New Swell Classification Guidelines
Significant: Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead)
Advanced: Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Intermediate: Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft)
Impulse/Windswell: Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
On Tuesday (4/1) Northern CA surf was waist to maybe chest high on the biggest of sets. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were thigh high and clean. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was thigh high and clean. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was up to thigh high and textured. The LA Area southward to Orange County was thigh high and also textured. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were maybe waist high and clean. The North Shore of Oahu was head high. The South Shore was up to waist high. The East Shore was thigh high.
North/Central California had no swell of interest. Southern California had no swell either. Hawaii's North Shore was getting minimal swell from the dateline. The South Shore was effectively flat. The East Shore was receiving minimal easterly tradewind generated windswell.
For the future the California coast is to get a tiny pulse of energy from the southern hemi later in the week with background energy from the dateline mixing in for the weekend, but only at the most exposed breaks. Of most interest is a storm brewing over Japan expected to push northeast and generate 39 ft seas, offering hope for the North Shore of Oahu over the weekend (4/5) pushing into California later Monday into Tuesday 94/8). But after that it's over with nothing depicted coming from either the north or south. Get what you can now. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Tuesdays jetstream charts (4/1) for the North Pacific indicated a decent flow pushing off Japan to 160 kts but quickly tracking north into the Bering Sea over the dateline, then loosing it's footing while drifting south again through the Gulf of Alaska but with no real energy, pushing into Central CA at 90 kts. Best support for gale development was in the area just east of Japan. Over the next 72 hours a decent flow is to continue pushing off Japan at 130-140 kts but feeding a building ridge over the dateline that is to be pushing east. That ridge is to fade by Friday through while pushing through the Gulf of Alaska and into the US West Coast. The best odds for gale development remain off Japan. Beyond 72 hours the models suggest a steadily decaying pattern off Japan with a persistent ridge holding over the dateline moving into the Gulf of Alaska and then British Columbia and the US West Coast Monday (4/7) into Tuesday. A split and highly weak flow is expected to be over the West Pacific at that time providing absolutely no support for gale development.
At the surface today a very weak low pressure system was lingering off the Central CA coast while solid high pressure at 1028 mbs was anchored over the dateline ridging down to Hawaii, but not too much east of there. The high was generating moderate trades over the Hawaiian Islands while the low pressure off CA was holding winds to a minimum there and not generating any fetch by itself. The big story was a storm off Japan (details below). Otherwise a small gale produced a tiny area of 40 kts winds west of the dateline late Saturday (3/29) generating 26 ft seas at 41N 169E aimed mostly towards the Aleutians offering only limited potential for Hawaii (swell already impacting there) and even more limited background potential for exposed breaks in California. Over the next 72 hours the only system of interest is to be the storm building off the coast of Central Japan.
On Monday AM (3/31) a storm started wrapping up just off the coast of Central Japan with pressure 964 mbs and winds confirmed to 55 kts at 39N 147E dropping to 50 kts in the evening aimed reasonably well towards Hawaii. The storm was slowly fading Tuesday AM with pressure 960 mbs and winds confirmed at 45-50 kts at 38N 153E with seas at 32 ft early, supposedly building to 37 ft in the evening at 37N 157E aimed at Hawaii down the 300 degree path but 2700 nmiles out. The storm to fade Wednesday (4/2) with winds dropping from 35 kts and then to below 30 kts but seas supposedly building to 39 early at 37N 162E then fading from 36 ft late at 39N 167E and dissipating from there. This seems highly unlikely though since winds appears to have already peaked out as of Tuesday AM.
There is much disparity between the winds the GFS model is projecting and the sea heights the WW3 wavemodel is projecting, and we suspect the GDAS winds which drive the wave model are hosed up. As such, seas heights will likely not get a large as modeled, resulting in less swell energy. Regardless, some decent amount of well rideable longer period surf is possible for the Islands over the weekend (4/5) with much decayed energy pushing into exposed breaks in California the following week. it is premature to publish details concerning swell sizes at this time with the disparity being as large as indicated.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (4/1) weak low pressure at 1012 mbs was centered 700 nmiles west of Pt Conception. No swell producing winds were associated with it, and it was serving only to suppress the usual northerly winds along the coast this time of year. It is forecast to slowly drift east pushing over Pt Conception sometime late Wednesday (4/2) generating only 15 kt southerly winds for areas south of it's anticipated landfall point. Light to moderate rain to precede it starting Wednesday morning from San Francisco down into Baja continuing through early evening. A weak wind flow to hold then until Saturday (4/5) when high pressure starts to build back in, setting up 20 kt north winds over areas very local to Pt Conception. But the bulk of the high is to hold offshore until later Monday (4/7), when it makes it's main push east and north winds kick up in response, reaching 20 kts from Cape Mendocino southward even into Southern CA. 25 kt north winds forecast over the same area expected Tuesday even into Southern CA, with conditions a mess everywhere.
No tropical systems of interest were being tracked.
On Tuesday (3/25) a 960 mb gale tracked east beyond New Zealand generating a tiny area of 45 kt winds aimed northeast towards Hawaii initially and then the US West coast. A persistent area of 30-32 ft seas tracked from 57S 162W Tuesday AM to 50S 138W early Wednesday (3/26). Some form of very limited summer time background swell is pushing towards Hawaii for Mon-Wed (4/2) with swell up to 2 ft @ 15 secs (3 ft faces) from 190 degrees and California Thurs-Sat (4/5) with swell to 2.6 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5-4.0 ft faces with luck) from 200 degrees.
Otherwise no swell producing fetch was indicated or expected to develop over the next 72 hours.
South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Beyond 72 hrs virtually no swell producing fetch is indicated anywhere over the North Pacific ocean, likely resulting in a severe lack of surf in the days ahead. High pressure is to take solid control of the Eastern Pacific starting late in the weekend with steady trades forecast over the Hawaiian Islands and building north winds to near 30 kts forecast over North and Central CA waters, offering only short period local windswell as an alternative.
No swell development potential forecast with a split jetstream flow in play in the upper levels of the atmosphere and high pressure in control of South Pacific waters from under New Zealand to south of Tahiti. A gale is forecast developing under New Zealand Monday (4/7) with 45 kts winds pushing northeast and fading 24 hrs later possibly generating 35 ft seas there, but odds are very low at this early date.
Details to follow...
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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Surfrider General Meeting Thursday, April 3, 2008, 7:00 pm Montara Lighthouse All are welcome! Special guest speaker Larry Miller will present a history of the Mono Lake Committee's successful campaign to preserve the lake, and will also share tales of aquatic research.
Mavericks Contest 2008: View all the action from the 2008 Maverick Surf Contest from Powelines Productions here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9o5lj9CUpCc
Half Moon Bay Surfers - Attention: There¹s a movement afoot to dredge sand out of the Pillar Point (i.e. Half Moon Bay) Harbor and dump it just south of the jetty, so it will replenish all sand that¹s disappeared between the harbor and HMB. The guy who¹s spearheading the project, Brian Overfelt, has already received a positive preliminary reading from the local harbor commissioners. He¹s making a formal presentation to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary¹s advisory council this coming Friday (2/15) at Our Lady of Pillar church in Half Moon Bay. (It's on Kelly Ave, just east of the Coast Highway, across the street from Cunha Intermediate School.) starting at 9 AM. More details here: http://www.stormsurf.com/page2/forecast/forecast/hmb_dredge.html
Need Chiropractic Help? Visit our friends at Darrow Chiropractic. Not only will Dr. Darrow fix you up, he might give you some big wave surfing tips too! See more here: http://www.darrowchiropractic.com/
Grib File Switchover: The old grib1 format wave model datafiles that have been the mainstay of the National Weather service for years now are scheduled to be retired on 1/26. We switched over to the new grib2 files starting with the 00z run of Thurs 1/17. All appears to be running fine. There is no functional change to the content of the models, just that files we receive are now smaller due to improved compression of grib2. But this sets us up to start processing new higher resolution files and building new products in the months ahead. So in all it's a good maintenance level change.
Sharkwater: There's a new feature film called Sharkwater that is hitting theaters November 2nd. Sharkwater is an award winning documentary (22 international film awards including the UN and Cannes) that broke box office records in Canada, opening to bigger numbers than any documentary in history save Fahrenheit 911 and Supersize Me. It is a conservation film that demonstrates that the biggest influence on the air we breathe, and global warming is life in the oceans – except life in the oceans is being wiped out. Shark populations have dropped 90% in the last 30 years alone, and the oceans continue to be destroyed because nobody knows that it's happening Learn more here: http://www.sharkwater.com
Bluewater Gold Rush: The first and only chronicle of the California sea urchin dive fishery. Diving, surfing, comedy, and tragedy on and under the waves of California. "A quintessential tale of California ... dramas of adventure and loss on and under the sea" We read it and it's a great story about the bloom of the urchin diving boom in the 70's and the few lucky souls who were right there when it took off. An easy read that's hard to put down. The trials and success of a 'real' California dream right down to it's core. Check it out here: http://www.bluewatergoldrush.com
Submit your story to 'Surfings Greatest Misadventures: Vol. 2': DEADLINE: January 15th, 2008 Casagrande Press is seeking stories, articles, and essays on the general subject of surfing misadventure for publication in Surfings Greatest Misadventures: Volume 2. We are looking for nonfiction, first-person surf stories of bad judgment calls, pranks, comical/ironic episodes, disaster, attacking predators, misfortune, injury, loss of wit or limb, panic, critical conditions, contest meltdowns, everyday fears, surf trips gone wrong or the out-of-water episodes that surround surfing. We are looking for well-written stories that tell a good tale, reflect a culture, and develop the depth of the characters involved. We also like stories that have a tight narrative tension and a payoff at the end. Open to writers and surfers of any level. There is no fee to submit a story. We will consider previously published stories. To see more info on the first book visit www.thesurfbook.com. Submit online at www.casagrandepress.com
Waveriders Gallery: Check out this collection of high quality artwork all related to waves and the ocean. Surf Paintings, Photography, Posters, Books, Boards and exhibits all produced by a variety of top artists provide a beautiful selection of pieces to chose from. Take and look and see some of the stunning work available from these artists. http://www.waveridersgallery.net/
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table