I’ve updated this article on 10/13/20 and one of the original apps I listed are no longer in the app store and the other, Trace App, no longer focuses on surfing. Therefore I replaced the Trace App with the Dawn Patrol app and this it the top 9 list for now until I find another one.
There’s an app for everything, right? Sometimes there are apps for things that you don’t really need, other times apps can provide you with a valuable resource/tool to find information, connect/share with others, create things, and simply entertain.
Before and during the process of developing my app, da Surf Engine, I did extensive research and tried out a ton of surfing apps (none of the games though). I came across a lot that didn’t even work, some that did the same thing as many other apps did and just were confusing looking, but I also came across several great apps that give surfers the tools and info they really need to fuel their stoke!
Below is a list of some of the best surfing apps, the top 10 surfing apps in my book, that every surfer should at least check out, and I would even recommend some of them for your home screen – if you are a true and techy nerd surfer like me!!
Of course I had to toot my own horn here and give a shout out to my brand new app, however I truly believe this is the best app in the travel category for when surfers are planning a surf trip and looking for new surf spots to explore and discover or have moved to a new area or perhaps are just new to surfing and curious. It’s like a combination of Google Search, Yelp, & Trip Advisor just for surfing!
There are other apps that give you lots of helpful information about surf spots around the world (such as the Stormrider Surf Guide and Surf Travel Planner apps), however they don’t allow you to search for waves based on the wide variety of individual characteristics for any given surf spot. That’s why I developed da Surf Engine app, as you can select criteria such as waves for beginners that are super long right point breaks with warm water in January.
The Surf Travel Planner app does this to a certain extent but has much fewer criteria to select from (only by geography, consistency, and wetsuit type). You can favorite a spot with the Surf Travel Planner but there is no place to create a check list/sand bucket list of sorts, to mark off your surf travel adventure accomplishments! You also can’t save any personal notes you may discover about the spot or link out to more information about the spot, which you can with da Surf Engine.
I think da Surf Engine does a great job with keeping the surf spot stats succinct and structured and then you can link out to Google to read more or for helpful travel resources that we recommend. In addition there’s also a place you can comment on surf spot pages to showcase your local knowledge of a spot.
Lastly, if you’re traveling, you can quickly see what spots are nearby with the search by nearby feature that isn’t in the other surf travel apps. In order to search by all criteria, there is an in-app purchase component, but it is priced similar to the Stormrider Surf Guide app and you can still get all the surf spot info for free. Apps do have ongoing costs with hosting, etc. that need to be paid to keep the app going and the upfront costs, well, that’s another blog!
App Types: Informational, Social (Surf Buddy Finder)
Availability: iPhone (we’re hoping to build an Android version too but baby steps, we need to make sure this version is successful before spending $$$$ on the Android version)
This is a brand new app that personalizes forecasts based on the best conditions for your respective surf spot! What I like about this app, is that it combines the informational aspect of Surfline/Magic Seaweed with a social component where you can follow other people.
You can also make your own surf breaks and add the info you can find in da Surf Engine app about the best swell/wind direction, tide level, etc. so that it highlights the spot when it is meeting all of those desirable conditions. We’re also going to be providing them with our data soon too so you’ll have all the info in one place! In addition, you can also follow other surfers and tap into their local knowledge as well.
However, the key thing for me that I like about this app, over Surfline/Magic Seaweed, is that it provides you with a snapshot for a 7 day forecast of all your favorite spots on one page so you can quickly see in one glance what spots might be firing and have best conditions going off on any particular day in the coming week and plan your surf sessions accordingly!
App types: Informational, Social (connecting surfers)
Availability: I believe this app in only available in some countries outside of the USA for now, so check out their Swellnavigator website and see for yourself!
This is one of the most widely used surf report/forecasting apps. I primarily use it to get a quick glance of the current wave conditions out there due to the useful favorites screen that quickly displays the current wave conditions (quality & height) at a glance for multiple surf spots.
I use their current conditions directionally. If it says the conditions are very poor or excellent I usually take them for it, otherwise I wouldn’t base where I surf on it.
I use other apps for free extended day surf forecasts like Magic Seaweed, however now that I subscribe to Surfline, I use it for directional forecasting as well.
The super cool thing about the premium subscription now though is you can synch your surf sessions up with their surf sessions cam rewind feature and see the waves you caught without bringing any tech camera equipment to the beach. This is what’s worth the subscription for me, not the forecasting! It”s also cool to just be able to be able to virtually travel around the world and look at all the surf breaks they have on cam.
Oh, and by the way, on the surf spot pages of da Surf Engine app, you can also link out to Surfline to see the current conditions of any waves you may be searching for around the world (if they cover the surf spot).
App types: Informational
I like Magic Seaweed because of it’s extended surf forecast. It gives you a 10 day forecast for free, whereas Surfline only gives you a 2 day forecast in the free, non-subscription option. It gives you current conditions as well, but I prefer Surfline for current conditions, as they have the cameras at a lot of their surf breaks. da Surf Engine app also links out to their forecast info for all spots as available.
App types: Informational
It’s cool to meet surfers in real life, but come on, when we’re out in the lineup, everyone’s just really focused on the waves, it’s not the easiest social environment to strike up a chat because even if you’re in the deepest conversation with a good friend, if a good wave starts coming, all convo stops and you just go after that wave!
Here I am tooting my own horn again – ha! I know I’ve met a lot of people who surf over the years but it seems like most surfers are always dawn patrol/morning types and I’m sorry, I just can’t do mornings. With this app, you’re able to search for surfers that prefer times like sunny afternoons, weekends (for us 9 to 5ers) or even dawn patrollers.
I’ve also met casual surfing friends who just aren’t as into it as I am and go every week so you can also search for surf buddies on your same stoke level/wavelength that have to go out every day or every week at least. There’s a lot of other criteria you can search for such as home break (search for a nearby surf buddy or maybe someone you can couch surf at on your next surf trip), experience level, and board type.
App Types: Informational, Social (Surf Buddy Finder)
Sea 2 Snow (previously called BroPros)
I’m not sure how I discovered this app, but I think it was when I was using hashtags to promote da Surf Engine’s Instagram account. It’s funny as half the people/accounts on Instagram are just following/liking other accounts to promote themselves vs. genuinely liking or finding someone/something interesting to follow, but I digress.
This app also helps surfers connect, but in addition to finding surf buddies, you can also use it for dating, finding a surf photographer (we all should be able to get footage like the pros get), or surf coach/teacher! It has a Tinder like interface where you can say let’s surf or another swell to pass which is cute. There are quite a few profiles in this app but it does seem heavily focused on the California area right now. Again, this is another app that will become more useful as it grows and gets more users!
App Types: Social (Surf Buddy/Dating/Services Finder)
Surf Session Tracking
There are several apps that let you log your surf sessions and input the stats of your session and what you thought about it. However, both the RipCurl Search GPS and Dawn Patrol apps, it is done for you automatically, just a few clicks of a button and all your actual surf session data is automatically recorded for you to analyze and share with others.
Apps have been around a while that automatically load stats such as miles ran or biked, etc. but with modern technology, now you can get this info out in the water too! I find when using these types of products, it motivates me to surf longer and get more waves and push myself to ride the waves as long and fast as I possibly can.
I’m not a competitive surfer but I do like to compete with myself and it’s cool to accomplish things like surfing the longest ride ever at San O which I did a few months ago and got around 294 yards tracked – almost 3 football fields! The info in these apps also validates a lot of da Surf Engine info with some breaks definitely averaging faster and longer rides than others.
RipCurl Search GPS
I’m a bit of an early adopter with surf tech so I got this watch (that pairs with the app) pretty much right when it first came out. The app was only on the iPhone at the time and I had an Android, as it is/was with most surfing apps, so I switched phones just so I could use this app (although for Android users you can still transfer your surf session info via the web, it just takes a bit longer).
I really like the interface of this app as you can quickly scroll through the surfers that you are connected to and see where they’ve been surfing and the number of waves they got and the fastest speed they had (which sometimes depresses me as I see all these other surfers get way more waves per session than I usually do – ha).
It’s funny as I’ve analyzed the stats of a months worth of surfer sessions awhile back of me and the people I follow and for the most part people stick to one or two surf spots and have an average surf length of around 72 minutes! What’s cooler with a recent update they made is that you can also replay your surf session and see where you may have been having a tough paddle out and also see the timing of when you caught your waves.
The app keeps track of all your waves ridden and shows you the distance you both paddled and surfed and the length/speed of the wave, as well as any other information you want to add (rating the session, adding a photo). The surf conditions for that surf sesh are also automatically pulled from Magic Seaweed.
App Types: Informational
For the Apple addicts everywhere, you can use your iPhone watch with this app. The benefit of this is that it can measure both your heart rate and calories burned by synching with health & activity apps. The drawback to this is that it comes with a subscription To me I’d just rather have the RipCurl watch and no added fees for the app!
App Types: Informational
I couldn’t put together a list of top 10 surfing apps without including the World Surf League. This app is perfect for watching the competitions on the go, as surf competitions can happen at odd times since it’s worldwide. I also often use it as a companion piece while watching the actual competitions on my TV via my computer and look at it to keep track of the scores as it’s easier for me to read them their vs. on the TV screen.
You can also follow your favorite pro surfers, get notified when they’re surfing a heat, see their total winnings and contest earnings, and keep track of all the rankings and points for those that play Fantasy Surfer. The WSL app has it’s own Fantasy Surfing League but I’ve found that part of it to not work as well on the app, probably better for using just the website.
App Types: Information, Entertainment
This app is like a YouTube app just for surfers, except that they select what video content gets featured, which is what I see as it’s main drawback, as anyone can submit surfing videos to YouTube and there are plenty to be found there. However this app does make it easy to just search for surfing video content and a hashtag like feature where the metadata of a video (such as surf location, surfer featured, video length) can be clicked on to see videos similar to that one by the given criteria selected. If you have some downtime and want a quick surfing fix, this app will definitely come in handy.
App Types: Entertainment
And there ya have it, my list of my top 10 surfing apps. The ones that are on my home screen right now are the WSL, Surfline, Magic Seaweed, da Surf Engine, RipCurl Search GPS and Swell Navigator.
There are lots of other general broader apps that are super helpful for surfers such as Hopper for airfare and AirBnB for lodging/experiences, etc. however we focused on the best surf apps that were truly aimed at just surfers!
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