Tuesday, March 27, 2018
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): This buoy is down and not updating.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.5 ft @ 6.7 secs with swell 2.0 ft @ 7.8 secs from 251 degrees. Wind at the buoy was north-northeast at 15-21 kts. Water temperature 57.6 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 2.3 ft @ 8.8 secs from 280 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 2.1 ft @ 9.4 secs from 284 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 2.4 ft @ 7.9 secs from 265 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 3.1 ft @ 9.3 secs from 280 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 6.7 ft @ 8.3 secs with swell 5.2 ft @ 8.2 secs from 319 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 18-21 kts. Water temp 53.6 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 (3/27) in North and Central CA local northwest windswell was producing waves in the waist to chest range and pretty warbled and weak and mushy early if not nearly chopped. Protected breaks were waist high and clean and weak. At Santa Cruz surf was flat and clean and swamped by tide early. In Southern California up north surf was thigh to waist high and clean but weak mostly looking like windswell. In North Orange Co surf was waist to maybe chest high on the sets and warbled though local wind was light. South Orange Country's best breaks were waist to chest high and clean but with warble in the water. In North San Diego surf was thigh to waist high on the sets and weak but clean. Hawaii's North Shore was flat to waist high and clean and weak. The South Shore was waist high and clean early but a bit uneven. The East Shore was getting northeast windswell at head high to 1 ft overhead and clean with light offshore winds early.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Tuesday (3/27) no swell was in the water hitting either Hawaii or California. But a gale was starting to develop on the dateline Tues-Wed (2/28) and forecast to track southeast producing up to 26 ft seas targeting Hawaii well. There is some limited hope. The models are teasing at some sort of tropical system developing off the Philippines over the weekend but it is to get sheared with nothing resulting. And maybe a gale is to develop in the Gulf a week out if one can believe that. A pair of storms are forecast for the far Southeast Pacific later this week, but east and outside of the California swell window targeting only Chile and Peru. The transition to Summer is starting.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Tuesday AM (3/25) the jetstream was split over Japan but consolidated just off the coast with winds to 170 kts and tracking east forming a trough west of the dateline then continuing east to the dateline before splitting again near 170W with the northern branch pushing northeast up into British Columbia while the southern branch pushed southeast over Hawaii before splitting again with most energy tracking east over Southern Baja. There was some support for gale development in the trough west of the dateline while high pressure and a split flow was centered in the Western Gulf of Alaska. Over the next 72 hours through Fri (3/30) the trough west of the dateline is to move to the dateline and weaken with the jet starting to split just east of Japan and the northern branch tracking over the Kuril Islands and up into the Bering Sea while the previously split portion over the Gulf of Alaska holds. Residuals of the previous trough are to move east to the 170W but mostly be cutoff from the main flow. Beyond 72 hours starting Sat (3/31) the jet is start consolidating again with the northern branch collapsing and a relatively coherent by Mon (4/2) pushing over the dateline and almost forming a trough there being fed by 140 kts winds then weaker east of there but fairly consolidated lifting gently east-northeast pushing inland over the Pacific Northwest. By Tues (4/3) the trough on the dateline is to become better defined being fed by 150 kts winds and starting to offer some support for gale development.
On Tuesday AM (3/27) no swell was in the water with no surf of interest occurring in Hawaii and California other than windswell. But a gale was developing in the West Pacific (see Dateline Gale below).
Over the next 72 hours only the dateline gale is to be of interest.
A gale was developing in a trough just west of the dateline Tues AM (3/27) producing a modest sized area of 30 kt northwest winds and seas building from 18 ft over a tiny area at 36N 168E. In the evening north winds to build to 35 kts with 19 ft seas at 37N 170E targeting Hawaii well. The gale is to be organizing better Wed AM (3/28) with northwest winds 40 kts while tracking southeast with seas to 24 ft at 37N 176E targeting Hawaii well. The gale is to stall in the evening with northwest winds fading from 35 kts on the dateline and seas 27 ft at 35N 180W aimed directly at Hawaii. The gale is to be fading Thurs AM (3/29) with 30 kt northwest winds and seas dropping from 22 ft at 34N 175W targeting Hawaii. Winds fading in the evening from 25+ kts with seas fading from 19 ft at 35N 174W. Something to monitor. Possible swell arrival in Hawaii early next weekend.
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 (3/27) solid high pressure at 1034 mbs was centered 600 nmiles west of San Francisco ridging into Oregon forming a pressure gradient along the North and central CA coast with north winds 25 kts over nearshore North CA waters and 10-15 kts down over nearshore Central CA waters and 20 kts over outer waters there and holding through the day. Wed (3/28) north winds to become isolated to Cape Mendocino at 20-25 kts and light north 10 kts or less for Central CA. Thurs (3/29) north winds to be 20-25 kts for Cape Mendocino and less than 10 kts from just south of Pt Arena southward. Friday the gradient is to fade even more with limited 20 kt north winds for Cape Mendocino and 10 kts or less south of Pt Arena. Saturday (3/31) north winds to be 15 kts for Cape mendocino early building south to Pt Reyes later. Sunday (4/1) north winds are forecast at 15 kts for all of North and Central CA. Monday (3/2) the high is to sink south some off Pt Conception with north winds 15+ kts from Pt Arena south to Pt Conception and over the northern Channel Islands some. Weak low pressure is to be building off the Oregon-CA border. Tuesday (3/3) the low is to be pushing into North CA with southwest winds 15-20 kts and light rain down to maybe Pt Arena. Otherwise southwest winds 10 kts are forecast to maybe Pt Reyes. Light winds south of there and north winds 20 kts for Pt Conception. A very much Springtime pattern is to be setting up.
No swell producing weather systems of interest have occurred. A small gale did develop in the Southeast Pacific late the past weekend (see Southeast Pacific Gale below).
Over the next 72 hours a storm is forecast developing for the deep Southeast Pacific on Wed AM (3/28) with 45 kt south winds and seas building from 28 ft at 55S 118W aimed northeast and mostly outside the California swell window targeting only South and Central America. In the evening southwest winds to be building to 55 kts aimed well north and northeast with seas 45 ft at 56S 105W aimed at all of Central and South America. Fetch is to fade Thurs AM (3/29) from 50 kts from the southwest with seas 47 ft at 56S 97W off Patagonia targeting only Southern America. The storm is to track east from there. Something to monitor but not of interest to the US Coast.
Southeast Pacific Gale
A small weather system developed in the Southeast Pacific on Sun PM (3/25) lifting gently east-northeast with 40 kt southwest winds and seas to 27 ft over a tiny area at 63S 138W. The gale tracked east-northeast Mon AM (3/26) with 40 kt southwest winds and seas 29 ft at 60S 127W aimed mainly at Chile and Peru but with sideband energy possibly pushing up towards Southern CA. The gale continued east-northeast in the evening with a tiny area of 40 kt southwest winds and seas 30 ft at 59S 119W targeting mainly South America with sideband energy somewhat towards Southern CA. This system was outside the CA swell window by Tues AM (3/27) with winds 35 kts aimed at Chile with 30 ft seas at 54S 111W. The gale is fade from there. Maybe some background swell to result for California.
Southern CA: Possible swell arrival on Tues (4/3) building to 2.0 ft @ 18 secs later (3.5 ft). Something to monitor. Swell Direction: 183 degrees
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 the models suggest some sort of a tropical system forming just 450 nmiles east of the Philippines on Wed PM (3/28) but going nowhere and getting heavily sheared by upper level winds.
Energy from the tropical system is to try and redevelop well off Japan on Sat (3/31) forming a short lived gale producing a tiny area of 45 kt north winds at 35N 163E with seas building to barely 20 ft in the evening at 33N 162E. But that system is to dissipate in 12 hours offering no meaningful swell production potential.
Remnant energy from the above system are to migrate northeast and try and redevelop in the Western Gulf of Alaska Mon PM (3/2) with winds building to 30+ kts over a small area building to 35+ kts aimed east Tues AM (4/3) with seas building to 22 ft at 37N 164W. Something to monitor.
Beyond 72 hours another storm is to start developing in the deep Southeast Pacific Thurs PM (3/29) generating 35 kts south winds and seas building from 27 ft at 55S 129W. On Fri AM (3/30) west winds to build to 50 kts over a small area falling southeast with 48 ft seas over a tiny area at 59S 118W aimed east with barely any energy aimed north at Southern CA. In the evening a tiny area of 55 kt west winds are to be tracking east-southeast with 51 ft seas at 58S 109W targeting only Southern Chile. The gale is to be fading Sat AM (3/31) with 45 kt west winds and 47 ft seas at 58S 97W. This system to fade from there. Possible swell for Chile up into Peru. Something to monitor.
More details to follow...
Kelvin Wave Pushing East - Remaining Cool Water Upwelling Near Peru
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. A double dip La Nina was in control and continued through the Winter of 2017-2018. But warming started building along the South and Central American coast in early March 2018 associated with 2 Upwelling Kelvin Waves, suggesting the demise of La Nina was at hand.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Monday (3/26) 5 day average winds were from the east over the bulk of the equatorial Pacific and also from the east over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were modest easterly over the equatorial East Pacific and modest easterly over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (3/27) Modest east anomalies were from the dateline and points east of there with moderate to strong westerly winds filling the KWGA to the dateline. This pattern is to effectively hold for the next week with the dividing line between east and west anomalies easing slightly west to 175E on 3/29, then pushing back east to 170W at the end of the model run on 4/3. This pattern has been unchanged all month.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: (3/26) A weak Active/Wet signal over the far West Pacific reaching east to the dateline. The statistical model depicts the Active signal fading 7 days out with a neutral MJO signal in control 2 weeks out. The dynamic model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO is to slowly develop and move east to the dateline filling the KWGA 5 days out holding 10 days out then weakening 15 days out while the Inactive/Dry Phase of the MJO builds over the Maritime Continent moving into the West Pacific.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (3/27) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO weak in strength over the West Pacific. It is to track east and build into the West Pacific over the next 10 days reaching modest strength over the dateline then rapidly tracking east and fading beyond. The GEFS model depicts a variant of the same thing but with the Active Phase holding stronger longer.
40 day Upper Level Model: (3/27) This model a weak Active/Wet pattern over the West and Central Pacific. The weak Active Phase is to track east from the West Pacific moving east into the East Pacific and Central America through 4/13. A new moderate Inactive Phase is to be developing in the far West Pacific on 4/5 migrating to the East Pacific on 4/26. After that a very weak Active Phase is forecast in the West Pacific 4/21 easing east to the East Pacific through the end of the model run on 5/6. This model runs about 1-2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (3/25) This site is down - no update available today. On (3/21) this model depicted the Inactive Phase was all but gone over the KWGA with east anomalies mainly from the dateline and points east of there with moderate west anomalies from 170E and point west of there with this west wind pattern holding through 3/27. From that point forward east anomalies are forecast to collapse and not return for the duration of the model run. A weak Active Phase is to follow in the West Pacific starting 3/29 holding through 4/14 with modest west anomalies developing and filling the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Beyond no coherent MJO signal is forecast through 5/30 but with weak west anomalies holding in the KWGA and no sign of east anomalies in the KWGA or even in the East Pacific. Perhaps a stronger Active Phase to develop 6/1 holding through the end of the model run on 6/18 with west anomalies strengthening some in the KWGA. The low pass filter indicates a modest low pressure bias over the bulk of the KWGA at 170E and is to push east steadily from here forward reaching the dateline 4/14 with a high pressure bias over the East KWGA at 175E and steadily moving east and out of the KWGA on 4/4. Basically the La Nina bias is to be gone in 2-3 weeks. But no significant oceanic change is expected until 3 months after the change has taken place in the atmosphere.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (3/27) The overview pattern depicts that warm water is building in coverage in the West Pacific tracking east with cooler water steadily loosing control of the East Pacific. Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 29-30 degs at 160E. The 28 deg isotherm line has eased east to 180W and steep (meaning there is a headwind of cooler water pushing into it from the east - La Nina). The 24 deg isotherm was building in thickness while making significant eastward progress at 90 meters deep at 140W and 50 meters deep at 120W dropping to 25 meters into Ecuador. Anomaly wise in the East Pacific negative temperatures at -2 degs were in one small pocket at 110W 75 metes deep. Cooler waters are steadily loosing coverage and density and being squeezed to the surface by warm water building in from the west at depth. Warm anomalies were holding in the West at +3.5 degs at 165W down 150 meters and tracking east with the dividing line between that and cool waters at 120W indicative of a large Kelvin Wave pushing east and about poised to erupt in the far East Pacific. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 3/19 depicts warm water in the west at +4.5 degs reaching east to 120W. Cool water at -2.0 degs was holding in one elongated shallow pocket in the East Pacific from Ecuador to 165W down 50-70 meters and continues significantly losing density, intensity and depth. The cool pool appears to be slowly discharging to the surface and is poised to be undercut by an approaching Kelvin Wave. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data.
Sea Level Anomalies: (3/19) Positive anomalies were over the West equatorial Pacific at +5 cms centered at 160W reaching east to 130W but with a leading pocket to 115W. Neutral anomalies were east of there except for negative anomalies at -5 cms between Ecuador and the Galapagos. The La Nina cool pool is all but gone.
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: (3/26) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a generic and diffuse cool pocket in the deep Southeast Pacific centered at 20S 100W. Warm anomalies were all but gone off the coast of Chile and Peru up to Ecuador while cooler temps from the Inactive/Upwelling Phase of the Kelvin Wave cycle were building along the immediate coast of Peru. Warm anomalies are present from the Galapagos out to 110W and northward off Central America and Mexico but weakening in coverage and density. Cool pockets were generally weak and diffuse on the equator west of there from 120W to 160W.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (3/26): A cooling trend was indicated along the immediate coast of Chile, Peru up to Ecuador. The upwelling phase of the Kelvin Wave cycle appears to be building there, or something else is occurring. A weak warming trend was developing on the equator from the Galapagos and Central America out to 140W.
Hi-res Overview: (3/26) A building pocket of cool water is along the coast of Peru and Ecuador. But weak warming was further off the coast over the same area and reaching north over the Galapagos out to 110W on the equator and filling the area north of there up into Mexico. The La Nina core cool pocket was shrinking on the equator covering the area from 110W to barely the dateline looking like a Modoki La Nina than anything solid (meaning the core of La Nina is advecting west). Cool water at depth is still erupting to the surface with the breach point near 120W. Overall the cooling pattern is steadily loosing density and drifting west. It appears La Nina is in steady decline.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (3/27) Today's temps were rebounding to -1.846 after falling hard dropping to -2.364 degs on 3/25, the coldest of any point in this La Nina. Previous cool peaks were on 3/12 at -1.5 degs retreating from the peak of the first Kelvin Wave hitting at +0.898 degrees on 2/28. Overall temps had been steadily marching upwards since late December. 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: (3/27) Today temps were falling some at -1.174 degs. A surge in temps occurred 1/12-1/28 reaching up to -0.600 deg range. But since then temps have eased off some. Previously a peak low was observed on 1/10-1/12 to -1.577. 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 (3/27) The forecast depicts temps bottomed out at -0.75 in Nov 2017 and have been slowly rebounding since, up to -0.55 in early Feb and expected to rise to -0.45 in April. The model indicates temps slowly rising to -0.20 early July, hovering there then starting to rise into the Fall to -0.15 degs in Oct and neutral in Nov possibly going weakly positive in December. This suggests the peak of La Nina occurred in 2017 and is to linger into the Summer of 2018 before fading out in the Fall. The odds of a 3 year La Nina developing are rare (3 year La Ninas 17%, 2 year La Ninas 50%, 1 year La Ninas 33% 1951-2017). This model is now falling inline with all the others suggesting La Nina is to die this Spring.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-March Plume depicts temps at -0.5 degs and are to slowly rise, to +0.0 in May and +0.2 in August and +0.5 in November. See chart here - link. It looks like La Nina is fading out. 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 (3/27): The daily index was falling to 9.57. The 30 day average was falling to 9.00 suggesting the Inactive Phase of the MJO was still affecting the index but less so lately. The 90 day average was rising some at 3.22 suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (3/27) This index was holding today at -1.13, still down from -0.33 in late Feb, but was up from -1.11 on 1/29. The trend suggests La Nina is not gone, but possibly also reflects the last of the cool subsurface water being squeezed to the surface from an approaching large Kelvin Wave. 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 through Jan 2018. 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 positive, even though La Nina is 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 = -0.45, Dec= -0.13, Jan=+0.29, Feb=-0.10. 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 solid 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, Jan +0.70. Feb +0.37. 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