Instantly see how the sets are coming in with real-time buoy data
This is kind of pushing it. I’m in Baja watching set waves close out a popular reef break every 15 minutes or so. As the buoy shows, a single 15-footer washes through, creating swirling currents that take me directly toward the rocks and steep cliffs as I try to paddle through the shorebreak.
After two attempts, I know it isn’t worth the effort. If I ever did make it out, there’s too much water moving and I am sure to get smacked by the bombs breaking outside the perfectly peeling rights on the reef.
The wave period is especially important because a long-period ocean swell, at 20 seconds, grows and breaks as much higher surf than a shorter 10-second wave. Online surf forecasts are pretty good at relaying this information about a week in advance. I check the surf forecast at least once a day. But when it comes to going out and finding the best waves, the buoy report has the last word on where to score waves.
For the most in-depth buoy reports, I use swellmatrix.com on my phone. It breaks down the swell hitting the buoy, telling me the exact height and period of all the individual swells in the ocean. Then I zoom in on every wave the buoy records, seeing how many waves are in a set and how often the sets hit.