A surf forecasting and real-time buoy data visualization web app

VVAVES is a passion project I started during COVID. During this period I was surfing a TON - it was one of the few safe social distancing activities I had at the time. Naturally I got pretty obsessive about surf forecasting. At some point it hit me that the surf forecasting services people (including myself) pay for are a pretty thin layer on top of mostly publicly available data. This freely available data came mostly from NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a government entity. NOAAs buoys network of ocean buoys provided the gold standard for real-time ocean metrics while NOAA's WaveWatch3 model provides industry leading predictive data.

Surf forecasting services such as Surfline claim their value add is in their proprietary near-shore models. These models take predicted open ocean wave data and attempt to predict exactly how big and powerful the actual breaking waves will be at different spots. In my opinion these services rely far too heavily on predictive models, while almost entirely ignoring the wealth of real-time data coming from the buoys!

VVAVES is an attempt to bring focus back to the real-time buoy data. These aren't predictions, they are actual observations. While this data is already freely available to the public, the data isn't exactly intuitive to the average surfer or fisherman. Complex wave data is typically represented in giant data tables. VVAVES is predominately an exercise in data visualization. How can we take all this complex real-time data and display it to a user in an intuitive way that helps them understand whats going on in the ocean and answer the question: "Should I surf today?".


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I had a lot of fun designing this animation that would slide between the full name "VVAVES" and the stylized abbreviation / logo "VVV" (which IMO looks kinda like wave).

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