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SwellWatch 3D utilizes the Google Maps interface to present swell models, forecasting charts and a vast library of buoys, surf spots, marine text weather, and tide stations.

Once you have set up your SwellWatch 2.0 account to suite your forecasting needs, use Your Lineup and Surf Sessions to keep a log of your past surf sessions and the conditions. Post blogs and comments and keep up to date with when and where your friends will be surfing next

Below is more detailed information regarding functionality of each initial step.

Navigate the Map

Use the Google Map interface or breadcrumb drop down to navigate around the globe. Find regions pertaining to your local breaks and surf travels toggle between swell, period and wind models. Check the charts related to the regions you navigate to, and read local reports. Use the Date bar and Model animation to check the most recent forecasts or reflect on historical data stored in SwellWatch's archives.

Saved Views

Once You have found a region that you want to be able to access frequently and quickly save it! There is no limit to the number of saved views, and you can re-name them appropriately to represent the information they portray. Don't forget you can add views that include any of the number of markers we have in our database (i.e. local buoys, surf spots, marine text weather, and tide stations).


Turn on the marker categories to be introduced to an extensive library of buoys, surf spots, marine text weather regions and tide stations. These markers when clicked will give you information individual to the specific marker.

Charts: Surf, Wind, Tide and Weather

These charts represent the projected data local to the current region being viewed. If you do not see charts for a region it is because the vastness of the region's area is not well represented by a single set of charts. Sub regions within the parent region will have charts. The four viewable charts are all representative of the weekly projection relative to the current day in time or the archived date chosen from the calendar on the Date Bar. Night and day hours are represented by the dark gray (night) and white (day)Each chart has a roll over function available which provides more specific information. All charts are updated daily and coincide with the swell map over lays. The charts represent the following:

  1. Surf Height, Period and Direction
  2. Wind Speed and Direction
  3. Tide Height
  4. Local Weather

Surf Height, Period and Direction

Swell Height Charts display a forecast of wave heights and periods for exposed beaches within the local region. Significant wave heights (a kind of average) are displayed as a dark blue, thin line and maximum wave heights are shown as the lighter blue area directly above the significant wave height. The scale is shown on the left. The wave period (distance in seconds between successive waves) is displayed as a thin red line, with the scale shown on the right. Rolling the mouse over the graph will show additional wave characteristics at the top of the chart, and a floating spectral display. Clicking on the chart, will lock the cursor allowing a roll over interaction with the Spectral Display for additional information. (see additional help section for Spectral Display).

Wind Forecast Chart

This is the wind speed and direction from which the wind is blowing, predicted just above the sea surface near the shore. It is displayed as knots. You can roll over the wind display to view the wind direction.

Tide Chart

The Tide Chart is a representation of water levels relative to the lowest possible tide (Chart Datum). Heights are reported in feet. The chart above is a snapshot prediction of the following weeks tide charts. Choosing a snapshot will bring up that days full-length tide chart. The current tide level is represented by the green cursor which can be rolled over to check exact heights at specific times. The dark gray signifies night; light gray represents dusk and dawn, and white represents day.


The weather is brought to you by Updated daily with a six day forecast each day linked to a more descriptive assessment of the weather at

Marker Information Pane

The marker information pane is located to the left of the map. It represents a snapshot of information specific to one of the several thousand SwellWatch Markers including buoys, tide stations, surf spots, and NOAA text weather. When a marker is chosen the pane is activated presenting the most up to date information relative to the chosen marker. If the chosen marker is inactive for example a buoy is out of order, a message will let you know that the information is not up to date.

Buoy Marker

The buoy function is a NOWCAST, meaning a display of real-time data or the latest data readings for that buoy. SwellWatch displays the latest buoy data as it is published by providers (NOAA, CDIP, NDBC etc.). We display various types of data based on the capabilities of each individual buoy. Some buoys record a full spectral image representing wave height and period data, while others only display wind data or sea surface temperature. All buoys are different.

The snapshot shows the most current readings accompanied by a 24 hour back log. The backlog shows the current swell trend, i.e. whether it is the swell is picking up or dying off with most recent readings to the right of the chart. a rollover function is built into the graph for more detailed directional and spectral information depending on the kind of buoy. The "About This Buoy" text is linked to the NDBC website specific to each buoy.

Tide Station Marker

The tide function gives you access to over 7,000 tide stations world wide. The pane is a abridged version of the main tide graph seen on the main charts page. Conveniently a 3 day forecast of any specific tide station around the world, and the ability to use a calender function to pick any date in the future or past.

NOAA Text Weather Station Marker

The Text Weather Markers are representative of NOAA's marine text weather regions around United States of America and its territories. The area of each region is described in the title of each pane and is not represented by the exact marker location. Each snap shot has a 7 day marine weather forecast with special warnings and alerts such as "small craft advisories" etc.

Surf Probe Marker

The surf probe is a local representation of each individual surf spots three day surf forecast and presumed current conditions, complete with spectral display. The "view details" text will pop a window showing a full 7 day surf forecast, wind, and tides similar to the regional charts page.

Map Data Selection Menu

The Data Selection Menu below the map interface is a very important tool and will be used frequently during your exploration of vast amount SwellWatch 2.0 content. The activity indicator is located on the left side of the menu and will light up yellow and rotate when SwellWatch 2.0 is processing and/or downloading new information.

  1. The menu gives you the ability to toggle between regional maps of swell, period, wind and 3D (when available) as well as providing the option to turn all overlays off. If the geographical area you are viewing is not a designated region, by selecting one of the overlays you will be snapped to the region closest to your view and the overlay selected will be displayed. An indicator of which region you will be transfered to is shown in the breadcrumb above the map.
  2. The blue "show me" menu to the right of the toggle menu is the access point for SwellWatch's vast array of individual data points. Markers representing points of interest for the selected menu option will appear on the map when a menu option is selected. Depending on your zoom level markers will be revealed on the map. If you do not see any markers, you may need to zoom out. There are two types of markers you will see for each chosen option; a colored triangle representing an individual data point and a cluster of small triangles which signify a tight group of individual data points. Each marker is linked to local information for the respective point. Choosing a cluster of markers will zoom the map in, revealing all points contained within the group. Depending on the area the group spans and the proximity of the markers to each other, more sub groups may appear after zooming in further.

Saved Buoys

The buoy markers have an added feature of being able to save them to your "Saved Buoys" tab. When you select a specific Buoy from the map page, a Marker Information Pane appears, in the lower right corner of this pane there is an option to "Save Buoy". This adds the Information pane to the Saved Buoy tab which you can populate with your most frequently visited buoys. The buoy information will be updated real time allowing you a quick look at the current conditions.

3D Swell Models

The 3D Swell Models retain the color scale, Date Bar and animation controls used by the 2D regional Swell Models just with a different perspective. A few added controls help with navigating between the different 3D locations and each location's directional views.

3D Location Toggle

The drop down, toggle located below the Swell Model, creates an easy way of switching between different 3D locations. The eight closest locations proximity wise including the current location are displayed. This eliminates the task of having to use the map interface to locate switch to a new 3D location.

3D Directional View Toggle

The three arrows signify the directional camera angle at each 3D location. Not all locations have all three views. If a view is unavailable the button will be disabled represented by a grey arrow. White arrows signify available views and the yellow arrow is the currently active view clicking these buttons will result in the camera angle changing to look either left or right.


To exit the scene and return the map simply press the red "X" button or use the breadcrumb navigation which has followed you to your current location. Both methods of exiting will result in the map view at the region related to the last 3D Location viewed.

Your Tribe

"Your Tribe" is a simple community network application creating an interactive user experience based on a network of friends, their profiles and forum style message boards. Each user has a profile which allows them to build a fellow surfer friend base. Your tribe creates a network of surfers enabling them to share their experiences and sessions on a personal basis. The key elements of the application are the user's profile, friends, message board and your surfing plans.


There are two ways to edit your profile information. The first is simply clicking the "edit profile" link in the upper right hand corner of the page. This option will bring you to a new tab labeled "Your account" giving you control over changing your email, password, icon etc. The second method is to use the editable labels on the "Your Tribe" page. Hovering the mouse over your alias or description links and clicking will allow you to change the options with out leaving the existing page. The "change photo" link will take you to the option within the "Your Account" page.


Developing a tight knit group of friends within swell watch is very easy and a great way to stay connected within your local surfing community. Start by inviting friends to join SwellWatch 2.0, accept other's invitations or avoid those people you can't stand seeing in the line up. In order to invite friends to join, simply click the invite friends button and add their email address to the appropriate text box on the page that follows. You can add multiple friends at the same time by adding as many email addresses in the box as you would like. After you have acquired a few friends you can view their profile information by choosing to "view all". This link is also your key to removing any unwanted friends. The friends you add dictate who you sees messages and comments by you, your surfing plans, as well as any posted surf sessions which you document.

Your Surfing Plans

This pane is basically a status bar allowing you to let your friends know when & where you'll be next or update them on any upcoming surf trips you are taking. Clicking "edit" will present a text box which you can either divulge or not divulge as much information about your next planned session as you want. It is up to your discretion what you want people to know about where you surf. Your surf plans will remain until you update them again.

Below the map there are several tabs, one of them says report, clicking on that tab will bring you to the most current report.

The Spectral Display is the one of the most advanced methods for tracking the detailed characteristics of both forecasted and live (Spectral Buoys) swell activity. The display shows the complete dispersion of swell activity at a given location. SwellWatch's models show the most dominant swell approaching an area, but in many cases several swells from a variety of directions will all play a part. The Spectral Display gives a complete analysis of swell height and period from all directions. The Spectral disc is divided into a spectrum of 24 directional "columns", each one covering a 15-degree area. The columns are then divided into 20 concentric circles representing swell periods ranging from 4 seconds (innermost) to 25 seconds (outermost). A directional arrow in the center, and a weighted mean of swell height for a specific direction around the parameter. The colored cells represent a relative intensity of swell height for each specific period and/or direction with the outer most ring representing a weighted mean of swell heights in a given direction. Rolling over the the colored cells produces specific swell height data for each period and angle.

Surf Session Log

The Surf Session Log is a way to quickly log your sessions in SwellWatch 2.0, keeping a recorded history of how the conditions were relative to the predicted surf. This will help in making decisions on when and where to go. You can also share your session logs with friends to keep them informed for next time, or log them as private so you're the only one in the line up. The Surf Session Log consists of two main features, logging an individual session, and managing the existing sessions in your library.

Logging Your Session

  1. Pick a surf spot. Add a new surf spot or choose an existing one. Every time you add a new session with a new surf spot it will add that spot to your list for quick choosing in the future.
  2. Choose a date and time. The current date and time are default, to change the date either use the calendar icon to locate it, or type in the known exact date. After choosing the time of day for your session, you can preview the forecasted SwellWatch 2.0 charts. Charts will only be shown if the date is within one week, the current day, or in the past. If you choose a day outside of this time frame you will not be able to view the charts until they are created (a week ahead of the date).
  3. Rate the Surf. How would you rate the session relative to your other sessions? You will be able to organize your sessions based on whether or not you thought they were good.
  4. Add Comments. Any relative information to that specific trip can be added into this space. Maybe it was your first time there and you got a ticket for parking in a closed lot, or you had to hike 3 miles in and got lost. Use this text field to remind yourself of any information that you deem of importance to your session.
  5. Extra options. A list of characteristics to better describe your session. The more information you provide yourself the better prepared you'll be the next time a swell hits resembling the one you are documenting.
  6. Sharing. Select the "Share with my friends" check box if you wish to make your session publicly available to the friends in Your Tribe. The sharing option utilizes the Your Tribe application making it important to have a good network of fellow surfers. By sharing your sessions with your close friends you can expand each others database of session logs allowing a vast array of different options when the swell hits, or a way to see friendly faces in the line up. If you value your space feel free to leave the check box empty, this will only publish the session log in your own archives, making it valuable to only you.

Managing your Logged Sessions

As you accumulate session logs both personal and publicly traded by your friends you will be able to organize them for quick and categorized viewing. The logs are categorized by location, the user who logged them, the date of the session and the star rating assigned to it. Use the drop down menus to filter your library in the order by which you want to view your sessions. You can also look at the details of each session by clicking on the spot name. This will reveal the charts and specifics characteristics assigned to that session. If the session log was created by you, you can edit any of the information as well as make it public or private. Regardless of who the session log was created by, you can remove any unwanted logs from the library.

Basic Map Navigation

SwellWatch is based on a Google Maps interface with the addition of several hundred easily navigable regions ranging from a global level (i.e. North America West) to more localized locations (i.e. Pipeline) as well as many others in between.

Three methods of navigation are available to explore the regions defined in SwellWatch.

  1. Pan and Zoom
  2. Bread Crumb & Search
  3. Customizable Saved Views

Pan and Zoom Navigation

If you have used the Google Map interface before this is the most intuitive way to navigate through the application. We have added a few tools to help you identify the designated regions. As you move your mouse over the map you will notice a series of red boxes signifying different region boundaries as well as a roll over label for each corresponding region name. Clicking on a highlighted region will zoom in to that regions bounding area showing a swell map specific to that area.

You can also use the Google Map methods of zooming and panning to get to your desired region. The zoom function can be either manually used with the bar at the top of the screen, or with the scroll button on your mouse (if you have one). Panning can be accomplished by simply holding down the left click button and dragging the screen in the direction you want. You will notice that when you begin to zoom or pan to leave the current region, the swell maps local to that area will disappear leaving only Google Maps imagery. Do not be alarmed, you will notice the familiar red outlined regions show up when scrolling over them signifying a designated swell map or by selecting a map type (swell/period/wind) your view will be snapped to the closest region with maps.

Breadcrumb & Search

If you initially started navigating using the Google Maps method of scrolling and zooming you you may have noticed above the map a bread crumb label which depicts the current region you are visiting. It also follows you as your navigate around the world showing a series of parent and sibling regions corresponding to the geographical region you are visiting. Each label is a drop down menu allowing you to quickly relocate to other regions of the world within the parent regions shown. As the breadcrumb grows the regions become more localized until the highest resolution of swell map for a geographical area is achieved. The breadcrumb also acts as an indicator of the most relative region to your current view if their are no swell, period or wind maps shown. By clicking on one of the breadcrumb labels, you will be automatically transfered to the region associated with the label you clicked on.

There is another tool built into the breadcrumb which can be very useful. A search function can be found at the bottom of every breadcrumb drop down menu. By clicking the advanced search button a menu appears which allows you to type in the name of any region or other point of interest. The SwellWatch database will return a list of possible matches within the query. Clicking on any of the icons will update the map to the view associated with the point or region of interest.

Your Saved Views

As you become familiar navigating the map using the Zoom & Pan method or the Breadcrumb method, you may discover that you frequent the same regions or views on a regular basis. For this reason a customizable Saved View drop down function was implemented. The tool allows you to capture an infinite number of views fully featured with swell maps, and other points of interest which you desire (i.e. maps with buoys/tide locations etc.) . To save your desired current view, simply click the tab above the map reading "Your Saved Views" a drop down menu is presented. Click the "Save Current View" button and name according to what you deem appropriate. Now the view you just saved will be added to the same drop down, allowing quick access to it as well as any others you decide to add to the list. If at some point you decide you have no use for one of your saved views you can remove it by clicking the trash icon next to its given name.

Currently the swell models are specific to designated regions specified by the red bounding boxes and are labeled above the map. Therefore when you zoom or pan away from such a region's bounding area, the swell model is disengaged and is not viewable.

To get view the swell model again, you must re-initiate the region's bounded area, by either selecting it from the labels above the map, clicking the "swell", "period" or "wind" buttons bellow the map, or navigating to it via the red bounding box.

Yes. You do need to create a new account, you can use the same email as the one you receive our surf report at. It will remain free, and you will continue to get your surf reports via email as well.

Signing up will create a personal swellwatch experience, where you can log your surf sessions, save favorite buoys, blog about your experiences and keep up with your friends who also surf.

Date Bar

The date bar is the control center for viewing current weekly forecasts as well as for using SwellWatch's archives to hindcast upcoming swell events. As well as showing you the timezone relative to the location you are looking at, this tool allows viewing of both past and present charts and maps in the SwellWatch application. There are three main functions of the date bar.

  1. Weekly Date and Time Bar
  2. Play/Pause
  3. Calendar Archive

Weekly Date and Time Bar

The weekly date bar represents the calendar week in view. By default the week being viewed is a projection of the week to come from the current date. For instance the calendar week above represents a forecast of the week following Wednesday, March 5, 2008. Every day is divided into 4 frames each representing a 6hr period beginning at midnight. Data for each date and time frame can be viewed by clicking on the day of the week (default time will be noon) or clicking on a specific frame within a day; represented by the green highlighted frame.


The play and pause button animates the Google Map interface for a region. The green cursor will start from its current location and proceed to the end of the week in view. If the cursor is at the end of the week, pressing the play button will start animating at the first frame of week.

Calendar Archive

The Calendar icon next to the month is your access to SwellWatch's archive of past swell information. Picking any date in the past will give you the previous forecast for the week proceeding that date. When a historical date is chosen, all charts and maps will be updated to correspond to that weeks data. The Date Bar is fully functional for archived data as well, allowing animation, and selection of specific time frames.