For surfers looking to get a good session in on their free day the importance of being able to see where the waves are cannot be overestimated. No one wants to travel for miles only to discover that there is no swell and little point in getting wet. Surfers want to be able predict that the waves will be there waiting for them and thanks to several recent developments this is far easier today than it ever was in the past. Checking weather reports and learning to understand how waves are formed may have been invaluable to surfers of old. There’s no denying it won’t do you any harm nowadays either but with the prevalence of easy to find surf reports you no longer need to study to find the surf. There are some fantastic websites out there which compile weather charts and predictions with user submitted reports and create maps and even star ratings of how the surf is likely to be at any given spot at any given time. These surf forecasting websites have become more and more popular and as they continue to develop so their accuracy continues to improve. Personally Magic Seaweed is my first stop and it seems to be more detailed and accurate than the competition. Ben Freeston founded the Magic Seaweed website and he built software which took wave buoy data from the web and combined it with wind and pressure system reports to create forecasts. It has grown and become more complex over the years and is now used by thousands of surfers. Of course there are several other websites, A1 Surf offer reports as well and Wanna Surf is another good resource. If you want to be even more certain of good surf you can also check out a webcam of a shore. Many popular surf spots are now equipped with webcams and you can log on and check for yourself how the conditions are looking. In the past you might have phoned a local surf shop to get your report and this can still be worthwhile but being able to check for yourself is great. The fact it is easier to find good surf nowadays is not just down to the internet. The growth in popularity of mobile phones is another factor which makes it much easier to find good conditions. Whether you are phoning a local shop on the road or checking in with surfing buddies you always have a means of contact on you, at least until you are actually in the water. The only downside to the improvements that have been made in forecasting is the fact that the information is open to everyone and more experienced surfers often get frustrated at beginners turning up. Knowing where the good swell is means that the top spots are always busy. Even during the week with the rise in popularity of flexi-time at work a good report will often result in a busy line up. Still busy or not it is much better to be able to predict where you can catch a real wave before you set off.