Bodega Bay - 48NM North Northwest of San Francisco, CA. (46013) Wave Buoy Data
Last Two Weeks Data
Wave Buoy HelpWave Buoys are the definitive way to know what is actually happening out to sea right now, this is not a forecast this is live data recorded by a fixed monitoring station offshore from the local surf - and with the swells from them taking an hour or more to reach the local surf spots a great way for a last minute check before you head to the beach or to watch a new swell arrive. Our Using Wave Buoys Tutorial gives a little more information on what all this means.
Comparing the forecast and the wave buoy data.You'll notice for most locations a strong correlation between the wave buoy data and the forecast. The forecast data shown is the zero hour forecast and likely to be the most accurate and show the closest correlation with observed conditions. If we were to show the 72hr forecast against the actual wave buoy data there'd be a looser correlation. This is something we're working on putting together at the moment. However even so you'll also notice some differences and for some locations these will be larger than others. In time we'll cover all of these in detail, in the meantime here is a brief overview:
Gridded Model Data
Distance to location
Conditions from outside the model
Mis reported conditions
'Height and Period' are great simplifications
In short neither the buoy or the forecast is likely to be more 'right' or 'wrong' they're just a slightly different windows into the complex conditions of the ocean and both are useful tools for the committed surfer.