I guess I'm a minority, because I find Magic Seaweed to be a very useful tool, with decent accuracy. At least for NJ.
Thing is, it doesn't give you surf heights like many sites do, it gives you information to help ascertain surf height. It's really just swell data, but it's a nice grouping of data.
Once you get used to the readings, and how they translate to the surf at the spot(s) in your area, I find it can be very useful. The "Full Swell Breakdown" section is more useful then the "Summary View" in my opinion.
If you don't want to try and translate raw data, and are looking for a site to just flat out predict the the wave height at your beach for you, well magic seaweed won't do that. SwellInfo and Surfline will, and Swellinfo does so much better than Surfline in my opinion, at least on a free level. I haven't seen the pay version of surfline.
I tried MS also but it is not accurate at all. I then used it just for a quick check on weather and windspeed. Yhat was usually wrong also....
Magicseaweed is the worst forecasting tool out there. i dont even check it its so bad. everything is way overforecasted. it could be knee high and they are calling for 5-6' surf. always way off.
agree with zach about surfline- great tool and usually spot on. the only time they are usually off is if they underforecast the surf. that happens sometimes in the summer, where they might call it 1'+ and you go to a good spot to find waist to stomach high waves coming through.
Step one: Use a data point...
a fine comparison is tomorrow in VB. It looks like we will have favorable conditions and a bit of short/medium period swell. Swellinfo estimates 6ft @ 8secs but then graphs the wave height at stomach high (very probable). Magic seaweed predicts 8ft @ 8sec, graphing an overhead wave (yeah, right). Iv been surfing vb for a long time and true overhead days are few and far apart, and NEVER short period.
As far as vb having waves 20% of the time, I think thats a little high. I guess the question is: Define "surf". Does that mean 2-4 foot and offshore? because thats once a week, no problem. If its head-high plus and offshore, then we are talking 8-10 days/year max.
Last edited by leethestud; Jan 17, 2011 at 04:35 PM.
I do like the little map at the top of the MagicSeaweed page that shows the swell and wind direction arrows. A good little visual tool, and seems fairly accurate. Also, in the summary section it gives a long range forecast over a week out, which gives you some forsight into what could happen.
But I don't use it as my main forecast tool like this site, I just find some good things with their setup and use them.
See, i don't think magic seaweed even attempts to graph a wave. I think magic seaweed's graph is a swell height, not a wave height. That's the difference. They only give the data, whereas swell info converts that raw data to a prediction of actual surf height.Magic seaweed predicts 8ft @ 8sec, graphing an overhead wave (yeah, right)
If I look at my area for Wed, at the specified times, the data on MS and Swell are pretty darn close:
9AM MS-4.7 @ 8s......Swellinfo-4.9 @ 9s
12AM MS-3.9 @ 8s......Swellinfo-4.3 @ 8s
3PM MS-2.9 @ 8s......Swellinfo-3.3 @ 8s
I like to be able to compare. here they are the same, which is strong, but there are times where one is picking something up a little differently than the other.
maybe it's because I'm old and looking at raw data used to be one of the only ways we could get a decent prediction...that or call the surfline 900 number which tey updated once a day if we were lucky.
I also like this one because instead of just using an arrow for swell direction, It gives the degree of each swell when you click on the bar graph. Only problem with this one is the time is off. It shows the swell about 8-12 hours further forward in time than it really hits. If you keep that in mind, then the data is pretty useful. Again, doesn't really give wave heights, just data
All the sights are pointing to a nice swell for WED in NJ
So, there are quite a few clean, offshore 1-2ft days that MS does not register as "surf" but there are equally as many days of onshore, windchopped victory at sea that do get counted... So, it seems to kind of average itself out....
by 20% is probably pretty accurate, based on the fact that 5-8% of those recorded conditions were probably terrible. Rain. Onshore wind.
But the point is, even with 20MPH onshores and windchopped shore break, "technically" you can go out and ride it.