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We all use Surfline, Magicseaweed and the like. That said, is there more to surfing apps than robotic surf forecasts? I submit that there is.
A. How often are the reports accurate or consistent? You'll find quite a variance between different apps. Surfline may claim 3-4 occ. 5ft while Magic Seaweed or Wetsand says that was the original forecast, yet wind and a quick-dropping tide has dropped the surf to 2-3ft with inconsistent sets.
B. Let's say that conditions read consistently across all your major apps, awesome. But wait, now that you see decent swell in the radar, you get that disdainful taste in your mouth thinking about the crowd.... it's gonna be packed! Forget it, I'll chance a lesser-known break that may not forecast as strong as your favorite wave. You get lucky, have a lone-wolf (or she-wolf) session with nobody else around to see it go down. Perfect!
Any surfer will fore-go an eyewitness for the betterment of their wave count. Why are wise-tails and fish stories so entertaining?... It's the mythical aura surrounding the truth and how long it's been stretched. Surfline sucker, "Dude, did you paddle out today? Cams showed everything blown to hell." Me, "Oh yeah? I got it early while it was still offshore, 3-4 foot and peeeeeling!"
Enter the GoFlow surfing app.
GoFlow is a Facebook/Twitter/Instagram platform for surfers. It is designed to create a network of surfers posting real-time photos and conditions for their local and traveled surf spots. There's no replacement for eyewitness reports and footage to capture the truth.
Simply sign up using facebook and start tagging your favorite spots around the globe. I found my favorite wave in mere moments, a wave I was surprised to see listed on an off-name surf application. Not only that, it also has swell size, direction and interval (For 4 different times during the day). Further, it lists wind speed and direction; sunrise and sunset; the tide chart for the day and a full weather chart for the day. It's social media and Surfline combined.
From here, you can search forecasts and posts centered around your GPS location or worldwide.
The toolbar at the bottom of the screen also allows you to capture an image of the spot you surfed or are about to surf, rate the conditions and leave notes for others searching local spots to paddle out at.
The first rating is a general feeling about how the waves look or how they were. Apply a thumbs down, thumbs up or blast a "shaka" if you're still grinning from that last wave. The second rating lets you claim the wave/swell size using a sliding scale (i.e. flat, overhead).
Next you rate the wind in the same way by stating the ocean's surface/ texture (i.e. glassy, blown out).
Finally, rate the crowd. Is it empty or packed? Click save, and you're done! Your friends know where you're paddling out and whether it's worth joining you or not.
GoFlow makes everything worth it when you see your friends leashing up while peering out from within a four foot head-dip gem!
Price = Free. It's Surfline/Facebook/Twitter/Instagram all in one and simplified. The platform is incredibly easy to use and bug-free. If this app continues to expand, the world wide web will finally be doing things right when it comes to traditional wave hunting... "We drove by Beacon's on my way here, it's way better down there and empty, we're headed back that way, roll with us.. and shhhhhh! Surfline said it was weaksauce." ...You can choose to say something to your buddies, or, just go get it and tell your friends about it later... online.
Cons: GoFlow needs more users. There are only a few local people posting in my area while L.A. is loaded with useful posts. It's a great idea otherwise. The good news is, you can create your own little network of buddies you already surf with.
It's on my phone now and I intend to use it!
Click here for the free GoFlow download. Join a surfing family instead of following the masses. Start logging your sessions today!