Since Surfline's 1985 debut, surfer behavior has been entirely transformed as a result of this product and craft. Part science, part art and part pure data, a Surfline subscriber can now check swell predictions two weeks in advance, from any device --and not just from their backyard, but from anywhere on the planet. Wave and weather forecasting changes how you approach your life. It helps you choose which boards to take to G-Land. It gets you out of bed on mornings you'd otherwise have missed. Most importantly, it keeps you tuned in to movements in the ocean that once were utter mysteries.
The first live camera, or "surf cam" as they've become known by a generation of Net-savvy waveriders, was setup by our late founder Sean Collins in Huntington Beach for the 1996 U.S. Open. Using a closed circuit video security camera and a computer program called "Snap and Send," every five minutes the program would take a single frame from the camera record and upload it to whatever place you'd instructed it. Presto: A live webcam view of the beach, pretty impressive for 1996. Since then our network of live cameras has grown to over 200 and the quality has steadily increased to 4K (although shhhh, that's still under wraps here at the office).
In recent years we've added two new products to our portfolio: FishTrack and Buoyweather. FishTrack helps fishermen find and catch more fish. Buoyweather provides mariners with accurate and accessible data, which helps them safely enjoy the ocean.
Founder, President and Chief Surf Forecaster
Video about Sean's impact on the sport of surfing.
Collins was the first person to accurately forecast swells on a regular basis in the '70s and early '80s. He pioneered and created the first ongoing surf forecast available to the surfing public via Surfline and 976-SURF in 1985. He developed a sophisticated, proprietary system of wave forecasting—much of which is currently used in LOLA, Surfline's Global Swell Model.
Through Surfline, Collins provided weather and forecasting services to every lifeguard agency in California, the Coast Guard, U.S. Navy Seals, National Weather Service, numerous television and movie production companies, multiple domestic and international governmental agencies and nearly every surf company in the world. Collins also developed the first live "surf cam" in 1996, the precedent for the Surfline camera network available on Surfline.com today. He was named one of the "25 Most Influential Surfers of the Century" by Surfer Magazine in the summer of 1999, the "8th Most Powerful Surfer in the Surf Industry" by Surfer Magazine in the summer of 2002, and in the TOP 100 People who wield the most power and influence in Southern California by the Los Angeles Times WEST Magazine in the summer of 2006. In July 2008 Sean was inducted into the Surfer's Hall of Fame with his foot and hand prints immortalized in stone on the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Main Street in Huntington Beach, right next to the Duke Kahanamoku statue in front of Huntington Surf & Sport. Collins also directed an exclusive crew of big-wave riders to chase the largest waves on Earth—including Mike Parsons, Brad Gerlach, Shane Dorian, Greg and Rusty Long, Jamie Sterling and many more. Collins was a keen surfer himself who explored waves by land, air and sea for more than 40 years. The Surfline staff always knew a good south swell was on the way when Collins disappeared out of the office on one of his many solo surf trips to Baja.
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