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If you surf, there's a good chance you use Surfline. The call-in swell forecasting service started in the '80s and has blossomed into a video-streaming source of information that surfers rely on to plan trips and or just hit their local break. But those high-definition cameras that surfers use to monitor the waves are about to be used for another purpose: Recording your session.
Surfline app users that also have an Apple Watch (series 2 or later) can now use the company's new Sessions feature that records your rides. The system uses the high-definition Surfline cameras available at many surf spots to save your best waves or wipeouts. Before a person paddles out, they just tap on the large Start button in the Apple Watch app.
Once the "session" has started the surfer just needs to stay within the field of view of the camera -- easier said than done depending on the current. When you're done, just tap to end the session and your video should be ready for you to view.
If you're interested in more than how you look while surfing, information about the workout (aka surfing) will also be shared with the Health features on the iPhone. Plus all the details about your ride are saved, including the number of waves to caught and how long you were out in the water ignoring your boss' Slack messages.
During my test in Northern California, everything worked as advertised. Well, everything but me. Turns out I was not in the right position to be picked up by the camera. (To be honest, the waves were not breaking where the camera was aimed.) Still, the feature worked as it should.
When my Apple Watch detected that I was riding a wave, it would log how the length of the ride and my speed. When I got back to my car and ended the session, the app synced with my phone and broke out each ride as its own video. Of course, I wasn't in any of those videos, but if I had been in the correct position, I would have had my ride preserved for posterity.
Still, I can share those videos (when I'm in them) with friends when the camera area has actual waves and the whole world can watch me repeatedly fall off my longboard.
Surfers aren't hurting for ways to shoot videos of themselves. Thanks to waterproof GoPros and other action cameras there's been an explosion of footage from the waves. But getting a wide shot that you can easily share with friends without mounting equipment on a surfboard is a nice feature. Plus, you no longer have to convince your non-surfing friends that they should shoot videos of you from the beach instead of relaxing.
With Surfline's network of over 500 cameras at various popular surf spots around the globe, there's no shortage of places to be recorded. I think the only real issue will be if multiple surfers are trying to get on camera at the same time and certain portions of a break become crowded. Of course, that might free up other portions of the beach for surfers less interested in recordings. The whole point of Surfline is to help you catch waves. Sometimes they'll be in front of a camera, and sometimes they won't but at least you'll have data to go along with your rides.
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