Bodyboarders have become verv influential in the surfing industry over the years. They have dominated surf photography, made an impact in the business aspect and over the last few years have been making waves in worldwide surf forecast. Bodyboarder Micah Sklut grew up on the Delaware coast and turned his passion into a full time career as the owner and founder of Swellinfo.com. Today, the site is one of the largest surf forecasting sites in the world. We sat down with Micah to find out how he got to where he is today.
Micah, you have what I would call a “dream job!” One that most people in the bodyboard world would kill for and it is probably one of the most unique companies out there… The first thing i want to know is how did you think of the concept?
It was the culmination of many of my experiences and interests that led to the birth of Swellinfo. When I first started surfing, I was very curious about the dynamics of the changing surf conditions and I wanted to understand how to predict the variability. I followed my passion in college studying atmospheric science and then Climatology in grad school where I did research with climate models. I also created a local surf forecast site for many years and did forecasting for Surfline for a couple years. This experience all led to the manifestation of the idea, which is now Swellinfo.com.
The second most interesting part of what you do is your hobby… Out of all the watersports that your site helps, we have to ask, which is your favorite??
I started “surfing” on the Delaware Beaches, which isn’t know for epic surf, but it has some great shorey and is super fun to bodyboard. My passion for bodyboarding has been the catalyst for most of my endeavors over the past 15 years. In general I love the ocean and the outdoors, so I’m game for just about any water or land activity.
What did you study in school to get the knowledge and education to make this concept a reality?
In graduate school I studied climatology. My research involved global climate model simulations looking at how ocean temperature changes influence atmospheric patterns. A climate model is a sophisticated computer program that simulates the planet’s physical processes to predict atmospheric/ocean behaviors. This is just like the weather models, but the simulations are for years and decades. All the meanwhile, my passion for surfing never waned, so after school I applied this experience to working with ocean wave models.
What is a day in the life of the owner of Swellinfo.com like?
If an alien came down to earth and observed me at work, I think it would consider me quite boring as I stared at a computer monitor for hours on end… But, then, when it observed me going for surf breaks, the alien might not consider me a total waste of a human!
What’s the best and worst thing about what you do?
I love creating things and coming up with new ideas to improve surf forecasting and create new features to stoke out Swellinfo users. The worst thing is that surf forecasts aren’t perfect, and that someone will always be disappointed in the imperfections.
Being that you forecast for all these places around the world and a number of events around the world, what is your favorite wave you’ve been able to visit? Do you ever attend any of these events that you forecast?
Well, every wave has its day, but I was pretty fond of that right wedge spot in Costa Rica!
I know you have made friends with a lot of pro surfers and bodyboarders out there over the years. Do you get a lot of calls from them everytime the waves get good asking where to go?
Haha, ya, I get a lot of calls. Its pretty fun directing friends towards the best surf, especially the adventurous types who are game to jump on a plane in a minute’s notice or take a 10 hour drive. Sometimes, it can be a bit demanding and hard to pull away from thinking about work. But there are certainly worse things to occupy your mind!
What is next for the site? Where do you see it in coming years?
Oh man, the ideas are endless, but Swellinfo will be going global in the not so distant future. The main focus is always on improving the forecast technology.
Any advice for those out there trying to find their niche like you have already done?
Focus on your passions, and you’ll be going in the right direction! And, like Steve Jobs said, connect the dots from your life experiences…