Here you will find a guide on how to read a surf report as well as the Surf Report for Widemouth Bay in Bude. Surf reporting/forecasting can be a daunting prospect if you don’t know what your looking at. Here is a brief guide on how to work out whats going on, however please remember that surf forecasting is a like weather forecasting and even Mr Fish can get that wrong!
The first thing you will see on the images below is a moving image of some Hippy Tie-dye moving across the Atlantic – Try to ignore this for now!
Look on the table for where it says ‘Swell Rating’. This gives you a rough guide as to the size and quality of surf that arrives at the beach. The dark coloured stars indicate power and size of waves. The more of them the larger more powerful surf. The light coloured starts means less than favourable winds. As a beginner the perfect surf would be 1 dark star and no light coloured stars….you with me still?
The Swell Period (or Period on the chart) relates to the distance in time between each wave. The higher the number the more organised and powerful the swell will be usually because the swell has been created by a big storm and has travel a long distance to arrive on our coastline – This swell will arrive in nice long, beautiful, glorious and sumptuous… ahem…sorry… lines! The lower the seconds between the waves means that the waves will be confused and stormy in character.
You may wish to know about Swell Direction. Widemouth Bay has a narrow swell direction due to its location (thank you Cornwall, Ireland and Wales!)! Other beaches may be exposed to a range of ‘Swell Directions’ causing a range of conditions.
Swell Height is a calculation taking in to account the Swell Rating, Period, Direction and knowledge provided by feedback from surfers of a particular surf spot. This end figure is the size of waves that we would expect to see break-in on the beach of the surf spot.