Are Surf Cams Good For Surfing?

I just came across an interesting article by former Surfer Mag staffer Brad Melekian on that looks at the pluses and minuses of surf cams. As the article states, the usefulness of the camera cannot be denied, but count me in the anti-cam camp—I think they're the scourge of the coast and have taken away from the art of the surf check. However, I'm lucky enough to live by the beach so I can just take a short stroll to check it, and make a surf call from there. What do you think? Did surf cams ruin surfing…or just make it more crowded?

surf cam

Whatever you’re opinion of them, surf cams can’t make the waves any better…

As reported on

As a concept, surf cams make more sense than just about any technological development in recent surfing history. Point a camera, however crude or high-tech, toward the ocean from a near-shore perch and stream the results to a Web site.

The upshot? Thousands of surfers with real lives – families, jobs, DVRs – can have instant access to beach conditions, clarifying their decisions about whether or not to go surfing.

In practice, though, surf cams are a decidedly thornier advancement. The real-time cameras provide more information to more people, leading to greater crowds at more surf spots and, consequently, fewer waves for those in the water. As those cams become easier to use and more reliable, these issues become exacerbated.