New Swell Classification Guidelines (Winter)
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: 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.
On Thursday (5/27) North and Central California had head high windswell coming out of the Northeastern Gulf with decent conditions early. Southern California was getting a fraction of this swell with waves thigh to waist high up north while new southern hemi swell was in the waist high range down south and reasonably clean. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was getting 1 ft overhead tradewind generated east windswell and chopped. The South Shore was getting minimal background southern hemi swell with waves thigh to waist high with sideshore trades in control making for some lump at exposed breaks.
The forecast for North and Central CA is for windswell fading on Friday at shoulder high with waist high southern hemi swell underneath, holding Saturday then both dropping out Sunday and holding in the waist high range Monday. Southern hemi swell is on tap for Tuesday at waist to chest high. Southern California is to see knee high northwest windswell Friday with waist high or better southern hemi swell in the water and holding into Saturday, then all but gone on Sunday. New southern hemi swell starts late Monday and pushes chest high or a little more on Tuesday and Wednesday, dropping out on Thursday. The North Shore of Oahu is to see no rideable swell till late Saturday when northwest swell pushes chest high late holding into early Sunday then dropping on Monday (5/31). The East Shore to see east tradewind generated windswell at waist high Friday then fading out to near nothing by Saturday only to start rebuilding to waist high late Sunday into Monday. The South Shore to see no real southern hemi swell till late Saturday when it pushes to waist high pushing chest high Sunday, then fading Monday from the near chest high range. Small reinforcements to follow Tuesday at waist high before dropping out entirely.
A gale formed south of Tahiti on Monday (5/24) with seas building to 35 ft over a small area aimed well to the north. Small swell possibly for Hawaii starting late Saturday (5/29) peaking Sunday and pushing into California later Monday (5/31). Otherwise a series of small and generally weak gales are forecast, one in the Southeast Pacific over the weekend (5/30) with 32 ft seas and another early next week from under New Zealand. Neither is to be remarkable.
On another note, it was snowing in Tahoe as of 5 PM Thursday with nearly a foot of accumulation (check the link first thing Fri AM) at the base of Sugar Bowl at the Judah Lodge. Squaw Valley has now decided to reopen for the Memorial Day weekend (Sat-Sun 5/29-30) with adult lift tickets 50% off ($44.00) Something to consider before we totally fall into the depths of summers doldrums...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Thursday (5/27) the North Pacific jetstream still had a reasonably organized flow pushing along the 43N latitude with a weak trough on the dateline and another pushing over Central CA with 120 kt winds pushing down into both offering minimal at best support for gale development (mainly in the dateline trough). Over the next 72 hours the dateline trough is to push east into the Western Gulf with winds up to 140 kts holding into early Saturday, then fading. Limited support for gale development there, then washing out. Beyond 72 hours the jet is to lose energy and be tracking flat west to east on the 42N latitude, maybe gaining energy by Tuesday (6/1) on the dateline with 150 kt winds forecast and starting to carve out a trough in the Gulf Wednesday and beyond. Improving odds for gale development at the oceans surface if all goes as forecast. Looks like the Active Phase of the MJO is having an influence.
At the surface on Thursday (5/27) very weak high pressure at 1020 mbs was positioned between Hawaii and California having no real impact. Northwest winds had faded along the Central CA coast with light rain and south winds in effect. Trades were dropping over the Hawaiian Islands too. Low pressure at 988 mbs was centered just south of the Aleutians and just east of the dateline, generating maybe 30 kt northwest winds and 15 ft seas aimed a bit east of the Hawaiian Islands and a long ways from the US mainland. Over the next 72 hours the dateline gale is to hold into early Friday (5/28) producing more 25-30 kt northwest winds and 18 ft seas with possible small swell pushing southeast towards Hawaii arriving there starting late Saturday (5/29). Generic low pressure is forecast north of the jetstream over the entire West and Central Pacific, but no swell producing fetch to result.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (5/27) south winds were in control of Central CA early with occasional light rain falling. A neutral pressure pattern was in control with remnants of a front from a previous gale in the Gulf pushing over the area. By early Friday (5/28) that pattern is to be fading out as high pressure again starts getting a toehold in the Eastern Pacific with north winds forecast taking hold by noon Friday from Monterey Bay southward and pushing 20 kts or more just off the coast and building over the Central and Northern part of the state by Saturday and Sunday (but pulling away from Southern CA Saturday). Still even on Monday (5/31) the Pt Conception area is to still be seeing northwest winds at 20 kts, but it is to be much lighter elsewhere. This same pattern is to hold for the balance of next week (6/4).
On Thursday (5/27) no swell producing fetch was forecast for the South Pacific. But on Saturday AM (5/29) a small gale is forecast developing with 40 kt southwest winds at 52S 142W lifting northeast producing 30 ft seas at 54S 150W pushing somewhat up the 196 degree path to California. Fetch is to hold into the evening with 32 ft seas continuing at 50S 142W, then fading Sunday AM (5/30) with lingering 30 ft seas at 46S 133W and starting to push more east towards South America. Possible small 16 sec period swell radiating north towards the US mainland if this goes as forecast, though most swell energy is to be bound for Central America and points south of there.
Small Tahitian Gale
On Tuesday (5/25) what was a cutoff low tracking east from New Zealand got better organized by Monday (5/24) resulting in a small fetch of 45-50 kt south winds at 40S 147W aimed well north towards Tahiti and Hawaii with decent fetch towards the US West Coast too. Seas to build to 35 ft at 33S 147W Monday PM (5/25) and were fading fast Tuesday AM from 30 ft at 42S 140W.
Possible swell to result for Hawaii starting Saturday PM (5/29) at 2 ft @ 16 secs (3 ft faces) building Sunday AM to 2.6 ft @ 14 secs (4 ft faces), then drifting down.
Swell is also expected into California starting later Monday (5/31) pushing 2 ft @ 17 secs (3.5 ft faces) and 2.6 ft @ 15-16 secs on Tuesday (4 ft faces). Swell Direction: 200 degrees (up north) and 203 degrees (down south).
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 low pressure is to continue north of the dateline and
pushing into the Eastern Pacific, coalescing into a 976 mbs low in the Eastern Gulf on Wed (6/2). but no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast from it.
MJO/ENSO Update (reference): As of Thursday (5/27) the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) was hanging around neutral territory. The daily SOI was up to 32.04. The 30 day average was up to 7.58 with the 90 day up to 3.25. Lower readings were expected as the Active Phase of the MJO started to move over the Pacific, but that is not happening.
Wind anomalies at the 850 mb level (approx 5000 ft up) as defined by models suggest neutral/normal conditions over the entire equatorial Pacific suggestive of neither the Active or Inactive Phase of the MJO.
We believe that El Nino will not hang on for another year, and that rather we'll fall back into some form of a light La Nina Pattern (where the Inactive Phase takes control). Of other interest will be whether the Iceland Volcano will spew enough high level fine particle dust and aerosols into the atmosphere to produce a reflective effect, dropping surface temperature and pushing us into a multi-year La Nina. This is a very real concern.
Sea Surface Temp anomaly data (5/24) indicates that cooler than normal waters have now developed on the equator from South America drifting west and cover the important equatorial area over almost half the Pacific Ocean. This is a dramatic turn for the worse. A massive buildup of warmer than normal waters continues in the Atlantic, of concern to hurricane forecasters there. We'll see if upper level winds support development of hurricane activity or whether residual upper level shear from El Nino will chop the tops of developing systems. Suspect shear will be gone by the heart of hurricane season in the Atlantic.
Below the surface on the equator no Kevin Wave activity was present and if anything colder than normal water was building over the dateline and pushing east (sort of like a cold Kelvin Wave). Not good.
Over the entire Equatorial Pacific trades were blowing all the way to almost the Philippines, but only in the normal range. Perhaps a slight push to the west was occurring, but nothing extraordinary. This looks like the normal Springtime transition typical for this time of the year.
El Nino is effectively gone and slowly losing it's grip on the global atmospheric weather pattern. Still some lingering impact is to continue into the Summer of 2010 enhancing the storm track in the South Pacific some. A slow transition to a normal if not slight cooler than normal state is expected through Nov 2010.
See more details in the new El Nino update.
Beyond 72 hours the models indicate yet one more gale forming southeast of New Zealand on Tues (6/1) with 45 kt southwest winds and 32 ft seas at 58S 178W aimed well towards the Northern Hemisphere, but fading over the following 24 hours. Maybe some small swell to result for Hawaii with more for Tahiti, but well shadowed for US mainland interests.
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
Add a STORMSURF Buoy Forecast to your Google Homepage. Click Here:
Then open your Google homepage, hit 'edit' button (top right near graph), and select your location
The Mavericks: Everest of the Seas Exhibition has unveiled its latest gallery featuring some of the most heart-stopping images from the epic El Niño-fueled Big Wave Season. This year's lineup includes not only a culmination of images from Award-winning photographers Doug Acton, Frank Quirarte, Seth Migdail, Ed Grant and Art Gimbel but a multimedia slide show and a video recap of the 2010 Mavericks Surf Contest, one of the greatest days in surfing history.
Thanks to an El Nino weather pattern, this has been one of the most dramatic big-wave surf seasons on record, said Doug Acton, Mavericks Veteran Lensmen.
Now Eric Nelson and Curt Myers of Powerlines Productions have come on board to bring the gallery images to life by presenting both water and cliff-angle video of the Mavericks contest, won by South Africa's Chris Bertish in the biggest waves ever ridden in a paddle-surf contest.
The Mavericks crew will transform the Longboard Vineyards tasting room into a virtual caldron of 50-foot drops, glory rides and heinous wipeouts. As you stand under the colorful Tibetan Prayer flags, tasting some of Longboard Vineyards' libations, you'll be hard-pressed not to become immersed in the real-life drama, energy and stoke that surrounds the surfers and photographers every time they head out to the lineup.
Longtime big-wave surfer Mark (Doc) Renneker put it best when he said, “Every time you leave the shore, you head out into the wildnerness.”
“We're coming off one of the most phenomenal big-wave seasons to date," said Quirarte, the longtime Mavericks lifeguard and master lensman. “This season we witnessed so many great rides by so many different surfers from so many different countries. Mavericks is still the No. 1 all-around spot in the world for big-wave surfing.”
Oded Shakked, a longtime surfer who founded Longboard Vineyards, will be on hand at the reception to unveil the latest release in his Mavericks Signature Series, the Ken “Skindog” Collins Syrah.
Veteran waterman Ken “Skindog” Collins (Santa Cruz, CA) is hands down one of the most recognized and respected big wave surfers today. With his recent trip to the podium at the 2010 Mavericks Surf Contest or his epic twenty-foot Puerto Escondido barrel that earned him top honors at the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards. Collins has traveled the world mentoring up and coming crop of big wave chargers -- and has himself pioneered and ridden the biggest waves on the planet.
“I can't think of a better person to honor with our next Mavericks label than Kenny Collins,” said Shakked. “A true icon of the sport.”__
Oded Shakked, along with the featured photographers, videographers, surfboard shapers and wine makers will be on hand at the Longboard Vineyards Tasting room in beautiful Healdsburg California for the Saturday night reception on May 22nd The reception will begin at 5pm and run until roughly 9pm.
“Everest of the Seas” was launched in the summer of 2009, with the idea of bringing together the most memorable photos from Mavericks' best sessions. It drew large crowds and an enthusiastic response in its debut at the Coastal Arts League Gallery in Half Moon Bay, then moved on to successful runs at San Francisco's world-class SFMOMA Museum and Gallery, The Fillmore, The Half Moon Bay Big Wave Surfing Festival and Longboard Vineyards.
Stormsurf Hi-Res Coastal Precipitation Models Upgraded Though a bit late in the season, on 3/20 we implemented the same basic technology used in our new snow/ski models into the coastal hi-res precipitation models. So now you can not only determined whether rain is forecast for your area, but also snow. And not just light, medium or heavy snow like most sites, but the exact snowfall amount (in inches) for each 3 hr frame of the animation. Here's a sample, but now this approach is used in all our precipitation models. http://www.stormsurfing.com/cgi/display_alt.cgi?a=nwcoast_precip
Stormsurf Precip Models Upgraded! On 2/20 we upgraded some of the broader precipitation models driven by the hi-def GFS model to include snow fall. The algorithm used is similar to the recently released snow models for the Southwest US in that the areas where snow is expected are identified and the exact amount of snow forecast over a 3 hr window is explicitly color coded. For East and West Coast US interests the following links provide good examples:
West Coast: http://www.stormsurfing.com/cgi/display_alt.cgi?a=nepac_precip
East Coast: http://www.stormsurfing.com/cgi/display_alt.cgi?a=watla_precip
Stormsurf Weather Models have all been upgraded! Over the New Years break we installed all new and upgraded weather models. Also new are experimental snow models for the Southwest US. Take a look here: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_wx.html
Read about Eric Nelson and Curt Myers, the makers of Ride-On and other Big Wave Surf Movies here: http://coastviewsmag.com/powerlines-productions-filming-the-art-of-big-wave-surfing
Ride On! Powerlines new big wave epic is now available on DVD. Get the entire big wave story of the 2008-2009 season here: http://www.mavz.com/
||Casa Noble Tequila If you are looking for an exquisite experience in fine tequila tasting, one we highly recommend, try Case Noble. Consistently rated the best tequila when compared to any other. Available at BevMo (in California). Read more here: http://www.casanoble.com/
Interview With Stormsurf: The crew at SurfScience.com worked with Stormsurf on a feature about why surfers should be able to read wave charts themselves. They are firm believers that a little learning can go a long way to help your surfing. This is a great article to help convince your friends that they can benefit from being able to read the data themsleves rather than just relying on the forecasts of others. See the full thing here: Create Your Own Surf Forecast with Stormsurf
North California Surf Report Works Again: After an extended downtime we finally got the North California Surf Report working again. Thanks for your patience. See it here: http://www.stormsurf.com/page2/report/ncal.html
Shark Video: Our friend Curt Myers of Powerlines productions shot this footage of 2 great whites munching on a whale carcass off Devils Slide (south of San Francisco) on Thursday. Kind of interesting to watch. Check it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8I4rZYEZMWQ (Fixed link)
Wave Model Upgrade Status Report: At this point we believe the installation of the new wave models is complete, with no problems being reported, the server stabilizing and the much requested return of the old style hemispheric Surf Height models now operational (again) and running side-by-side along the new ones. We thank you for your patience and input as we went though this process. Your feedback helps guide our efforts and ultimately results in a better product for everyone. Now we're off to start providing better menus to some wave model products most of you probably haven't uncovered yet (site specific graph and text forecasts), updateing the wave model FAQs and then upgrading the Weather Models.
New Wave Model Facts: Click HERE to read more about the new wave models. Important info.
Stormsurf Wave Models Updated: On Friday (2/6) we installed the latest upgrade to our wavemodels. A year in the works, this upgrade essentially is a total re-write of every wave model product we produce. They now take advantage of the new Version 3 of the Wavewatch wavemodel. This version runs at a much higher resolution, specifically 0.0 X 0.5 degrees for the global grib with local products at 0.1667 X 0.1667 degrees, and it uses the hi-res GFS model for wind speeds. And of even more interest, the model now identifies primary swell and windwave variables. As such we now have new model images which displays this data. Also we've included out special 3D topographic land masks into all models. In all it makes for a radical step forward in wave model technology. We'll be upgrading minor components (FAQ, new menu pages etc) for a few weeks to come, but all the basics are available for your use now. Check it out here: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_wam.html
Story About Stormsurf: The folks at SurfPulse (and specifically author Mike Wallace) have written up a really nice article about Stormsurf, complete with some good pics. Learn about how we came to be and a little of where we are going. Check it out here: http://www.surfpulse.com/2009/01/visceral-surf-forecasting-with-mark-sponsler/
Stormsurf Video: Just for fun - here's a clip about Stormsurf that ran on Bay Area TV a while back. Thought you might enjoy it: http://vimeo.com/2319455
Time Zone Converter 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.
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/
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!
Free Stormsurf Stickers - Get your free stickers! - More details Here
Read all the latest news and happenings on our News Page here
Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table