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 (5/27) Northern CA surf was waist high and near-glassy but weak. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were basically flat with the rare waist high set dribbling through. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was thigh to waist high and clean. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was up to thigh high and textured early. The LA Area southward to Orange County was thigh to waist high and lightly chopped early. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were thigh high and textured early. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was near flat and clean. The East Shore was flat.
North/Central California was seeing no real swell of interest other than some minimal southern hemi background swell. Southern California was seeing no swell either. Hawaii's North Shore was flat. The East Shore was flat. The South Shore was flat too. No real surf to be had for our forecast area right now. Must be summer.
For this week a calm pattern is forecast for the North Pacific. Virtually no swell source was indicated in either the Hawaiian or US mainland swell windows. North and Central California to stay in the near flat range other than low odds for some small south-southeast southern hemi background swell arriving late Friday. Southern CA to see a chance for that same background southeastern southern hemi swell starting Friday and continuing into Sunday (6/1). The North Shore of Oahu to remain flat for the foreseeable future. The South Shore to remain flat too. No windswell expected on the East Shore either. The North Pacific is shut down for the summer. The southern hemi is to try and wake up, with a storm forecast under New Zealand Thurs/Fri (5/30) with 40 ft seas and another Sat/Sun (6/1) with 42 ft seas both over solid areas. But if these systems form it's still a week or more from their formation date till swell arrives (depending on your location). So for now, take care of business and keep your fingers crossed. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Tuesdays jetstream charts (5/27) for the North Pacific depicted a weak trough pushing just east of the dateline with weak 110 kt winds flowing under it. A second broad trough was pushing over the California coast, but with no wind of interest associated with it. There was no real support for surface level low pressure development. Over the next 72 hours the dateline trough is to dissipate leaving just a weak meandering flow pushing west to east over the 40N latitude and offering no support for surface level low pressure development. Beyond 72 hours a bit more cohesive and energetic flow is to set up pushing off Japan slowly drifting northeast into Northern Canada a week out, but with no real troughs or ridges of interest suggested. Given the time of year, the North Pacific is likely shut down for the summer, though the flow has not completely fallen apart.
At the surface today high pressure at 1032 mbs was over the North Central Gulf of Alaska with north winds being generated off it's eastern flank at 15-20 kts aimed south towards open ocean between Hawaii and California offering no odds of windswell generation. A calm pattern was off the California coast with no winds at all indicated. Trades remained suppressed over the Hawaiian Islands. A weak low was just east of the dateline in association with a upper trough pushing over that area, but all fetch was aimed north towards the Aleutians, offering no hope for our forecast area. Over the next 72 hours no real change is forecast with a neutral pressure pattern in the east and persistent weak and non-productive low pressure over the dateline. Trades to remain weak over the Islands too.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (5/27) a neutral pressure pattern was in control with no winds of interest occurring. Glassy conditions prevailed. No change is forecast through Wednesday (5/28). On Thursday a weak hint of high pressure is to try and get organized off Southern CA possibly setting up a 15 kt northerly flow over the Channel Islands down into Baja and ruffling things up a bit there, continuing Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the 15-20 kt range, but creating generally nothing more that a light surface chop. This to work it's way up into Northern Ca by Tuesday (6/3), but having no effect other than producing light chop.
Tropical storm Nakri was positioned 350 nmiles west of Saipan tracking almost north with winds 40 kts, It to reach minimal typhoon strength on Thursday and hold for 2 days, then fade out while turning northeast on Saturday (5/31). No swell generation potential forecast.
On Tuesday (5/27) the jetstream over the South Pacific remained heavily split with most energy in the northern branch. The southern branch remained displaced well to the south flowing more-or-less flat west to east over the 65S latitude, offering no support for low pressure development. Over the next 72 hours the bulk of the southern branch is to weaken and sink further south, down to the 70S mark mid-week and offering even less hope. But of some interest is a bit of a troughing pattern forecast pushing north under New Zealand Thursday (5/29) with 140 kt winds flowing up into it offering some hope to support low pressure development there. This trough to push east into the greater South Pacific Friday and beyond, perhaps breaking the log jam that has dominated the South Pacific so far this summer. Beyond 72 hrs a broader but weaker trough is to push under New Zealand Sunday with winds to only 90 kts in it. Low odds for low pressure to develop there. Another ridge to be right behind pushing back south towards Antarctica, shutting things down again.
At the oceans surface no swell producing weather systems were indicated. A cutoff low was positioned south of Tahiti with 40-45 kt south winds at 48S 143W, but that is to be fading by Wednesday from the 40 kts range. A tiny area of near 30 ft sea are forecast at 43S 143W Wednesday evening aimed well at Tahiti, but covering only an infintesmal area. Some swell likely to result for Tahiti on Thursday peaking Friday (5/30) to 9 ft @ 14 secs (11-13 ft Hawaiian), but that's all.
Of more interest is a broader gale forecast under New Zealand Wed (5/28) at 944 mbs with 50-55 kt west winds at 60S 150E pushing to 170E late evening and generating 40 ft seas at 58S 170W by Thursday AM (5/29) with a little secondary fetch pushing more to the northeast in the 40-45 kt range holding through Thursday evening holding seas in the 38 ft range at 56S 180W at that time. This would be enough to produce decent swell up into Hawaii and Tahiti with background energy or more into California assuming it really occurs. Will monitor.
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 no swell producing fetch of any kind is forecast. Weak low pressure is to push off Japan Saturday (5/31) tracking to the dateline mid-next week with 25 kt winds aimed towards Hawaii, but that to not be enough.
Madden-Julian Oscillation Note: The MJO remains in the active phase, and strongly so, with daily SOI values still negative as of 5/22, rebounding from -48 to -11 today , making it 7 days in a row in the negative range, with the larger 30 day trend now at -1. The 90 day trend is dropping quickly too, down from +20 in April to +6 as of today. This is interesting in that it is the first time the 30 day average has been at 0 or less since July of 2007, when it was coming out of the weak 2006 El Nino. Anomalous 850 mb westerly winds remained entrenched over the entire equatorial Pacific with the core stretched from the Philippines to mainland Mexico, and expected to hold till about 5/26 , then start dissipating as the inactive phase of the MJO builds into the Pacific from the Indian Ocean near June 1. No significant support for low pressure development likely from this pulse of the active phase of the MJO, except in the West Pacific tropics if at all. But of more interest is to see if this pulse of the MJO helps to start wiping cool waters associated with La Nina out of the central equatorial Pacific, possibly opening the door just a nudge towards El Nino, or at least towards a neutral pattern.
Beyond 72 hrs another 956 mb storm is to follow behind Friday evening (5/30) generating 50-55 kt southwest winds over a small area at 60S 162E building to 55-60 kts Saturday AM at 59S 179W and still aimed well to the northeast, if not moving pretty fast to the east. 40 ft seas forecast for the area Saturday AM at 58S 180W building to 42 ft at 55S 168W in the evening with varying degrees off lesser winds into Sunday and seas holding in the 35 ft range, though fragmented. If the models are right another pulse of decent swell could result for Tahiti, Hawaii and less-so for the US West Coast.
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's General Meeting: The San Mateo County Chapter is holding a General Public Meeting on June 12th at the Montara Lighthouse. Meet the SMC Chapter leaders and other like-minded activists, and learn more about how you can get involved in our current activities and campaigns. Then listen to an interesting talk by Mark Hylkema, a State archaeologist with 28 years' experience in California archeology and Native American culture. Mark has interacted with many different tribal communities, particularly in central and northern California. In 1994, he discovered a crescent of stone during an excavation in a cypress forest at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. The 5700-year-old rock is believed to have been used by early Native Americans and is the oldest artifact discovered in San Mateo County.
Doors open at 7, meeting begins at 7:30. The Lighthouse is at 16th Street and Highway 1 in Montara. Parking is limited, so please carpool if possible and park in the upper lot (nearest to Hwy 1). For more information, visit surfridersmc.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Time Zone Converter - Finally! By popular demand we've built and easy to use time convert that transposes GMT time to whatever time zone you are located. It's ion left hand column on every page on the site near the link to the swell calculator.
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