You’d think that there’d be little chance of surfing in Torbay, as it faces east, up the channel and away from Atlantic swells, up to Calais – well more precisely to Le Touquet. That’s up to 200 kilometres of fetch when the winds blow in with an east component (NE, E, SE), which means – my friend – waves! Some directions are of course better than others – east and south-east are best. Even strong southerly swells can refract into the Bay sometimes. And it doesn’t take much to start the wave trains a’ rollin’, 10 mph and upwards. ‘Force 3′, I think is the term used at the Yacht Club? And when combined with dropping winds, or better still, for the winds to swing around to westerly, and become light and offshore, then it can produce some smooth, classic conditions.
So the trick, I’ve found, is to spot the days: use the weather sites and plan ahead to dash out for that quick surf. Windguru.com is great for guessing ahead of time, booking a day off, throwing a sickie, loading that board into the car (see our site for the link). But invaluable to see what’s actually there, even at night, is the wave buoy out in the Bay, part of a network along our coast.
A metre on the graph translates to a metre of arriving waves. This year it’s regularly touched over 2 metres, 6-8 ft! Check out the channelcoast.org website.
The data shows whether swells are rising or dropping away, the wave period, direction and all other manner of geeky stuff … Love it!
Here’s the link for Torbay –