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 Thursday (4/3) Northern CA surf was waist to maybe chest high and clean. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist to chest high too and clean. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was waist high or a little more and a bit windy. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was in the waist high range and textured. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high with occasionally more on the sets and textured. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were waist to chest high and clean early. The North Shore of Oahu was chest high and a bit windy out of the north. The South Shore was up to waist high. The East Shore was thigh high at best.
North/Central California was getting minimal swell from across the dateline mixed with minimal background swell from the Southern Hemisphere. Southern California was getting the same mix of northwest and southwest swells, though neither was remarkable. Hawaii's North Shore was getting just the faintest new swell from the dateline. The South Shore was effectively flat. The East Shore was flat.
For the future the California coast is to continue seeing a mix of swell from the southern hemi and energy coming from across the dateline, biggest through Saturday then fading. But of most interest is a storm that pushed off Japan tracking northeast and fading, but not before generating 50-55 kt winds and up to 38 ft seas, offering hope for the North Shore of Oahu over the weekend (4/5) then pushing into California later Monday into Tuesday (4/8). But after that a quiet pattern to take over with only the faintest of potential from the dateline region in the north. The models have been consistently depicting something forming under New Zealand early next week, but that's still a bit off, and a week or more away from arriving assuming it does form. So go for the for-sure thing. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Thursdays jetstream charts (4/3) for the North Pacific indicated a moderate and consolidated flow pushing flat off Japan to 120 kts then ridging north over the Western Gulf reaching to the Aleutians and poised to push towards the Pacific Northwest. Only the area off Japan was capable of supporting surface level low pressure development. Over the next 72 hours the same basic pattern is to hold with a bit of a weak trough in-place off Japan pushing up into a ridge over the dateline/Western Gulf region, then almost dipping into a trough over the far Eastern Gulf, but not really enough to make a difference. The area of Japan to hold the best hope. Beyond 72 hours the models suggest the ridge over the dateline to move into the Gulf and pretty much set up shop there, with the flow over the west moving markedly to the north as well. It is really looking like a summertime pattern is already trying to set up, shutting things down for the North Pacific.
At the surface today the faint remnants of a storm that originated off Japan were pushing over the Bering Sea and of no use to anyone. High pressure at 1032 mbs was 900 nmiles north of Hawaii generating northeasterly trades there and trying to ridge into the US West Coast, but not quite making it, though certainly shutting the Gulf of Alaska down for gale development. In all a very calm pattern was in-play. Over the next 72 hours the high pressure system is to only get better organized north of Hawaii and start ridging into the US West Coast generating northerly winds there for the weekend and beyond. A weak gale is forecast organizing in the far northeast Gulf of Alaska Saturday generating up to 40 kts winds aimed at Central Canada generating maybe 23 ft seas there early Sunday (4/6) and shadowed for anywhere south of Cape Mendocino.
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, building to 37 ft in the evening at 38N 157E aimed at Hawaii down the 300 degree path but 2700 nmiles out. The storm was fading Wednesday (4/2) with winds confirmed dropping from 30 kts and then below that in the evening with seas 36 ft early at 38N 160E then fading from 30 ft late at 39N 165E and dissipating from there. Some form of decent 17-18 sec period swell is in the water pushing towards Hawaii and eventually the US west coast, but nothing over the top. There was basically only 24 hours of effective winds and seas generating fetch positioned a long ways from any target, though Hawaii was closest.
Expect some decent amount of well rideable longer period surf is possible for the Islands starting late Saturday (4/5) with swell to 5.2 ft @ 17 secs late (9 ft faces) then fading from 5.5 ft @ 15 secs (8 ft faces) early Sunday. Swell Direction: 300-305 degrees. Much decayed energy from this one to push into exposed breaks in Central California reaching 3.4 ft @ 17 secs late Monday (4/7) (6 ft faces) the fading from 4 ft @ 15 secs (6 ft faces) early Tuesday from 295-300 degrees.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (4/3) weak high pressure at 1020 mbs was over nearshore waters, though stronger high pressure at 1032 mbs was north of Hawaii and trying to ridge eastward, but being held at bay by a cutoff low between the CA coast and Islands. Light winds were over CA waters and expected to hold through Friday. But by Saturday that cutoff low is expected to dissipate and high pressure is to surge east, forming a pressure gradient along the coast and generating northerly winds at 15-20 kts for most locations and up to 25 kts over Pt Conception. Sloppy conditions taking over. But the bulk of the high is to hold offshore until later Monday (4/7), when it makes it's main trust east and north winds kick up in-earnest, reaching 20 kts from Cape Mendocino southward even into Southern CA. 25 kt north winds forecast over the area and expected to continue Tuesday (even into Southern CA late) and getting an even better footprint on Wednesday (4/9). A real mess. A bit of a reprieve is forecast Thursday in Southern CA, but 15 kt northerly winds to hold over Central CA with messy conditions continuing.
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 expected for 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 a gale is forecast to try and form over the northern dateline region Monday generating maybe 35 kts west winds while tracking east and fading Tuesday (4/8). Maybe a small area of 23 ft seas forecast early Tuesday is all, aimed best at Canada. Maybe some background swell for Hawaii and exposed breaks in California with luck.
A gale is forecast developing under New Zealand Monday (4/7) at 972 mbs with 45-50 kt winds pushing northeast generating a small but solid area of 37 ft seas at 59S 165E in the morning and over a larger area in the evening at 56S 175E, targeting both Hawaii and California. Seas to be fading from 35 ft Tuesday AM (4/8) at 52S 178W and dissipating from there. Latest data suggest this system might regenerate east of New Zealand Thursday (4/10) producing a small fetch of 50 kt south winds in the morning and up to 36 ft seas in the evening at 45N 165W aimed directly at Hawaii, and in a closer position than usual, just 3900 nmiles away. This is far from certain to occur, but something to watch none-the-less.
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