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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: May 1, 2007 8:37 PM
Buoys: Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Buoy Forecast:
Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Pacific Links:  Atmospheric Models - Buoy Data - Current Weather - Wave Models
Forecast Archives: Enter Here
A chronology of recent Mavericks Underground forecasts. Once you enter, just click on the HTML file forecast you want to review (e.g. 073199.html equals July 31, 1999). To view the maps that correspond to that forecast date, select the html file labeled 073199 maps.html
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Swell Potential Rating = 3.0 - California & 2.0 - Hawaii
Using the 'Winter' Scale
(See Swell Category Table link at bottom of page)
Probability for presence of largest swells in near-shore waters of NCal, SCal or Hawaii.    
Issued for Week of Monday 4/30 thru Sun 5/6
Swell Potential Rating Categories
5 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Significant swell
4 = Good probability for 1-2 days of Significant swell
3 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Utility swell
2 = Good probability for  1-2 days of Utility swell
1 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Impulse or Windswell
0 = Low probability for 1-2 days of Impulse or Windswell   

Swell #3S for Hawaii
Dateline-Gulf Swell Pushing East

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Tuesday (5/1) Northern CA surf chest to head high and messy. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were thigh high. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was up to waist high. Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was maybe thigh high at top spots. The LA Area southward to Orange County was up to waist high at the best breaks. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were up to waist high. The North Shore of Oahu was waist to maybe chest high and that is generous. The South Shore was waist to chest high. The East Shore had thigh high windswell.

North/Central California was in the dead zone waiting for one more dateline swell. Southern California was essentially flat with only faint residuals from the dateline drifting through, but one more dateline swell queued out a few days. Hawaii was starting to see the leading edge on one more dateline swell, but already it looks smaller than forecast. And some southern hemi swell is starting to show on the South Shore. The South Pacific has produced a decent swell pushing north from under New Zealand targeting mainly Hawaii for Wed/Thurs with lesser energy scheduled for California by the weekend. And a rather moderate dateline gale has produced some swell energy pushing primarily east towards the Pacific Northwest and California for Thurs/Fri. Otherwise the charts suggest a relatively calm North and South Pacific with nothing of interest suggested. Make the most of what's coming cause the future does not look bright. See details below...

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SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours

North Pacific

Overview
Tuesdays jetstream charts (5/1) for the North Pacific indicated one last little trough pushing through the Gulf of Alaska with 150 kt winds feeding it's west side, good for supporting gael development at the oceans surface. But from the the dateline west a big split pattern was taking over with no real energy associated with it. This doesn't bode well for the future. Over the next 72 hours the Gulf trough is to push east and inland by late Thursday (4/3) with a a ridge taking over the East Pacific and a weak split flow pattern taking over the everything else, essentially shutting off the energy supply to developing gales. Beyond 72 hours a highly diffuse and weak jetstream flow is forecast with no support for surface level gale development suggested.

At the surface today week low pressure at 1000 mbs was in the Eastern Gulf of Alaska pushing to the east generating the faintest hint of 25 kt northwest winds targeting North California, with only windswell generation potential. Otherwise moderate high pressure at 1024 mbs was north of Hawaii trying to ridge into Southern CA generating only some moderate north winds off Pt Conception and not having any real impact on trades over the Islands. No other notable weather features were depicted. Over the next 72 hrs a dual high pressure pattern to take over, with one off California and another hanging in the north dateline area, pretty much shutting down any chance for real low pressure to get a foothold. No swell generation potential suggested.

 

Last Dateline-Gulf Gale
A gale started developing from a low that was over the Kuril Islands on Friday (4/27) pushing to the dateline Saturday AM (4/28) with pressure 984 mbs and the core almost in the Bering Sea with limited 40-45 kt west fetch confirmed south and barely in the open Pacific at 47N 174E aimed right up the 302 degree path to NCal and 40 degrees east of the 325 degree path to Hawaii. That faded some in the evening with 35-40 kts winds confirmed at 47N 174W aimed about like before but out of the Hawaiian swell. 27 ft seas were modeled at 48N 177E.

By Sunday AM (4/29) the low continued east with 35-40 kts winds positioned at 45N 170W aimed at California like before. Seas were modeled at 30 ft at 47N 175W. In the evening the Aleutian low tracked east into the northern Gulf of Alaska producing limited 35 kt west winds at 44N 162W aimed down the 296 degree path to NCal. 29-30 ft seas are modeled at 45N 167W.

By Monday AM the low to start sinking gently southeast with 30-35 kts winds forecast at 44N 155W aimed at NCal up the 295 degree great circle path. Seas modeled to 27 ft at 44N 160W. It was even weaker in the evening with winds down to barely 30 kts at 42N 150W aimed down the 292 degree path. Seas were down to 25 ft at 43N 153W.

Residual 25 kt northwest winds continued pushing towards the Pacific Northwest Tuesday (5/2) just off the Oregon coast then fading out. Seas fading from 21 ft at 42N 148W.

In all this was a very weak system, but it held together for 72 hours generating seas to 30 ft aimed well up the great circle paths to North and Central CA, but well off any tracks to Hawaii. Utility class swell is the most that can be expected at either location, though California to fare best given the favorable swell angle.

Hawaii: Expect limited energy pushing into the Islands late Tuesday (5/1) with swell peaking just before sunrise Wednesday (5/2) at 7 ft @ 15 secs (9-10 ft faces), though this estimate is likely on the high side. Swell fading through the day. Swell Direction: 330-335 degrees.

North California: Expect swell starting Wednesday (5/2) at 10 PM with period 17 sec and size building, peaking near sunrise Thursday (5/3) with pure swell 6.3 ft @ 15 secs (9-10 ft faces) holding through the day as period drops. Swell 6.6 ft @ 12 secs Friday AM (7-8 ft faces) and fading. Swell Direction: 293-301 degrees

South California: Expect swell starting to build at sunrise Thursday (5/3) up north with initial period 17 secs peaking near sunset with pure swell 3.4 ft @ 15 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces at best breaks). Residual energy 3.5 ft @ 13 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces) Friday AM and fading through the day. Swell Direction: 300-305 degrees

 

North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (5/1) a weak to moderate high pressure system at 1024 mbs was positioned north of Hawaii but was mostly being held at bay by weak low pressure at 998 mbs off Oregon. The net result was a light to moderate northwest flow pushing down the California coast. The Gulf low to push into Oregon on Wednesday with high pressure trying to push in behind but not quite making it, then getting good foothold into Southern CA on Thursday (5/3) with northerly winds building over the Channel Islands and Pt Conception while weak low pressure hangs off the north end of the state holding winds there to a minimum. 0n Friday (5/4) the last little bit's of low pressure to push over North CA basically holding the calmer pattern there while north winds continue down south making for messy conditions. By Saturday high pressure is to be in control ridging into Oregon driving brisk north winds over most of the coast expected Southern CA which might be at risk for a southerly eddy flow. The high pressure and northerly winds to then retreating to the north (Cape Mendocino) by Sunday with calmer conditions over most of the state. A generally light wind pattern forecast south of Pt Reyes through early next week.

 

South Pacific

Overview
Tuesdays jetstream charts (5/1) for the South Pacific indicated a moderate trough continuing to hold under and southeast of New Zealand with a small pocket of 120 kts winds at it's apex, providing very modest support for surface level gale development. A ridge continued in the far Southeastern Pacific suppressing storm development there. Over the next 72 hours the trough to drift east and weaken, but not fade out, with winds down to 100 kts. Very limited support for surface level gale development. Beyond 72 hours the trough to re-energize Friday (5/4) with 130 kt winds pushing up into it early Saturday, but fading late and pinching off. Maybe some support for gale development then, but the short liferspan of this trough is to be problematic. A weak ridge to take over after that well into next week with no support for gale development suggested.

At the surface gale winds at 35-40 kts were trying to get organized in the Southeast Pacific generated by a 948 mb low just off Antarctica. But these winds were all aimed west to east and a bit south of there, favoring targets in southern Chile. No fetch was aimed towards Hawaii and California. Over the next 72 hours this low to hold with spurious flair ups of fetch in the region occurring, but targeting the same locales and not having any real potential for California.

 

New Zealand Gale (Swell #3S Hawaii)
A new closed isobar 968 mb low formed south-southeast of New Zealand Wednesday AM (4/25) from an earlier fetch in the area. A broad area of 40-45 kt southwest winds developed at 60S 175E aimed well towards California up the 212 degree path and only 20 degrees off the 195 degree route to Hawaii and starting to get traction on the already agitated oceans surface there. A broad area of 32 ft seas were modeled at 58S 173E. In the evening the whole fetch was lifting northeast winds confirmed at 45 kts at 50S 170W aimed right up the 210 degree path to California and 35 degrees east of the 187 degree path to Hawaii. 35 ft seas were modeled at 52S 175W becoming shadowed for NCal (210) and SCal (213 degrees).

The low dropped to 964 mbs on Thursday AM (4/26) with some limited 35-40 kts winds holding in the vicinity of 50S 160W but aimed more to the east, Seas built to 37 ft at 50S 167W, though that seems a bit high. And it was shadowed from S California (213 degrees) and most of NCal (210 degrees) by Tahiti. The low to quickly fade after that Thurs PM with residual 35 ft seas modeled at 47S 159W and still shadowed for the mainland, then fading out.

This was not a long lasting system, only lasting essentially 48 hours and did not reach storm status. But it theoretically generated a solid fetch and some seas of interest, though we suspect the wave models have overestimated seas heights some. Hawaii is likely to be best positioned to receive swell from this one being only 4140-5014 nmiles away versus the 5428-6567 nmiles from California and the fact that the mainland was shadowed by Tahiti. A reasonably solid long period swell with some size is likely Hawaii with rideable long period energy forecast for California too, though inconsistent.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival Tuesday late afternoon (5/1) with initial period 19-20 secs and size reaching 1.6 ft @ 19 secs right before dark (3 ft faces). Swell building overnight and by Wednesday AM (5/2) size pushing up to 3 ft @ 18 secs (5 ft faces) and building more through the day to 3.6 ft @ 17-18 secs (6 ft faces with best breaks to 8 ft). Swell to continue solid on Thursday (5/3) at 3.6 ft @ 16 secs (5.8 ft faces with best breaks to 7 ft). Swell fading from 3.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces) Friday morning (5/4). Swell Direction: 185-192 degrees

South California: Expect swell arrive Friday (5/4) building to 2.6 ft @ 17-18 secs late (4.5 ft faces). Swell to peak Saturday (5/5) at 3 ft @ 16 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces). Swell fading from 3 ft @ 15 secs Sunday (4.5 ft faces). Residual swell of 2.6 ft @ 14 secs (3.5 ft faces) Monday (5/7) and fading. Swell Direction: 202-207 degrees

North California: Expect swell arrival Friday (5/4) with swell building to 2.3 ft @ 17 secs late (4 ft faces). Swell to peak Saturday (5/5) with swell up to 3 ft @ 16 secs late (4.5-5.0 ft faces). Swell fading from 2.6 ft @ 15 secs Sunday (4 ft faces). Residual swell of 2.3-2.6 ft @ 14 secs (3.5 ft faces) Monday (5/7) and fading. Swell Direction: 206-211 degrees

 

South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height

 

QuikCAST's

 

LONG-TERM FORECAST
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hrs the models indicate that dual high pressure systems are to merge setting up one huge high sitting just east of the dateline reaching from almost California west to Japan. No support for swell generating (other than local windswell for California) through the middle of next week. Summer is coming with a vengeance.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours an even weaker surface flow forecast, with no fetch capable of generating swell suggested.

Details to follow...

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MAVERICKSSURF MAVFILM MAVSURFER SURFPULSE Inside Mavericks Randy Cone Surfboards

Local Interest

Surfing's Greatest Misadventures: We've been reading a great book of short stories all based around surfing adventures, but not in classical sense. These are stories of surf trips gone bad, personal growth and realizations while on surf trips, silly things that happen while surfing right on up to horrifying shark attacks, and some great nostalgic tails of surfers versus the Marines at Trestles back in the early days. A truly enjoyable, easy to read and entertaining look at the culture and people that make up the surf community. Check it out here: http://www.thesurfbook.com

STORMSURF on the News: NBC-11 came to visit Stormsurf last week to talk about the Mavericks Surf Contest and surf forecasting. See the piece here: http://www.nbc11.com/mavericks Click on 'Mavericks Forecaster'

Surf Video Clips at Yousurftubes.com - Check out this new website dedicated soley to high quality - high action surf clips from around the world. Great action form Morocco, Hawaii, Mexico, California and many more spots all streaming right to your desktop. Piles of fun and hours on enjoyment. Check it out now at: http://www.Yousurftubes.com

High Noon and Low Tide: Eric Nelson has remastered this epic Mavericks documentary covering a week of giant surf leading up to that fateful day of 12/23/94 when we lost Mark Foo. See all the footage with archived and recent interviews of all the best riders including Grant Washburn, Doc Renneker, Evan Slater, Peter Mel and more. This is a must-have piece for any serious Maverick collection. Available at local surfshops. Will be coming to an on-line store shortly.

New Book: Inside Mavericks - Portrait of a Monster Wave: Ace photographer Doug Acton, cinematographer Grant Washburn and San Francisco Chronicle writer Bruce Jenkins have teamed up to present an insiders view of Mavericks. Read all the first hand accounts from Peter Mel, Ken 'Skin Dog' Collins, Grant Washburn, Mark Renniker and the rest of the gang as they describe the game of surfing one of the largest waves in the world, fully illustrated with the hauntingly artistic images from Doug Acton, long-time Mavericks lensman. There's even a section featuring Stormsurf! Get your autographed copy here: http://www.insidemavericks.com/

Stormsurf Google Gadget - Want Stormsurf content on your Google Homepage? It's simple and free. If you have Google set as your default Internet Explorer Homepage, just click the link below and a buoy forecast will be added to your Google homepage. Defaults to Half Moon Bay CA. If you want to select a different location, just click on the word 'edit', and a list of alternate available locations appears. Pick the one of your choice. Content updates 4 times daily. A great way to see what waves are coming your way!
http://www.google.com/ig/add?moduleurl=http://www.stormsurf.com/gadget/stormsurf .xml

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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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