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What you can do with the Surf Journal

The Surf Journal iPhone app has two basic goals: make it easy to keep track of when, where, with who, and in what conditions you surf and then use that data to help track your personal surf history and make your own personal surf model.

Traditional surf models treat all surfers alike, generally favoring larger waves with little consideration of swell direction or tide. But we all have different tastes as well as different levels of comfort and skill, and just because there’s swell in the water, it doesn’t mean that all of your surf breaks will be working equally well.

By keeping track of your own personal sessions, the Surf Journal helps you discover which of your favorite breaks work best with different conditions, and the more you surf the more reliable your model becomes. This has a nice symmetry to the general practice in the surfing community of putting in your dues. The more water time you have, the more data you collect, and the more informed you become. All with the goal of finding the conditions that work best for your own taste and ability level.

So what data does the Surf Journal help you collect? For every session the Surf Journal allows you to easily keep track of where you surfed, when you surfed, the observed wave height, your rating for the session, what board you used, who you surfed with, photos of the session, personal notes, multiple buoy readings (swell, wind and water info), tide data and more.

That’s a lot of info for each session but there’s no need to feel overwhelmed. The app either automatically fetches data (buoy and tide readings), makes intelligent guesses based on past sessions (session location, equipment selection) or provides sensible defaults (start and end times, trip). In fact, by just entering the start time of a session before you paddle out, a large amount of value can be extracted with almost no effort.

Having all of your sessions logged isn’t much fun if you can’t look back through them. The Surf Journal allows you to sort your sessions any way you desire. Want to see all of your three star or better days in Santa Cruz when you observed waist to head high waves with swell from the northwest? Piece of cake. You can even view your sessions as a list or plotted onto a map. This allows you to quickly extrapolate which breaks are likely to work best for you with those conditions.

While the past can predict the future, it’s also important to know about the present. This is where the conditions explorer comes into play. It allows you to see a quick summary of the current conditions for every break that you’ve ever surfed. Or you can switch over and get the current conditions for any of the 1,300 plus buoys from around the world.

But the app has a softer side as well. Use the photo explorer to show your friends the sick conditions that they missed and proclaim, “you should have been here yesterday.” Or email them the details of your session to make them drool on the spot. Especially fun to send to all of your landlocked friends.

So what happens to all of the data that you enter? The short answer is, nothing. The data you enter is never transmitted to any servers, never used to reveal secret spots, never sold to anyone and never tested on animals. Just so it’s clear: the things you enter into the Surf Journal iPhone app stay on your device and your device alone. It’s your stoke, your privacy, and your journal.

Next: What’s this Buoy and Tide Database Business?


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