line-up around here. So it's good to see it pay-walled. I think you should heavily increase the price and do the whole site!

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 11:07am

I'm so fucking happy that Lennox cam got shitcanned, seeing the way those images get used.

There's been some ludicrous situations this winter with over-hyped swells not delivering and hordes driving down for swells that never eventuated.
70-80 people sitting out in 2ft surf with some very, very ugly vibes.

The converse, some under the radar swells that punched above their weight have been sanity savers, but there's no way those days would occur if everyone of those tasty little days were dissected and put up on the internets for people to drool over.

I'm sympathetic to people who have to drive but I know people who join the dots and take a gamble are far, far better off surfing with 15/20 even 30 people rather than 50/60/70.
Thats the difference between a good time for all and a shitfight where no-one wins.
Well, no one except the person with the surf cam selling the images.

I think the whole surf cam business model is ethically suspect on a few levels but it's so entrenched now and there is obviously a demand so if Ben/Swellnet doesn't do it, someone else will.
I'd like to see a code of conduct/guidelines developed by SN about where surf cams go.

staitey's picture
staitey's picture
staitey commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 5:06pm

Hear, hear. We’re glad you guys won that battle.
I can’t believe the caba guys put up with it either!
Hence my point earlier around extra exposure from stills in the FC notes.

The MIDdleman.'s picture
The MIDdleman.'s picture
The MIDdleman. commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 1:38pm

To all those complaining about the Surfcams….Stick your hand up if you've never used one.
I sure have and I'm lucky enough to live near the coast.
Who are we as individuals to try and maintain barriers of entry for ANYBODY that wants to come and partake in what is a beautiful thing.
Who's waves are they?

From Monday morning video stokes too weekend report g ups I've always found swellnet to be the pivot point around which my surfing life rotates....

I've seen masterful forecasting balanced by some not so much.
I've seen beautifully Compiled stories, Vids and reviews balanced with some cash for comments.
I've seen some interesting thought provoking conversations and debates and then there's Garry.
I've been tuned to the wider world of surfing its movements and heroes balanced with local issues.
All of that I've had for free and to be honest i've always felt a bit guilty.

I'm now onboard and have subscribed.
I look forward to the ongoing enjoyment and benefits that will come from being a part of a great Australian business.

Signature.

O-Men's picture
O-Men's picture
O-Men commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 5:37pm

I have to admit...that I have NEVER "used" a cam. I have no "use" for them. I use bom info and local knowledge always has me on point. This now reminds me of the "Instagram" thread where there is some confounded perception that there is no exploitation going on here.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 2:40pm

"Who are we as individuals to try and maintain barriers of entry for ANYBODY that wants to come and partake in what is a beautiful thing.
Who's waves are they?"

Far as I know, there are no barriers to entry to any waves in Australia. Anyone from anywhere in the world can show up and paddle out to any wave in Australia. As to what kind of crowd they find there......

And whose waves are they?.....thats a very interesting question, but probably not from the POV you occupy.
Do they belong to any for profit business that wants to put a camera up and sell the images to the world? Even if that business has no direct connection with the community it profits from?
Even if people in that community expressly wish that camera not to be located there?

Whose waves are they>?

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 3:09pm

Probably an apt point to note that the ancient Hawaiians had specific breaks for the nobles/Royalty that the commoners were not allowed to surf.

Maybe they went through all this before us?

The MIDdleman.'s picture
The MIDdleman.'s picture
The MIDdleman. commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 3:17pm

First off did I see you raise your hand?

Knowing what the current coastal conditions are like is something that people living near the coast may take for granted.
When living away from the coast to not have access to a viable technological information feed I would consider a barrier.

Sure you could lick your finger and stick it in the air before driving or travelling to your favourite surf spots....but id imagine that you too use all the tools at your disposal.

If someone takes a video of a wave and makes a profit good luck to them.
Have you never watched a surf video?
Have you never bought a pie at the bakery placed near the surf break?
Have you never parked in a carpark made for surfers?
Have you ever seen better strawmen?,)

Im all about keeping secret spots low key and for keeping hard to get to spots hard to get to.

I'm yet to see swellnet put a camera on any spot that was a secret.

Whilst i'am impacted by the crowds that come from surfcams that I very rarely use....
Im more impacted by people in lineups that have some strange sense of entitlement to what is a free and open resource.

Signature.

the-flying-dog's picture
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the-flying-dog commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 3:50pm

Thats a fair point about coastal conditions, but in my area there is eight cams listed in a stretch of coast of around 30km in length, a couple under a km apart. I wonder how many more will pop up with the 100 more that are planned... How much can conditions vary?
Cams that are already up at lesser known breaks should be put behind the subscriber wall, leave the well known ones free i.e. Snapper

.

O-Men's picture
O-Men's picture
O-Men commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 5:48pm

Middy you say if someone takes a video of a wave and makes a profit good luck.. In the act of making a profit that person might be doing damage, and I'm sure he's not gunna put most of that profit back where he got it from, the community, can't really. Also if someone happens to get a shot of me, I'll be too deep anyway, and profits from it, how do you think I'm gunna feel? I'm gunna want most of that and he can have a margin , I feel very strongly about that and would want to persue it .

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 3:39pm

To answer your question, once a very blue moon. I can't remember the last time I looked at a cam, other than the still shots Ben posts up on the forecast notes.

To be honest I use the MHL buoy arrays and BOM weather obs, far, far more to track swells and conditions. And that works fine as a data set to base travel trips on if I'm chasing swells.

The lack of cams is certainly not a barrier. You'd have to be pretty bereft of knowledge to think that.

As for the impact of crowds: what do you think is going to be more pleasant? 10-15 guys out, even if there is a local pecking order in place or 50-60 with a total free for all shitfight in progress?
I know which one I prefer, even if I'm the visitor.

At my local break this winter I've watched all kinds of bad behaviour....and the entitled attitude almost invariably rests with the car loads of visitors who see a crowd and immediately assume rule/etiquette/respect does not apply. The rubbish left behind does not belong to local surfers either.
And you can't really blame them for that....that is the inevitable outcome of an overcrowded break unless there is some kind of violent localism in play like Pipeline. And who wants that?

The MIDdleman.'s picture
The MIDdleman.'s picture
The MIDdleman. commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 3:59pm

Thanks for your honesty.

"To be honest I use the MHL buoy arrays and BOM weather obs, far, far more to track swells and conditions. And that works fine as a data set to base travel trips on if I'm chasing swells."
I hope this wasn't against the wishes of the locals and I sure hope they didn't make a profit!
…..tongue in cheek....

Like I said personally I very rarely use the cams for forecasting....more for salivating and swearing while at work.

Im not condoning the bad attitudes and behaviours of anybody and i'm certainly not advocating for bigger crowds......when im out.

But as a realist I understand that there is an ever growing population and along with that an ever growing connectivity.
I also understand sometimes its better to have a sharing attitude rather than unfair and unrealistic cloistered mentality.

My take is the more people that surf the better.
That may be a bitter pill for a few.

Either way I didn't come on here to make waves....I came to watch.

Signature.

davetherave's picture
davetherave's picture
davetherave commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 3:59pm

this is not the cams fault or swellnet or other providers fault. it is is people and their lack of understanding of being at one with the water/waves that they come to enjoy.
having lived mainly in the Coolie/D-bah area for nearly 30 years now, you can bet I have seen and heard it all when it comes to human poor behaviour/greediness/ inflated egoness. IT's 2018 and technological viewing and sharing devices are the norm. I loathe the crowds, especially now as a bodysurfing when I keep getting run over by boardriders who think a bodysurfer should be dropped in on all the time- yep, all the time. But we have to live with it. How? by talking to each other and reminding everyone of etiquette. Especially talk to the frothing grommets- "hey hang on grommie, you just caught a good one, let old mate here catch one". Fuck that is the common attitude these days and it goes against all that is what surfing is really about, enjoying a cojoining a vibration of wind and water producing stoke.
Educate and eradicate selfishness and prima donna- ness.
But Caba cam behind paywall, maybe because a certain drummer beats his cymbal there and doesn't want it to become a gong!!!!!! Taking the piss here, as usual, lighten up, surf, have fun, you gunna die, so laugh, dont sigh.

davetherave

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 4:10pm

"My take is the more people that surf the better.
That may be a bitter pill for a few."

Fair enough if that is your opinion.

I reckon the less people that surf the better.

The more people that meditate, or grow a garden, or ride a bike, or clean up rubbish the better.

There's a hardly a justification for thinking the world would be better if more people surfed. Once wave pools become established even the fig leaf of surfers being some kind of environmental stewards will be removed.

I'm happy to share though. I love sharing the water with my fellow surfers.

The MIDdleman.'s picture
The MIDdleman.'s picture
The MIDdleman. commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 4:44pm

"The more people that meditate, or grow a garden, or ride a bike, or clean up rubbish the better."
My reasons for wanting more people to surf would be similar to the reasons you want people to do the above....id imagine.

Signature.

dangerouskook2000's picture
dangerouskook2000's picture
dangerouskook2000 commented Friday, 29 Jun 2018 at 7:27pm

Thats 2 bucks a week people. Surely thats not a big ask. I consider the amount of money I waste on crap from say bunnings ( insert you're "favourite place to blow you're money on useless crap that breaks down" shop here, BCF is a good one too for eg), and swellnet subscription is but a small drop in the ocean in comparison. Less than the price of a coffee or about one 500th the cost of a smashed avo on toast. Or what about the corporate criminals and bludgers that are raping our hard earned dollars to line their own pockets. Fuck them they're gonna steal it anyway, so why not chuck a couple of bucks at swellnet. At least its worthwhile and you're getting something good for it. Coz when a politician gets it you can kiss it goodbye. The only time you'll see it is when the crooked cunt is on his super yacht sticking his middle finger at your proletariat arse

GuySmiley's picture
GuySmiley's picture
GuySmiley commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 7:49pm

what about the Bitcoin guru, does he fork over $8 a month, me thinks not

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 9:20pm

Over saturation of web cams, forecasts and surf reports is creating peak conditions crowd levels way above the past. The same decision making patterns are repeated endlessly across huge numbers of surfers leading to the herd arriving at the same time. This combined with daily releases of perfect surf vin videost is making us all fussier and more jaded particularly with visually less appealing surf. The younger generation is particularly fussy compared to decades ago.

But there are positives. Lower quality conditions and the session arising from surprise shifts in wind and swell are, in my opinion, often less crowded than in the past. All you need is the right boards and mindset and fun empty waves are everywhere and surprisingly common.

Frogg

geoffrey's picture
geoffrey's picture
geoffrey commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 9:40pm

Gday ben the site is still logging out on iPhones. Cheers

zenagain's picture
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zenagain commented Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018 at 9:48pm

I like the editorials and vids and the banter and the back'n'forths with the different characters that get on here. I also like that it's reasonably civilised and the trolls are usually weeded out in time as opposed to stab et al.

Rarely use the forecasts, even rarer to look at a cam as I have no need for them but what I mentioned above is worth the price of a subscription for me.

PS Ben, I think it must be close to renewing, you might wanna check that.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

Ash's picture
Ash's picture
Ash commented Thursday, 28 Jun 2018 at 12:30pm

Gotta say Swellnet provides great articles and journo imputs 2nd to none. Beach Grit and Stab are more industry/tacky tabloidy orientated, which is fine I still go there but SN feels more community based and forum wise, approachable, entertaining and educational. Brilliant idea to employ Gary G, Vic Local and Crypto Knight as comedy relief...…..jus joking. So if Ben wants to charge for cam use no problem for me, if I want it I'll pay for it.
Thanks for the daily read.

Gary G's picture
Gary G's picture
Gary G commented Thursday, 28 Jun 2018 at 4:54pm

Perhaps with enough subscribers, SN could offer an annual prize of an unforgettable week in Gary.

Gary, Indiana

You and me, Gary, ain’t nothing but mammals so let’s do it* like they do it on the aerobics channel

*faceys

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango commented Friday, 29 Jun 2018 at 12:27pm

This is such a vexed issue. While I'm firmly in the "the less people surfing, the better" camp, I get some of the arguments about having cams and the rest of the SN service.

However, I still reckon there's a case to answer with regard to a business whose operations utilise the public domain (i.e. the coast) and have both positive and negative impacts for people who use that coast.

Ben and I had a cuppa down here recently to discuss the issue. We had a good chat about crowds and the role of cameras/reports and the vagaries of business private good/public common good, etc etc, but the worst thing was that he then scored a reef in the middle of town which rarely gets as good as he got it, let alone as uncrowded as it was that arvo. So he sent me a photo of it, the bastard, and I had nowhere to go. It would have been nice if he'd called me to let me know, of course, maybe as some form of compensation. Alas. We might have agreed to disagree on a few things, but I was impressed he was willing to discuss it.

We've had a pretty lean late May and June down here, and while a few of us scored fantastic uncrowded waves at a rather well-known spot (thank you sea-fog) yesterday, the handful of good days have been packed out, even mid-week. The impact of the cams can only be speculated, but most crew here agree that forecasts/reports/cameras all contribute to crowding. Yesterday's forecast and report said it was a foot or two with a 2/10 rating or some such, but we had 4ft sets on the head and a maximum 10 of us out, including the lunchtime shift. Monday had a great forecast and a good report (7/10?) as I recall, and there were 60+ out on the break which yesterday had 12-15.

There needs to be maximum discretion and responsibility shown with this - of course you can find little windows from inaccurate reports, wind shifts etc (and how sweet they are) but those windows are narrowing. It's not helped by all the other info available, and SN can;t be held responsible for the whole thing. However, too many dots get joined too often, such as encouraging punters to keep an eye on the buoys because the spike has started. Shhhhh!

I know that SN are very mindful of the issues, and that it's a competitive market, but we need to tread carefully. I know for a fact that a heap of crew in Melbourne and Geelong rely heavily on the report and the forecast, and I sympathise with them not living near the beach, but that doesn't mean it's a good thing to encourage them all to descend at once as someone observed earlier in the thread. I'd be surprised if the majority of them didn't subscribe to have good info to make the drive worth it.

I enjoy the content of the site and read a stack of things, and would probably subscribe for that alone, but the clincher will be to make sure I'm on the pace and can avoid the crowds as best as possible. And of course to read a bit of Gary G.

tubeshooter's picture
tubeshooter's picture
tubeshooter commented Friday, 29 Jun 2018 at 2:10pm

I used to use Caba cam a lot,, ironically I only lived 3 blocks away at the time.

Gary G's picture
Gary G's picture
Gary G commented Friday, 29 Jun 2018 at 2:41pm

Gary comes for Gary.

You and me, Gary, ain’t nothing but mammals so let’s do it* like they do it on the aerobics channel

*faceys

dangerouskook2000's picture
dangerouskook2000's picture
dangerouskook2000 commented Friday, 29 Jun 2018 at 7:32pm

I rarely use the cams. but the forecast and the longrange I routinely check as soon as Ben puts em up every monday, wednesday and friday. And I love reading these comments. So I'm a subscriber. Plus I know Ben and I like to support people I know.

Onelove's picture
Onelove's picture
Onelove commented Saturday, 30 Jun 2018 at 8:42am

Great site Ben..but would be stoked with no more stills.

kaiser's picture
kaiser's picture
kaiser commented Saturday, 30 Jun 2018 at 8:52am

^ +1

loungelizard's picture
loungelizard's picture
loungelizard commented Saturday, 30 Jun 2018 at 10:35am

how can you possibly call them premium surf cameras when middleton is excluded..

Hootz75's picture
Hootz75's picture
Hootz75 commented Sunday, 1 Jul 2018 at 11:16am

Hi Guys.
Good to see you on the front foot with issue.
While I have never been a subscriber I am now considering it.
Being on the west coast we don’t get anywhere near the coverage they get in the east.
Other than getting to watch Yallingup burgers roll on a big day what other benefits will a subscriber in WA get.
Cheers
Hootz

lost's picture
lost's picture
lost commented Sunday, 1 Jul 2018 at 9:16pm

Howdy, I've been handing over my $ for about six months now. Just seemed like the right thing to do for an amazing site. I don't really get anything i couldn't get for free but that's just me. The one thing I would strongly suggest putting behind a paywall is the forecast notes and while you are at it how do I access them from the App ? Cheers

knB

quokka's picture
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quokka commented Monday, 2 Jul 2018 at 3:23pm

"Today the paywall came down on one corner of the Swellnet website."
I would have worded it differently but anyways. I'm all for limiting info available to people who don't know how to get their hands on or interpret the info that is freely available. A prime example was how media outlets hyped the Marcus swell...was a complete circus.

Vic Local's picture
Vic Local's picture
Vic Local commented Monday, 2 Jul 2018 at 5:31pm

Good move Swellnet. I suggest a price rise to $20 per month. Maybe more even. Just please promise that the long range forecasts are behind the paywall.

Tim Fisher's picture
Tim Fisher's picture
Tim Fisher commented Monday, 2 Jul 2018 at 9:00pm

Fair enough, gents. You've provided an incredibly valuable service for years. Hope this enables you to keep it up for years to come.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Tuesday, 3 Jul 2018 at 12:40pm

Thanks Tim.

Hope you've been well.

yocal's picture
yocal's picture
yocal commented Tuesday, 3 Jul 2018 at 12:06pm

I heard that Google Maps is working to bring up its imagery as close to live as possible. Even if they get to monthly updates, I can see a whole new set of information available to check to see if its worth the drive... how are the banks down at Lennox lately?

Go deeper Taylor, go deeper!

Mr Underhill's picture
Mr Underhill's picture
Mr Underhill commented Wednesday, 4 Jul 2018 at 11:58am

Love the site, well worth 2 bucks a week so I just signed up.
Shame about the brain-dead hillbillies and whining lefties and spoilt Gen Ys/Millennials who can't get their head around the concept of 'user pays'. In their world it's all about getting stuff for nothing, sponging off the efforts of others and gimme gimme more free shit.
Well they better get used to it cos this is the way it's all moving. Businesses can't keep producing and producing just to give it all away for free to a bunch of spoilt brat whingers who don't get it.
#userpays
#supportsmallbusiness

ron's picture
ron's picture
ron commented Saturday, 7 Jul 2018 at 10:51am

I'm not exactly sure what i would gain apart from 1 cam i used to use that is now premium. The daily reports are vague and often updated so early they cant be accurate.

The forecast notes for my area usually go something along the lines of 'possibly big swell next week due to X Y Z but we will update 2 days before as its too far out to call. This is always fairly obvious after a quick look on willy weather or similar. Not that helpfull really.

Everyone says how $8 a month is nothing. Problem there is EVERYONE wants their $8 a month. Netflix, amazon tv, etc etc, spotify, podcasts and every other website with a service, next thing you know theres $300 a month coming out for shit you don't remember signing up for because $8 a month is nothing.

If this site was the only decent forecast option and there were no other cams available i would consider it but at the moment i really don't see any value in it.

Galsurf's picture
Galsurf's picture
Galsurf commented Sunday, 8 Jul 2018 at 9:38am

Yep a bit here and a bit there all adds up. I have my best uncrowded surfs when the get it wrong! good keep it up.

Galsurf's picture
Galsurf's picture
Galsurf commented Sunday, 8 Jul 2018 at 2:21pm

Did you blokes delete my post about Lorne Point. that's not well.......... neither are you...........

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Sunday, 8 Jul 2018 at 2:49pm

You’re a small business owner, aren’t ya mate?

What if someone popped around to your shop, and starting putting up posters promoting your competitors?

I reckon you’d probably take ‘em down. Whaddya think?

timcosh's picture
timcosh's picture
timcosh commented Sunday, 8 Jul 2018 at 4:50pm

I think it's a good idea. We have so many lazy surfers who want it all for free with out putting in the effort or hard yards. I think you guys should do as you like. It's a credit to you that you have provided so much for free. People are always going to winge just like they only surf the one spot. If taking away a cam ruins your surf experience. Maybe your missing the whole point. I for one am going to enjoy what you offer and less lazy surfers clogging the good days out. I amazed at the entitled ment so many people feel. Taking a risk is what some times makes surfing all the more special. Maybe some surfers need to tune out to tune in. Keep up the good work and enjoy not giving lazy surfers what they believe they are entitled too. I am sure the keenest will work it out.

tworules's picture
tworules's picture
tworules commented Sunday, 8 Jul 2018 at 6:43pm

wonder how the boss will react when I hit him up for the subscription cost?

The MIDdleman.'s picture
The MIDdleman.'s picture
The MIDdleman. commented Sunday, 8 Jul 2018 at 7:50pm

Since you don't use it in your personal time I'm sure they'd be fine with it.

Signature.

tworules's picture
tworules's picture
tworules commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 7:40am

well thats a tax deduction too

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 11:13am

Forecaster Notes are now behind the payall (comments are still free to view though).

Note: this will apply only to the last couple of Forecaster Notes - anything older than four days will move out from underneath the paywall, allowing non-subscribers to check out the level of service provided (try before you buy, in a way).

Thanks again for everyone's support.

pittsy's picture
pittsy's picture
pittsy commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 12:42pm

fair play thats a ballsy move putting it out there after the fact (I'm guessing you'll get a fair bit of 'see how off it was I surfed x and it wasn't even 3ft and the wind spoiled it early and it was crowded and blah blah blah'). For what it's worth I think the notes are top notch, I won't be paying for them at the moment but do intend to when working again.
Also side note, any chance of a padang specific forecast for the cup, maybe in the indo notes?

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 12:44pm

Edit: I misinterpreted your comment.. sorry. We're happy to stand behind old FC notes, and having published them three times weekly for 16 years, I think most of our audience understands the nature of the beast.

Craig will have Indo forecasts up tomorrow.

belly's picture
belly's picture
belly commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 11:57am

And in!!

dustys's picture
dustys's picture
dustys commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 1:04pm

Thanks for providing consistent forecasts and feedback to comments. Not sure how the forecasts go for other places, but they're pretty accurate (scarily sometimes) for the West Coast VIC. Love the site, happy to pay for quality content. Keep up the good work.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 1:06pm

Thanks dustys, appreciate the nice words and your subscription too.

Kevchecksurf's picture
Kevchecksurf's picture
Kevchecksurf commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 4:00pm

Totally agree. I assume you were in the minority who scored this morning?

Kevchecksurf's picture
Kevchecksurf's picture
Kevchecksurf commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 3:59pm

Hey!
longtime reader, recent subscriber- any chance we can find out how many new subscribers like myself get on board as a result of the paywall shift?
I'm curious as to how many people (like me) use the forecaster notes as a life coach/ weekly planner.
Also now that I'm paid up- is there much else I should be doing with this subscription?
I assume the 16 day forecast is pretty vague (no offense but even the forecaster notes get uncertain after 5 days)
Thanks

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 4:07pm

Thanks for subscribing Kev. You don't have to do anything more, I've added the Forecast Notes email to your profile so you'll be notified when they're updated. 

As for subscriber numbers - that info is commercially confidential (sorry).

Nick Bone's picture
Nick Bone's picture
Nick Bone commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 4:14pm

can you let us know if VicLocal subscribed please ;)

Mick773's picture
Mick773's picture
Mick773 commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 6:29pm

Hey swellnet, I understand and respect your decision to offer your great forecasts to subscribers only.

I have followed your page since the early 2000's , it will be a shame to not have access to your brilliant forecast notes.

I have a pretty good understanding of weather and surf ,as its been a passion of mine for so long. Im usually pretty good at making my own surf forecast, so for that reason I can get by without paying a subscription. Having said that my knowledge definitely isn't as dynamic as you guys, and you sometimes find a flukey swell that I would miss. Budgeting in a few dollars a month will be very much beneficial for many people, but for now I can't support you guys as my budget is very tight as it is.

Good luck with it all.
Michael.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 6:34pm

Thans mate, appreciate the honest response.

batty_rida's picture
batty_rida's picture
batty_rida commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 6:30pm

I've always hated Coastalwatch for their revenue model. Now I can hate Swellnet too. Keep it free with ads. Just sayin.

Boog lyfe's picture
Boog lyfe's picture
Boog lyfe commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 7:05pm

this idea is all good and well but i'd rather pay for a service that gives at least a semi-reliable forecast..... so many times i have seen the wind/swell charts for elswhere (either side of) other than newcastle and gone on that information provided by SW, to travel well out of newcastle to capitalize on given information.... ive lost count how many times we have been fucked over by going elsewhere based on the info SW has provided - case in point was the weekend just gone, where seals/boomerang was supposed to be 4-5ft (with WSW winds but was WNW all day - not that it is a bad thing, but another error to say the least) but was lucky to be 4 and newcastle was only supposed to be 3-4ft and bigger in the arv but was easily 6ft+ all day given the evidence of what was posted on a local FB page... and whoever does the local reports is a basketcase.... many times i have read the early report and it will say 3ft or whatever then the updated report will have 6ft+ etc.... fair shake, why should SW get my money for such unreliablity????? i need more convincing

J.Allen's picture
J.Allen's picture
J.Allen commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 7:19pm

Im a kook

belly's picture
belly's picture
belly commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 11:11am

Yes they/he/her are, and without wanting to be age discriminatory I'm guessing young and without much knowledge of the weather and surf. There seems to be an increasing frequency of posts on here from the 'me too' generation not showing any ability to reconcile the information they are provided with their actual observations.

A couple of points for consideration. An individual is responsible for their own choices. According to a quick google maps check, and assuming these forecast notes cover the coastline stretching from Port Stephens to the Victorian border, that is an approximate crow flies distance of 560km. Therefore Seal Rocks and further to the north are outside of this zone. Swells can arrive early, swells can arrive late. Winds can be out by 45 degrees or more due to many reasons. Swells on the east coast can vary in direction by approximately 180 degrees. Depending on the position of the swell providing weather system wave heights can vary dramatically from coast to coast. I could go on and on.....

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 8:15pm

Happy to assist where we can as much a surf possible, but you’ve gotta make up your own mind whether you think the service is worth it. We know we can’t please everyone, so if you choose not to subscribe, that’s fine - thanks for your patronage in the past.

Model guidance is always flukey (and it’s the same with any other computer generated forecast available elsewhere), but these Forecaster Notes will help you join the dots a little better. We’re very confident that you won’t get a better level of service anywhere in Australia than from Swellnet.

Boog lyfe's picture
Boog lyfe's picture
Boog lyfe commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 8:57pm

"but these Forecaster Notes will help you join the dots a little better"

.......... the forecaster notes is what ive used in conjunction with any descision as to where i surf ive made thus far..... and its these notes that have from time to time, really thrown me off the scent as to where the swell is actually hitting... how is paying for it going to give me a more accurate forecast in "joining the dots" any better to that to what i have already experienced with you guys?

i know its only a few bucks but you guys should now better than anyone that in this day and age, people are hesitant to part with their money unless they know they are going to be getting what they are paying for....

i got it for free.... and got a little dicked over..... am i gonna be paying for it and have the same result?? doesnt make sense if thats gonna be the case... i know there is no guarantee with actual swell forecasts as you said, they are computer generated, and have proven time and time again that they can be flukey, but that aside if this was a try before you buy situation i'd say it needs a little more work before you expect people to sign up and get the same dubious forecasts they they would have otherwise have gotten for free in the past....

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 9:12pm

Mate, why are you whinging about the quality of the forecasts? Your experience seems to be at odds with everyone else, but hey - if you don’t find the forecast useful, then there’s no need to subscribe. And no need to whinge about the paywall either.

Boog lyfe's picture
Boog lyfe's picture
Boog lyfe commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 9:18pm

its not a whinge im simply trying to make a point.

if you wanna keep saying the swells are flukey and hard to gauge, how the hell do you expect people to start paying for a whim forecast?

its kind of like seeing a clairevoyant... it may happen, it may not, who knows, but give me your money......

geoffrey's picture
geoffrey's picture
geoffrey commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 10:00am

think you should ask mother nature why shes fucking with your schedule like that. pretty ordinary!

The Fire's picture
The Fire's picture
The Fire commented Wednesday, 18 Jul 2018 at 7:18pm

No. Psychics are phoneys. Do they use science and data? You sound very inept at joining dots. I hope you have a low iq as an excuse.

Definite winger.

Peace maaaan..

Beagle's picture
Beagle's picture
Beagle commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2018 at 10:29am

How about a bit of gratitude to the guys who are providing an expert level of meteorological knowledge, free of charge, via the modelling? If you want your balls polished don’t be such a whiny tightwad. I pay for my subscription annually just like I do for every other service I use. If you need charity, go to Vinnies.

Anthony Gale's picture
Anthony Gale's picture
Anthony Gale commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 10:59pm

Easy, don't read the early report. I suspect theyre predicted and updated when surf is actually checked. Use a wind site for more accurate winds for your local area. Read the forecast better and learn how different swells affect different coasts. Then accept that sometimes they get it wrong. That should stop ya whinging for a bit.

mibs-oner's picture
mibs-oner's picture
mibs-oner commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 7:13pm

All the best boys. Still riding on my lifeline pro deal but will move over once expired.
Anyone sooking about this (or paying over $1000 for a wetty and board) are muppets.

Mibs

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 7:23pm

Cheers Mibs. It's been an eye opener.

luke0414's picture
luke0414's picture
luke0414 commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 8:02pm

boooooooooooooooooooooooo
get rid of the fees
i need free forecaster notes/cams / extended reports
or im defecting to willy weather

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 8:08pm

No worries mate, all the best.

Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 8:40pm

Willy Weather? Yea their surf forecadting will just blow you away......

Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 8:47pm

True story. At least it's free and you do get what you pay for.

Halfscousehalfcockneyfullaussie's picture
Halfscousehalfcockneyfullaussie's picture
Halfscousehalfc... commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 8:34pm

I’m spewin it’s gone to a paywall. for years I’ve looked forward to 5 pm on a Monday, wednesday and Friday for a glimmer of hope of decent conditions. Oh well all good things come to an end.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 8:43pm

For what it’s worth, even if you don’t use the surfcams, read the surf reports, check the 16 day forecast graphs, read Stu’s articles or Craig’s research pieces, or watch the the WSL events, etc etc.....

...... even if you do none of that, the Forecaster Notes alone will cost you just 75c each.

75c.

I don’t even know what I can buy for 75c these days.

But a comprehensive, timely, well researched, detailed long range surf forecast - written by a tertiary qualified Surf Forecaster who’s honed his skills over the last twenty years - that gives you your best chance to score the best waves over the coming week?

Sounds like 75c is pretty good value to me.

If not, that’s totally fine - it’s been a pleasure to serve you in the past, and hopefully we can get you on board as a subscriber in the future.

All the best mate.

lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 8:54pm

I had to give up my 3 raspberry twists per week.

Halfscousehalfcockneyfullaussie's picture
Halfscousehalfcockneyfullaussie's picture
Halfscousehalfc... commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 6:23am

I haven’t dropped swellnet, I was just disappointed about the paywall... had it too good for so long I guess

Beagle's picture
Beagle's picture
Beagle commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2018 at 10:33am

Nice SW swell inbound for Tonga. 75 cents very well spent. Will get a tube for you BM!

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 8:47pm

I'd forgotten about that- I donated to the Lifeline pro event too, does that buy me any time?

No biggie, happy to subscribe and the Lifeline contest i would have donated to anyway. A very worthy cause.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

getwet's picture
getwet's picture
getwet commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 8:50pm

Hey Ben and Swellnet,

Been reading your Forecaster notes for years now. Best read going round, not just as a surfer but for anyone interested in weather forecasting. Happy to pay my 2 cups of coffee a month for the notes plus the extra material you post. Keep up the good work, surprised its been a free service this long. Hopefully will keep the negative comments away.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 8:51pm

Unreal, thanks GW. Stoked to have your support.

Groover's picture
Groover's picture
Groover commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 8:54pm

For a full-time worker & dad with young child, the detailed Mon-Wed-Fri forecasts and cams have become almost irreplaceable in scheduling time to get my salt-water fix. It’s a reasonable price for the services provided and although I’ve put it off until I had to (more out of laziness), I’ve finally signed up today. Thanks guys and keep up the great work.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 9:43pm

Thanks Groover.

Mcface's picture
Mcface's picture
Mcface commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 9:27pm

Yeah spot on. Swellnet forecaster notes are definitely the best out there and the website has a great community - staff included. Keep it up.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 9:43pm

Cheers MF.

Stef_Olly's picture
Stef_Olly's picture
Stef_Olly commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 9:35pm

Massive thumbs down you're charging for the forecasts @swellnet i get it for the cams for maintenance etc but for the forecasts, poor form.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 9:42pm

Surfcams require maintenance. Forecaster Notes require salaries.

Works out to be 75c, three times per week (with the surfcams thrown in for nix).

NickT's picture
NickT's picture
NickT commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2018 at 10:23am

I signed up today. $8.95 for a detailed forecast is a bargain.

walkar's picture
walkar's picture
walkar commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 9:53pm

More than happy to pay a nominal amount for such valuable intel and content. Fully support Swellnets decision.

I’ve supported for years, buying the annual subscription. Works out to be peanuts ..
Have been interested for quite some time as to why the notes section was free ...

So many tight arses having a whinge. The return on investment is unmatched ... let the fully informed strike missions continue.

Good on you Ben.

dannyz's picture
dannyz's picture
dannyz commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 10:37pm

FFS what bloody drama queens! if you cannot afford $8 a month to put toward your apparent passion and something you get so much out of then go find another interest where you don’t have to spend a single cent.. good luck with that btw
I for one am stoked these notes will be restricted to the dedicated only, less crowds yewww

keep up the awesome work fellas

Dan K's picture
Dan K's picture
Dan K commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 11:02pm

Surely some of the comments here are taking the piss right?
Where can you get such an in depth forecast analysis tailored to your specific coastline three times a week? And that's being done for all the main surf coasts? I'm more surprised this hasn't been done a lot earlier and we have all been the winners, and will continue to do so with the amount of work put into the nitty gritty you don't see on rival sites.
I'm yet to see a painter or a plumber finish their trade of 4 years or so then just go and work for free (generalised context I know). How is studying to become a meteorologist or doing a climate science degree any different?
I'm sure that Ad revenue generates SW a few bucks to keep the site up and running, but these guys are also family people with everyday commitments like the rest of us. Some of the comments so far how the (extremely detailed) forecast being a small thing but so significant just proves that it's worth something, otherwise we'd all be out there working it out ourselves right? A lot of people need to take a big breath and just decide whether to sign up or not, but these guys rightfully charging a small fee for their expertise is hardly an insult.

Dannon's picture
Dannon's picture
Dannon commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 6:12am

Yeah Dan, taking the absolute piss !!
Tighter than a fishes arse !!

NickT's picture
NickT's picture
NickT commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2018 at 10:24am

Just being tight arses who have had it too good for too long

mike lowrey's picture
mike lowrey's picture
mike lowrey commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 11:37pm

Its fckn cheap plus its tax deductible if u use the 16 day forecast to plan when u gonna do jobs.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 6:39am

Been quite a resurgence in commentary here (and within FC Notes) and also via email and Social Media over the last 24 hours.

Thanks everyone for the feedback, good and bad. We'll take it all on board and continue to refine and improve the service.

Unfortunately, we can't please every surfer - especially when each individual has their own part of the site they value the most - be it surfcams, reports, forecasts, models, articles, forums etc - but our primary goal is to make sure that Swellnet Pro subscribers are happy to support the business.

Thanks again.

timmythereformedkook's picture
timmythereformedkook's picture
timmythereformedkook commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 11:55am

Hey Ben,

I know you probably don't really care about a non-paying member, but I thought i'd give you my feedback on this.

Without access to at least some form of written content, and only a three day surf forecast, there really is no reason for me to come here. With that level of content, what do you think makes swellnet stand out from any of the other forecast sites? I mean, why would I come here? The only reason I did was to get a 5 day forecast and, if i was really interested, read the forecast notes. Having a 5 day forecast is the what differentiates Swellnet over coastal watch, for example. 3 days is basically useless. I can get that from looking at the Cape Sorell buoy data, for free, and with greater accuracy.

If they are now behind a - reasonably expensive - paywall, and you expect me to pay, what, is it $9 a month, to see these. Are you really valuing these services as the same as a netflix subscription?

Additionally, I don't see how restricting access of previously free content would make paying subscribers more happy. After all, what additional value have you given them? Exclusivity? It doesn't seem like you've done anything to add useful, valuable additional content, which, in my opinion, is probably a better way to incentivise subscriptions, rather than just putting reasonably basic features behind a paywall.

Anyway, good luck with it.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 12:04pm

Thanks mate, we value all feedback - subscriber or non-subscriber. 

Unfortunately, we can't please everyone (to that end, I don't know a single business that can). You seem to have already made up your mind, which is totally fine.

So rather than detail all of the reasons why I think you should subscribe to Swellnet (local Australian business, 4 staff) instead of Netflix (US business, 5,400 staff, annual revenue of US$11.7 billion), I'll just thank you for your past patronage, and hope to have you on board as a subscriber in the future.

All the best.

raycollins's picture
raycollins's picture
raycollins commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 6:47am

Your expertise (obviously including Craig & Stu) has been essential for maximizing my enjoyment in the ocean. Thank you.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 6:52am

Thanks Ray - its immensely satisfying to work with such incredible lensmen such as yourself.

boms's picture
boms's picture
boms commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 8:15am

Anyone thinking this website is making coin off website ads is kidding themselves. Go ask news corp how it’s going for them after their readership went to digital.

I’m happy to pay the $2 a week considering I’ve read just about every forecast notes over the last few years. Supply and demand...

Womble123's picture
Womble123's picture
Womble123 commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 8:26am

Guys we are lucky we have had the forecasts for free for so long. $8 a month or whatever it is seems like a bargain - if it saves you one drive down or up the coast you are ahead!

MidWestMonger's picture
MidWestMonger's picture
MidWestMonger commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 8:35am

I have used the cams in the past for planning surf trips ( WA to north coast NSW) to pick spots to stay at. Also check long range indo forecasts when I have a trip coming up. Don't get a heap of value for local forecasting (geraldton info is the margs info) but I paid up in reco of the use I've made of the site over many years, thanks

AlexTurney's picture
AlexTurney's picture
AlexTurney commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 8:46am

Ben, good to see you at the Board Meeting LONG LUNCH on the sunny coast, cracking day. Always a tough moment to change / alter the funding model for a business, congrats on taking the plunge and I hope it works. I've signed up for Pro as I reckon the value proposition is about right. i.e 2 x cartons of beer per annum to get all the cams and thrice a week super uber detailed forecast reports to dial in ya waves...........spot on. Hope heaps of people jump in and support so you can keep the fees at the right level. Good on ya mate.

AxPrimal

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 8:48am

Thanks Alex. I had a great time at the Board Meeting - looking forward to helping them set up something down my way too. It's a great cause.

curbs's picture
curbs's picture
curbs commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 8:59am

Quality service costs. I'm happy. Thank you Swellnet.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 10:30am

Thanks curbs.

lost's picture
lost's picture
lost commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 9:41am

Excellent move. As someone who has paid for a while now this is the key value add piece I use. Hope others step up and subscribe.

knB

OllieB's picture
OllieB's picture
OllieB commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 9:42am

Great work Ben, Craig, and Stu - happy to pay the $8 monthly sub.

Reports are always very detailed, and you're all top blokes.

Cheers
Ollie

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 9:01pm

Thanks Ollie.

stoked23's picture
stoked23's picture
stoked23 commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 10:21am

$8.95 oh my.....if you go to a pub you are almost paying $6 for a schooner of beer!
why not pay $8.95 a month for something that you love doing.
good on ya guy's

andy_a's picture
andy_a's picture
andy_a commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 10:27am

I'm in! Good value. These notes have proven excellent over a number of years for both surfing and offshore fishing, to help 'join the dots' alongside several other forecasting tools - some paid, some not. Haters who just read one free report a week (then whinge about it being a bit variable) need to DYOR and take some responsibility.

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 10:27am

I don't really use the cams.
A tiered (cheaper haha) subscription for forecast only would be tempting.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 10:31am

Swellnet Pro is currently 29 cents per day.

What's a fair subscription price?

Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 1:15pm

$2 a month

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 2:32pm

For unlocked forecasts but with hidden cams? Depends what you value more I guess and what % you guys have allocated to each. I'm close to the breaks I surf so cams aren't really valuable to me, and neither are the daily reports or M/W/F forecasts unless something interesting is cooking. Hence I'm probably less your target market.
I realise this equates to $12/month (if you picked them all), but what about $1 to unlock a single forecast, pick and chose, everybody loves micro-transactions right?
Anyhoo, best of luck with the small, stingy market you're in and kudos for interacting with everyone. The other site did it and barely heard a peep which probably shows you've built a far greater community.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 3:01pm

Everyone loves micro transactions, except the developer that has to build the software, and the business owner that has to pay for it (all for the benefit of receiving less income).

However: micro transactions aren't without financial disincentives either. For example, our current payment gateway (Braintree, owned by PayPal) charges us 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. Apple take 30% of anything through their App store.

So, for a $1 subscriber transaction on Swellnet, we'd receive 67c via Braintree and 70c via Apple (then we have to pay tax on that).

For an $8.95 transaction on Swellnet we receive $8.39 via Braintree and would receive $6.27 via Apple (again, before tax). Hence why subs are not available to purchase via Apple at the moment.

However, I totally understand the need to provide a solution for everyone (I'm a consumer too!). We will try to soon implement a day pass / week pass on our Apps so that you can access everything for a smaller fee, for a smaller increment of time. So, $1.95 for a day, $3.95 for a week, etc.

bonz's picture
bonz's picture
bonz commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 11:10am

just signed up, as a business you got to do what you got to do.
Anyway, the local (Cronulla) was solid 6' today, we still OK for 4' tomorrow? it was dog eat dog out the point and want to get a stretch of sand to myself and only a few others
Keep up the good work

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 11:15am

Thanks mate. 

Yeah, size is on the way down and picking the precise curve is the hardest part. I had 3-4ft+ for south facing beaches tomorrow, of which Cronulla usually picks up all available energy from this quadrant. So somewhere around the 4ft mark should be about right although you'll of course get a different response across the Bay.

brado_70's picture
brado_70's picture
brado_70 commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 11:16am

Thanks Ben and crew, keep up the good work. The groms and some others just don't know how good they have it.

Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 1:01pm

Swellnet cocksuckers making the forecaster notes premium content? Fuck make your registration fees $2 a month it’s not like your paying millions in royalties to music artist and producers.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 1:11pm

Thanks for the considered, thoughtful comment.

A Swellnet Pro subscription equate to 29c per day.

You're asking us to lower the price to 6c per day.

Sorry mate, but I am not sure whether we'll be able to reach a deal here.

Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 1:33pm

I’m no market researcher but at a reasonable $2 I think you would increase your subscription substantially none of the surfers I know pay for your content. And now you have cuts the guts out of the content you make available for free like the forecaster notes I think you will get less hits through your ad sponsored content which will mean less money in your accounts. Everyone can afford $2 a month where $9 is very steep for a couple of meteorologist to write a weekly report and a brief daily observations you get all your data from BOM ect .

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 1:45pm

Your assessment of the Swellnet business and the viability of a $2 subscription model is somewhat off the mark.

But thanks for the non-market-researched suggestion anyway. 

donkeyKONG's picture
donkeyKONG's picture
donkeyKONG commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 2:10pm

Something is not right when you are defending your new model against feedback from your core supporter group, many of whom you have now pissed off. If there was better 'value' on offer I'm sure you would get better take up. Your forecasts are region specific enough. Wave bouys and wind obs is all you need. Good luck, I'm outta here like many others I suspect.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 2:18pm

All the best mate.

uncle_leroy's picture
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uncle_leroy commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 1:47pm

If I was a paying customer I would be pissed in seeing the title heading saying what days will have waves and comments in forecast notes not being hidden. The recent Vicco notes told me there would be waves today, a swell on the way next week and also told me where to find an uncrowded beachy all without being a subscriber.
Change the heading titles to dates only and hide comments for forecast notes if you want to keep people on the books, leave comments open for articles, comp discussion or board talk instead.
Unfortunately the best surf forecast for my location is weekly walk along the beach to monitor sand movements and old fashioned carpark check. Would sign up if was on the east coast. All the best, cheers

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 1:52pm

Fair point re: mentioning days in titles. We'll keep it in mind.

Though, we're also splitting hairs here too. The idea with Swellnet Pro is not so much to segment the surf community, but to provide as much value to our subscribers as possible, whilst also offering enough free incentives to give new people an idea of what's behind the curtain.

And no matter what we do: someone, somewhere will find something to whinge about.

uncle_leroy's picture
uncle_leroy's picture
uncle_leroy commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 2:10pm

Too true on the whinge.
Tough one on the comments as info relating to swell period/arrival/direction/surface conditions from the forecast notes will ultimately be discussed in detail at times through the comments section when legitimate queries are asked, you're tracking the swell updates or hindcast. Then you have to go through process of person asking question is a member, reply or not to their question. Can of worms mate

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 2:12pm

We're adding functionality where we will have the ability to switch the visibility of certain comments between subscribers and non-subscribers. We can see from our end who is who, so it's a relatively efficient process.

It's an evolving system, but we'll get there.

boater's picture
boater's picture
boater commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 2:17pm

I subsribed a while ago to Swellnet (and some other news sites) because didn't want to be a freerider. Perfectly fair enough to pay for the good serivces - or there won't be any!

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 2:28pm

I think subscribers would be the losers if comments were disabled because that is where so much of the granular information is discussed, often by non-subscribers. Maybe not anymore.....although time will tell during cyclone/ECL seasons.

It was nice to share it , back to carpark bullshitting.

Seems like a fair enough roll out to me.

ryder's picture
ryder's picture
ryder commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 3:54pm

You appear to not travel too far from your nest Freeride so being a subscriber when all you may do is look over the hill is probably not (in your frugal mind) money well spent.
Those in remoter locations I'm sure find the notes invaluable especially when compiled with local/regional BoM forecasts/observations. A few days ago I drove 1,000km return for a 6-7 hour window of remote waves with not a sole around. So, i'm prepared to spend $8.95 on a monthly subscription to make that happen.

adsi's picture
adsi's picture
adsi commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 2:51pm

Gee what's with all the assholes ripping SN for charging for subscription!
After using the services for free for 18months I signed up today and I'm happy to pay $9 a month, there isn't any other site with close to the detail and attention.
The cost is literally a coffee every 2 weeks you idiots or 1 beer in the pub every month.
How in the hell you expect such a good service to be free is beyond me and if you don't think it's worth it piss off and stop putting the down the boys who do an excellent job.

lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 3:16pm

All these outraged people, sounds like they fear missing out on something.
Does that mean it's worth something to you?

Womble123's picture
Womble123's picture
Womble123 commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 3:25pm

Really why should it be free guys?? Pretty much every "real" news site now has a paywall for their editorial. Who should pay for the cams for example? I only live 15-20 minutes drive from the beach and every time I decide against going - crowds/wind change/swell too small/big it means an hour extra to do stuff with my kids etc. So worth it to be able to check.

The Fire's picture
The Fire's picture
The Fire commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 3:39pm

I have tremendous respect for someone who has made their passion work for them @ thermalben. From humble beginnings on the midcoast to swell guru of Australia.

Wingers- This whole pay thing was always going to occur. So pay up or learn to read weather maps like the rest of us.

If you're really good at something dont do it for free.

Kudos to you ben.

I will disagree with the comment about the ads not making sn money, if they didnt, why have em?

Peace maaaan..

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 7:34pm

Thanks mate. Re: ads - long story, but in short - ad revenue has been on a slow slide across all media (except Google and Facebook) for the last 5-10 years. So, all media is having to find new revenue streams, the most common (and obvious) are paywalls.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 4:52pm

I go a hundred K's north and south reasonably regularly but it's coastline I know like the back of my hand and I'm quite capable of forecasting it myself with primary source information.

Also, don't have a problem with paying. Theoretically.
It's all the payments together that add up.

I give 20/mth to the UNHCR and they rang me up the other day and asked for more, because there are kids all over the world getting bombed and have nothing to eat.

It'd be a bit rich for me to give money away for a service I don't need and can do myself when shitt like that is going down.

If Stu charged for his editorial I'd definitely pay because that is invaluable to me.

Not to mention Netflix, gym memberships (missus) school books, electricity, fuel etc etc etc

No beef from me though, I'd just like to continue to bullshitt on with other weather/surf nuts in the comments. I know some appreciate it.

Rydog2000's picture
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Rydog2000 commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 5:43pm

stoked guys keep up the good work, missed the cam for the last few weeks but after some contemplation have subscribed and couldn't be happier. yew, a pittance to pay for an excellent service.

Rhubarb

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 7:34pm

Cheers Rydog.

Serendipity60's picture
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Serendipity60 commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 7:03pm

Hey Ben. Love your work. As a Brizzo, I have been looking forward to your forecasts to plan my midweek and weekend trips up or down the coast.
Signed up for Pro this morning.
Not a fan of the cams and I can see how your grabs piss off a lot of local surfers.
Nothing better than using knowledge accumulated over the years to try and pick the best spot to hit. Sometimes it works, sometimes not.
I often wonder why Byron south to Coffs doesn’t have it’s own forecast.
This may also keep a few of the northern hordes north of the border.
Especially because a lot of the winter south swells struggle to impact north of the border and cyclone and east trade swells often have less impact south of it.
Love your forums and notes.
Almost pissed myself at some of the comments last night.
Hope the Pro thing goes well for Swellnet.
I’m in.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 7:35pm

Thanks fella, appreciate the nice words. 

Westofthelake's picture
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Westofthelake commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 8:32pm

Congratulations Swellnet for making the change which is ultimately a business decision.
I'm pretty sure you've been talking about it for years and i can imagine you pondered long.
Hopefully you'll get a set of new scribers and the whingers will come to their senses .
Love your work!

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Paulsy commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 9:28pm

Hey Ben, long time reader/appreciater, first time commenter. Seems an appropriate time given the circumstances to say thanks heaps for keeping us all in the know and stoked between sessions. These forecast notes are way more reliable and tuned in than any model run or check of the wind/buoy obs. I reckon. My surf time has become limited since becoming a dad so it’s great to have an accurate idea of what’s on the horizon to work my free time around. Happy to be a subscriber, I spend more on coffee each day! Cheers mate.

kaiser's picture
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kaiser commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 9:54pm

I'm astounded at the gall of these bastards. Do any of you turn up to work for free? Why should Ben? Next time I go to a restaurant I'll try it out. I'll tell them they have my attention and I've looked at the menu, I've chosen my meal and it should now come for free, cos by my very existence and presence in their company, that's just how it should be. They're better off for my having walked into their establishment and have no right to expect anything more.

Fucking humans

cb's picture
cb's picture
cb commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 10:10pm

What a joke ! I just had to pay $9.00 for a schooner of beer when visiting Bris Vegas today !!!

$8.95 a month for a awesome service, great banter and keeps the stoke alive . Signed up today Ben for the 1st time and 1st comment. Keep up the the great work Swell net and co.

To all the tight arses..... when did you last go to work and ask not to be paid .....NEVER

Kellya's picture
Kellya's picture
Kellya commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 10:32pm

I suggest the people not coughing up the $8 are the sorta blokes who wouldn't drop a carty off at a mates place after a favour.

Patate's picture
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Patate commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 10:42pm

i actually save petrol money thx to your insights! Expert work is expensive and rightly so. You also have listened to your customers when a certain webcam caused indignation which hooked me in forever! Respect. I thanks you, please never ever retire from forecasting!! Any plan for France?

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bananaman commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2018 at 6:28am

$8 bucks here , $12bucks there not to mention monthly data charges ... keep an eye on your bank accounts !

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magichourtravel... commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2018 at 11:42am

People are so entitled these days. Keep up the great work.

happy's picture
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happy commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2018 at 1:13pm

Will this go the same way as the WSL Facebook disaster ?? - I hope not.

In commercial reality things are changing, I get it, in terms of customers there needs to be a real or perceived benefit for charging for something that has been free, and free for a long time and I just don't see it. I look at various sites, mainly BOM but also coastal watch and others - lets face it - surf forecasting is not easy and not exact and now days the best surfs are when the surf forecasters get it wrong - its pumping and it takes a while for others to check.

I have no interest in Cameras around me, sometimes fun to look at in other places if its firing.

I find the forecasters notes of value particularly when travelling away from home, in fact I only just found out that it was now a fee service due to travel this weekend.

At $100 a year its not for me at the moment but I welcome this as an opportunity to have less crowds at my local as tight ass city folk will not be planning days out, not until somebody else comes up with the next free version.

ron's picture
ron's picture
ron commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2018 at 6:09pm

Agree with the travel point. When i'm going up north the notes are handy as i'm not as confident in knowing what given wind/swell will produce at spot X. Around my local area all i need is the 7 day willyweather wind and swell which always does the trick. I came on here to read the notes if a big swell is on the forecast and also read comments as it gets closer. I wont be subscribing. Totally understand trying to get some cash out of a business after this long in the game. Hopefully it works out for you. Could see it going either way after the way it feels to use the site now after all this 'pay wall' talk.
Few thoughts.
What happens if you dont get many subscribers and your visit numbers go way down?
What happens when a competitor just provides the same services for free or allot less?
There is nothing to stop people just copy and pasting this where ever they want. Facebook, insta screen shots, email, etc etc etc. Might already be happening...

Wasnt the advertising working out? I cant use the app without having to move through about 5 adds a time. This site has allot of real estate that could be better used.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2018 at 6:43pm

Ron, I've been around on the web for a long while so I intimately understand all of the permutations and possibilities in running an online business. Swellnet is not the first website to implement a paywall, and all of the hurdles we have already encountered - and have yet to encounter - have likely been experienced by someone else first (of which their experiences have been documented).

So, the reaction thus far is certainly very close to what was expected.

As for questions like "What happens when a competitor just provides the same services for free or allot less?" - well, we're seeing the effects of such a strategy play out in front of us right now - what you've described has been happening for a very long time.

In short: any current or future competitor who wants to provide this level of service is going to have to invest an extraordinary amount of money (1) working out how to do it, (2) building a platform to provide the service, (3) building an audience and gaining their trust and respect, (4) monetising the entire shebang.

Runing a surf website looks easy from the outside, and sure - there are plenty of people who can perhaps do one or two of the above items - but it's incredibly difficult to do everything really well. I've seen no less than a couple of dozen surf sites come and go over the last sixteen years. Some last a few weeks, some a few months, and some many years.

But there's one common denominator between everyone, and that is: we've all got bills to pay. Some people have big bills, others have small bills. Some have sufficient financial resources to defer paying their bills for a long time. But everyone's business eventually has to make financial sense.

beenjammin's picture
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beenjammin commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2018 at 7:15pm

all very interesting points. It’s moments like these that get me thinking... were there a few peelers at Lorne this arvo?

Tim Fisher's picture
Tim Fisher's picture
Tim Fisher commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2018 at 9:46pm

You're a smartarse. I respect that. 10 points, well played.

Tim Fisher's picture
Tim Fisher's picture
Tim Fisher commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2018 at 9:51pm

Have said it before, will say it again: the amount of time you guys – a very small team – put into user feedback, replying to comments, being endlessly patient with all us whingers etc ... plus the amount of genuine meteorological and surf forecasting expertise you have, make this a service well worth a couple of coffees a month. If you're not fortunate enough to live within half an hour of a look at the beach, Swellnet is basically essential.

ron's picture
ron's picture
ron commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2018 at 10:23pm

Good point re. people who dont live at the beach. I used to live in Melb and would probably subscribe if i still did. Living on the coast and surfing every day makes it allot easier to learn to forecast your area.

ron's picture
ron's picture
ron commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2018 at 10:27pm

Makes sense Ben. Interesting as an observer watching it all change. Most sites are free one day, not the next and there is no interaction. Hearing from you guys regularly goes a long way with the punters.

Mick Evans 69's picture
Mick Evans 69's picture
Mick Evans 69 commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2018 at 7:32pm

Good job swell net I don't mind paying for a good forecast that's helps me too score waves when it's good and work when the waves are crap as,for the crowds have a cup of concrete

Michael Evans
Michael Evans

timcosh's picture
timcosh's picture
timcosh commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2018 at 8:06pm

2 tanks off fuel.. nothing really... how hard do you chase it?

ojackojacko's picture
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ojackojacko commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2018 at 4:27pm

still tossing up whether to part with the cash but support the decision to put the various bits and pieces behind the paywall given the justifications and clear communication on this. and the value of them. anyway - small bit of feedback. when entering the forecast notes from the links in the 'latest comments' sidebar, the location of the detailed forecast is blurred so you can't see what the discussion is about (this one for e.g. - is it Vicco, Sydney, Nth NSW, WA?) not a big deal and not an issue if you go in from the menus but a little feedback for you. thanks for the great site

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2018 at 5:09pm

Thanks mate, we'll take a look to see if we can better label it.

Beelzebub's picture
Beelzebub's picture
Beelzebub commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2018 at 10:57pm

Could we have an annual subscription option? I'd rather not pay monthly.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Thursday, 12 Jul 2018 at 9:49am

We did have an annual option a year ago ($79.95), but pulled it as it was causing a few problems. We are looking to reintroduce it though. If you want, subscribe for the month and I'll upgrade it to an annual if you like (just email me the deets via [email protected]).

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Thursday, 12 Jul 2018 at 2:19pm

Ben/Stu and team,
Just signed up.
I've been a free viewer for many years and a bit of a forum commenter the last few years. I have a general read over your forecasts and notes and find them great without really needing them for the knowledge I have of my local area. I've just moved further south after 24 years in the Byron region and I'm really looking forward to learning the new places and conditions and tides etc in the new place (Mid-North) and developing relationships with the local community to unlock the little secrets over time. Again the forecaster notes will be interesting to read but no more important or essential.
I decided to join at this point because of the excellent editorial work and the knowledge and information shared across the comments and forums.
And I like to support small business that I consider to hold integrity and at the very least, face openly the discontent of your viewers when it arises (as is abundantly evident in this thread).
Anyway, good luck to all of you, keep up the good work and doing what you love. It seems that many forget your just a few blokes doing their best to first and foremost support your families and then the larger surfing community with your website.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Thursday, 12 Jul 2018 at 2:36pm

Thanks mate, really means a lot to get feedback like this. All the best for your relocation. Love the MNC.. some great waves for you to discover.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 12 Jul 2018 at 2:38pm

Thanks for all your contributions, crg, and thanks for supporting us.

There's a lot to be said for moving to a new area, seeing it with fresh eyes, then slowly peeling back the layers of knowledge.

It's a little off topic, but I recall an old Bob Cooper interview where he opined that he had more appreciation for Australia then Australians did. When he was young, Cooper saw the destruction of the Californian wilderness so he deeply appreciated the wide open spaces of Oz.

Often the visitor brings a fresh sense of perspective.

Enjoy your adventure.

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Sunday, 12 Aug 2018 at 6:36pm

That's a bit rich of bob isn't it?
He could have just moved north of the golden gate and become a.......
RED TRIANGLE SURFER......
Instead he moved to a foreign country and Set up a surf shop and charged top dollar for boards and products.Then made up bullshit about Australia and Australians.

There was a lot of foreign investment and gated communities around coffs built in the late eighties early nineties.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Thursday, 12 Jul 2018 at 3:35pm

Whereabouts are you Crg (rough area)?

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Thursday, 12 Jul 2018 at 4:25pm

I consider my new territory with a bit of driving between Crescent and North Haven. Some gold in there...

tworules's picture
tworules's picture
tworules commented Thursday, 12 Jul 2018 at 6:15pm

seems like swellnet is headed towards the American model, walled up and on the rise, hopefully time will bring it back to the free world, as was some iron curtain

maxe's picture
maxe's picture
maxe commented Thursday, 12 Jul 2018 at 11:07pm

Unfortunately I have a rule, never subscribe to anything on the internet and I'm not breaking it here, just like I never give money to people loitering outside shopping centres and supermarkets, quite frankly the forecasts have not been that good lately IMHO, yes the service overall is quite good but its a big jump to paying for it, I also was not impressed with the blatant attempt to add gambling odds and commentary to the site, big no no I'm afraid with that one.

Boog lyfe's picture
Boog lyfe's picture
Boog lyfe commented Friday, 13 Jul 2018 at 7:20am

Dont whinge mate.... i was hung, drawn and quartered for giving an honest opinion... so, because i wasnt full of high 5s and backslaps, im just an entititled youngster... (for which they are wrong again). Heaven forbid someone questioning the decision without bucketfuls of praise even tho the forecasts of late, like you said yourself, have been a bit funky... im so so so sorry for asking whats the dealio if they wanna start charging me for it :/

Goes without saying, i do like swellnet and the service

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Friday, 13 Jul 2018 at 8:39am

Happy to wear any criticism, but "quite frankly the forecasts have not been that good lately IMHO" - how do you know if you're not a subscriber?

"I also was not impressed with the blatant attempt to add gambling odds and commentary to the site" - again, happy to wear the criticism, but a couple of points: advertising previously stalled the need to implement the paywall. Do you see the irony?

Also, I'm sure those articles were published at least three or four years ago. How long will you hold that against us?

Boog lyfe's picture
Boog lyfe's picture
Boog lyfe commented Friday, 13 Jul 2018 at 10:08am

Ben, please show me a paid subscription forecast, so I can compare it to that of a previously available one, because i am curious to see how they are all of a sudden head and shoulders above previous forecasting notes as you and others make them out to be... i have a feeling the chain is being yanked here into forcing our hand into subscription... old mate was just being honest, as was i, about forecasting that has been, and lets face it, a little skew-iff.... if thats going to be the case, like ive already mentioned, i wont be signing up... why would i pay money only to get dicked around by questionable forecasting advice??if i can be shown that somehow, the forcasting has suddenly become far more reliable, sure, id be happy to sign up...
You can bang on about the whole 75c thing as much as you please, thats not the point.
If you guys want to start charging for a service, whether it be 75c or $7000 i would not only hope, but expect far better results than what i have encountered recently - you guys say you want to run a business, all good and well, but the consumer also would like to see better returns on their investment...

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Friday, 13 Jul 2018 at 10:11am

If you're not happy with the forecasts, that's fine. 

What I don't understand is why you're so annoyed that Swellnet forecasts - which apparently you don't like, because they've been 'dicking you around' - are now behind the paywall.

Shouldn't you just move on? No-one is forcing anything upon anyone. 

Boog lyfe's picture
Boog lyfe's picture
Boog lyfe commented Friday, 13 Jul 2018 at 10:43am

Poor form for someone representing a business to basically just say go away...

I use swellnet a lot, and i use the information provided by swellnet - the shit you guys write, to help gauge where i will head for waves. Now i dont know how the wave modelling works, but more often than not, the predicted wave heights for "x place" will be bigger than "y place"... now this is info i have gotten off this site, so use that information provided by you guys who work this site only to see far differing results...
It hasnt been a one off thing, how can the charts for newy say 3ft when come the day, we have 6-8ft or whatever or vice versa... (which it is then we head away to get the supposed bigger surf only to learn newy was bigger all along wben it should have been far smaller)... yes, i have been dicked around, to head off hours in a direction to cash in on chart forecasts that SW provide only to get skunked... but in saying that, yes we have also been blessed with bang on predictions!

I don't give a fuck about all these people saying stop whining and just accept it, i think i speak for a lot of people who havent posted who might be thinking the same thing. Some people are happy to pay and not think anything of it, some people are digging a but further and inquiring what they are going to be getting in return... based off what they have already experienced. Hang me.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Friday, 13 Jul 2018 at 10:46am

Righto. Now we’ve identified you’re talking about the forecast graphs, and not the Forecaster Notes. Yes, they’re not right all the time, but the detailed notes help to fill in the gaps and clarify the model aberrations.

kanethomas86's picture
kanethomas86's picture
kanethomas86 commented Friday, 13 Jul 2018 at 1:58pm

could you guys add a like button to others comments?
also living in the illawarra we often get skunked on south swells, that's not a swellnet problem it is the coastline we live in.
we also get blessed whenever its east or north east.
i signed up and wasn't happy to have to pay for something i am used to getting for free. however as a small business owner i sympathize with you guys and had to find some room to afford the extra cost.
to those whinging please get your detailed forecast information interpreted by an expert from the other site that gives it all out for free.......
oh wait there isn't one?

OllieB's picture
OllieB's picture
OllieB commented Friday, 13 Jul 2018 at 10:06am

maxe - Boog lyfe

Which charities do you both work for?

If you have a service, and people are willing to pay for it, go for it! Are you expecting Swellnet to run as a not-for-profit? Or purely live off the tiny advertising revenue?

Boggles the mind.

uncle_leroy's picture
uncle_leroy's picture
uncle_leroy commented Friday, 13 Jul 2018 at 10:37am

Booglyfe, you live in the Newcastle area, you went on a trip from the Hunter up to lower Mid-Nth coast, you need to understand localised conditions better, bashing the forecast makes you look silly, don't put your eggs into one basket, check multiple weather data sources, did you send an email to BOM and chat to your local Member demanding a better forecast? best you stay at home next time incase you run into more of those un-forecasted offshores : )

Where-is-albo's picture
Where-is-albo's picture
Where-is-albo commented Friday, 13 Jul 2018 at 11:02am

Conditions vary dramatically from beach to beach. It’s pretty rare that you will find good waves across all beaches on any given day. The fact that you are complaining about the accuracy of the forecast, says more about your lack of understanding of the local coastline.

Keep complaining though... more waves for rest of us.

Where-is-albo

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Saturday, 14 Jul 2018 at 9:03am

Based on some of the comments in recent weeks, I did a quick breakdown of the costs per 'segment' of Swellnet. That is, breaking up the website into the five main segments (surfcams, surf reports, surf forecast graphs/charts, Forecaster Notes, editorial) and then splitting it into percentages. This may provide a more useful way to estimate the value of subscribing.

On an even split (20% each), Swellnet Pro costs $1.79 per month per segment. Or, 6c per day (see first example below).

However, let's say you value the Forecaster Notes the most (40%), then the forecast graphs and the surfcams (each 20%), and lastly the surf reports and surf editorial (each 10%).

Then you end up paying:

*12c per day for the Forecaster Notes
*6c per day for the surf forecast graphs and charts, 6c per day the surfcams
*3c per day for the surf reports, 3c per day all surf editorial

If that ain't good value, I don't know what is.

haggis's picture
haggis's picture
haggis commented Saturday, 14 Jul 2018 at 11:57am

Hi Ben,

I've just signed up. I wasn't content with the three day forecast and lack of forecaster notes. I access your website pretty much everyday. You guys do a great job and I think it is good value, so keep up the good work.

Cheers Hag

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Saturday, 14 Jul 2018 at 12:00pm

Thanks mate, really appreciate your support.

Flurry Fairies's picture
Flurry Fairies's picture
Flurry Fairies commented Saturday, 14 Jul 2018 at 1:16pm

#ImHappyToPay

Nockyy's picture
Nockyy's picture
Nockyy commented Sunday, 15 Jul 2018 at 8:56am

I must say I'm a little disappointed with the new moves to having to have a premium membership. I do a local weather forecast on facebook for the Margaret River Area in WA wither over 1200 followers, I include a surf report and use Swellnet (and others) combined with local knowledge to produce my report.
I use the Margaret River Cam and Yallingup Cam daily (as I live 5km's from the coast) to get a better idea of conditions.
My weather report has been on FB for over 4 years and in that time I have promoted Swellnet many times as it is/was an excellent source, as I'm not a surfer myself I have no reason to pay a monthly subscription and now look like relying on and promoting other sites

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Sunday, 15 Jul 2018 at 9:17am

So you use Swellnet resources to produce your own local surf and weather report - a competitor to us, if you will - and now you’re unhappy that some of the information is no longer freely available?

I don’t quite understand the logic.

Nockyy's picture
Nockyy's picture
Nockyy commented Sunday, 15 Jul 2018 at 9:40am

I certainly wouldn't consider myself a competitor as I don't make any money from what I do, I provide a service and as a hobby, I have already said I promote Swellnet on a regular basis, do you see Coles promoting Woolworths? this is competitors, I was actually doing you a service in a high volume surfing area and already have generated a decent income for you guys by watching many many ads and sending a good volume of traffic your way so why would any competitor do this for the opposition? it seems money in bigger volumes is all you're interested in and really I can't see a huge volume of your followers forking out $9 a month so really I don't understand your logic, thanks for the insult anyhow.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Sunday, 15 Jul 2018 at 9:57am

I scrolled through your FB page and couldn’t see any reference to Swellnet in the last couple of months.

I appreciate your past patronage, but be careful stating things like you have “generated a decent income for Swellnet” by viewing ads and apparently sending a “good volume of traffic our way”. Unless you’ve got firsthand experience running an online publishing company - and therefore knowing how revenue is actually generated, and how much traffic you receive from random mentions on Facebook - then it’s likely to be a fraction of what you think it is.

I’m not trying to be a smart arse, or be otherwise ungrateful for people visiting the site in the past - but in general, there’s a serious misconception about much advertising revenue is made by small publishers. Which is probably not assisted by frequent media reports detailing how much money Google and Facebook are making (they’re the only two in the world that are really profitable).

Pookot's picture
Pookot's picture
Pookot commented Sunday, 15 Jul 2018 at 2:15pm

I just subscribed as I realised I couldn’t live without these notes aha...

Luke Morris

Nockyy's picture
Nockyy's picture
Nockyy commented Sunday, 15 Jul 2018 at 3:43pm

Ben I'm not going to get into a public argument on the matter but again you have a stab at me without knowing what I do, I actually make reasonable money online without lifting a finger and I don't use FB or my weather page to do it either, my weather page is a hobby only and I doubt anyone will make money online for charging for weather and surf directly.
For my hobby I do have my own very good Davis weather station and I also look at all other weather information supplied by BOM, NOAA etc plus local knowledge and condense it all down to a small forecast each day and I guess this is what you and your team do on a much bigger scale, many people access my weather station online for free, if I charged for this I would be lucky to have 10 followers not that it matters to me how many I have, I guess if I had 10 I wouldn't bother doing it. I think you will find that if you charge for what people can find on other sites for free you will lose many followers and all it means that surfers will have to do a Little more work, if I was a surfer and I looked at another site and saw swell height, direction, wind direction and seconds I really wouldn't need a camera to work out it was time to get out of bed and hit the surf, having access to a camera and condensed report is a bonus really.
I live and work in a huge surfing community and a good percentage of surfers spend all their spare cash on following their hobby/sport and don't have a spare $9 per month to pay for a surf report again what they can find for free with a little more effort, I guess you're not a charity but my opinion is that what you are doing now will harm your business more than it will do good, I only used Swellnet for forecaster notes and wave height predictions so it won't bother me so much anyhow.
I don't reference your site daily, weekly or monthly for that matter, I do reference it when you have competitions relative to my area or promoting events, movies etc relative to my area, or promoting anything I think would interest people in my area, also on my own web site margriver.com I have a link to Swellnet and also the Margaret River Cam that is on Swellnets site, i'm not sure how long the links have been there, at least 3 years but i would suggest more.
Again your new direction won't effect me what so ever but I think it will you, you will always have subscribers but you you have to have an option for others that can't afford to subscribe or you will end up with a club for the elite and someone else will turn up and do what you were doing in the past and you will slowly lose the subscribers you have. I have been involved with computers and the internet for over 30 years and I have seen them come and go and come go again mainly trying to make a big buck out of something hey have built over a longer period of time, take it from me forcing people to pay is not the answer, good luck

mattlock's picture
mattlock's picture
mattlock commented Sunday, 15 Jul 2018 at 8:36pm

Ben. i am happy to continue to pay such a minimal amount for the excellent service SW provides. I have to say that Nockyy sounds like a bit of a Cocky .

mattlock's picture
mattlock's picture
mattlock commented Sunday, 15 Jul 2018 at 9:12pm

SW would probably boost your subscriber numbers in South Oz considerably if the Dribblton cam was behind the pay wall.

Simon Roberts's picture
Simon Roberts's picture
Simon Roberts commented Monday, 16 Jul 2018 at 9:03am

Geez are we really turning into a bunch of tight arses. $8.95 a month is nothing for up to date forecasts etc. That's not even a coffee or a beer a week. Surely there are bigger things in life to worry about. If you don't want to pay it that's fine but stop whinging for $2 a week. Keep smashing it Ben and the swellnet team, I appreciate all the work that goes into these forecasts.

Simon roberts

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Monday, 16 Jul 2018 at 10:11am

Nockyy in your first post you say you use the margret river and Yallingup cam daily, then in your last post you say that you only use swellnet for forecaster notes and wave height predictions so it won’t bother you anyhow..
you also say a good percentage of surfers in your local area spend all their spare cash on following their hobby (surfing), so don’t have $9.00 a month to spend on a surf report ( plus much more). If surfing is your hobby/passion/sport surely $9.00 a month is not much to part with?

Larry Lee's picture
Larry Lee's picture
Larry Lee commented Monday, 16 Jul 2018 at 10:30am

There's a lot of whingers on this site .
What's that quote " Pop will eat itself " ?

reminds me of Gary's web cam . even when you don't pay , you pay ........

Gary, now I know I was wrong
I messed up and now you're gone
Gary, I'm sorry I neglected you
Oh, I never expected you to run away
And leave me feeling this empty
Please come home 'cause I miss you, Gary
Gary, come home
Gary, come home

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Monday, 16 Jul 2018 at 1:37pm

Nocky - Put your hand in your pocket mate. You’re using Swellnet to facilitate your business. Sort your shit out.

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