Elemakule Guy On How To See The Swell Coming
We link you directly to the multi-million dollar weather/wave buoy systems of NOAA and Scripps, for the U.S. coasts, Hawaii, and some distant Pacific islands (click: Buoy Data). When you couple the wave heights (WVHT), wave period (DPD/APD), and wind direction/speed (WDIR/WSPD), with the tide chart (click: Tide Data, then: Prediction) for a specific area; you’ve got the information necessary to know what’s breaking.

The information will always favor the local surfers. They know from these stats not only what’s breaking in the buoys’ region, but other spots the same swell and tides will bring up. Many of the buoys also give a 24 hour history, so you can often determine whether the surf is rising or falling.

The Animated Wave Forecasts are for all oceans. These are 7 day forecasts showing heights and direction of all the significant wave patterns, as they form and move. If you’ve watched the waves approaching your region on this forecaster and the buoys show the wave heights are falling, you won’t be fooled by the temporary decrease in heights. 

Watching the cams for one break or another will never tell you as much as checking the 48 hour history of the region’s buoy(s). You may be watching a lull or some periodic “big” waves. If you have time, cams may show you how many surfers are out and, if you don’t know the break, you can see where the peaks, spread and 2nd  breaks are. But if you’re working and it’s really fine, you may cause damage to your computer. 

Of course, the more you use the data stream, the faster you’ll put the picture together. Nobody uses any other data gathering equipment for the foundation of quality forecasts. You can add other means of observation including the LA County Beach Patrols’ 4 hour direct observation, surf report (Go to cams list and click LA County). But we think the raw and complete data from the ocean’s mouth is no ka ‘oi. We use the Hawaii buoys for fast and accurate directions to the best surf, everyday.

Now and again, the buoys fail and need maintenance. So, if you take data from other buoys, on occasion, you’ll know better how to interpret the animations, cams and other reports to fill in. All other best quality systems, subscription or not, will do this. When you’re not in a hurry, go to NOAA’s buoy homepage, click the regional map and find the buoys with smaller data reports. They may be handy someday.

More free surf cams are coming to the web. You can argue the good and bad of that, but they’re coming and improving technology will bring better definition. The LA County Fire Dept. saw the sense in improving their beach/water patrols with technology. More counties and countries will follow… and probably Paris Hilton will find some way to eclipse the view of the surf.

Aloha and hau’oli he’e nalu,  Elemakule Guy

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