Tuesday, April 25, 2017
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 3.3 ft @ 11.8 secs with swell 1.6 ft @ 11.4 secs from 323 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 6.9 ft @ 7.7 secs with swell 5.1 ft @ 8.2 secs from 270 degrees. Wind northwest 17-23 kts. Water temperature 57.9 degs. At Ventura swell was 5.1 ft @ 6.3 secs from 272 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 4.2 ft @ 7.4 secs from 256 degrees. At Camp Pendleton swell was 2.0 ft @ 13.9 secs from 225 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma swell was 5.8 ft @ 9.8 secs from 274 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 7.4 ft @ 11.1 secs with swell 4.9 ft @ 10.2 secs from 285 degrees. Wind northwest 10-14 kts at the buoy. Water temp 55.9 degs.
46006, 46059, New! Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (at the 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 (4/25) in North and Central CA local windswell was 2 ft overhead and blow out early with whitecaps in control. Protected breaks were shoulder to head high and nearly clean but weak. At Santa Cruz surf was chest to head high on the sets and clean but a little wonky. In Southern California up north local windswell was hitting producing waves in the chest high range and fairly raw and mushed even though winds were light. In North Orange Co surf was 1-2 ft overhead coming from the northwest and a bit raw and unorganized but with light local winds. In South Orange Co windswell was producing waves at chest high or so and nearly chopped and not very appealing. In San Diego surf was head high and warbled and a bit raw coming from the northwest. Hawaii's North Shore was flat to waist high and clean. Looks like summer. The South Shore was thigh to waist high with best breaks to shoulder high and clean coming from the south. The East Shore was flat and chopped.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Tuesday (4/25) in the Northern Hemisphere no swell of interest was in the water other than windswell relative to California. Looking at the charts a gale is forecast developing in the Western Gulf a week out with up to 27 ft seas aimed at Hawaii and the US West Coast, but that's a reach for the models. In the Southern Hemi swell from a small gale was in the water poised to hit California today with another behind that from a gale that produced 38 ft seas southeast of New Zealand on Thurs-Fri (4/21) tracking northeast. And yet another gale is to develop in the Central South Pacific on Tues-Wed (4/26) with up to 37 ft seas with perhaps a smaller one behind that. The transition to a summer like pattern is well underway.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Tuesday AM (4/25) the jetstream was flowing east off Japan consolidated the whole way across the Pacific tracking roughly on the 38N latitude line eventually pushing over North CA. Winds were 150-160 kts over a good portion of the distance. No troughs were present offering no real support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours more of the same is forecast but with a trough developing just west of the dateline easing into the Gulf on Fri (4/28) and getting pinched off and not particularly supportive of gale development. At the same time a ridge is to develop east and west of the trough supporting high pressure development. Beyond 72 hours this pattern is to dissipate with the jet again running more or less flat east off Japan on Mon (5/1) with winds building to 140 kts on the dateline then tracking east from there but far weaker pushing over the Pacific Northwest offering no support for gale development. But by Tues (5/2) the pocket of wind energy on the dateline at 140 kts is to be feeding a developing trough in the Western Gulf and offering decent support for gale development. Will believe it when it happens.
On Tuesday (4/25) no swell producing fetch was occurring and no swell was in the water from previous fetch.
Otherwise generic low pressure was centered over the Central Aleutians at 984 mbs with high pressure at 1024 mbs off the Central CA coast. No winds greater than 25 kts were in play over the entirety of the North Pacific.
Over the next 72 hours a gale is forecast developing over the North Kuril Islands on Thurs (4/27) producing south winds at 40-45 kts and seas building to 24 ft but targeting only the West Aleutians with no swell energy expected to track into our forecast area.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (4/25) high pressure was in control off the Central California coast driving north winds at 15+ kts from Bodega bay southward to Pt Conception and up to 20+ kts from Morro Bay southward. Light rain is expected for Cape Mendocino by the afternoon. Wednesday more of the same is forecast but with high pressure building in over the entire state in the afternoon with north winds 15+ kts for all of North and Central CA and up to 25 kts for Pt Conception. Light rain builds south reaching maybe the Golden Gate late afternoon. Thurs (4/27) high pressure takes firm control with north winds 20-25 kts over all of North and Central CA and 30 kts in the afternoon for Pt Conception over the Channel Islands. More of the same on Friday but north winds only 25 kts and less so for the Channel Islands. Winds to lighten up on Saturday, but still 20 kts for all of North and Central CA early, fading to 15-20 kts in the afternoon. Sunday the gradient is to be reduced to covering just Cape Mendocino south to Pt Reyes at 20+ kts, and 15 kts down to Monterey Bay. No change on Monday, then the gradient to build south into Tues (5/2) with 20 kt northwest winds from Cape Mendocino south to Pt Conception.
Residual swell from a gale that tracked across the South Pacific was still hitting California (see New Zealand Gale below). Another swell was right behind it (see Another New Zealand Gale below).
Over the next 72 hours another small gale is to form in the Central South Pacific on Tues AM (4/25) with 40 kt southwest winds over a decent sized area and seas building from 31 ft at 55S 157W. Fetch is to build in coverage and strength some in the evening at 45 kts with seas building to 37 ft at 52S 146W and unshadowed relative to CA. Fetch is to fade from 40 kts over a decent sized area aimed northeast Wed AM (4/26) with seas fading from 32 ft at 48S 137W. Fetch to fade from 30-35 kts in the evening with seas with seas 32 ft at 48S 117W and outside the CA swell window. The gale to dissipate from there. Possible swell for California down into Mexico focused on Central America, Peru and Chile.
Theoretically another small gale is to develop in the deep Central South Pacific on Thurs AM (4/27) with 50 kt southwest winds just north of the Ross Ice Shelf and seas building from 31 ft over a small area at 65S 170W. In the evening 40 kt southwest winds to expand and weaken with seas to 34 ft at 64S 157W. The gale is to race east and fade with sea fading out. Small swell is possible for CA with better energy for Mexico down into Central America and Peru.
New Zealand Gale
A storm started developing well south of New Zealand starting Tues PM (4/11) with a small area of 40 kts west winds and seas starting to develop from 27 ft at 61S 172E. On Wed AM (4/12) that fetch built to 45 kts lifting northeast with seas to 30 ft at 58S 174W. In the evening winds built to 45 kts from the south-southwest over a solid area with seas building to 33 ft at 56S 161W. The gale reached storm status while lifting northeast with winds 50 kts Thurs AM (4/13) with seas 39 ft at 52S 151W (200 degs SCal and 196 degs NCal and both unshadowed, 171 degs HI). Winds faded from 45 kts in the evening lifting northeast with seas 35 ft at 48S 143W (195 degs SCal, 193 degs NCal). More fetch developed to the south on Fri AM (4/14) at 50 kts over a tiny area aimed north with 30 ft seas from the original fetch fading at 46S 136W aimed north. The gale is to start fading and falling south in the evening with winds in the new fetch fading from 45 kts over a tiny area aimed north and seas fading from 32 ft at 53S 127W. This system to fade from there.
Southern CA: Residuals on Tues (4/25) fading from 2.3 ft @ 13-14 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 198 degrees
North CA: Swell fading on Tues (4/25) from 2.0 ft @ 14 secs early (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 196 degrees
Another New Zealand Gale
Another gale formed in the deep Southwest Pacific on Sun AM (4/16) with a small area of 45 kt southwest winds building and seas 30 ft over a small area at 65S 173W. With Antarctic Sea Ice seasonally depressed, there is lots of open ocean for gales to get traction. Winds faded while tracking east in the evening at 40 kts from the southwest with seas fading to 28 ft at 66S 161W. The gale reorganized while lifting northeast Mon AM (4/17) with 45 kt southwest winds and seas 24 ft at 63S 151W. In the evening 45-50 kt southwest winds continued northeast with seas building to 32 ft at 52S 130W aimed at California down to Central America and Peru. The gale raced east from there Tues AM (4/18) with 45 kt southwest winds and seas 31 ft at 49S 120W and on the edge of the California swell window. Small short lived swell possible. Something to monitor.
South CA: Expect swell arrival on Tues (4/25) with swell building to 1.8 ft @ 17-18 secs late (3.0 ft). Swell building on Wed (4/26) to 2.5 ft @ 15-16 secs late (3.5-4.0 ft with sets to 4.5 ft). Swell continues on Thurs (4/27) at 2.2 ft @ 14-15 secs early (3.0 ft). Swell fading out on Fri (4/28) from 1.8 ft @ 13-14 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 187 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival on Tues (4/25) with swell building to 1.5 ft @ 18 secs late (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell building on Wed (4/26) to 2.2 ft @ 16-17 secs mid-day (3.5-4.0 ft with sets to 4.5 ft). Swell continues on Thurs (4/27) at 2.3 ft @ 15 secs early (3.5 ft). Swell fading out on Fri (4/28) from 1.5 ft @ 13-14 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 185 degrees
Third New Zealand Gale
Another third small storm built south of New Zealand on Thurs AM (4/20) with 50 kt southwest winds and seas building from 32 ft at 61S 170E. In the evening the storm was pushing east-northeast with winds still 45-50 kts and seas 39 ft over a tiny area at 61S 178E aimed east-northeast (202 degs SCal and 200 degs NCal and unshadowed for both, and 190 degs HI). Fetch tracked east-northeast Fri AM (4/21) fading from the southwest at 40 kts and seas 35 ft at 59S 170W. The gale faded from there in the evening but grew in coverage with 35 kt southwest winds and seas 28-30 ft over a large area at 49S 171W (211 degs SCal and 209 degs NCal and both shadowed,187 degs HI). Fetch continued lifting northeast Sat AM (4/22) with 26 ft seas at 44S 162W. In the evening fetch is to continue lifting northeast with winds up to 45 kts over a tiny area from the southwest and seas 27 ft at 45S 155W (194 degs SCal and 193 degs NCal and unshadowed). The gale faded from there Sun AM (4/23) with 40 kt south winds and 33 ft seas over a tiny area at 47S 139W. The gale to dissipate from there. Something to monitor.
Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat (4/29) building from 1.3 ft @ 20 secs late (2.5 ft). Swell building late Sun (4/30) to 2.9 ft @ 17-18 secs (5.0 ft). Swell continues Mon (5/1) at 3.0 ft @ 16 secs (5.0 ft). Swell fades early Tues (5/2) from 2.8 ft @ 15 secs (4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 203 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat (4/29) building from 1.0 ft @ 20 secs late (2.0 ft). Swell building Sun (4/30) to 2.2 ft @ 18 secs (4.0 ft). Swell continues Mon (5/1) at 2.3 ft @ 16-17 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell fades Tues (5/2) from 2.2 ft @ 15 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 200 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 a gale is forecast developing in the trough in the upper atmosphere Mon AM (5/1) with 30-35 kt west winds building nd seas starting to develop. In the evening 40 kt northwest winds are forecast with seas building to 23 ft at 44N 163W. Tues AM (5/2) northwest winds are forecast at 40-45 kts with seas building to 27 ft at 44N 161W. Possible swell to result for Hawaii and the US West Coast if one is to believe the models.
Beyond 72 hours no clear swell producing fetch is forecast.
More details to follow...
28 Deg Isotherm Retrogrades West
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. Still, the atmosphere is in a La Nina configuration.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Mon (4/24) east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific but a little lighter over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were neutral everywhere including the KWGA. La Nina appears to have finally backed off.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): Light west anomalies were over the entire KWGA except for one pocket of light east anomalies near 160E per the model. The forecast suggests light west anomalies taking root over all the KWGA by 4/27 with no east anomalies forecast through the 1 week forecast period (through 5/2). This suggests La Nina is weakening and a neutral pattern is trying to set up for the KWGA.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 4/25 a neutral to weak Active MJO pattern was in effect over the KWGA. The statistic model projects it fading and gone 2 weeks out with a weak Inactive Phase fading over the Maritime Continent and tracking east into the West Pacific. The dynamic model depicts a weakly Active pattern holding for the next 15 days if not building some with the Inactive Phase building in the Indian Ocean but confined there. All this suggest that the previous pattern of the Inactive Phase of the MJO constructively integrating with the remains of La Nina appears to be faded out and a neutral ENSO Pattern is taking hold.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (4/25) The ECMF model indicates the Active Phase of the MJO was very weak over the East Pacific and is forecast to generally hold there maybe building some over the next 2 weeks. The GEFS model depicts the same thing but rebuilding stronger in the East Pacific. This model runs about a week ahead of what occurs down at the surface.
40 day Upper Level Model: (4/25) This model depicts a weak Active Pattern was over the West Pacific. The Active Phase is to remain weak tracking east into Central America 5/10. A weak Inactive Phase to set up in the west 5/5 and is to drift east to Central America 5/25. A weak Active pattern to follow in the West Pacific 5/12 tracking east to the East Pacific through 6/4 and beyond. This model runs about 2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (4/20) No update today - the model is having issues. But data from other sources suggest west anomalies building in the KWGA starting today and retrograding west through 5/15. This model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was centered over the KWGA with neutral anomalies in play. Beyond the Active Phase is to ease east with neutral anomalies in control of the KWGA until weak west anomalies start to develop by 4/28 as the Active Phase starts moving out of the area and the Inactive Phase moves in. The Inactive Phase is to hold till 6/15, but west anomalies are to hold control of the KWGA throughout. After that the Active Phase is to start taking control on 6/20 with solid west anomalies well entrenched and building. The low pass filter indicates La Nina is to be gone on 5/8 (previously 5/6-5/8) with El Nino taking hold 5/25, (previously 5/16-5/22). Projected west anomalies are dependent upon the evolution of El Nino and the date of that development appears to be stable (holding for 2+ weeks now). Confidence is building on this forecast.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (4/23) Actual temperatures remain stratified with warm water in the West Pacific at 30 degs C retrograding west and no longer on the chart. The 28 deg isotherm line has retrograded back to the west now located at 170W after making significant eastward progress the previous week, reaching east to 154W (4/19). The 26 deg isotherm continued easing to the east reaching to the Galapagos with the 24 degs isotherm over a modest pool down 25 meters (75 meters at 140W) and holding. Anomaly wise warm anomalies at +0-1 degs rule the entire upper reaches of the equatorial East Pacific from 65 meters upward with +2 degs anomalies in the west and the east. A pocket of -2 degs anomalies is holding at depth between 110-150W down 100 meters reaching up to 60 meters. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 4/18 depicts that warm water is covering the East Pac at +2-3 degs and trying to ease west to about 130W. Cool water at -1-2 degs is at depth at 150W. Warm water is in the the West at +2.0 degs reaching east to 170W. La Nina has lost control of the ocean at depth with something that almost resembles a warm pattern taking shape. The concern is there is not much warm water in the far West Pacific to feed any sort of a progressive Kelvin Wave pattern, but somehow more warm waters is present in the east. And the cool pocket appears to be blocking any westward flow of such warm water.
Sea Level Anomalies: (4/18) Positive anomalies at 0-+5 cms are on the equator from Ecuador west to 95W. 0-5 cm anomalies remain along the coast of Peru and Ecuador but have lost ground. No negative anomalies are indicated in the KWGA. La Nina is gone in the East Pacific with a neutral to warm trend building in.
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: (4/24) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate warm water is off Northern Chile and Peru north to Ecuador then extending west over the Galapagos reaching west to 120W at +1.5 degs with warm anomalies out to 160W but mainly south of the equator. But these warm waters have gotten significantly eroded by cool waters upwelling along the immediate coast of Peru and North Chile, so much so that the massive warming indicated 2 weeks (+4 degs) ago has completely diffused (to +1.5 degs). But, starting 4/19 that upwelling appears to have lost it's footing. Looking at the large picture, warming in the southern hemi extends east thousands of miles off the coast of South America as far south as 20S. La Nina is gone and it looks like an El Nino like pattern is returning, though that seems hard to believe given the limited volume of subsurface warm water in the West equatorial Pacific.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (4/23): A neutral trend is along immediate Chile and Peru. A very weak and thin stream of cooling trending extends from the Galapagos west on the equator to 155W. But a moderate warming trend is north and south of there out to the dateline. A warming trend is also present in the Northern Hemi modesty from Baja up to North CA and out to Hawaii reaching west to the Philippines.
Hi-res Overview: (4/14) There is no sign of La Nina anymore anywhere on the equator. A solid warm regime holds from Ecuador west to 140W and less energetic out to the dateline. Remnants of La Nina are gone in the ocean and it looks like El Nino is trying to develop and making headway into the Nino3.4 region.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (4/25) Today's temps have fallen some but still neutral at -0.032, down from the peak of +3.0 degs on 3/18.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (4/25) temps were rising slightly at +0.710 degs in weak El Nino territory.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (4/25) The forecast has temps rising to +0.8 degs late May holding into early July then fading late summer to +0.6 degs only to rebuild some to +0.85 degs in late Oct holding into Jan 2018 suggesting a return of El Nino, but weak. La Nina is over and a return to normal temps appears to have occurred. The change in the atmosphere will be slower. And a turn to weak El Nino conditions is possible late summer into Fall. Still, there is no source for greater warming with the warm pool in the far West Pacific pretty weak.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-April Plume updated (4/19) depicts temps are warming and are now at +0.4 degs. A slow increase in temps is forecast thereafter to +0.8 degs in July and up to +0.9 degs through the Fall into Winter. This is +0.3 degs warmer than the Feb forecast and +0.6 degs warmer than the January forecast and +0.1 degs since the March forecast suggesting La Nina is over and a warmer regime is setting up. See chart here - link.
Atmospheric Decoupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (4/25): The daily index was still negative at -1.73, but was stronger mid-April. It has been negative for 13 days. The 30 day average was falling at -6.39. The 90 day average was falling at -1.45 or effectively neutral. This suggests a return to at least a neutral ENSO conditions has taken hold.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (4/25) Today's value was steady at -1.06, still pretty negative given the other oceanic signals. A peak low was reached on 11/2 at -1.94 the deepest it had been in this La Nina event. This measures atmospheric response, not oceanic. The atmosphere lags behind changes in the ocean. The expectation is this index will rise to 0.0 three months after the oceanic change occurred (Oceanic change occurred approx Jan 20 2017).
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO continues positive, though much weaker lately (as expected with La Nina setting in).
Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.12, Feb = +0.04, March = +0.08. This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO. 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. 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