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 (6/5) Northern CA surf was chest high and windy. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were thigh high and clean. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was head high and hacked by northwest wind. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was waist high at exposed breaks and windy. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high with a few bigger sets and textured. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were waist high and clean early pushing chest high at top exposed breaks further south. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was waist to maybe chest high and clean (the Lanai buoy is back online). The East Shore was essentially flat.
North/Central California was seeing building local northwest windswell. Southern California was seeing a bit of the northwest windswell wrapping into exposed southern breaks. Hawaii's North Shore was flat for the summer. The East Shore was flat. The South Shore was seeing more rideable southern hemi background swell, with much more on tap.
No legitimate swell is expected from the North Pacific for the next 3 months unless the tropics fire up. Potential exists along the US West Coast associated with a persistent long-lived run of gradient induced north winds and chopped local windswell in the moderate plus size range starting Thursday peaking early weekend then hanging on till at least the middle of next week. Trades are starting to build for the Hawaiian Islands possibly setting up windswell on the East Shore and building into the late weekend, then fading after Monday (6/9). But best odds are for southern hemi swell from a storm that built under New Zealand Thurs/Fri (5/30) with 36 ft seas for a day with a bigger one right behind it Sat/Sun (6/1) with 38 ft seas over a moderate area. Swell is in the water and pushing north towards Hawaii starting late Friday (6/6) holding through the weekend with secondary potential for California Mon-Wed (6/11). One more moderate system is starting to build under New Zealand now, possibly setting up another smaller pulse a week to 10 days out. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Thursdays jetstream charts (6/5) for the North Pacific depicted a nice cohesive flow pushing off Japan dipping slightly over the dateline then ridging some to the north as it pushed through Gulf of Alaska into Washington with up to 130 kt winds. No real support indicated for development of surface level low pressure through with no serious troughs in-play. Still, given the time of year, it looked reasonably healthy. Over the next 72 hours most of that energy is to push east into a building ridge off the US West Coast supporting high pressure development down at the oceans surface, with a weak flow over the Western Pacific. Beyond 72 hours that ridge is to ease into the US West Coast perhaps warning things up a little, then the jet is to totally fall apart with no defined flow left by the middle of next week signifying the official death of the 2007/2008 Winter season.
At the surface today moderate high pressure at 1028 mbs was mid-way between Hawaii and Vancouver Island ridging into the California coast generating a pressure gradient there and northerly winds to near 25 kts off Central CA. Weak low pressure was pushing into British Columbia. Trades were starting to pick up between Southern CA and Hawaii too, in the 15-20 kts range, raising potential for short period windswell along exposed eastern shores of the Hawaiian Islands. The remnants of Typhoon Nakri we tracking east over the dateline offering no odds of development. Over the next 72 hours low pressure is to be moving onshore over southwest Canada while high pressure continues building between Hawaii and California, fueling the pressure gradient off the coast and generating up to 30 kt northerly winds off all of Central CA Friday and expanding north to Cape mendocino Saturday with north winds to 30 kts become centered there on Sunday, generating moderate period windswell. Trades to continue slowly building off the south side of this high too pushing into the Hawaiian Islands peaking at 20-25 kts Sun (6/8), perhaps generating small short period windswell.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (6/5) high pressure at 1028 mbs was in-control of nearshore waters generating north winds at 20-25 kts and on the upswing. By Friday the core of the gradient is to be starting to migrate from Pt Conception northward to Cape Mendocino setting up north winds covering the entire at 30-35 kts late other than only the most protected locations in Southern CA, continuing through early Saturday. Quite a mess and not good boating weather. By Sunday the gradient is to become isolated over Cape Mendocino with 30 kt north winds expected there with 20 kt plus winds covering waters (even nearshore) down to Pt Conception and the outer Channel Islands. Poor conditions locally with chop in-effect. The gradient is to rebuild some Mon/Tues (6/10) with 30-35 kt north winds still over Cape Mendocino resulting in more windswell and nearshore chop. A slight back off expected Wednesday (6/11), then it is to get re-energized again by Thursday, with the same result. Windswell and chop continuing.
No tropical systems of interest were occurring.
On Thursday (6/5) the split jetstream pattern remained over the far western South Pacific, trying to stay locked together in a single flow near New Zealand pushing east, but just not looking very convincing. A pulse of 130-140 kt winds was pushing under New Zealand, but not showing any troughing tendency. No winds east of there were of any interest. Over the next 72 hours another pulse of 150 kt winds is to push under New Zealand aimed due north on Saturday (6/7) and persisting into Sun/Mon while drifting east offering decent odds to support surface level low pressure development. Beyond 72 hrs this trough to hold into Tues (6/10) then dissipate with a generalized ridging pattern taking over exposed waters pushing the whole flow to the south and east, suppressing surface level low pressure development.
At the oceans surface one more low in the storm cycle that has been building under New Zealand was in-play. On Thursday AM (6/5) a 944 mb storm was passing under New Zealand with a broad area of 45-50 kt west to southwest winds at 55S 170E generating 36 ft seas at 56S 156E pushing east. By evening 45-50 kts winds to persist with 40 ft seas pushing into exposed waters at 55S 170W targeting areas east of there with limited energy likely seeping north towards Hawaii. Fetch to fade fast on Friday AM (6/6) with 36 ft seas holding at 55S 180W tracking due east, but anything generated east of here to be shadowed from California by Tahiti. 45 kt winds to continue in the evening aimed east with 36 ft seas forecast at 53S 170W. Sideband energy for Hawaii possible during this time frame. Fetch to persist beyond into Saturday but all is to be aimed either due east or almost southeast, eliminating any odds for swell to migrate northward. If all this comes to pass another pulse of swell is likely for Hawaii and California, with the Islands doing the best due to their closer proximity.
First New Zealand Storm
A moderate gale pushed under New Zealand late Wed (5/28) with pressure at 944 mbs and 45-50 kt west winds at 60S 165E pushing to 180W Thursday AM and generating 36 ft seas at 58S 170E Thursday AM (5/29). The Jason-1 satellite passed over the fetch at 18Z and 00Z confirming seas at 33.3/33.8 ft at 59S 172E with peak reading to 35/37 ft, consistent with the wave models. This fetch was just barely free and clear of the Tahitian swell shadow relative to California and moving eastward into it. A little secondary fetch continued pushing more to the northeast in the 40 kt range holding through Thursday evening keeping seas in the 35 ft range at 55S 178W. 32 ft seas were modeled Fri AM at 58S 174W. This should be enough to produce decent swell up into Tahiti and Hawaii with period at 18 secs (starting late on 6/5 in Hawaii) with background energy moving into California by late in the weekend (6/8). But this to be only a primer for the swell building in behind it. This system was 6278-6644 nmiles from California and 4675-5000 nmiles from Hawaii.
In Hawaii swell to hit late Thursday (6/5) near sunset at 1.6 ft @ 18-19 secs (2.5-3.0 ft faces) and peak at 2.5-3.0 ft @ 17 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces - top spots to 5 ft) during the day on Friday (6/6). Swell fading to 2.5 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.5 ft faces) on Saturday (6/8). Swell Direction: 188-196 degrees.
This first dribbles of this swell to into California Saturday (6/7) at 7 PM with period 19 secs but unrideable. Swell to become noticeable Sunday (6/8) reaching 1.6 ft @ 17 secs late (2.5-3.0 ft faces) and holding at 2.0-2.3 ft @ 16 secs (3.0-3.5 ft faces) Monday (6/9). Swell down to 2.0 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.5 -3.0 ft faces) on Tuesday (6/10).Certainly nothing worthwhile given that the bulk of it is shadowed by Tahiti. Swell Direction 200-210 degrees
Second New Zealand Storm - Storm #2S (Hawaii)
Of more interest is another 956 mb storm that followed behind Friday evening (5/30) generating 50-55 kt southwest winds over a small area at 60S 170E building to 65-70 kts Saturday AM at 60S 178W and still aimed well to the northeast, if not moving pretty fast to the east. 35 ft seas were modeled for the area Saturday AM at 58S 180W building to 38 ft at 55S 168W in the evening with 50 kt winds still in-play. The Jason-1 satellite passed over this area at 0Z Sun and confirmed seas of 38.5 ft with a peak reading of 41.3 ft at 52.2 S 168.5W. Unfortunately the peak seas/swell from this storm ware shadowed by Tahiti relative to Northern California, though swell pushing towards Southern CA is sneaking just under (east) of the shadow (a good thing). 35 ft seas continued Sunday AM at 52S 160W. Varying degrees off 40-45 kt winds continued pushing east across the Pacific generating 32 ft seas Sunday evening at 50S 150W then down to 31 ft Monday AM (6/2) at 50S 145W.
This one was much more solid than the storm before it, but still heading mainly on a west to east track not pushing a whole lot of energy due north or northeast towards Hawaii and the US West Coast. This storm was 4281-4865 nmiles from Hawaii and 5212-6309 nmiles from California. Still decent swell should push into the Hawaiian Islands due to their reasonably close proximity generating perhaps minimal significant class summer-time swell there, with lesser energy into the US West Coast, decaying on the long journey. Interestingly, Southern CA will NOT be shadowed by Tahiti for the bulk of this swell, where Northern CA will. The further south one goes the better the exposure.
Expect swell first hitting Hawaii on Friday (6/6) near 6 AM with period 20-21 secs and size tiny pushing up to 1 ft at 20 secs at sunset (2 ft faces). Swell to be much more substantial by sunrise Saturday (6/7) peaking from late morning through the afternoon with swell 3.3 ft @ 17 secs (5.5 ft faces with top breaks to 7 ft). Decent swell to continue through Sunday (6/8) with swell 3 ft @ 15-16 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces with top breaks to 6 ft) then fading to 2.6 ft @ 14 secs (3.5 ft faces) on Monday (6/9). Swell Direction: 181-191 degrees
Swell to hit the Southern California starting Sunday at 4 PM (6/8) with period 20-21 secs and size imperceptible. Swell period dropping to 18-19 secs through the day Monday (6/9) building to 2.6 ft @ 18-19 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces) late. Swell period dropping to 17 secs at 1 AM Tuesday (6/10) with swell at 3.4 ft @ 16-17 secs by sunrise (5.5 ft faces with best breaks to 7 ft) and holding through the late morning. Swell to continue solid Wednesday AM with swell 3 ft @ 15 secs (4.5 ft faces with best breaks to 5.5 ft), and settling down through the day. Marginal leftovers early Thursday. Swell Direction: 197-209 degrees.
Swell to hit the Northern California starting Sunday at 7 PM (6/8) with period 20-21 secs and size imperceptible. Swell period dropping to 18-19 secs through the day Monday (6/9) building to 2.3 ft @ 18-19 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces) late. Swell period dropping to 17 secs at 5 AM Tuesday (6/10) with swell at 2.6 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.5 ft faces with best breaks to 5.5 ft) and holding through the early afternoon. This estimate assumes the shadow effect. Maybe a few sets bigger, but not consistently so. Swell to continue Wednesday AM with swell 2.6 ft @ 15-16 secs (4.0 ft faces with best breaks to 4.5-5.0 ft), and settling down through the day. Marginal 14 sec leftovers expected through Thursday. Swell Direction: 194-208 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 no marco level swell producing weather systems are forecast. High pressure is to persist off Central CA at least through Thursday (6/12) generating 30 kt north winds off Cape Mendocino and producing more moderate northerly windswell for exposed breaks from there down to Pt Conception and limited spots into Southern CA. This fetch is to hug the coast pretty well though, providing less-than-ideal local conditions.
Beyond 72 hrs yet another second fetch of 45-50 kt southwest to south winds are to push up and along the eastern coast of New Zealand through the day Sunday (6/8) aimed directly at Hawaii. A small area of 35-36 ft seas expected near reaching 40S 168W Monday AM targeting the Hawaiian Islands well.
A much less cooperative pattern to follow with all eastbound weather system taking a tack to the southeast, and away from our forecast area. No other swell producing systems forecast.
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 .
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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
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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