Oli Adams on exploring the world for waves

We had a chat with Oli Adams, Swell Navigator Ambassador and one of our favorite surf explorers. On going on adventures and using Swell Navigator to find new waves.

How did it all start for you?

I started surfing when I was 6 and my Mum taught me by pushing me into waves until I was big enough to paddle myself. I was focused on competing. After school I competed on the World Pro Junior tour followed by the WQS. I had to take a break from surfing in my early twenties because of a life saving operation that cured me of Crohn's disease. I have since gone on to carve a career out of Free surfing: exploring the world for waves.

Would you call yourself a certain kind of surfer?

I try to be an allrounder, someone able to surf any conditions and execute all aspects of shortboard surfing. I like to do airs and turns but also get solid barrels. Trying hard everyday to get better in every area I can. And any waves get’s me amped, still! I'm like a grom. I simply just love surfing :)

What would be your perfect wave?

My perfect wave is an 8 to 10 foot draining barrel with a steep but makeable drop on the takeoff, straight into a long heavy cave. Skeleton Bay would do it.

Photo credit: Jan Bijl

What is your ‘surf routine’ at home?

When I'm home between filming trips I'm usually with my kids, editing, going to the gym or doing other work. So I usually just surf my local Fistral once a day at low tide as I don't have time to goose about looking for better waves.

Photo credit: Seth Hughes

How do you do surf prediction?

I can see the surf from my house. So when I’m home I use the Swell Navigator app to get a sense of what’s coming up during the time I’m here. Swell is my main thing. Even more so when I go exploring. I use the interface to its full potential to search for new waves and mark down spots I've already found. And then wait for alerts to tell me they might be on. This is great because on the one hand I don't miss swells but it also keeps my eye out for spots that may only break once or twice a year. Before, it was a case of using reports from spots that were in the area and recalculating from those report. Also, you had to check every spot you were watching daily to make sure you didn't miss out. It’s much easier now.

What adventures do you remember fondly?

Probably my fondest memory was going on the adventure in my film 'The Hunt for Hipmasama'

That was a crazy trip, it took 8 years to come together and then I got stuck on the island for three weeks. All to surf one wave, but it forged my love for searching for cold waves in remote places.

Another great one was a few years ago in Scotland. I found a wave on Google Earth on a remote Scottish Island and then when I first got Swell Navigator, I punched it into the app. Tracking swells for the wave became so easy as I would get sent alerts when the spot might be on. I could really see where the swells were coming from, which helped a lot in figuring out if it was going to be worth driving for fourteen hours and catching a few ferries. (laughs) Without Swell Navigator it would have been so much harder because I may have missed these swells and the closest spot to check for on other apps was miles away.

Where do you see yourself going from here in your surfing career?

I’m now in a great place with free surfing and I just want to keep making films about my adventures. I have so many spots and places that are on the radar and now that I can punch them all into Swell Navigator, I can keep tabs on all of them. The beauty of surfing is that you never know what's coming next. There could be a swell in Indo or in the North Sea, I'm just as excited for both so let’s see what the future holds.

To whom would you recommend the app?

Any surfer can benefit from using it and even surfers that may only surf their local beach might be opened up to exploring further by using it, which is awesome. I love it :)

Photo credit: Luke Gartside