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Why does it matter?

As a surfer one of the very first things you learn is that not all days are equal when it comes to waves. That perfect fun sized day, clean, waist high waves and sunny skies that got you hooked when you were first learning was something you might not have seen again for a while. Likewise when you get your skills dialled those perfect barrels are something that you have to learn to sit and wait for. Depending on where you live this game is more or less important. If you’re lucky enough to be based in Indonesia you’re blessed with consistent year round swells and weather that changes by the season. If you live in England or Oregon (for example) you might see your share of swell but it’ll be less consistent and your weather is more likely to change by the hour.

It’s quite humbling to learn that we’ve really only had an understanding of the creation and travel of ocean swells since the early 1960’s and yet with modern computer systems our generation of surfers is the first that, with a little skill, can work out exactly what the surf will be doing almost a fortnight in advance for many locations. With just a little effort you can genuinely glimpse the future in a way that would have seemed like witchcraft not so very many years ago. Learning how to do this brings two benefits, the obvious is you can get yourself to the right beach at the right time on the right day to make the most of the surf on offer. You get more waves, better waves and less wasted journeys. The less obvious but almost more powerful benefit is a sense of connection with the ocean and a new sense of perspective on the planet that is our home. That swell you ride in the rain on the beach in Washington could have been born thousands of miles away in the Southern Hemisphere. It could have already seen sunnier shores in Central America, it’s quite possibly already been surfed on the coral fringes of remote Polynesian islands and as you take to the water surfers in Hawaii are likely making the most of swell from the same original storm. Learning how the science and data fits with your experience is a journey. It’ll take time to fully understand all the intricacies if that’s something that interests you – but right now with a little help you can use the tools here on MSW to start scoring more waves…