As surfers, we have a huge selection of useful, and not-so-useful, smartphone apps that we can access in order to affect our surfing experience. A quick search for “surfing” in the iTunes App Store turns up nearly 800 surf-related games, forecasting tools and social sharing platforms that range from excessively simplistic to overly complicated. Nearly everyone has their own list of surf apps du jour, but with the ever-evolving nature of smartphone app development, those lists become stale and outdated as quick as they got hot.
Personally, I don’t use too many surfing apps on my phone. I tend to stick with the more well-known forecasting apps like Surfline and Magicseaweed. In reality, there are hundreds of other apps that can be extremely useful to surfers like me who aren’t as app savvy. In an attempt to shed light on some of the lesser-known surf apps out there, I’ve come up with a handful that surfers must know about.
Editor’s Note: These apps are listed in no particular order.
1. NOAA Ocean Buoys
Ocean geeks should definitely check out the NOAA Buoy and Tide Data app. The app pulls in weather information directly from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Buoy Center giving users a highly detailed look at wind speed and direction, air and water temperature, atmospheric pressure and tide information.
Another app that lets users log their surf sessions but with a philanthropic twist. Surfr connects surfers with their friends by allowing them to share photos and other session details, but the app also promotes social good by crowdsourcing user logs in order to determine medical, clean water, sanitation and conservation needs in coastal communities across the globe. As app creator and native Floridian Nick Mohnacky explains, “Users may document garbage on the beach then Surfr coordinates with the proper non-profit to host a cleanup. Likewise, a user may visit an orphanage in a small town in Central America and document that they need medical supplies or clean drinking water then Surfr would map the region and send out the data to the proper charity.”
Developed by Surf Life Saving Australia, the Beachsafe app is designed to give surfers down under detailed weather, tide, swell, hazard, and safety patrol information for approximately 12,000 beaches in Oz. Users can even check on UV indexes and find out the location of red and yellow flags at various beaches.
4. Surf Stoked
Surf Stoked allows users to set up a log of their surf session and share the information with their friends. After configuring the app’s outgoing mail server, users can share live photos and ratings of the day’s surf, or they can invite their friends to the next session. According to app creator Eddy Azar, Surf Stoked will result in “Hours saved with every session, which means more time surfing with friends and less time planning and organizing.”
The tagline for Coasting is “easy surf forecasting,” and the app certainly delivers. Unlike the Surfline and Magicseaweed apps, which offer droves of info but can sometimes be cluttered and confusing, Coasting matches actual conditions with ideal wind and swell directions for your favorite breaks and presents the data in a clean, easy to understand interface. Coasting can even suggest a spot to surf based on the conditions and allow you to compare the suggestion against alternative breaks.
Most surf apps give some tide information for a given break, but TideGraph allows users to view an entire month’s worth of tidal data in a single snapshot. The main overview screen also shows whether the tide is currently dropping or rising, and at what rate it is doing so.
iSurfer is actually a robust collection of apps that have been designed to serve surfers of all skill levels, providing tips on technique, surfboard selection and repair, and the ability to share data about your surf sessions. There are even apps for specific surfboard shapers which allow users to browse different models and order their next custom board.
Clean, intuitive, and best of all, free, the goFlow app gives users the opportunity to share photos, stories, and messages with their friends in under 15 seconds. Using ratings sliders for crowds, surface conditions, wave height and overall surf quality, users are able to quickly rate a specific surf break and share that data with their friends through the app and via Facebook.