Many of the dudes who populate this drizzly, grey, windswept corner of the globe rely upon wave riding to prevent insanity kicking in, myself amongst them. The worst of this is that surfing itself can drive you mad around these parts – on most occasions the waves are second rate at best, and were there a surf league Pembrokeshire would be languishing somewhere at the watery equivalent of the bottom of the South Wales Amateur Football League.

So in order to catch the feeble local swells at their best it pays to keep an eye on the various internet surf reports – or it would if they were worth the ether they float upon. I’ve just checked one out which tells me the waves at Whitesands are currently shoulder high – well, that they may be, but only if you’re a very small dwarf.

This kind of inaccuracy is common and works both ways – yesterday the surf was much better than the forecast, which was a rare case of it working to my advantage since it meant only two of us were out in the best waves for some time (with the additional bonus of watching the most inept boat handling I’ve ever seen at Whitesands courtesy of members of a film crew shooting Richard II on the beach – a set of oafs had been put in charge of a RIB that almost sank and a rowing boat that did sink in conditions that any fool with half a brain should have been able to deal with).

I came across similar weather forecasting inaccuracy last winter when the snow forecasts for the Alps were invariably bloody useless, and as with surf forecasts it was often the case that a week or so into the future was regularly forecast to see shed loads of snow descending upon us when as any fule no it’s virtually impossible to make such long term predictions with any accuracy

Which begs the question why bother? Well do excuse my cynicism but might it be that if you dangle a carrot in front of people they will usually attempt to bite? So show surfers and/or skiers a good forecast for the week ahead and they’ll keep coming back to your website

And if you can show your advertisers that you’re getting lots of hits you can charge them more, and encourage more of them to sign up.

Voila! The reason why internet surf and snow reports are so very over optimistic and so very underwhelming.

Far better to do it the old fashioned way and learn how to interpret an Atlantic weather chart. Once you can do so you’ll invariably become far more successful at predicting the surf or snow. So much so that whilst the internet tells me that Whitesands is head high right now I’m going home for a cup of tea since my perusal of the weather chart informs me that the only thing it actually will be head high to is Action Man.




  1. Dove says:

    Agreed and so I dangle the carrot (pint of Tetleys in tha case) and challenge you to dispense with consulting these self gratifying forecasting sites. Take up the old tomes, talk to the old salts and learn the ways of Gaia. Back in the day on the farm my old man & his old man used to predict the weather from watching nature & the changing skies. Go on give it a go .. I smell a book!

    • gaylord says:

      Looking at the sky to predict the weather works well today. It’s the colour of damp cardboard and there’s water falling out of it, so I’d say it’s probably raining…

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