Just over six weeks ago we received a message from the creators of a very interesting app. We'd say on average we get requests like this every couple of weeks but when these guys asked us for a review we were somewhat attracted to the concepts behind this intriguing nugget of data that sits quietly on your phone. Simple yet effective, that was our first impression. Scroll down to find out more and our overall verdict and conclusion of the WindPush app, having tested it for over six weeks.
The Minds Behind the Idea
WindPush is the brainchild of two Norwegian windsurfers; Daniel Hjertholm and Daniel Wold. Having known each other since they where 7 years old, their passion for windsurfing, which also started at a similar age, took hold and they found themselves keen to know when their local spot was firing without the need for continuous browsing and checking of endless forecasts, and so Wind Push was born.
"The idea for WindPush had been on our minds for a while. We’ve both spent hundreds of hours browsing through different wind sites and forecasts in desperate search for the perfect wind. We thought to ourselves - 'why isn’t there an app that can do this job for us?'. After some research and forum reading we decided to go for it. We wanted to create the first app that alerts you whenever the wind you’re longing for is forecast."
What's the basic concept behind it?
"We are very proud of WindPush and we feel we’ve managed to make an app that does exactly what it’s supposed to do in an easy and intuitive way. You basically type in the wind conditions you need at your preferred spot and wait for the wind to come. Next time you hear the WindPush alert sound from your pocket you know you’re about to get some fun time on the water!"
What is WindPush?
WindPush is the ultimate app for anyone that needs specific wind conditions.
Perfect for windsurfers, kitesurfers, sailors, paragliders, hang gliders, RC plane enthusiasts, etc...
Based on the settings you choose, you’ll be notified when the wind you are waiting for is forecast.
As an example you can get notified when the forecast says more than 15 knots from north-east or less than 5 knots from any wind direction. You can easily choose which days of the week you want to monitor, so you won’t be bothered when you’re busy. WindPush covers over 10 million locations worldwide and can also use the iPhone’s GPS to search for the location closest to your current position. If your favorite spot is missing you can manually add it yourself.
Having taken the app on a tour of Europe we tested it in the UK, France, Austria, Italy and Greece, yes that is where we have been in the last six weeks. Our test saw us trialling it at PWA World Tour events, EFPT events and several free-sailing sessions in wind ranges from 12 to 40+ knots and all different directions.
First impressions upon download where that it was simple, easy and well explained. You have a host of options at your finger tips based on what measurements you are used to. The settings were basic and by no means too complex, the idea behind this is apparent, that the user should feel familiar with it within moments, much like any other app.
How we got on
Upon installing the app we instantly set it up to give us readings from Leucate in France, where we were based at the time. A little unfamiliar with the conditions we put in the basic settings of 14 knots and chose all directions with an alert reaching one day before the forecast wind. This means if there was 14 knots or more on the forecast for the whole time we were there we would receive a push notification telling us that it was going to be windy the next day.
Well, to begin with we were a little unsure our settings were right, after the first day we had been windsurfing in 22-25 knots with wind from the south, yet no notification had come through. Then the next time it was windy, strong wind from the north, again no notification.
Two days later and 'ping' "Podersdorf am See: Forecasted wind speed tomorrow is above 14 knots with 22 knots at 15". It was on. We had just driven from Leucate to Podersdorf and en-route the app had come alive. True to form the next day was well over 22 knots, touching 26-28 knots.
In addition to this, we now didn't want to know that it was going to be well over 50 knots in Leucate after having spent a week there with just two days of wind. So instead of deleting the spot altogether we just turned off the notifications for Leucate with one simple tap.
What went wrong in France
It was quite simple actually, we just didn't know the local effects would be quite that strong. Having adjusted the settings to tell us when it was 'above 14 knots' we didn't realise that the forecast for Leucate is always under estimating, in fact it is often double or more than what it says on most forecasts. So the only flaw in this app would be the same flaw we have with all forecasts, they don't account for the local effects and phenomena very often. Whilst some forecasts will offer an estimation that includes local effects, it is rare to come across one that truly has an accurate grasp on it.
This said, there are more and more forecasts which are including more localised predictions, thanks to accurate weather and data logging history in recent years, but in many cases you will still need to know from the locals what to add on to the forecast for a large number of varying factors.
This knowledge in hand it is just a simply matter of subtracting the amount of knots (and maybe a couple more) so that you can then check the weather forecasts when your wind range, or a slightly wider wind range, crops up.
As a result of this very minor issue, one that would have certainly not stopped us getting this app, we found the app was more useful as a weather forecast warning app, so essentially a step ahead of the forecast, what it was really made for. However, the twist is that we found ourselves using the app to then check the forecasts, not simply letting the app do it's business and then we go windsurfing the next day based on that, rather it would send a handy little prompt to us and we would then (usually that evening) check the forecast for the next day to see how the wind had moved and what hours would be best.
In the end the app does exactly what it says on the tin, sending us push notifications for upcoming wind predictions. The bonus we got from it was that we actually now save time by not having to check forecasts every day and only check when this app alerts us. Where this may be even more useful is to those who don't already have the time (or desire) to check the forecasts every single day, like we usually do, and thus have missed sessions by not doing so. Further to this, you may have ideal spots near home that work so rarely that you almost never check the forecast, with this app a solution is there that you never miss the perfect session again. Simply set it up and await the WindPush sound that will rule, satisfy and maybe even ruin your lives as you chase your wind addiction to the beach even more often than you do now.
If we were to give this a vote out of 10, then we would give it an 8. Two points short because we need local effects accounted for in all forecasts, not just a few prime spots, but we are also aware of how much work that would involve to span the entire globe. So marks in the excellent range from us and a strong recommendation to get on over to the app store and back these two budding entrepreneurs.