Stab Magazine | Here’s A Surfcam Hack Courtesy Of Your Old Pal, Instagram

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Here’s A Surfcam Hack Courtesy Of Your Old Pal, Instagram

Time to cancel your cam subscription?

style // Feb 6, 2018
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Picture this: you’re bound to a laptop, the emails compounding. The clock strikes noon and you have a an hour to spare. You’re not hungry, but a midday squirt would ease your pain. You know the tides running out, it’s 2-3 foot from the south-east, but you’re a little worried the flags may be up smack bang in the middle of the only surfable bank.

Unfortunately, the spot you have in mind doesn’t have a surf cam on site. You don’t want to risk punching it there only to be bitterly disappointed by the sight of red and yellow flags, or a deep trench in place of your beloved sand bank.

If only there was a way you could see the surf without having to make the cumbersome drive all the way there…

Well, thanks to Instagram, there is – Instagram location Stories.

Previously, Instagram locations were only useful to instil jealousy into your followers list, or to scout local talent at your favoured drinking hole prior to your arrival. However, our creative mind, Shinya Dalby (as seen in Stab’s wavepool bonanza) discovered that Instagram stories hold another feature, providing a semi-live stream of your go-to surf destination.

There’s no longer any need to leave the comfort of your favourite social app, just hit the search bar, place your thumb on the “places” icon and input your desired locale.

You’ll be presented with an array of photos, videos and stories all of which are centred around the geographically tagged location of your choice. “Instagram stories” are within the last 24 hours and the busier the location, the greater the number of stories showing snippets of the surf. They might not be strictly “live”, but they’re consistent enough for you to get a gauge on whether it’s worth punching it down on your lunch break.

Firstly, Zuckerberg stole our WSL stream and it now appears another offshoot his is plugging a hole in the desire for surf cams. Could it perhaps be time to cancel that subscription?

Any beach, any ledge or even that local outer ocean bombie now has a stream of footage being directed to your mobile device. This is of course permitting that the location is within close proximity to major tourist attractions, an international city and has a constant supply of narcissistic men and women needlessly uploading ‘content’ of themselves and their coastal location.

Here’s some recommended locations that the Instagram location ‘hack’ will be of use for: 

Tamarama Beach

In the summer this little bay is notorious for having the red and yellow flags up, which results in all fibreglass craft being banned from the beach. Now a quick insta search let’s you know whether you need to pack foam or glass. It’s also along the Bondi Bronte walk so in between panning surf shots you’ll likely see.


Venice Beach

Probably don’t bother checking this one if you’re hoping to surf good waves, but you may spot our no.1 pizza spinner, Morgan Williamson floating around the region.



I know, Pipe has a surf cam, but it’s a stationary shot lacking a social atmosphere. Wouldn’t you rather watch a stream of B-grade, smart-phone footage, interrupted by barely concealed women and absurd commentary.


Gold Coast

Snapper, Burleigh, Kirra, D-Bah, which one do you want to surf?



French ladies and French beachies, need we say more.



There’s a lot of cocktails and Bintangs flooding the story, but in between there’s the occasional grommet posting a clip of someone hammering off a few at Echo Beach – not so far away in time.


If you don’t believe us, then try it yourself; you might need to sift through a large number of breakfast shots, boyfriend selfies and completely irrelevant material, but the gold is there if you have the patience.

And remember to give a big thank you to those who provide the footage: coastal walkers, Instagram selfie models and people like me, who want to inform others they’re at the beach, while their friends are not.


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