Going to Ireland on a good chart is strongly advised. Photo: Timo.

Sick of getting skunked? Tired of being that guy who makes everywhere go flat/onshore just by rocking up? Today’s swell forecasts mean you need suffer no longer. See a swell, count your funds, chase it. Sounds simple, right? Here are a few further pointers.


Leading up to it, watch what’s happening. You don’t need to be a meteo master but establishing patterns is a good idea. Have a few potentials in mind based on your budget (e.g for Europe: Portugal/ France/Ireland) and check their forecasts from around ten days or even two weeks out.

2. NORTH....

Hmmm. Going north is trickier. Going somewhere like northern Scotland that requires a N swell borne from around 60 deg N of the equator involves more uncertainty in terms of the forecast than your standard mid Atlantic low in the 40’s or 50’s. Be aware of this. You might see forecast lows a few days out that completely disappear from one day to the next. In an ideal world, for that trip, wait until the nowcast/actual report and then burn up there.


The idea of going last minute is to get surefire bang for your bucks, but there is a point of diminishing returns where everything starts getting more expensive. Last minute deals can be cheap but can also be pricey... connecting flights in particular can undo you.


Your swell chase crew can be as important as the swell itself. Try to assemble a crew that want to surf the same spot as you. Faffing around taking one guy to Beginner’s Backbeach, another to Perfect Point then back to Deadman’s Reef means wasting time. And swell is very much on the clock.


Your swell chasing quiver should be refined with forecast in mind, but not live or die by it. Forecasts change, swells get more blown out than they should be, and sheltered spots come in to play that might not be so easy to surf on your 9’6" Rawson.