Cookie Policy

In response to the ICO's ePrivacy directive we're now legally obliged to provide information to our users on the use of cookies on the site and it's sub domains. There's ongoing debate on what exactly compliance should involve, we've attempted to implement in good faith the guidance found here however beyond our legal obligations we take your privacy seriously and any questions at all please do contact us.

What is a Cookie?

A cookie is a tiny amount of information your web browser lets our website store on your computer. It's really important to understand that your web browser doesn't allow us to access information on your computer (other than very standard settings like your language and time zone). So we can only store in a cookie information that we already have about you. However what we are able to do is use the cookie to identify that the web browser you use to visit today is the same one used yesterday. This is vital for almost any website. The simplest information you can give to would be your choice of region for surf reports. When you choose 'Australia' in the menu we store in the tiny cookie on your web browser that you chose 'Australia'. When you visit again tomorrow you see 'Australia' as your default region. Without this cookie you'll need to give us the same information EVERY time you view a web page on MSW. Imagine having to load the forecast page and change 'meters' to 'feet' EVERY time you viewed a new forecast page. This is the web without cookies. Most websites simply don't work as you'd expect.

What can you do to opt out?

So cookies are essential for our website (and almost all websites to work properly) but you've always had the option to disable them. Of course in doing this we can't 'remember' the information you give us so our website stops working as you'd expect. But that's entirely your choice. There's more information about blocking cookies here

What do we use cookies for on MSW?

Anywhere there is a setting you can choose and needs to be remembered:

  • Your Continent, Country, Region and Spot choices.
  • Your Units choice for the forecast.
  • Your configuration (if set) for the directory map display.
  • Whether you choose the old forecast display or the new beta version.

To identify your user account IF you're signed up.

If you register for a user account with MSW we have to use a cookie to allow us to understand that your browser is logged into that account (otherwise you'd need to enter your username and password on EVERY page). This also allows us to identify that the request for a web page is coming from 'you' and tie that information together with other information you explicitly give us. While this legal directive doesn't ask us to talk about what we store in our database about you it's information like:

  • Your email address
  • Your chosen username
  • Any content you upload (photos, videos, forum posts)

Again do remember that NONE of this information is available to us through any mechanism other than YOU providing it for us. We use no other sources for gathering information about you than those you provide.

For Statistics and Analytics

We use a cookie provided by google analytics to recognise that your web browser is requesting pages from our website. This allows us to identify patterns of usage for the website. For example without cookies we can tell that:

  • 100 web browsers access the pipeline forecast.
  • 200 web browsers access the waimea photo page.

But with cookies we can tell that:

  • 100 web browsers access the pipeline forecast.
  • 25 of these SAME web browsers then view the waimea photo page.

Again this cookie doesn't allow us to identify you personally or any personal information about you other than linking web pages together for our analysis. This allows us to improve our website and also provide common statistics that our advertisers and sponsors need, not about you, but about overall usage of the website. For example we CAN'T tell that our average user is 18-35, college educated and drives an estate car but we CAN tell the the average user of our website views about 5.7 pages each time they come to the website and visits 2-3 times a day. It's important to reiterate that we use general information about how many people visit our website as part of selling advertising, but we DON'T offer or operate any scheme to target advertising to specific information that's stored about you personally other than the country from which you visit, for which we don't need to use cookies but we add here to ensure this document is as thorough as possible.

To display advertising banners we use these statistics and analytics to ensure that our advertising is being delivered properly. For example we may use a cookie to ensure that you see an advertising banner only a certain number of times for a specific advertiser.

For our Ecommerce Order Process

If you add a product to your cart on our retail site ( or sign up for a Pro account the cookie is a vital part of delivering a safe checkout process. We have to know, when you reach the credit card page, that this transaction is tied to your correct address and purchase. If you disable cookies you'll be unable to purchase from us.

How to Find Out More?

If anything is unclear or of concern to you please do get in touch. A quick google search will explain more about cookies and how to see what exactly is stored on your browser.