I was obviously a very good boy in 2013, as Santa delivered me a very cool yellow Nokia Lumia 1020 for Christmas.
I’ve been using my trusty iPhone 3 up until now, but decided I needed to confront my Apple Mac habit and try something new.
The camera is magnificent! However I’m a poor photographer. So this post is designed to save you time in finding Surf apps for your Windows phone.
Magic Seaweed is my favourite iPhone app, but it’s not as good on the Windows phone. Looking at the reviews on the app store, it fails to work at all for many people.
Anyway it does work for me using Windows 8 on my Nokia Lumia 1020, and it does the job with detailed surf forecasts and playable swell charts, period charts, wind charts and pressure charts.
The surf reports consist of charts for:
• surf height and wind
• air and sea temperature
• sunrise and sunset times,
Along with the best swell, wind and tide conditions for each spot.
If you surf in the U.S. and have a Windows phone, you need the Surfline app.
Tide is powered by Magic Seaweed, but the interface is very different. Tide is simple to use and attractive to look at.
That doesn’t mean Tide is designed just for ‘blond’ surfers. I think everyone can enjoy a bit of well designed software, that gives you all the surf info you need in 1-2 clicks.
I think Tide is set to become my surf forecast tool of choice.
The Surf Gallery app is perfect for a hungry surfer like me. If I could surf 24/7 I would, but I can’t – nobody can. So when the waves are unrideable, it’s dark and cold outside and your body is aching – tap into some online surf action.
Obviously, check in on the Surfer Dad blog first. But with the Surf Gallery app you have all the latest surf videos and surf news in one place, from a range of quality sources and social networks.
How to surf
If you’re a learner or planning to book a surf lesson soon, then get ahead with the How to Surf app.
With easy to understand advice on paddling, duck diving, catching a wave, standing up, riding a wave and tips for choosing the right equipment – this app is a complete beginners guide to surfing.
When you’ve built up a bit of confidence, check out the ‘big wave’ section.
Nokia App Social
If you’re into sharing, and I am, then Nokia App Social helps you share and find other great Windows apps from like minded people.
Much like other social networks you can like, comment and follow other members, and their favourite app lists. Unlike other social networks, you can get competitive by liking, following and listing yourself to the top of the Leaderboard.
To find the other Windows surf apps I like and use, just open App Social and search for ‘surferdad’.
If you know of any other great surfing apps for Windows phones, please share your discoveries in the comments below. Thanks.
This post was written as part of a partnership with Nokia, however all thoughts and opinions are mine.
Leonardo Da Vinci said “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”.
For ultimate surfing sophistication go handboarding.
Longboard or shortboard? Twin fin or thruster? Fish or Egg? Surfing can get complicated, but not handboarding.
All you need is your hand plane, maybe a wetsuit and ideally some fins – and you’re in there like swimwear. Whilst you’re getting kegged, your surfing buddies are still in the car park deciding what board to wax up.
Still not convinced? Check out this handboarding 101 for all you need to know, or even simpler – check out the smiles on these faces:
All images courtesy of Slyde Handboards.
As promised, here’s the full update of surf spots visited and lessons learned on our long haul family surf trip to New Zealand.
Hopefully you can grab a tip or two for your next surf tour to Kiwi land.
Surf spots visited
With 3 weeks in New Zealand, we decided to stick to the North Island.
We stopped at the thermally thrilling Rotorua and found Killer Whales in the Bay of Islands, but below is the low-down on the surf spots we visited:
Piha, near Auckland
Summary: beautiful beach break that works at all tides.
Surfboard hire cost: $20 for 2hrs or $30 for half day, from Lion Rock surf shop
Lion Rock surf shop is attached to the general stores, next to the campsite a row back from the beach front. It offers surfboards rental, wetsuit hire, surf lessons and the usual surf accessories.
I was amazed when the chap in the shop knew of my home town Bodmin. Apparently he hung out in Newquay for a while. This became a recurring theme of shop assistants.
Piha is very rippy! It’s so dangerous they have a permanent video camera in the lifeguard shack to film a rescue show for TV. Eddie Vedder nearly drowned whilst surfing at nearby Karekare.
It was onshore when I surfed it, but there were still head high good waves to be had out back. The shifting peaks changed constantly with the tide.
The black sand is like molten when the sun shines. Impossible to walk on without sandals (or jandals as they’re called in NZ).
Summary: legendary point break, produces some of the best lefts in the world.
Surfboard hire cost: $30 half day from Raglan surf emporium
Raglan is actually the name of the town nearby, where there’s lots of surf shops and cafes. There’s also a couple of surf shops that hire boards located on the road to Manu Bay. Manu Bay is the main break, with Whale Bay a bit further out around the corner.
It took us about 3 hours to get to Raglan from Auckland in the campervan. Camping and accomodation options are limited, so it’s best to book ahead during peak season.
We didn’t book ahead, so ended up stayed at Kevs, an eco campsite! Meaning no electricity and drop toilets, but it did have good views out over Raglan estuary.
Summary: variety of beach breaks and reefs to explore but fickle in the summer
Surfboard hire cost: $25 half day from Pandora Kayaks
In Napier there’s a choice of surf spots including Awatoto, City Reef and Westshore – but there was only a ripple whilst I was there.
I did consider driving 45 minutes south out of town to Ocean Beach or Cray Bay, but the 0 – 1 ft surf forecast convinced me to take a tour of the wineries instead.
Stayed at Kennedy Park resort, 20 minutes walk in to town centre. Loads to do for the kids, swimming pool and great facilities.
World class red wine is grown here on the ‘Gimblett Gravels’, a unique volcanic area deemed perfect for certain grape varieties. So make sure you allow time to visit a few wineries. I enjoyed a tasting and bought a few bottles from Esk Valley Wine Estate, to ease my wave withdrawals.
Hahei and Hot Water Beach
Summary: unverified right hand reef break
Surfboard hire cost: unknown but available from the Top 10 Hot Water Beach holiday park
Allegedly there’s a decent right hand reef break at Hahei, but alas not when I visited.
The beach break at Hot Water Beach 15 minutes drive south didn’t yield any waves either.
However both spots are well worth a visit.
Hahei is the gateway to the infamous Cathedral Cove, which is promoted in all the tourist gumf and has featured in one of the Narnia movies (can’t remember which one).
There is a campsite next to the beach but it was full. It’s also quite expensive, but you can get sea views and it’s a hop and skip to the beach.
Hot Water Beach is named after the fact that at low tide you can dig a hole in the sand, and you have your own thermal spa bath. This is due to the beach being directly on top of a fault line. I’m guessing you can surf here in boardies all year round?
1. Before you go, banish all misconceptions of your family holiday being a surf trip
My better half and daughter don’t surf (yet). They both like the beach, but only if the sand is cool enough to walk on, the sea warm enough to swim in and the weather hot enough to burn in.
Even if all of those conditions are met, we are talking about 2-3 days entertainment max. So I advise having plenty of options near by, including playgrounds, swimming pools, ice cream vendors, shops, family tourist attractions.
2. Leave the surfboard at home
The cost of transporting and repairs will often outweigh the cost of hiring a board. Even if hiring is a bit more expensive, it’s worth it to save the hassle of carrying it around everywhere whilst trying to deal with all the usual frustrations of travelling with tired children and partners.
Surfboard hire is no problem at all the surf locations I visited. Reasonable rates and a decent choice of surfboards were the norm. So embrace the chance to try new board shapes and sizes. Chances are they’re more suited to the local waves than your board back home.
3. Pack the wetsuit
New Zealand water is cold all year round. Not as cold as the UK, but you won’t look silly in a full 3mm steamer in summer. A shorty will do the job in the warmer months and you can surf in your shorts for the novelty, but you’ll get cold quickly.
4. If there’s a wave, get in there
This rule applies at home, but even more so on holiday. Don’t wait for better conditions or a more convenient time. If there’s a wave grab a board and get wet straight away, you may not get another chance.
5. Go West
During my time in NZ (Dec/Jan) the West coast waves were far more consistent. The beaches near Auckland nearly always had a wave, and the surf forecast for Raglan always showed a bump. However onshores were a constant threat.
The New Plymouth / Taranaki region appears the most fruitful option for surfers, with a wide range of consistent breaks. Unfortunately it was a bit out of the way for us and appeared to offer little in the way of entertainment for the kid. Maybe next time.
The east coast areas I visited are more setup for tourism and have more to offer families, but the swell is much more fickle.
The Gisborne region also has a lot to offer for surfers (and wine lovers) but it’s a good days drive from anywhere of significance and sadly we didn’t have enough time on this trip.
6. Check the surf forecast
New Zealand has a lot more breaks and surf options than I thought. From the wild west coast points to east coast artificial reefs, but before you travel days in search of waves – check the forecast. If you know the surf is going to be flat, do a bit of sightseeing instead and cash in on quality time with the family.
I found the free Sherpa surf guide app really useful, unfortunately I discovered it two weeks into my trip. It could have saved me a few disappointments and settled a few ‘beach or sightseeing?’ debates.
If you’ve got any good family surf trip tips to share, please add them in the comments below.
Happy New Year, One and All.
Apologies for the lack of posts recently, but Christmas and New Year were busy and now I’m in New Zealand!
I’m planning a full update of surf spots visited and lessons learned on a long haul family surf trip, but for now here’s a pic of Piha.
It’s just 30 minutes away from the centre of Auckland!
There’s lots of surf infographics out there at the moment, but I felt this one contained a few surprising and interesting facts worth sharing. Hope you like it:
Following the success of their cool Winter Tales in Newquay video, the real surfer girls are back with a scorching new Euro edition.
This summer, Hannah Bristow and Dannie MacLegend, swapped their bobble hats for trucker caps and left freezing Fistral for solar heated Hossegor, because “Kelly Says… Go French”.
For jelly-sweet surfing, comedy commentary, sexy straight-handers, crazed Kelly stalking, elderly nudity and wine induced wackiness, watch the best summer surf video of the year, here:
Want more? Here’s an exclusive interview with Hannah and Dannie about going French…
• Where did you go in France and for how long?
Hannah: I was driving back from Barcelona and Dannie wanted a little break as the UK waves this summer hadn’t been the best, so we met halfway in South France.
Dannie: We stayed in a really cool little fishing village called Mimizan, about an hours drive South from Bordeaux. We had the best apartment like a minutes walk from the beach! We surfed there most days but spent a lot of time scouting the coast line too, and did quite a few wee missions to Hossegor, Biarritz and even Zarautz in Spain!
• How d’ya like your croissants?
Dannie: Five at a time.
Hannah: I think I ate my own weight and then Dannies weight in croissants.
• When in France, whadya miss from Newquay?
Dannie: Having some vague notion of local knowledge! We spent a whole morning one day trying to find a beach near us that would be a little more sheltered only to find out that everywhere was pretty much exactly the same.
Hannah: The weather.
• Favourite French wave? Why?
Hannah: Most days when we surfed it was either 6-7ft barrels or 2ft and onshore! But my favorite wave is Grande Plage in Biarritz, even though it has the worst crowds ever! It’s got everything from barrels to sections to open faces, it’s the perfect training ground….except when you’re duck diving underneath beginners that are getting sucked over the falls.
Dannie: Oo that’s a tough one. Can I say Zarautz even though it’s in Spain? No? Okay… Maybe Mimizan because it was punchy but not too hectic, and I don’t think we surfed it with more than about five other people. Even though I’m fairly confident that some days there might have been poo in the water.
• Wine or Irn Bru?
Dannie: AAAH these questions are sooo difficult! Lovely wine or irn bru? I probably drink more wine than irn bru so probably that. Maybe someone should invent some sort of fluorescent orange wine!? They’d be on to a winner for sure! They can call it irn woohooo
• Top tips for surfer girls going to France?
Hannah: Don’t surf Hossegor in only a bikini with no rash vest….the whole volcom team pretty much saw my nipples when I face planted on the shore dump.
Dannie: DO IT! Get a car, explore a bit, drink rose wine and eat snails.
• Favourite French word/phrase?
Dannie: j’ai un pomplemouse..dans le garcon
• Most memorable sight you saw on the sands of France?
Dannie: Kelly Slaters shiny noggin.
Hannah: If you look at our video clip, just at the start of the surf sections, there’s a guy in speedos doing the best stretches ever. Also Kelly Slater (he wasn’t the guy in the speedos stretching).
• Did you get naked for Slater?
Hannah: It was hard but I managed to stop Dannie.
Dannie: But he got naked for us. Sort of.
• Like your shiny new Kelly Says site, what’s next?
Hannah: EPISODE 3!!! We just filmed it in Scotland and it was so much fun but soooo cold! We also got some nice warm hats given to us by a sick Scottish clothing company getwetclothing.co.uk – they felt our pain!! Honestly, I think episode 3 might be the best one yet (should I say that?)….it really did push our limits in terms of “paddling out no matter what” when it was -2 and pretty much flat!
Dannie: Thawing in the Canaries hopefully! And lots more surfing and laughs!
If you’re now addicted to Hannah and Dannie and need another dose, check out Episode 1 and their first Surfer Dad interview in “How real surfer girls roll“.
You should also visit the official Kelly Says website.
• On Sunday 8th December
• At Porthtowan beach and Blue Bar
• Fun surf comp 11am-1pm
• Shopping & festivities 1pm-5pm
• Free entry
• Stalls available for £10
(proceeds to DEC Philippines Appeal)
It’s a festive waveriding meet for all comers from hand plane ho ho hoe-downers to purveyors of the yule tide log and any surf craft in between!
The emphasis is on good vibes, good rides and good times with spot prizes and X-Mass presents awarded to those demonstrating appropriate levels of stoke, so see you in the line up between 11am and 1pm!
Hosted at the Blue Bar in Porthtowan, and lubricated by mulled wine, mince pies and music, the festivities continue 1pm – 5pm with P-Bay.
P-Bay is an exciting mix of artists, artisans, writers, doers, makers and surf board shapers.
Here you’ll discover the finest surf jumble plus pop ups including Finshack, Revolver Surf Shop, Seed Surf Company, Roo’s Beach, Whale Submarine, Traditional Surfing, Moo Hats, London Surf / Film Festival, Approaching Lines and more. This is the place to pick up something truely special for the favourite surfer in your life!
If you have a pre-loved board you’d like to trade or sell, feel free to bring it on the day!
Entry is free and stalls are £10 (proceeds to DEC Philippines Appeal)
Stall Enquiries E: email@example.com
With Nazaré getting scary for Halloween and Apple Computers calling their latest software ‘Mavericks’, I decided to hop on the big wave band wagon.
After paddling through the mush of bad quality videos and macho mumbo jumbo, I finally found these magical monster waves in motion. So get comfy, stay warm and get ready to go large:
Nazaré – Portugal
Shipsterns – Tasmania
Teahupoo – Tahiti
Dungeons – South Africa
Jaws – Hawaii
Mavericks – California
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