“Dude, these waves are a bummer. I swear, it looked so good on the cam.” Sound familiar? It should. This is a complaint that can be heard at most breaks when the swell is mediocre.
Most people who surf use surf forecasting websites to check the water conditions before they choose if, when and where to paddle out. It’s a product of the contemporary, Internet driven era. Sure, some will complain this has blown up spots or taken away from the “good old days” of having to go look at a number of breaks to asses the conditions. But, surf forecasting generally seems to help more people than it hurts. So, I support it.
Let’s get back to the issue. There is often a discrepancy in what the report says i.e. 2-4’+ with good conditions, and what people experience in the water i.e. 1-2′ and blown out. So, in an effort to give a “real-life” report of the waves, Trace has teamed up with the surf forecasting giant Surfline to create “Surfline Scout.”
The program will provide certain “scouts” with a Trace device for their board, the scout will surf a specific break, and then the data from that scout’s session will be linked to the report for said break. Trace captures the following: “waves per hour, average length of ride, paddle distance, real-time water temperature and other insightful data.”
How will these scouts be chosen? Apparently, it will be a very small group of surfers who”meet minimum standards for frequency of surfing and ability at the most frequently viewed breaks on Surfline.” What exactly constitutes the “minimum standards” and “frequency” to be considered for a scout position is fairly nebulous. However, there is no denying that this marrying of advanced surf technology only stands to benefit all those who frequently open their phones and laptops to check the surf.
The most exciting part about this is how personal and simultaneously factual surf reports can become. On one level there is the report that says, in hyperbolically colloquial terms, “Yes, it looks fun. Get out there.” Or, “No, it’s flat. Stay in bed.” But now, there is a second level which will show you exactly what to expect if you were to go surf that break at that exact moment. Science, people!
What a time to be alive.
Feeling inspired? Sign up to be a Surfline Scout here.