5 Apps that will make you a better surfer
If there’s one annoyance common to all surfers, it’s predicting whether there’s going to be decent waves at your chosen spot.
Most of us have been there: you wake up to a promising breeze and head expectantly to the beach only to find that the water is completely flat. So whatever your level, the first essential app worth getting hold of is a decent surf forecaster.
MagicSeaweed is a good example. Allowing you to access up-to-date information on thousands of beaches across the globe (including the UK), it’s just what you need for checking vital stats such as swell height, surf size, wind strength and temperature before you set out.
So with the risk of a wasted trip minimised, next comes your technique. You’d be hard pressed to find something to download that will have you instantly riding the swell like a pro, but there are plenty of apps out there that help you with troubleshooting, keep track of your progress, give you inspiration and get you connected with the wider surfing world. Here are five of the best…
iSurfer - iOS
This is a handy bundle of tools offering a mine of information for newbies and experienced surfers alike.
Beginners can access tips on the basics such as positioning, paddling, balance and catching waves. Intermediate surfers will benefit from instructions on how to master key manoeuvres, while the advanced section promises to “help you take your surfing to the boundaries”. None of this is a substitute for in-the-flesh mentoring from a pro, but it’s always useful to have the essentials at your fingertips – if only as a memory aid.
You also get a surf log feature, making it easier to record your surf sessions and look back on your progress, together with hints and tips on equipment and safety.
The name Joel Parkinson will be familiar with anyone who pays close attention to the ASP World Championship Tour. “Parko”, as he is known, has now retired from the circuit and, along with leading Ironman, Wes Berg, has lent his name to this app dedicated to helping you become a better surfer.
Each of the 30 programmes and 150 exercises featured on the app are surfer-specific, with a strong focus on core strength, legs and balance. Featuring instructions and video demos, you can choose to hone your regime to match the type of waves you want to surf, build up your own programmes, track your progress and share your results with friends.
Surfr - iOS
For tips on when and where to surf, for inspiration and for building up a network of surfer contacts, Surfr is worth checking out.
Tap on a surf spot near you to view surf reports and then see who’s available to hit the beach with you. Upload photos from your best sessions and view other users’ images to get a real feel for what new destinations are like. You can also tap into the power of the crowd for down-to-earth views on where to eat and sleep in new destinations you’re not yet familiar with.
If you’re looking for inspiration from the world’s best surfers, this is the ideal app. Watch live event broadcasts from the World Surf League, get alerts whenever a big competition is about to start and build personalised feeds to track the progress of your favourite athletes. You can save highlights – and you can even build a fantasy surfing team and compete with your friends.
No-one’s seriously suggesting that a surfing sim is going to improve your technique, but at the very least, it’s a surf-related way of passing the time when you can’t get to the beach.
With this game, Billabong’s pro surfers including Andy Irons, Taj Burrow and Tiago Peres pop up from time to time to give real life tips. The developers boast that no two waves are the same and a lot of work has gone into making the locations look as real as possible. It’s no substitute for the real thing, but fun nonetheless.
Apps can be fantastic for pointing you in the right direction and for general reference. For novices looking to learn the basics however, there’s no substitute for in-the-flesh instruction from a pro. With this in mind, visit Surfing Great Britain for details of surf schools in your local area to make sure you’re on the right track.