Tuesday, January 23, 2018
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 6.3 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 4.2 ft @ 15.3 secs from 310 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.8 ft @ 12.8 secs with swell 1.9 ft @ 13.5 secs from 268 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northeast at 2-4 kts. Water temperature 60.1 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 2.0 ft @ 12.5 secs from 270 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.5 ft @ 11.8 secs from 267 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.2 ft @ 12.4 secs from 244 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 3.5 ft @ 13.7 secs from 277 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 9.5 ft @ 12.8 secs with swell 7.5 ft @ 12.7 secs from 313 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northeast at 10-12 kts. Water temp 56.3 degs.
See Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (bottom of the page)
Swell Classification Guidelines
Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead).
Summer - Head high or better.
Advanced: Winter - Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Summer - Chest to head high.
Intermediate/Utility Class: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft).
Summer - Waist to chest high.
Impulse/Windswell: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
Summer - up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.
Surf Heights for Hawaii should be consider 'Hawaiian Scale' if period exceeds 14 secs.
On Tuesday (1/23) in North and Central CA Gulf swell was hitting with waves 3-4 ft overhead and lined up and groomed by light offshore's but a bit on the soft side. Protected breaks were up to head high and clean and lined up and soft. At Santa Cruz surf was shoulder to head high on the sets and reasonably lined up and clean early with light offshore winds in control. In Southern California up north Gulf swell was hitting with waves waist to chest high and clean and lined up with steady offshore wind blowing. In North Orange Co surf was head high and lined up and clean with decent form and no wind. South Orange Country's best breaks were waist high and clean and unremarkable. In North San Diego surf was chest to head high and clean and lined up with some makeable sections and light offshore winds. Hawaii's North Shore was getting Japan swell with waves up to double overhead on the sets and clean with light offshore winds and lined up. The South Shore was waist high and clean. The East Shore was getting northeast windswell at chest high and chopped from moderate east trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Tuesday (1/23) a modest gale formed in the Northwestern Gulf tracking east Thurs-Sat (1/20) producing 33 ft seas aimed east. That swell is hitting California. And a stronger gale developing off Japan Thurs-Sat (1/20) with up to 43 ft seas aimed east but did not make it to the dateline. That swell is hitting Hawaii. But after those swells dissipate a weaker swell pattern is forecast. Another storm is tracking off Japan with 49 ft seas over a tiny area aimed east targeting Hawaii. Also a gale is forecast to track through the Eastern Gulf Wed-Thurs (1/25) with up to 27 ft seas aimed east at Oregon and CA. And a weak gale is to form over the dateline on Tues-Wed (1/24) with maybe 17 ft seas aimed at Hawaii. But after that things really get quiet.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Tuesday AM (1/23) the jetstream was pushing east off Japan with winds 180 kts over Japan, but quickly weakening while pushing off the coast forming a trough over and just off Japan offering some support for gale development. But half way to the dateline the jet split with the northern branch tracking east-northeast falling into a small and tight trough on the dateline then pushing into the Gulf of Alaska forming another trough in the Eastern Gulf being fed by 150 kts winds offering some support for gale development before moving inland over North Oregon. The southern branch tracked east-southeast pushing over Hawaii then splitting again with most energy falling south towards the equator. Over the next 72 hours the dateline trough is to quickly dissipate early Wed (1/24) while the Gulf trough tracks east and moves inland over Central CA on Thurs (1/25) producing mainly weather. At that time the jet is to be split 4 ways with the split point just west of the dateline. The northern most of those splits is to be falling south from the Bering Sea into the Gulf of Alaska on Fri (1/26) with winds to 120 kts starting to form another trough there. Beyond 72 hours the jet is to be tremendously fragmented from the dateline eastward but consolidated pushing off Japan with winds at 190 kts forming yet another perpetual trough through the end of the model run offering some support for gale development there. Otherwise the trough in the Gulf is to hold through Mon (1/29) but steadily weakening offering only minimal support for gale development. The good news is that by Tues (1/30) the consolidated jet is to be making inroads to the east reaching to about 170W before splitting providing some hope for gale development maybe on the dateline beyond. We're just waiting for the Active Phase of the MJO to take control and pump wind energy into the jet.
On Tuesday (1/23) swell from a small gale that tracked through the Gulf was pushing into California (see Gulf Gale below). And small swell from a gale that tracked off Japan was pushing into Hawaii (see Japan Gale below). And another small storm was off Japan (See Second Japan Gale below).
Over the next 72 hours another local gale is to develop off the Pacific Northwest coast Wed AM (1/24) in the Eastern Gulf producing 35-40 kt northwest winds and seas building from 24 ft at 48N 144W aimed at Oregon and CA. In the evening the fetch is to fall southeast at 30-35 kts from the northwest just off the NCal-Oregon border with 27 ft seas at 43N 138W targeting Oregon down into Central CA. The fetch to fade Thurs AM (1/25) just off Cape Mendocino CA with northwest winds 30 kts and 24 ft seas at 45N 133W targeting Oregon and North CA. The gale is to be fading in the evening while moving onshore over Cape Mendocino and Southern Oregon with 25 kt west winds and seas 21 ft at 43N 129 impacting Oregon and extreme north CA. Raw swell the likely result later on Thurs (1/25) in North CA
North CA: Based on forecast data expect swell building through the day Thurs (10/25) pushing 10.8 ft @ 14 secs just after sunset (15.0 ft). Swell fading fast on Fri AM (10/26) from 10.8 ft @ 14 secs (15 ft). Residuals on Sat (10/27) fading from 5 ft @ 12 secs (6.0 ft). Swell Direction: 295-300 degrees
Also a small gale is forecast developing on the dateline on Tues PM (1/23) with 40 kt mostly east winds in the gales north quadrant with 30 kt northwest winds in the gales southwest quadrant targeting Hawaii with 24 ft seas aimed west. Northwest fetch fading Wed AM (1/24) from 25 kts with 17 ft seas at 32N 178W targeting Hawaii . This system is to fade from there. Low odds of any swell resulting for Hawaii.
A small gale is to form in the Northwestern Gulf of Alaska Thurs PM (1/18) with 45 kt west winds over a small area aimed east and seas building from 32 ft over a tiny area at 45N 170W (296 degs NCal). On Fri AM (1/19) the gale tracked east-northeast with 45 kt northwest winds over a small area with 33 ft seas at 47N 159W (299 degs NCal). By evening 45 kt northwest winds continued with 33 ft seas over a small area at 47N 151W (300 degs NCal). Fetch faded from 35 kt Sat AM (1/20) with seas fading from 28 ft at 47N 146W. This system was fading and effectively gone by evening. Small swell possible for NCal but likely lost under larger raw local swell.
North CA: Residuals on Tues (1/23) fading from 6.8 ft @ 12-13 secs (8.5 ft). Dribbles on Wed (1/24) at 4.0 ft @ 11-12 secs (4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 294-300 degrees
A small storm formed off Japan on Thurs AM (1/18) producing a small area of 50-55 kt northwest winds and seas building from 39 ft at 37N 153E. In the evening 50-55 kt northwest winds were pushing east-northeast with 43 ft seas at 38N 159E targeting Hawaii decently. Fri AM (1/19) fetch was fading from 50 kts from the west while the core lifted northeast with 42 ft seas lifting northeast at 41N 162E. In the evening fetch was fading from 40-45 kts from the west with seas fading from 37 ft at 42N 166E. This system was fading from there Sat AM (1/20) with 35 kt northwest winds and the core lifting north with seas fading from 29 ft at 42N 170E. This system was gone after that. Reasonable odds of modest swell resulting for Hawaii.
Hawaii: Residuals fading Wed (1/24) from 3.0 ft @ 14 secs (4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 308-312 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival on Wed (1/24) with swell 3.4 ft @ 17-18 secs (5.5 ft) and very inconsistent. Swell continues on Thurs (1/25) at 3.8 ft @ 15 secs (5.5 ft). Swell Direction: 294 degrees
Second Japan Gale
On Mon PM (1/22) a small storm developed just a few hundred nmiles west of North Japan producing northwest winds at 55 kts with seas building from 27 ft at 39N 146E. On Tues AM (1/23) the storm was lifting north fast with winds 60 kts from the west and seas 49 ft over a tiny area at 40N 153E aimed east-northeast somewhat at Hawaii. By evening the storm is to be moving inland over the Southern Kuril Islands with west winds fading from 50 kts and seas 44 ft at 47N 156E and no longer really aimed at Hawaii but more north towards the Aleutians. This system is to be gone after that. Maybe small swell to result for Hawaii.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest were being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday AM (1/23) light offshore winds were in control early from Bodega Bay south to Big Sur but a new front associated with a broad low in the Gulf was producing south winds for Cape Mendocino early building slowly south to Bodega Bay by nightfall but mainly Pt Arena northward at 15+ kts. Rain starting for Pt Arena northward by 10 PM. Wednesday (1/24) the front is to push south to San Francisco early pushing south to Big Sur late afternoon with south winds 20+ kts. Solid rain pushing south from Pt Arena early to Morro Bay late evening. Snow developing for Tahoe at 5 PM and pretty solid overnight. 16 inches of snow accumulation for resorts on the crest at Tahoe. Thursday AM (1/25) a second pulse of the low is to be just off North Oregon with another front pushing into North and Central CA down to Monterey Bay with west winds 15+ kts fading some later. Rain early from Pt Conception northward fading late. Light snow for Tahoe down into the Central Sierra with 2-3 inches of accumulation at reports on the crest at Tahoe. Friday weak high pressure is to be in control just off the Central Coast with north winds 5-10 kts for North and Central CA and up to 20+ kts for Pt Conception holding through the day. No rain forecast. Maybe 1 more inches of snow for Tahoe. Saturday (1/27) high pressure ridges into North CA with light winds there but north winds 15-20 kts for Monterey Bay southward. Sunday light offshore winds set up for the state as high pressure moves onshore continuing Mon (1/29). Tuesday (1/30) high pressure builds in with north winds 20 kts early building to 25+ kts later from Pt Conception northward.
No swell producing winds of interest were occurring.
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast.
South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Beyond 72 hours no other swell producing weather systems are forecast.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather system nor fetch is forecast.
More details to follow...
Inactive MJO Fading
The Madden Julian Oscillation is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equator it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slackening if not an outright reversing trade winds while enhancing precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the planet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases in the Pacific help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. Wind anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) are key for understanding what Phase the MJO is in over the Pacific. The KWGA is located on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south (or on the equator from New Guinea east to the dateline). West wind anomalies in the KWGA suggest the Active Phase of the MJO in the Pacific, and east anomalies suggests the Inactive Phase. In turn the Active Phase strengthens and the Inactive Phase weakens the jetstream, which in turn enhances or dampens storm production respectively in the Pacific.The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for MJO activity (which directly relate to the potential for swell production).
Overview: La Nina started developing in early 2016, but westward displaced and generally weak. And by March 2017, it was gone with suspicious warming developing along South America and over the Galapagos to a point south of Hawaii. By May the atmosphere returned to a neutral configuration but then in July east anomalies started building in the KWGA and have not stopped, with cold water upwelling over the the Nino1.2 and 3.4 areas, indicative of La Nina. So it appears now a double dip La Nina is setting up and is to continue through the Winter and Spring of 2017-2018.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Sat (1/22) 5 day average winds were from the east over the entire equatorial Pacific including the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were light easterly over the East Pacific but building over the Central Pacific and very strong easterly over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (1/23) Moderate east anomalies were modeled over the entire KWGA. This pattern is to slowly fade while easing east with moderate east anomalies only present on the dateline and points east of there a week out (1/30 - the end of the model run) with weak westerly anomalies developing in the core of the KWGA on 1/25 and holding from there on with the dividing line about 165E. The Inactive Phase of the MJO looks to be past it's peak with the Active Phase poised to start building in a week out.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: (1/22) The Inactive/Dry Phase of the MJO is moderately strong just east of the dateline with the Active/Wet Phase over the Maritime Continent. The statistical model depicts the Inactive/Dry Phase slowly easing east and out of the KWGA 10 days out while the Active Phase moves east into the West Pacific 8 days out and nearly to the dateline by day 15 and pretty solid. The dynamic model depicts the same thing.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (1/23) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO moderately strong over the Maritime Continent and is to track east into the West Pacific 11 days and still moderately strong. The GEFS model suggests the same thing.
40 day Upper Level Model: (1/23) This model depicts a moderate Active/Wet MJO pattern developing over the West Pacific pushing east and fading some then moving into Central America on 2/22. Another moderate pulse of the Inactive Phase is to follow in the west on 2/7 pushing east to the East Pacific through the end of the model run on 3/4. This model runs about 1 week ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (1/23) This model depicts the Inactive/Dry pattern is fading over the KWGA with east anomalies moving east out of the KWGA and gone by 1/31. The Active/Wet Phase is to start building over the far West Pacific but not getting decent positioning until 1/27 with west anomalies over the Western KWGA building east and then filling the KWGA by 1/30. The Active Phase is to hold through 2/16 with weak west anomalies in the core of the KWGA. A weak Inactive Phase is to follow in the West KWGA on 2/10 building east and holding through 3/26 wit mostly neutral anomalies forecast in the KWGA. A weak Active Phase to follow starting 3/23 and in control through the end of the model run on 4/22 with light west wind anomalies indicated. The low pass filter indicates a modest low pressure bias over the western half of the KWGA to 165E and is hold till 2/26, then start moving east reaching the dateline 4/11 with a high pressure bias over the East KWGA at 175E and is to move east and out of the KWGA by 3/15. No significant oceanic change is expected this winter as there is a 3 month delay for the ocean to respond to whatever occurs in the atmosphere, providing that change is consistent and long lasting (months in duration).
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (1/22) The overview pattern depicts that warm water has retreated to the west and cooler water is in control in the east but losing ground quickly. Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 29-30 degs in the far West Pacific at 160E. The 28 deg isotherm line is steady at 178E and steep (meaning there is a headwind of cooler water pushing into it from the east). The 24 deg isotherm was weak but has migrated east to 115W and deepening to 100 meters deep at 140W. Anomaly wise in the East Pacific it appears modest negative temperatures are quickly fading limited to the top 50 meters of the ocean in a few pockets to -1 degs C from Ecuador to the dateline but far less dense than months and weeks past. Warm anomalies are in the West Pacific at +2.0 degrees down 150 meters and appear to be making steady easterly headway with a leading finger of +1.0 degs anomalies in the East Pacific at 120W down 100 meters with the dividing line between cool and warm temps now at 110W down 150 meters. A Kelvin Wave appears top be pushing east. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 1/18 depicts a shrinking area of cool water filling the subsurface East Pacific (-2.5 degs) but not as cool and not as broad as the past months and erupting to the surface almost continuously between Ecuador to 170W with warm anomalies at +2.5 degs in the west. The cool pool appears to be slowly discharging to the surface and loosing density and depth while warm water appears to be pushing east under it with the leading edge at 120W.
Sea Level Anomalies: (1/18) Negative anomalies at -5 cms were over the equatorial East Pacific in pockets out to 160W with a core of -10 cm anomalies present between the Galapagos to 145W but all 5 degs south of the equator and 1 small pocket to -15 cms at 118W and 5S . This area is steadily loosing coverage while drifting south. This is encouraging.
Surface Water Temps: The more warm water in the equatorial East Pacific means more storm production in the North Pacific during winter months (roughly speaking). Cold water in that area has a dampening effect. Regardless of what the atmospheric models and surface winds suggest, actual water temperatures are a ground-truth indicator of what is occurring in the ocean. All data is from blended infrared and microwave sensors.
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4: (1/22) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate the cool pattern in the Southeast Pacific. Upwelling is holding nearshore along the immediate coast of Peru and Ecuador but with a building pattern of warm anomalies out beyond the coast of Chile and Peru. Pockets of cool anomalies are tracking west on the equator from the Galapagos out to 130W but with a far smaller footprint than months and even weeks and days past. Pockets of weak warm anomalies are indicated just north and south of that route.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (1/22): A warming trend continues solidly along Chile and Peru advecting west on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos and out to 140W. There were no pockets of cooling water over the same area. A warming trend is developing.
Hi-res Overview: (1/22) Regardless of the short term warming trend indicated above, a La Nina cool stream is still present weak well off Southern Chile and Peru. But warm anomalies are nearshore from Chile extending north to a point a bit off Peru. The core or cool waters are running on the equator from the Galapagos pushing west and peaking near 120W, then slowly fading out to 180W. Cool water at depth is still erupting to the surface with the breach point just west of the Galapagos. It appears La Nina may have peaked out.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/23) Today's temps were falling some at -0.841 degrees. Temps in this area bottomed out on 12/23 at -2.1 degs, a third near peak negative reading. The lowest point so far in this La Nina was -2.248 degs reached on 11/5. And that low point was lower than the previous coldest point reached on 10/11 at -1.9 degs.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/23) Today temps were steady at -0.760 after rising fast 1/12-1/15, and that after falling hard on 1/10-1/12 to -1.577 setting a peak low temp. On (12/7) temps hit a previous record low at -1.219, just below the previous coldest peak so far this La Nina on 11/22 at -1.156. And the third previous low peak was reached at -1.1 on 11/23. The long arc suggests perhaps a rising pattern. La Nina is in control, but it's taking a hit.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (1/23) The forecast depicts temps bottomed out at -0.75 on Jan 1 and are rebounding forecast up to -0.45 early Feb then falling again to -0.75 in April and holding through the summer rising to -0.5 in Oct. This suggests the peak of this years La Nina has occurred but it is to possibly hold through Summer into next Winter (2018-2019). This model is the outlier with others suggesting La Nina is to die this Spring.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Dec Plume updated (1/4) depicts temps bottomed out at -0.8 in early Dec and are to slowly rise, to +0.0 in May and +0.3 in August. See chart here - link The NMME consensus for Jan indicates temps -0.8 degrees below normal Nov-Dec 2018 then rebounding to neutral -0.0 in May and +0.4 degs by July. It looks like La Nina is peaking out now. The CFSv2 is in the low end of that pack.
Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (1/23): The daily index was rising some +25.68 today. The 30 day average was rising to +4.40 suggesting the Inactive Phase of the MJO was having a effect. The 90 day average was rising at +4.51 suggesting La Nina was weakly in control and maybe fading some (mainly due to influence from the Active Phase of the MJO in Dec-Early Jan).
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (1/23) The index was rising barely at -1.07 (up from -1.08 two days earlier). The trend suggests La Nina is stable (was -0.96 on 1/6). Last years La Nina reached -1.94 on 11/2/16 and then fell to -2.20 on 6/28/17. It held pretty negative after that but has been rising some as of late. This index is a forerunner of what happens in the ocean by 2-3 months in developing El Nino and La Nina events. The goal is to have it rise to at least -0.5 before a significant change could be suggested.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO is weakly negative, but not as much as one would expect with La Nina in play.
Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.12, Feb = +0.05, March = +0.14, April=+0.53, May=+0.29, June=+0.21, July= -0.50, Aug= -0.62, Sept = -0.25, Oct= -0.61, Nov = -0.46, Dec= -0.18. This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO, even with La Nina, because the warm PDO appears to be dampening the effects of La Nina. No consistently negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington EDU index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.77, Feb = +0.70, Mar = +0.74, April=+1.12, May=+0.88, June=+0.79, July=+0.10, Aug=+0.09, Sept = +0.32, Oct=+0.05, Nov = +0.15, Dec = +0.50. No negative readings have occurred since Dec 2013
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive ever since (other than a few months of negative readings in Fall 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina). Looking at the long term record, it is premature to conclude that we have in-fact turned from the negative phase (La Nina 'like') to the positive phase (El Nino 'like'), but the data strongly suggests that could be a possibility. By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.
See imagery in the ENSO Powertool
External Reference Material: El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), Kelvin Wave
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table