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.

I am the bone

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?

I am the bone

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!

Breath. Murdoch's empire will one day fail to control our minds.

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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.

"angry online, smiley in the brine"

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
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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.

Grayme Galbraith

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...........

Grayme Galbraith

thermalben's picture
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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 ;)

I am the bone

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.

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
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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
happy's picture
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
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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.

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

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...

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

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

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019 at 3:05pm

Bro, you're a parasite !

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.

ron's picture
ron's picture
ron commented Monday, 16 Jul 2018 at 1:58pm

Interesting seeing this all happen in real time and reading peoples reactions. Appreciate Bens efforts replying even if this looks like going the way of youtube comments.

I don't think anyone here can really make the case $9 a month is too much of a stretch in general. The problem here is, what do you get for the $9 vs. who else wants your $9 and what are they offering?
For me in my area there are 2 things that changed with the pay wall, the $9 would get me:
1, A cam i used to check periodically when the swell is big. This beach has a free cam available elsewhere so that is 0 value to me.
2, I used to read the forecast notes if there is a big swell on the way (6ft+) to gauge the level of certainty and then check out the excitement in the comments as it got closer. I looked at it like a 2nd or 3rd opinion after seeing the swell forecast 7+ days out from other data.

As far as i can tell that is the only change that would effect the way i use this site. So what i am buying for $9 a month is some notes to confirm yes there's swell coming and it might be about xyz big. The wind forecasts are good everywhere these days so they don't factor in for me.

Now look at other services, subscriptions, memberships i might have for comparable $. The lists go on for ever these days as everyone is desperate for a slice of the subscription pie.

Netflix
Amazon TV
News services
Podcast subscriptions
Delivery subscriptions

The value just doesn't come close for me.

Now so this doesn't just read like a negative rant to someone selling something i already said i won't buy, here are the things that would get me on your site allot more often and engaging with it.

Detailed and accurate daily reports with decent pics at spots that are more relevant (no before sunrise guessing)
More articles such as the coastal formation series you had.
More active forums
Something like a live Social media feed with users surf pics.
More regular forecast notes in more detail.
Live cam setups at name spots on special swell events.

Any number of those things would get me flicking through more pages more often and spending allot more time on here.

Sorry about the long 'comment'

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Monday, 16 Jul 2018 at 2:15pm

Appreciate the comment Ron, and we totally understand that not everyone will subscribe. So we're not offended if you choose not to. A couple of points though:

1) Please don't compare Swellnet to Netflix and the like. I'm flattered at the comparison, but we're a small Australian company with four staff, whilst Netflix generated US$11.6 Billion in revenue last year, and have 5,400 staff. So, we have slightly less resources than they do.

2) It's great to suggest lots of ideas (thanks!), but they're very resource intensive to create and maintain (which ultimately means costing lots of $$ ). By subscribing to Swellnet, you'll help us invest in building these new products and ideas. A Swellnet Pro subscription is just 30c per day. 

ron's picture
ron's picture
ron commented Monday, 16 Jul 2018 at 2:31pm

No worries Ben,

I understand you guys are tiny in comparison to Netflix, That is kind of my point in terms of my $9 and what i can get for it.

Don't expect you to give away all your future plans but say the subscriptions numbers go really well, what are you planning to do to improve the site? Are any of those things on your radar?

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Monday, 16 Jul 2018 at 2:35pm

Oh, there's a long, long list of things to do. Can't reveal 'em here though.

belly's picture
belly's picture
belly commented Monday, 16 Jul 2018 at 2:47pm

I think from a consumer or payer perspective the comparison with netflix is reasonable. I think the feedback is that the customer, ron in this instance, puts swellnet in the same expenditure basket as netflix. An analogy would be I buy my bread either from the corner store or woolworths, to the consumer it's still bread. I think the grey area of the basket categorisation is coming from the nature of this developing market, but if it's reasonable to ron (or others), then it is reasonable.

From a business or payee perspective then that is another matter.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Monday, 16 Jul 2018 at 2:56pm

Fair point, I totally get that reasoning.

FWIW - and by way of a counter-example - I always try to buy Norco milk (instead of the $2 Coles milk) and bread from the local bakery (instead of the cheap Coles loaves) on principle, rather than basing my purchase decision on price alone.

But again, I totally respect that everyone has different opinions. I'm not trying to force anyone into anything. I'm just trying to run a small sustainable business. 

belly's picture
belly's picture
belly commented Monday, 16 Jul 2018 at 3:03pm

Cool - my household for example spanning this category; 4 x footy club memberships, 1 who mag sub for my partner, 2 x internet forums for me, no broadband but 2 x mobile plans, Foxtel. Our trade-off is we have no broadband, that need may change as our son age's, but for now we get all our big screen needs off Foxtel (with sport) and FTA TV.

ron's picture
ron's picture
ron commented Tuesday, 17 Jul 2018 at 10:51am

I agree with your milk example there Ben and do the same.

The difference here is i'm not paying for surf forecasting anywhere. If i needed the service and there was a service as big as netflix selling surf forecasts for $5 and swellnet the alternative selling a comparable service for $9 i would choose swellnet every time.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Monday, 16 Jul 2018 at 3:08pm

Interesting Belly mentioned Foxtel above - they've got a new 'discounted' plan being marketed as 'Under $4 per day' - that's $120 per month, or $1,450 per year. 
(courtesy Mumbrella: https://mumbrella.com.au/foxtel-argues-new-deal-is-better-than-a-4-coffe...)
​​​​​​​

mugofsunshine's picture
mugofsunshine's picture
mugofsunshine commented Monday, 16 Jul 2018 at 6:22pm

In the early '90's I used to pay 50 pence (.90cents) three times a week to receive a fax with the weather charts and a brief synopsis. That's $2.70 a week, 25 years ago. $9 a month in 2018 seems like a steal for the content I get from you guys.

Romerio's picture
Romerio's picture
Romerio commented Tuesday, 17 Jul 2018 at 11:53am

SA Shafted Again!

QLD, 33% Premium
NSW, 17% Premium
Vic, 20% Premium
SA, 60% Premium
WA 33% Premum

#EasternStatesBias

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 17 Jul 2018 at 12:25pm

Eh?

Romerio's picture
Romerio's picture
Romerio commented Tuesday, 17 Jul 2018 at 12:34pm

60% of the available Cameras in SA are paywalled, compared to 33% for the other states, Just another way SA Surfers get shafted.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 17 Jul 2018 at 12:43pm

You do realise that Swellnet has 500% more SA surfcams than its competitor?

We also have more surfcams in SA than in Vic or WA, both of which have considerably larger populations of surfers.

How else do SA surfers get shafted?

Romerio's picture
Romerio's picture
Romerio commented Tuesday, 17 Jul 2018 at 1:10pm

I understand that, and am (mostly) stirring. I prefer micro-transactions to paywall when it comes to site monetisation, and maintain a few cryptocurrency wallets for this purpose (which also helps with the per transaction costs for the site).

How else do SA surfers get shafted...

Good Reefs, No Swell (Mid Coast)
No Reefs, Constant Swell (South Coast)
Cold Water
Big Sharks
No Public Transport
Long Drives

The Fire's picture
The Fire's picture
The Fire commented Wednesday, 18 Jul 2018 at 7:10pm

Pipe down romeo. If you dont like sa -move!

I suppose the sun is too hot for you in summer also. Too many flies perhaps?

Grow a set.

Or..

Just move dude.

And stop complaining.

Peace maaaan..

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Wednesday, 18 Jul 2018 at 7:25pm

I’ve heard that some places in SA are really tiring to surf because the waves are so powerful and hollow.

Poor fuckers.

mattlock's picture
mattlock's picture
mattlock commented Wednesday, 18 Jul 2018 at 9:31pm

Shafted alright! we got the Cryptonight.

belly's picture
belly's picture
belly commented Tuesday, 17 Jul 2018 at 1:27pm

NSW south coast surfers get shafted too, there are no observed surf reports south of Wollongong. Don't change this :-)

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 18 Jul 2018 at 12:07pm

Front page of yesterday's Gold Coast Bulletin shows the current price of newspaper digital subscriptions - offering a 12 month sub priced at $7 per week (they're throwing in a set of headphones too). That's $364 per year or $30 per month (no delivery either, all online).

MidWestMonger's picture
MidWestMonger's picture
MidWestMonger commented Wednesday, 18 Jul 2018 at 9:50pm

Another aside on the Netflix v swellnet subs. If you get stoked reading swellnet and they put you onto some good waves youre ahead of someone sitting on the couch who watched 100 movies a month

Sam Mozaffari's picture
Sam Mozaffari's picture
Sam Mozaffari commented Wednesday, 18 Jul 2018 at 10:54pm

Just noticed that under the blurred text in the forecasters notes is lorem ipsum - good

pmurf's picture
pmurf's picture
pmurf commented Friday, 27 Jul 2018 at 8:16pm

good luck boys. you've just created space for a new website thats free of charge and provides analysis just as good as yours. anyone want to join the non-subscribers boardriders club? haha

seabiped's picture
seabiped's picture
seabiped commented Tuesday, 31 Jul 2018 at 9:41pm
My two cents worth, I see SA has 5 cams and 3 are now premium.. Christies???, NSW has 17 cams and three premium. Queensland has 12 cams and 4 premium, not even Snapper. Surf in Adelaide is nothing like the other states yet we pay premium. Premium cameras need to be at Waits, Pondi etc... Just saying. Also glad I grew up in a time before the internet and worked out my own forecasts. Sure to ruffle a few feathers with this post.

On a clear day you can see as far as the back of your head.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 1 Aug 2018 at 6:50am

This was discussed above. We've got more SA surfcams than in WA, Vic or Tas (despite SA having much fewer surfers than these states, and thus potental subscribers).

The allocation of premium surfcams has nothing to do with the relevant merits of a surf break (i.e. Christies vs Snapper) but a range of other factors.

The MIDdleman.'s picture
The MIDdleman.'s picture
The MIDdleman. commented Wednesday, 1 Aug 2018 at 10:27am

I know you're under no obligation to reveal what those reasons are but I would imagine it'd calm the masses a bit.

My guess would be a combo of cost and usage tied somehow into localised surf culture sensitivities?

Plus the fact that when Christies fires Snapper looks like a kiddie pool.)

Signature.

pgs's picture
pgs's picture
pgs commented Saturday, 4 Aug 2018 at 4:47pm

Hi Stu,
Been a subscriber for about 2 years. Wondering if the forecast notes are going to be included in the app. If it already is, please advise where it is. Bit of a pain I can look at the app see multi day forcast and have to go-to the web site login and then I can see the forcast notes.
Btw I have no problems paying a subscription for a quality product.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Saturday, 4 Aug 2018 at 5:06pm

Thanks mate. Yes, we do have plans to add it to the App but it'll be a little while off. We're overhauling the entire thing at the moment (which is not an insignificant project), but there'll be a number of other features to make it worthwhile. In the meantime, the website works really well on mobile.

dawnperiscope's picture
dawnperiscope's picture
dawnperiscope commented Saturday, 4 Aug 2018 at 8:56pm

Well done Ben and team on providing a quality, user friendly service and continuing to evolve. Worth noting your recent move has made me put my hand in my pocket - I've always felt a little pang of guilt about not doing so in the past and more than happy to sign up.
On the subject of developments, would it be worth considering to reverse the order of comments? - ie: put the latest comment on top, directly under the article.

Ride on

pmurf's picture
pmurf's picture
pmurf commented Friday, 10 Aug 2018 at 4:53pm

hardly go to this site now. not good value for existing advertisers?

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Friday, 10 Aug 2018 at 5:04pm

Truth be told, I thought we'd drop some some traffic after we tightened up the paywall. 

But much to my surprise, in the month following this article, our traffic went up just a fraction - just half a percent - but this is a much better outcome than we had predicted (which was a 10-20% drop). 

So to answer your question, our advertisers are still very stoked as there's just as many people checking the site as before. Nothing's changed at that end.

Interesting to otherwise note that for someone who now "hardly goes to this site now", you've contributed all of two comments for however long it was that you'd been using Swellnet - and both of 'em are in this thread.

Why did you not comment before?

pmurf's picture
pmurf's picture
pmurf commented Saturday, 11 Aug 2018 at 4:25pm

wow, who's getting touchy big boy. and its them not 'em.

soggydog's picture
soggydog's picture
soggydog commented Saturday, 11 Aug 2018 at 7:16pm

You should start a sentence with a capital letter while you’re at it grammar nazi.
You would be hard pressed to find a better surf related website.

spuddyjack's picture
spuddyjack's picture
spuddyjack commented Saturday, 11 Aug 2018 at 6:57pm

Keep up the good work Ben - it's a dynamic and educational site. Your team provides a great service and good to know you plan to keep innovating to strengthen the platform. Unfortunately there will always be the parsimonious wankers who give little credence to how much commitment and intellectual input is involved in running Swellnet.

Stay salty

pmurf's picture
pmurf's picture
pmurf commented Sunday, 12 Aug 2018 at 4:34pm

End of thread man. Just been trying to protest about the rising cost of my lifelong passion, surfing. I know swellnet is just trying to make a buck as is everyone. The cost of boards, wetties, parking, ding repairs, o/s surf holidays- everyone making a buck out of the average surfer. We're not all huge income tradies. As for Mr Parsimonious you must be a mal or paddleboarder as Ive never heard that load of parsimonious shit in my local lineup.

lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy commented Sunday, 12 Aug 2018 at 4:44pm

Boards haven't gone up in real terms, wetties are now cheaper than they were 10 years ago, O/S flights are as cheap as they've ever been, ding repairers make fuck all (you can fix your own if you're hard pressed for a buck), and checking a surf website is not necessary to surf.

pmurf's picture
pmurf's picture
pmurf commented Sunday, 12 Aug 2018 at 6:10pm

lots of doggy going on

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Sunday, 12 Aug 2018 at 6:49pm

go back to the old days maybe ?
watch the nightly weather!

davey's picture
davey's picture
davey commented Wednesday, 15 Aug 2018 at 7:54am

The 2 cams in my region haven't been working for ages..What's the point in that??
I'll stick with Coastal Watch..

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 15 Aug 2018 at 7:56am

Hi Davey, if you're referring to the Illawarra cams - I was down there last week finalising details for their replacements (they'll be in soon). Sorry for the delay in getting these back up and running, these things never go a smoothly as you'd think.

Robo's picture
Robo's picture
Robo commented Wednesday, 15 Aug 2018 at 8:00am

The App still gives the surf report, shh. I have subscribed before and the surf cam here goes down or is stuck and takes months to fix, the surf report is not always on the mark either.

OlliePOV's picture
OlliePOV's picture
OlliePOV commented Wednesday, 15 Aug 2018 at 9:08am

Someone please tell me what lead to the change in altering the free features (can't see report before 9am, can't see past 3 days forecasting anymore) and making the site about money?!

No one will wan't to pay $8.95/month... honeslty

It's just gonna lead to audience straying to other websites for swell data, and i used to use this site as my primary forecast check, but now straying to others.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 15 Aug 2018 at 10:00am

There's been a bit of feedback here and elsewhere about this morning's change to the surf reports, much of it along the lines of this one: "You used to be about the surfer, now you just work for the man - shame on you!".

It's important to note that subscribers saw no changes on Swellnet, so for their sake an explanation...

The morning surf reports are now embargoed until 9am. Non-subscribers saw this:

When we discussed how we were going to structure the paywall, it was difficult to know how to treat the surf reports. For some users, they're eye candy - they probably won't have a morning surf but like to keep in touch with what's happening at the beach - but for others, it's a service that helps them with their morning session.

Putting the reports behind a timed paywall seems to be the best fit. This way, we add value to our Swellnet Pro subscribers, who are more likely to be surfing early morning, but we also allow that content to be shown free of charge for everyone else who doesn't need it in such a timely manner.

It's also worth considering the business environment. Fifteen years ago, there were a dozen websites providing daily surf reports for their local beach, or in some cases (such as RealSurf.com) up to thirty or forty surf reports from various people scattered around the country.

However, they're almost all gone, and the only other website that had surf reports from around the country, Coastalwatch, sacked their entire surf report team last September. And this is a company whose owner had the finances to offer $55m to buy SurfStitch last November. 

As such, Swellnet is now the only website that has a national team of surf reporters (and yeah, they're paid too). And, we never publish our reports the night before. We're working on an article to explain the Dawn Reports - the reports published before sunrise - which will detail the entire surf report and surf forecast process.

In short, we're not trying to take anything away from anyone, but we are trying to add value to those people who support our business.

Cheers.

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Thursday, 16 Aug 2018 at 2:51pm

There's plenty of people who only get out of bed in the morning when you tell them to. Hopefully drops the early numbers a bit. Should make it midday.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Wednesday, 15 Aug 2018 at 10:31am

That's fair enough Stu....but quite clearly some of the surf reports aren't eyewitnessed.

Ballina is the classic example. There is obviously no surf reporter for Ballina.
It says stay tuned for the updated photo report at 8am .....and then no photo.

The report is always so way off base it's embarrassing. Like this morning.

Bit rich to charge for a non-service.

Ted from the moon's picture
Ted from the moon's picture
Ted from the moon commented Wednesday, 15 Aug 2018 at 10:46am

I was super excited when I was unable to view the surf report this morning. Once I had logged in all was good. I would probably not have noticed it if I had been using my own machine to view it. I think this is a great way to go. Keep up the good work.

I still at times question the way the waves are scored on the day though - I think they are too high as a general rule. But it has been super flat for a long time so maybe expectations are changing or my definition of what a 6/10 day looks like.

bmanc's picture
bmanc's picture
bmanc commented Thursday, 16 Aug 2018 at 8:52am

LOL

yeh im gonna pay you $9/month along with the rego, insurance, netflix, internet, water, rates etc etc.

Mate the site is plastered with advertising, the surf report you post which you have now turned off until 9am will be picked up by another entrepreneurial kid who will make money from the advertising and will be the startup of another surf media website and will redirect traffic away from yours which will slowly drift into oblivion while the ad based revenue site the kid started will take over. Dumb move pal.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 16 Aug 2018 at 9:05am

Good luck to the guy relying on ad-based revenue. If you read the news you may have noticed Fairfax, a 150-year old company who largely rely on ad-based revenue is in a spot of bother, and they're not alone.

tonks's picture
tonks's picture
tonks commented Thursday, 16 Aug 2018 at 9:21am

Hi Swellnet,just want to say thanks for all the free surf reports and cams over the years.I understand it’s a business decision and good luck with it all,but I won’t be subscribing.I’m just an old 67 year dude who likes to get out there when it’s small,maybe once a week and try and surf like I used too.Will still be tuning in,cause I love reading your great articles,thanks again,Tonks!

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Thursday, 16 Aug 2018 at 9:34am

I’m a happily paid up subscriber but I’m interested in seeing your reply to freerides post

ringmaster's picture
ringmaster's picture
ringmaster commented Thursday, 16 Aug 2018 at 9:39am

On behalf of local surfers on the Vicco West coast I'd like to say a big thanks for the decision not to post a report until after 9am unless you subscribe. Absolute BONUS on top of the extended reports behind the paywall.

These tight arse, line up clogging muppets used to being spoon fed for too long might finally have to learn to interpret weather data themselves.

Thanks again men!

P.S: This morning aint '6 out of 10'. It's unorganised, wonky west swell with an offshore wind on it. Last 2 mornings were waaaay better,

bmanc's picture
bmanc's picture
bmanc commented Thursday, 16 Aug 2018 at 10:54am

WHAT A JOKE.
THIS IS WHAT SURFING HAS BECOME.

KOOKS PAYING FOR SURF FORECASTS. KOOKS BUYING $900 SURFBOARDS MADE BNY A MACHINE. KOOKS WITH GO PROS.

IM OUT

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 16 Aug 2018 at 10:55am

See ya mate...

Oceanliving9356's picture
Oceanliving9356's picture
Oceanliving9356 commented Thursday, 16 Aug 2018 at 10:58am

If you guys knew the amount of work, time and effort Ben and his crew put in everyday for not much money then you'd understand why it's time to contribute a little to get a lot,$9.00 a month.2 cups of coffee. How many of us expect to get paid for the work we do. I would say 100 percent, so why should the guy's at Swellnet be expected to deliver the most accurate reports in Australia for nothing. Stop being such tight arses and give Ben the support he deserves, Well done Swellnet. Dunny

peppermint420's picture
peppermint420's picture
peppermint420 commented Thursday, 16 Aug 2018 at 2:43pm

just general feedback, i would probably subscribe if there was an option to just get the surfcams. i dont surf any more but i love having a look at the places ive been a regular at, and places ive only seen on VHS. dont really have any use for the forecasting or any of that other stuff. thus ends my feedback.

Walk around G's picture
Walk around G's picture
Walk around G commented Thursday, 16 Aug 2018 at 7:57pm

Craig and SW crew, Let me start by saying, Swellnet is clearly a major cut above the other 'forecasting' sites but I really think it would be a great idea to keep the forecast notes and daily surf reports very techincal in nature and detail. What I mean by that is, state the technical specifics of the actual or impending swell, wind, weather etc. which obviously you guys have an AMAZING grasp on. Please don't provide any specifics regarding which coast, what tide, protected spots, early or later in the day etc. A lot of us have spent many many years and $$ to travel along coastlines, on our own little missions, searching and learning by trial and error to get to a point where we understand weather, synoptic charts, tidal movements, swell directions etc. and how all these factors affect our surf spots. All this effort was to ensure that we would get the best conditions and enjoyment out of our sport. If we spoon feed the masses it undermines the very core of our sport to search and discover and leave again unspoilt for the next generation of frothers.

Anyway, just my two cent.

Cheers,

surfing-cronulla's picture
surfing-cronulla's picture
surfing-cronulla commented Saturday, 18 Aug 2018 at 8:45am

I get the surfcams, maintenance, fault repairs and so on but the local surf report?
Anyway just received our electricity bill which has now doubled in the last few years which is odd considering we stopped using a radiant heater this winter and no aircon. I guess there are still some fools that believe in "trickle down" economics and here's the result.

redmondo's picture
redmondo's picture
redmondo commented Saturday, 18 Aug 2018 at 7:42pm

The cams are great well worth the money. The forecasts are compelling And I am surprised my ridiculous comments haven't Been blocked. The cameras can be deceiving though I have gone out on my foamy on solid days thinking it was going to be tame.

PhilSpearman's picture
PhilSpearman's picture
PhilSpearman commented Saturday, 18 Aug 2018 at 10:13pm

What makes a person write that they won't pay $0.26 a day for a service that they use daily?
I don't enjoy paying for public transport....I mean, the bus/train/tram will run even if I don't pay for it, but I understand that my payment contributes to a better system. If I don't like it, I have the option of walking/driving/riding or using my donkey. I am not going to be suggesting to the government that the system be free.
Anyway, another point I want to make is around the overcrowding of surf breaks. There are literally thousands and thousands in Australia alone. But in the metro area of Sydney, I personally walk 20 mins plus before daybreak to surf a particular reef all by myself, because I like surfing by myself. Not one but three SN surf cams exist in fairly close proximity to this break and I love those cams. They allow me to escape at work!! There are 8 billion people on this planet. Unless you live on the McDonald Islands, chances are you will have to share your surf break. You have a choice to work hard to do something different from everyone else, or you can share your break. My guess is, that if you are complaining on here, you are most likely someone who drops-in, snakes and has a general disdain for line-up etiquette. You are the sort of goat that forgot what surfing was about and believes that there should be a hierarchy among humans as they interact with nature. Someday, I hope you find the type of peace that befits a very small human, in a very big world, in an even bigger galaxy and in an enormous universe....of which, you are definitely not the centre of!

Harry36d's picture
Harry36d's picture
Harry36d commented Monday, 20 Aug 2018 at 9:21am

It goes both ways, I probably will subscribe at least momentarily, the most value coming from the forecaster notes which are quality and incomparable to any competitors imo. I'll also make sure to be more critical of lengthy delays in camera upgrades/reinstallation (Moffats would have been out for nearly 12 months now?) and reports that I feel are too generalised.

How you interact with all your customers is a big part of running a small business to, incase you've forgotten. But it's not hard to see SN has professional forecasters and cams that don't look like they're streamed from my dads Nokia brick... for just over $2 a week...

soggydog's picture
soggydog's picture
soggydog commented Monday, 20 Aug 2018 at 1:48pm

I’ve just been on a 3 week holiday along the east coast, my subscription was a valuable tool in getting waves when they where there. Chatting with locals also provided a lot of information about where would pick up what swells. I flew back to Perth checking the forecast before boarding and spent the arvo on some fun beachies at Scarborough.
The forecaster notes never provide relevant information to my coast but are invaluable in planning quick strike missions north.
Thanks to Ben and the team.

CPax's picture
CPax's picture
CPax commented Tuesday, 21 Aug 2018 at 11:39am

I totally understand the need to gain revenue through your "Premium products". However, through out the last 2 months I've slowly watched all the basic, day-to-day features of Swellnet be chopped and added to the pro subscription. I understand making surf cams and forecaster notes pro subscription only, but surely daily reports and 5 day surf forecasts are your core products? The most recent blockage of daily reports before 9am is the needle that has broken the camel's back.

I can only make it to the surf once a fortnight and I'm not willing to pay $4.50 per session for information I can get for free elsewhere. I love Swellnet but the latest changes have left a bitter taste in my mouth and I won't be coming back.

ringmaster's picture
ringmaster's picture
ringmaster commented Tuesday, 21 Aug 2018 at 3:49pm

The 'STRAW' broke the camel's back CPax.

The 'needle' is still in the hay stack.....

ron's picture
ron's picture
ron commented Tuesday, 21 Aug 2018 at 5:57pm

Know what you mean, the daily reports used to be part of my morning routine, not because they were really necessary but just out of interest. I surf every day so can check it in person or just use other sites while making coffee etc. Point is it's another reason I don't come to this site every day any more. I used to visit multiple times a day at least. My main 3-4 surf mates who used to do the same haven't subscribed and won't be either.

davey's picture
davey's picture
davey commented Tuesday, 21 Aug 2018 at 6:33pm

Classic ringmaster!!

Danm's picture
Danm's picture
Danm commented Tuesday, 21 Aug 2018 at 6:54pm

I like that notes were added as premium even more value for my money now -thanks. Unlike competitors notes that are generic waffle swellnets are accurate at least up my way sc qld. If you can't or won't pay for it thats fine but realise that even this forum you are whinging on would be costing swellnet money to host and run.

redmondo's picture
redmondo's picture
redmondo commented Tuesday, 21 Aug 2018 at 8:33pm

Embrace the system. Thanks again swellnet nice work. You could get a flack catcher for the whiners, Negitve energy is not condusive for nice hollow waves.

Philsurfbum's picture
Philsurfbum's picture
Philsurfbum commented Thursday, 23 Aug 2018 at 9:09am

your surf reports are usually not accurate enough to justify paying for them. Don't use the web cams. We were all able to predict surf conditions by the weather long before you guys came along. I'm sure you find some suckers but i won't be one of them.

The MIDdleman.'s picture
The MIDdleman.'s picture
The MIDdleman. commented Thursday, 23 Aug 2018 at 9:57am

Hi
Sucker here.

What's to be upset about if you found it useless in the past?
Why come into this thread to be upset about something you found to have no value for you?

Surely a waste of your precious time.

Signature.

Sharkfin's picture
Sharkfin's picture
Sharkfin commented Thursday, 23 Aug 2018 at 9:29pm

I like using SW. It's user friendly and well laid out, kinda like using a Mac, versus a PC, in where a PC would be Coastal watch or something. I like the articles, videos and forums etc...
For a while back there I was strictly BOM for forecasting because it is so goddamn accurate!... But for some reason, SW drew me back in with the shiny widgets n' forecaster notes etc... And hence was my go-to quick surf check site pretty much due to its awesome usability. Well done for that! Admittedly, using BOM properly takes a bit more work, but 10 times out of 10 its the best forecasting tool any serious surfer out there could wish for...at least here in AUS. So since the new paywall has gone up I would like to thank you SW for helping to realize the fashion trend haze that I was in previously, and now I can get back to getting the forecast right and not be suckered into bogus subjective dawn reports and lets face it - Surfcams are just down right cheating! As for 16 day longrange forecasts, paywall enthusiast gotta be a bit naive to think there is a magic look into the future crystal ball that far out...
Dont get me wrong, I'm not offended by the shift. Your a business and it's your own choice to run your business however the hell you want.
But I ask just this one question. Instead of marginalizing a huge majority of your fanbase (as i'm guessing most surfers capable of reading a few forecast charts wont be signing up to premium) by charging the consumer a small subscription fee, could you not find the extra money by simply charging the million dollar companies who advertise all over your site a little more for advertising??? I mean, surfers are always going to need to buy boards, board shorts, wetsuits, accessories, fashion wear and surf trips to exotic destinations.... Or perhaps your doing that also? In which case it's just straight up corner the market capitalism....
"Travel to Indo and pay 5k for a 10 day surf charter, whilst being self assured that your getting specialty forecast notes, 16 day forecasts on your special Swellnet premium App...."
I mean sure, your moving with the times and with technology but are you still moving forward with the spirit of what surfing is all about? ... Adventure, release, stoke, passion, friendship, admiration and connection with nature....you can't put a price on any of these things
That's my two cents!
PEACE

Portsurf5150's picture
Portsurf5150's picture
Portsurf5150 commented Friday, 24 Aug 2018 at 9:00am

Since you dont have surf cams in the Illawarra, how about keeoing it free until you do. Will happily pay for it then.

ron's picture
ron's picture
ron commented Friday, 24 Aug 2018 at 11:54am

Blocking the reports until 9am doesn't make much sense to me. There are reports elsewhere online and cams on this site. If you are a non payer in say, Melbourne and wake up early to check the surf, all you need to do is check the cam which gives a better indication than the bad photos on the daily reports. Add that to live wind data on willy weather and you are good to go. Do you really need an ambiguous X/10 rating and 2 sentences about the conditions which in my area are usually more about the air temp than actual surf. Why would people pay for that? The photos are from a phone, zoomed out so far you cant tell whats going on and the description is useless. I don't think people in Melbourne are basing their decision to drive down or not on this. I think its more the wind and swell forecast which everyone has and then the cams used to confirm at sunrise.

If i was paying for these reports as part of the service id expect decent photos of the main spots along with a description of conditions. Im surprised the reporters are paid.

ringmaster's picture
ringmaster's picture
ringmaster commented Thursday, 30 Aug 2018 at 8:46am

Stay in your warm bed in Melbourne pal.

ron's picture
ron's picture
ron commented Sunday, 2 Sep 2018 at 7:02pm

I live on the coast.

offshoreozzie's picture
offshoreozzie's picture
offshoreozzie commented Thursday, 30 Aug 2018 at 8:25am

This just in.. a leak from inside Swellnet HQ... I can't confirm what exactly this data details as sensitive data is censored but one can only assume it's a profit analysis of some sort. I have this in on good advice, keep your eyes peeled for increasing luxury SUVs in Stu/Ben's neighbourhoods...

With all that cash I'd only hope that resources could be assigned so that when I hit the "last comment" button I'm actually taken to to the comment not the top of the page. I have enough scrolling already in my life.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 30 Aug 2018 at 8:28am

Ha ha...profit analysis derived from Manly Hydraulic Laboratory. Never doubt their economic modelling.

davey's picture
davey's picture
davey commented Sunday, 16 Sep 2018 at 6:23pm

How do the cameras that have been down for yonks affect profit analysis?

camneale's picture
camneale's picture
camneale commented Monday, 17 Sep 2018 at 10:06am

pay for it no thanks coastal watch magic seaweed ..... look out the window scoot to dbar

swellnet haha for that reason im out

davey's picture
davey's picture
davey commented Friday, 21 Sep 2018 at 1:46pm

If you squint your eyes you can see the extended forecast for free!!

mattmac's picture
mattmac's picture
mattmac commented Monday, 24 Sep 2018 at 8:34am

I don't have a problem if want to charge people to look at a live cam but to not to be able to check the surf report until after 9am is a bit rich?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 24 Sep 2018 at 8:32am

G'Day Matt,

Is it greedy that our morning reporters should want to be paid?

ron's picture
ron's picture
ron commented Monday, 24 Sep 2018 at 11:51am

Yes i think it is in my area. They take bad pics on a phone of the wrong spots so zoomed out you cant see anything and write useless descriptions to go with. Stuff about air temp in winter, wind, swell, all the shit we knew 3 days ago. How about some actual helpful info?

If you are going to pay someone for the torquay report why wouldnt it be of bells with quality pics and a decent report from someone who knows the wave? From there most people can work out how that relates to their spots.

I'm not saying i want this, however if you are paying someone for the report and in turn want people to pay for the service that is what i'd expect at the very least.

The pics and description around VIC never give anything you cant see on the cams. Not sure if its better in other states?

kneepete's picture
kneepete's picture
kneepete commented Monday, 24 Sep 2018 at 12:15pm

"Someone who knows the wave"
Torquay reporter is Bob Smith who's surfed the area longer than most. Instead of a shot of Bells, Bob's photos and info allow readers to extrapolate what's going on elsewhere.

ringmaster's picture
ringmaster's picture
ringmaster commented Monday, 24 Sep 2018 at 3:07pm

I know Torquay surf reporter B.S pretty well and he would have forgotten more about surfing than you'll ever know Ron.

'Someone who knows the wave'....pffft He's only been surfing these waves for 50 plus years....

If you cant work out what the surfs like around here after looking at pics of Juc, B.R and Torquay Point then you're the one who's got no idea fella.

ron's picture
ron's picture
ron commented Monday, 24 Sep 2018 at 5:04pm

You are both missing the point in terms of the context of this thread. Its about the paywall and what people get for their money.

My point is, the reports are bad photos with basic info that anyone would know that day after looking at nearby cams for 10 seconds. Why would you pay extra to have this before 9 am when the cam is free and visible at sunrise?

You both know Bob, hes been surfing for 50 years and knows more than me, great. None of that experience or knowledge is shared in his reports which makes it all irrelevant. Paying a guy like that to report on a paid service makes sense, how about getting some value out of it? You could pay the local kid to do the same thing instead of a paper round each morning...

geoffrey's picture
geoffrey's picture
geoffrey commented Monday, 24 Sep 2018 at 7:28pm

if its as shit as you say then why do you even want to look at it? it'll still be shit after 9am. sounds like your a bit of a whinger mate.

neville-beats-buddha's picture
neville-beats-buddha's picture
neville-beats-buddha commented Monday, 24 Sep 2018 at 11:57am

Hard to believe they'd give you swell and wind conditions in morning reports.

Why do they bother?

loungelizard's picture
loungelizard's picture
loungelizard commented Monday, 24 Sep 2018 at 5:31pm

ron, you are clearly conflicted, pay the fucking $9 a month and set yourself free!

ojackojacko's picture
ojackojacko's picture
ojackojacko commented Monday, 24 Sep 2018 at 6:44pm

i get why people whinge about the paywall (tho i disagree). i get why people whinge about the quality of the reports/forecasts (tho i disagree). but i can’t understand why people whinge about the paywall AND the quality of the reports/forecasts. ffs - if u think it’s shit then don’t buy it. people whinging on the internet. like me

Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus commented Friday, 5 Oct 2018 at 8:30pm

EVERYONE SHOULD BOYCOTT SWELLNET WITH THERE GREEDY CHANGES RESTRICTING THIER CONTENT EXCEPT TO USERS THAT PAY $10 A MONTH.
WHAT A RIP OFF I WOULD PAY $2 a month but that’s it.
THIS USED TO BE MY GO TO WEBSITE FOR SWELL CONDITIONS AND FORCASTS BUT NOW YOU CANT GET SHIT OUT OF IT UNLESS YOU ARE A PAYING USER, GIVES ME THE SHITS.
Where do they get $10 a month from what a rip off it’s BOM and noaa data probly anyways.
GREEDY CUNTS YOU HAVE A MONOPLY ON AUSTRlIAN SURF REPORTS ANYWAY WITH COSTALWATCH, swellnet ect you flood the market with multiple web sites then charge huge fees.
I can get a Spotify account for the same fees and they have greedy music company’s demanding fees off them you guys get all your content for free off the government like BOM WHERE IS THE JUSTIFICATION FOR $10 a month greedy basterds I’m going to post this msg every chance I get until I can’t be bothered anymore.

mr mick's picture
mr mick's picture
mr mick commented Friday, 5 Oct 2018 at 8:41pm

your a fuckn' knob!

Mr mick

adsi's picture
adsi's picture
adsi commented Friday, 5 Oct 2018 at 10:01pm

Piss off ya fuckin scrotum

Bluedreams's picture
Bluedreams's picture
Bluedreams commented Friday, 5 Oct 2018 at 10:34pm

Swellnet is a couple of blokes working their arses off to provide a fantastic resource. I’m happy to pay. You’re fucking pathetic Cliff. Best you save your $10 a month and go buy some friends

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Friday, 5 Oct 2018 at 8:42pm

There's surf in AUSTRIIA? Rattlesnake.

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Friday, 5 Oct 2018 at 9:05pm

Just three times Cliff? Where's ya stamina mate?

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

NickT's picture
NickT's picture
NickT commented Friday, 5 Oct 2018 at 9:21pm

He was probably 4 tins deep and after the third post was passed out on the couch

Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus commented Friday, 5 Oct 2018 at 11:04pm

Lol stupid cunts three guys in there basement ripping you off it’s a company not a charity.The same three guys will probly sell the websites for massive profits as soon as they can produce the sales data that there are mugs like you that will pay top dollar for these websites I don’t have a problem for subscription fees but direct debit of $10 a month fuck that. It’s to much $2 a month everyone can afford that and it’s fair. And everyone would probly subscribe to.

Flurry Fairies's picture
Flurry Fairies's picture
Flurry Fairies commented Friday, 5 Oct 2018 at 11:11pm

Go home cliff you’re drunk

Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus commented Friday, 5 Oct 2018 at 11:26pm

It’s my web browser posting multiple times it wasn’t intensional but my comments were

Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus commented Friday, 5 Oct 2018 at 11:27pm

I am home

Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus commented Friday, 5 Oct 2018 at 11:40pm

10*$8.95=$89.5
100x$8.95=$895
1000x$8.95=$8,950.00
10,000x$8.95=$89,500.00
100,000x$8.95=$895,000.00
Potential gross income a month I wonder how many subscribers they actually have? Fuck all because it’s to expensive or they make a killing every month.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Saturday, 6 Oct 2018 at 6:17am

Cliff, you missed a few zeros from your projections of my business model.

1 million subscribers = $8.95 million every month.
10 million subscribers = $89.5 million every month. 
100 million subscribers = $895 million every month. 

I very much look forward to Swellnet making $895 million every month. Then I won't have to work weekends any more. In fact, I may even take Monday afternoons off as a small reward.

Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus commented Saturday, 6 Oct 2018 at 1:47pm

Mate i don’t want to get in the way of someone one making a dollar in this world BUT. I don’t like that you restricted you content all of a sudden and $8.95 direct debit is a lot. I regularly asks people, when they mention your site “do you pay for swellnet do you” and they always say “fuck no I just check it after 9.00am”. I recon if you made your monthly subscription fee $2.95 you might even get thousands of paying customers newspaper subscriptions online are arround that price you would probly do yourselves a favor and expand your customer base. You probly get arround 1 in 50 users subscribing because your rates are steep from a physiological point of view, but if you set your fees at $1.95 or $2.95 you would probly sign 4 in 10 users mabee more which would offset any perceived losses from a reduced monthly rate.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Saturday, 6 Oct 2018 at 2:40pm

+1 for "steep from a physiological point of view"

Like when I wake up in the morning.

Eat yer heart out Gary G

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Saturday, 6 Oct 2018 at 4:16pm

Can you be my business coach?

Ps, Its $10 a month for something you love, if you don't love it fair enough, don't subscribe, but just quit fucken whining and let people make up their own minds

Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus commented Saturday, 6 Oct 2018 at 4:35pm

I don’t even pay Netflix or Stan anymore it’s to much

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Saturday, 6 Oct 2018 at 4:41pm

Well put that money to swellnet then. I really don't think its too much to pay if surfing is your main hobby/interest
How much do you spend on beer/wine/ciggies a month? More than $2.50 a week Im guessing?

Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus commented Saturday, 6 Oct 2018 at 4:40pm

I don’t know a single person that is a subscriber

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Saturday, 6 Oct 2018 at 4:42pm

Thats not the point

Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus commented Saturday, 6 Oct 2018 at 1:57pm

Well 10,000 subscribers I think is possible in the future I just think your shooting yourself in the foot at 8.95 a month I saw a preschooler the other day with an iPhone 7 it’s a new world.

Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus commented Saturday, 6 Oct 2018 at 4:01pm

Yeh sweet you can take the piss water off a ducks back but with the growth of smart phones, subscription services and surfing I didn’t think my comment was that ambitious. You have taken what I wrote a grossly exaggerated I thought my intentions were clear I even wrote at the bottom I wonder how many subscribers they actually have!

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Saturday, 6 Oct 2018 at 7:16am

Awesome reply.

CMC's picture
CMC's picture
CMC commented Saturday, 6 Oct 2018 at 8:18am

Clif
No one is forcing you to use the site mate so don’t know what your issue is
Have you considered how many years the site was available for free prior to the firewall?
Don’t recall hearing you whinge then??
Don’t begrudge someone having a go and making a dollar for their effort
As I said earlier if you don’t like it then don’t use it you have a choice just as I do to subscribe

Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus commented Saturday, 6 Oct 2018 at 1:34pm

Mate I can’t use the site That’s my point

CMC's picture
CMC's picture
CMC commented Saturday, 6 Oct 2018 at 3:02pm

If you can’t use the site then why don’t you use the BOM and NOAA data for free which is what you claim Swellnet is using to do their reports?

Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus commented Saturday, 6 Oct 2018 at 4:23pm

I do buddy (read BOM & South Pacific wave model website) but I liked the forecaster notes but I can’t read them anymore that’s my point. THIER website is already built they just do a daily observation or ring someone on site for the info and write that forecaster notes section 3 times a week and like you said they are meteorologists this stuff is second nature to them and then the click the publish button. I don’t know what I’m pissed off at the $8.95 fee or the fact that they locked the forecaster notes more so the latter I think

Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus commented Saturday, 6 Oct 2018 at 4:27pm

Mate you don’t seem to be getting it I do realy want to use the site I like it but I don’t like being forced to pay near $10 direct debit a month my point is it should be shit loads cheaper or go back to there old setup where non subscribers could access the forecaster notes

redmondo's picture
redmondo's picture
redmondo commented Saturday, 6 Oct 2018 at 11:20am

It would be good to have a cam in the swellnet office. I hear it is knee deep with cash and jewels and there's priceless paintings on the walls. Cuban cigars boxes of Howard park wine and exquisite cuisine.

Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus commented Saturday, 6 Oct 2018 at 4:29pm

Mate have you considered a career in stand up I think you would be realy good at it you seem to be a natural.

Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus commented Saturday, 6 Oct 2018 at 12:18pm

I still stand by my comments although I could have censored them a bit but I’m not happy about you restricting your content all of a sudden after all these years of operation and I left my name to my comments I don’t have any social media accounts apart from swellnet so I only left a post because I’m annoyed and restricting content to subscribers cuts a huge amount of users out of your site. Anyways I’m done no more comments from me I have made my point.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Saturday, 6 Oct 2018 at 12:43pm

If you read the above article - written over three months ago - you'll understand why Swellnet (and pretty much every other website) is moving towards a user-pays scenario. 

Also, we didn't "restrict our content all of a sudden" - I wrote this article in July last year (15 months ago) that spelled out where things were heading, and we've made gradual changes since then.

shoredump's picture
shoredump's picture
shoredump commented Saturday, 6 Oct 2018 at 1:26pm

I respect you Cliff. You work for free, and you’re no hypocrite. Congrats on making it to such a zen state

Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus commented Saturday, 6 Oct 2018 at 3:21pm

Zen state, work for free and respect me, I don’t understand it’s over my head I’m guessing your being facetious. Mate I’m directing my comments to the administrators and stand by what I say I have put my name to it I’m not hiding here being anonymous. I’m just hoping they wake up one day and reduce there subscription fee considerably so everyone can afford it even the gromms

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Saturday, 6 Oct 2018 at 3:29pm

Hi Ben, it's been a few months now without the subscription, and worth a comment. I intend to take one out when it's time to "renew". Last couple of years I've supported Swellnet with a donation (after Ben's first thread on the issue). About $1 per week, so just over 1/2 of the paywall fee. I figured that like many appeals by content creators on the net, if you like it, support it. Besides, I'm allergic to direct debits.

I wonder how many people donated? Have the feeling this method of supporting the site had very few indeed. In its place, I hope the annual subscriptions are up and running, and also working for you.

How has it been then? I miss the forecaster notes. The best part is to interact after the fact (whilst being cryptic & not naming locations) and give the forecaster feedback. If you were at a certain reef, forecast may have been 5-6ft, you know certain reef might be 1ft smaller, you can describe the swell in terms of size, but also its feel - if it seemed to be intermittent, if it was far more powerful and without a let up, etc. Then if you ask nicely Craig can show you the satellite wind scans that spawned the swell. That part is intellectually stimulating. I also reckon it helps the forecaster. And honestly it's unique on the internet.

For the daily being behind a paywall - if I'm up for the early, I'm going to check physically anyway. If it's after 9am I can see the report - if earlier I can see other sites reports if I'm inclined. With the Democratisation of Everything on the net, you'll be able to find what you are after for free somewhere. And if the report is off - take two boards in the car if you are driving, step up or step down.

Cams? I've speculated that a local cam on one of the waves has completely changed the demographic of the break compared to 10 years ago, and increased the numbers at it. Either it is very visible, or there is a generational change and increase in interest going on.

On reports for an upcoming swell: one afternoon I took my plank out at a little point and had a blast in the arvo. About 4 out. Swell was in the middle of a week of solid swell. The next day (also a weekday) there was predicted a significant and larger spike in swell. OK, I can repeat activity tomorrow, I thought. To my horror, the next afternoon, carpark was overflowing, 40 out, and the waves turned out to be not quite as large; certainly not as good in wind/tide condition. I can only surmise that everyone read the same report, scheduled the day for surfing. Swells come in pulses. We have the technology to forecast this in advance. Somehow this has morphed into something like each swell being a staged event complete with near instant instagram feedback. If you have a mobile cafe, perhaps a subscription could pay for itself?

Otherwise, Swellnet remains a truly great location to discuss surfing and everything from its heritage to how the weather works to design to how surfing is changing. Opinions are allowed and mud gets thrown more often with the implicit challenge to improve your responses. Stu runs a great editorial & forums.

So yeah, about June-ish is donation time, I'll be subscribing then.

Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus commented Saturday, 6 Oct 2018 at 3:38pm

Well I don’t know about that the daily observation being locked until 9.00am and the forecaster notes 3 times a week were the only thing I actualy logged in to swellnet and a far as I can remember I logged in a couple a months ago and it was there and then the next day it was blocked so I don’t know what incremental changes you made but the only parts of the site I look at were locked at the same time well that’s how I perceived it anyway

nextswell's picture
nextswell's picture
nextswell commented Saturday, 6 Oct 2018 at 4:46pm

I'm confused. You don't like it, don't agree with it but keep paying for the subscription? Get rid of it, go check your local yourself and save the coin. Unfortunately, we live in a world where everything is not affordable for everyone. The surf report and advanced forecast is not a necessity it's a luxury. Or read the weather maps yourseIf, as you suggest, it is so simple. I agree there are things that could make the website better regarding advertising but all in all it's a good service.

Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus's picture
Cliffrobinsonaus commented Saturday, 6 Oct 2018 at 8:01pm

Wtf i have never paid the subscription fees I must have just registered an I can’t rememver when. Do they even publish how many paying customers they actually have I would love to know that.

davey's picture
davey's picture
davey commented Sunday, 7 Oct 2018 at 9:14am

I'd be pissed if I was a subscriber in Wollongong!!!

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Sunday, 7 Oct 2018 at 9:23am

If you’re referencing our Illawarra surfcams, there’s a (lengthy) explanation, detailed in this forum post. In short, they’ll be back very soon. The reason they are offline is largely out of our hands.

https://www.swellnet.com/forums/website-troubleshooting/446805

davey's picture
davey's picture
davey commented Sunday, 14 Oct 2018 at 1:23pm

(Tune in to the updated photo report around 8am)

This one always cracks me up, the few times there's a photo it's a crappy one. Luckily I don't rely on the reports as I'm down early everyday..

Wherewolves's picture
Wherewolves's picture
Wherewolves commented Monday, 8 Oct 2018 at 10:58am

Cliffy, cant wait to see your surf forecast website inclusive of 3 x weekly forecast notes and network of cams mate.

For those of us that run a busy schedule $8 a month is a small price to pay for the knowledge Swellnet gives. Dont be a tight arse.

Timm-Dah's picture
Timm-Dah's picture
Timm-Dah commented Sunday, 14 Oct 2018 at 8:44am

Hi Ben / Team,

First of, I'd like to say I have a love-hate relationship with surf forecast websites everywhere, they are a great online community meeting place, but 40+yrs ago, so was the top of the steps/lookout of the beach/cliffs as the punters tolled up in the banged up Holden & fords. Dweller offers this meeting space now online, as the cameras, photos & media is all bought to a phone or computer screen..the convenience is fantastic, and worth paying for, I do not disagree.

I do however, agree with others whom are frustrated at surfings changing user-pays costs, and would highlight, this site is not comparable to the local Lindy or bakery, but like Surfline it's similar to a base of 10,000 to maybe 100,000 nationwide to 100,000+ worldwide visits of individuals looking to connect with others, like we used to at the top of the cliffs/steps of the beach..which now everyone knows about thanks to global-reach briadcasting..it is what itt is..

I understand the business. It's gotta make money. My favouritepart of the site is the trash-talk forums, I love this stuff. It's life being animated by words, and I'm hopeful the payroll will now get us all talking again..sharing & being a free-to-chat community giving of ourselves without charging for the knowledge/support..yep, like the old days. I think this is what Tim Winton aimed for in his book on surfing (Breath).

I wish you guys luck, please keep the forums free..discussion is good. I'm sure someone will get banned in future for coping/pasting reports elsewhere from your knowledge sharing etc.

I'm one of the lucky old-hacks that can 97% of the time forecast my own rides..sad to say it's a dying art form..and many of the millinaials will be seething even at $8 a month, poor old mum & dad will be groaning again, not just for all the other (Netflix, online gaming, gambling,, whatever?) costs with another to search out workout on there credit card bill!

The world is changing..and fast, I hope to god a camera doesn't end up where I currently surf & have enjoyed peaceful-rejuvination for over 40+yrs at...but when we have as a surfing community more & more exotic & famed locations being tagged, it's a farewell to the days of old..these days are gone, and the complaints shouted loudly are often from old-hacks like me whom are fading into nothingness now.

I'm hopeful the paywall will kill some crowd-factor.

I'm resolute to this online surf chatter as the new normal...i do enjoy it when you get the rare real-life connection as new friendships form from an online meeting or flaming?? ..who knows.

I love my surfing so much, I love what it has done to change me as a person, more in tune with earth & nature's forces...but I look on with trepidation as to how the surfing community will disband as cost/profit become a driving force.

It is threading through all facets of surf-culture now.

I often tell my sons & extend family of newphews/nieces that "you are to enjoy what you have while you have it, change comes always, and tomorrow..it may all be gone..for whatever reason. So just enjoy it for what it is, while it is.." (even if it is 30kt onshore mush..with my mates, (some now dead) those weresome of the best days..waiting to be picked up by mum-dad in the rain.

I wish you all the best everyone.

Appoligise for any spelling mistakes..im writing this WITHOUT my glasses on my whizz-bang phone.

Timm-Dah

Never a sad day on the waves…but as far as other things go…well, let me talk (moan-away) to you.

redmondo's picture
redmondo's picture
redmondo commented Sunday, 14 Oct 2018 at 11:16am

My heart missed a few beats when the wall went up. It took a while for the tremors subside so I could subscribe. I now walk around with my head held high and improved posture. There is genuine care for my surfing needs. Learning heaps too thanks Ben. I agree Timm-Dah except the onshore mush bit. And no need for surfing friends, they are liable to steal your waves.

conrico's picture
conrico's picture
conrico commented Sunday, 14 Oct 2018 at 12:00pm

Really appreciate the quality forecaster notes. Generally very accurate in Victoria
Happy to pay for a membership

davey's picture
davey's picture
davey commented Sunday, 14 Oct 2018 at 1:24pm

(Tune in to the updated photo report around 8am)

This one always cracks me up, the few times there's a photo it's a crappy one. Luckily I don't rely on the reports as I'm down early everyday..

brainiac's picture
brainiac's picture
brainiac commented Sunday, 14 Oct 2018 at 3:02pm

I would be interested to know from all you subscribers out there if you feel there has been a reduction in crowds since the lock outs have taken place?
Personally, on the vicco surf coast this year, i reckon the mid week crowds have been slighty down during my sessions. Possibly my timing has been better in avoiding the crowds or is it some thing else? Anyone else noticed it at their locals?

Evo32's picture
Evo32's picture
Evo32 commented Sunday, 9 Dec 2018 at 1:23pm

I must say after years checking out the Yallingup surf cam and is now expected to pay for it ,is very very ordinary!! Funny thing is some local companies advertised on that surf cam and I’m sure they paid good money to be there. Plus another interesting point is that I can view a camera in the same region for free by looking up smiths beach surf camera and get daily reports!! Looks like that’s where I will be going to for now on !! Cheers fellas!!

lost's picture
lost's picture
lost commented Sunday, 9 Dec 2018 at 9:17pm

I'm very happy to pay my $9 a month but would love to be able to access the forecast notes via the APP please. Otherwise on mobile I'm forever having to log in. The APP is great, just needs the forecast note please.

knB

Spaniardking's picture
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Spaniardking commented Monday, 28 Jan 2019 at 11:21am

So I just viewed Greenmount, Kingscliff, Cabarita and Byron and they are all either out of focus or dirty making them un-usable for viewers. Is that what I could expect from the other cameras that I would have to pay to view?

I would have thought a better model would have been to have ads play under the video or at times through the stream much the same way as FB or Youtube does.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Monday, 28 Jan 2019 at 4:56pm

"I would have thought a better model would have been to have ads play under the video or at times through the stream much the same way as FB or Youtube does."

Not sure if you've used Swellnet much in the past, but we've been monetising the surfcams with ads - as you've suggested - since about 2005, when my first camera was installed. That's around 14 years of experience.

Having reached somewhat of a 'high point' around 2010 (give or take), the online advertising industry has been in slow decline ever since, mainly due to the impacts of Facebook and Google (via YouTube), who you (ironically!) mention above. This has been well documented on other websites for many years now.

As such, it's not economical any more to rely on advertising to pay the bills. That's why we've slowly transitioned to a subscription model, as are most other online businesses.

As for the quality of the cameras: there's a few issues at play here, but it's worth pointing out that you can't have seen Cabarita, as it's behind the paywall.

I've attached some screengrabs from this afternoon (below), from the four you mentioned: Caba and Byron are fine, Kingy and Greenmount are a little dirty, though still show surf conditions.

Why are they dirty? Very simple: it hasn't rained in a couple of months. Whilst we have cleaning systems at some locations (and are rolling out more over the coming year), these particular locations are somewhat self-cleaning because of their geographical location and position: they have a high reliability of receiving rainfall at this time of the year. When we looked at which locations that needed a self-cleaning system, SE Qld and Far Northern NSW didn't really make the cut. We'll eventually get around to 'em, but we have higher priority locations to attend to first.

Guaranteed, next time there's a decent downfall, they'll be sparkling clean.

Of course, there are many, many things we can do to improve the reliability and quality of the surfcam network. I've got them all on a to-do list, but they all cost a lot of money to implement. We'll eventually get there - but for a very small business like Swellnet, it's unfortunately a slow process. That's why your subscription counts: it'll help us achieve these goals a little quicker.



uncle_leroy's picture
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uncle_leroy commented Monday, 28 Jan 2019 at 5:46pm

A lot of things in life a gimmicks, but this stuff actually works, could be a cheap solution to camera cleaning - http://www.rainx.com.au/

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Monday, 28 Jan 2019 at 5:48pm

Nah, doesn't work for surfcams. Don't want to give away trade secrets, but I tried that (and a bunch of other things) in the first year or two.

uncle_leroy's picture
uncle_leroy's picture
uncle_leroy commented Monday, 28 Jan 2019 at 5:53pm

Works on windscreens, guess the cams are a bit more like keeping glass on a bar fridge clean and clear.

ringmaster's picture
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ringmaster commented Monday, 28 Jan 2019 at 8:47pm

The dirtier and more salt encrusted the better. Please don’t change a thing.

tubeshooter's picture
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tubeshooter commented Monday, 28 Jan 2019 at 9:44pm

Surely Swellnet has some grommet hanging out at the office who could be put to better use than pie shop runs. Give him a chamois and a ladder...And If he has P plates then I,m sure one of you guys has roof racks for said ladder and wouldn't mind the use of your wheels to send the lad to Byron. Just trying to help ....

Bagshawd's picture
Bagshawd's picture
Bagshawd commented Sunday, 3 Feb 2019 at 1:12pm

Yet another money racketing scheme.
Swellnet wont be getting my subscription that’s for sure, especially with the yearly cost too.
Unsubscribe me please!

conrico's picture
conrico's picture
conrico commented Tuesday, 12 Feb 2019 at 1:53am

More than happy to pay the cheap swellnet subscription fee. Only a very small price to pay for a lot of extra fun (particularly when I'm spending 100's per year on fuel/ wetties/ boards)
Forecasts are very accurate, and have benefited a lot (freeloading) off them for years, under the previous pay model, so certainly owe you guys
Keep up the good work!

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude commented Tuesday, 12 Feb 2019 at 6:37am

Just a question to all subscribers:
I’d be interested to know if anyone who lives within walking distance of the beach subscribes and if so what benefit do you feel you gain?

surfiebum's picture
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surfiebum commented Tuesday, 12 Feb 2019 at 6:03pm

The forecast side of things is where the value is for me, I've got my own ideas on where and when for waves but like having a comprehensive forecast to compare to. Also very handy for road trips and holidays elsewhere.
I think the articles are excellent and while I could be a tight prick and not pay I think it's worth supporting a small business that gives me a bit to think about on something I love. Yeah, they get things wrong (e.g. lennox cam), but they get a lot right in my opinion

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Tuesday, 12 Feb 2019 at 5:36pm

From what I hear on the grapevine the validity of the subscription based vs. advertising based revenue model is about to become much clearer...

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

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 12 Feb 2019 at 5:48pm

Whaddya on about crg? Sounds a little cryptic.

Interesting times yesterday though, with Crikey hiring more editorial staff for a new investigative team. Bloody unreal... I've been a Crikey subscriber for many years, it's well worth the subscription ($207 per year).

Here's an interesting quote from John B Fairfax last night on the 7:30 Report, which sums it up well (for those that don't know, there were significant staff cuts at Vice, BuzzFeed, HuffPost, Gannett, Yahoo and AOL in January):

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Tuesday, 12 Feb 2019 at 9:22pm

Rumours abound the competitive landscape might be thinning out a little for you...

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

Kellya's picture
Kellya's picture
Kellya commented Tuesday, 12 Feb 2019 at 5:56pm

I live within walking distance. Subscription helps me especially in the morning when a quick surf before work is tight. Can make the call quickly.....otherwise it's back to getting kids etc ready for the day!

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude commented Tuesday, 12 Feb 2019 at 9:03pm

I don’t really understand, if you’re walking distance can’t you quickly check it yourself?

goofyfoot's picture
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goofyfoot commented Wednesday, 13 Feb 2019 at 8:02am

So what you’re getting at Solitude is that only people who have to drive to the beach should subscribe?

Solitude's picture
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Solitude commented Wednesday, 13 Feb 2019 at 9:05am

Not at all mate. I'm considering it for myself. I can do without it for sure as I'm lucky enough to check myself, however I think the forecast notes are really good and interesting. Cams and daily reports don't interest me.

Kellya's picture
Kellya's picture
Kellya commented Wednesday, 13 Feb 2019 at 12:08pm

Not when the morning light starts to fade. Time is pretty tight in the mornings! Quick check and straight in the water if it's worth it. Otherwise there is a bunch of other stuff that needs to get done in the mornings unfortunately. The subscription cost is so minimal, makes it worth it for sure.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 13 Feb 2019 at 7:27am

Slight deviation away from the core issue, but elsewhere the subs biz model also faces ongoing issues...

For those of you that aren't aware, Apple already take 30% from any revenue generated through their App store (for example, a one-off paid App, or an ongoing in-App subscription).

So, if Swellnet were selling $80 annual subscriptions through the Apple store, they'd take $24 every time, and we'd get $56.

This apparent new proposal is much different, and seems to replace the previously failed Apple News experiment where the revenue split was based around ad sales.

(there's a good article here from 9 months ago: https://medium.com/the-business-of-content/should-publishers-be-wary-of-... )

But taking 50% of subscription revenue and withholding subscriber details? Wow...

ron's picture
ron's picture
ron commented Wednesday, 13 Feb 2019 at 5:46pm

I live a minute from the beach and chose not to subscribe. I find the daily reports the most useless part of the website, vague, bad photos x/10 ratings? There are free cams and live winds on here and other sites that tell the story better than the reports every time. Also a growing number of quality reports through instagram with more details and videos early. I miss reading the detailed forecast notes more out of interest than necessity.

The pay wall or add dilemma is easy to see from both sides. If you arent making money advertising then you either throw in the towel or start charging $. I get it. Problem is, most of the internet is having the same issue. A quick look on my history and there are about 20 sites i visit most days and countless others here n there. That doesnt include netflix, stan, podcasts, apps etc etc etc.

If all these sites want to charge monthly all of a sudden that would be 200 a month at $10. Add in Netflix, Stan, podcast subscriptions, apps, spotify, itunes and you could be at $400 a month fairly easily! Everyone wants their slice but charging for everything isn't sustainable for the user. My local paper wants a subscription to read it online. Washaws surf history site wants a subscription. My stupid scrabble app wants $ to play their computer characters! Sam Harris' new app wants $18 USD a month! The average person cant pay for everything and when you have to budget its pretty easy to figure out what to cut.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 13 Feb 2019 at 5:52pm

Mate, you've commented fourteen times in this one thread just to tell us you wont subscribe.

Why? Are you expecting something to change..?

ron's picture
ron's picture
ron commented Wednesday, 13 Feb 2019 at 7:20pm

Someone above asked to hear from people who live at the beach and whether they subscribe or not.

The rest is obviously about the other recent discussion in here.

Whats the problem? More site visits and interaction not encouraged with the paywall model? If you want less participation, put the pay wall discussion behind the pay wall.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 13 Feb 2019 at 7:36pm

You don't contribute anywhere else on the site yet you've now commented 15 times in this one thread. 

There's no problem, it's just weird.

ron's picture
ron's picture
ron commented Wednesday, 13 Feb 2019 at 7:57pm

Fair enough. Ive used the board forums a little bit.

I suppose i just find this topic interesting as its more of a broad conversation relating to the greater internet rather than arguing with old guys about crowds when i live in the same area and surf with less then 5 guys most of the time, not really productive in more ways than one.

davey's picture
davey's picture
davey commented Thursday, 11 Jul 2019 at 9:01pm

Well you said that the Illawarra cams would be up and running in October 2018.
Maybe you meant 2019. I'd be pissed if I was subscribing..

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Friday, 12 Jul 2019 at 5:50am

No-one is more annoyed at the Illawarra delay than me. But, that doesn't mean things haven't been happening behind the scenes - a huge amount of time and effort has gone into this.

All of the problems have been related to the NBN, and our inability to get internet connections at two of the four new locations (we have two active services running, which we've been paying monthly internet fees for since February). We are hopeful the last two will be resolved soon, though it's essentially out of our control.

Otherwise, all of the hardware for the four new surfcams has been with our local sparky for a few months now, waiting for the go ahead (we were going to do them all at once, we may just have to do two and then wait for the other two to resolve their NBN issues).