Sean Collins "2012 Surf Culture"

The original pioneer in surf forecasting

Nowadays people check the internet for everything. But it wasn’t always that way. Long before waveriders had at their fingertips, you could get forecasts faxed to you. And even before that, you could call a surf report hotline. But prior to all of the modern hoopla, Sean Collins was figuring out ways to find waves for himself…and maybe a few friends.

“People started calling,” he reflects, “’You don’t know me,’ they’d say. ‘I’m a friend of a friend, but what do you think Mexico’s gonna be like next week?’”

The son of a sailor, Collins was always adept to the ocean and storms’ interactions with waves. He’d scour National Weather Service archives, keep track of obscure weather data and all the while be scoring very uncrowded surf. Eventually, his passion turned into a business and it revolutionized the surfing world as Collins literally pioneered what we now call “surf forecasting”.

Collins served as President, Chief Surf Forecaster and Founder for Surfline. For over 30 years, through Surfline, Collins provided weather and forecasting services to every lifeguard agency in California, the Coast Guard, U.S. Navy Seals, National Weather Service, numerous television and movie production companies, multiple domestic and international governmental agencies and nearly every surf company in the world. He’s also guided the world’s best big-wave surfers to ride the largest waves on the planet.

Sean Collins was named one of the “25 Most Influential Surfers of the Century” by Surfer magazine in the summer of 1999, the “8th Most Powerful Surfer in the Surf Industry” by Surfer magazine in the summer of 2002 and one of the Top 100 People who wield the most Power and Influence in Southern California by the Los Angeles Times West magazine in the summer of 2006.

Collins passed away unexpected on December 26, 2011.

PHOTO: Induction day with the Collins family. (L to R): Tyler Collins, PT, Darin Collins and AJ Collins. Photo courtesy Sharon Marshall

PHOTO: Courtesy of Bill Livingston/Swell

The Surf Culture honor goes to the late Sean Collins – largely regarded as the original pioneer in surf forecasting. With 1.7 million unique visitors a month, his company, Surfline, has been in service for over 25 years and is considered the go-to destination on the World Wide Web for surf reports, forecasts and news.
PHOTO: Daren. Collins and son Tyler. Photo courtesy Sharon Marshall
Sean Collins
PHOTO: Sean Collins at work. Photo courtesy Leo Hetzel.