New Swell Classification Guidelines (Winter)
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 (6/12) Northern CA surf was head high to 1 ft overhead with onshore wind. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist high and clean. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was chest high and reasonably clean. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was waist to chest high at exposed breaks and pretty crumbly midday. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist to chest high and heavily textured. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were head high to 1 ft overhead and pretty clean early. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was chest high and clean (Lanai buoy is back online). The East Shore was chest high.
North/Central California was seeing continued northwest windswell with limited southern hemi swell underneath. Southern California was seeing minimal wrap around from the northwest windswell but the southern hemi swell remained the dominant swell source, doing quite well at top spots. Hawaii's North Shore was flat for the summer. The East Shore was getting a pretty good shot of tradewind induced east windswell. The South Shore had some moderate sized southern hemi swell in the water with a decent period.
For Central California, northwest windswell from the never ending La Nina enhanced high pressure gradient off Cape Mendocino to fade by the weekend, then rebound at more modest levels for the duration of next week. Improved (light) local wind conditions expected Friday on through the weekend, then coming up again next week, but not too bad. Very limited amounts of this windswell to wrap into exposed breaks of Southern CA, but mostly be falling under the radar. Southern hemi swell to take a breaks for a few days, then rebuild at modest levels but continuing to provide some rideable surf by Sunday on through next week. In the Islands trades are to continue blowing a little windswell into the East Shore, though down a little Friday and Saturday only to rebound slightly Sunday into next week. But best bets remain on southern hemi swell for the Islands on through the early part of next week. Nothing really solid, but far from flat. Make the most of it cause the charts are not at all encouraging over the long haul. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
The North Pacific jetstream is in hibernation for the summer. No features of interest are indicated.
At the surface today moderate high pressure remained in control of the North Pacific, one at 1036 mbs just east of the dateline and a weaker one at 1032 mbs off the Oregon/N. California border. It was generating a pressure gradient over Cape Mendocino waters producing northerly winds at 25-30 kts and making small to moderate northwest windswell. Trades had subsided pushing anywhere near the Hawaiian Islands, with windswell on the decline. Over the next 72 hours high pressure off Oregon is to lift north turning the Cape Mendocino wind vector more to the west and away from California, though a tiny area of 30 kt north winds to persist over the northern reaches of the state producing some limited northerly windswell into Sunday, then nearly gone by nightfall.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (6/12) high pressure at 1034 mbs remained located 700 nmiles west of Southern Oregon while lower pressure was easing into Northern British Columbia, continuing to fuel the Cape Mendocino pressure gradient with north winds in the 30 kt range with a tiny area confirmed to near 40 kts. But most of the lesser fetch was vectored off the coast, making for cleaner conditions locally. Windswell continued pushing into the Central CA. The gradient is to hold to some degree through the weekend, though covering an even smaller area though still producing limited windswell. Local winds to remain light. But by Monday (6/16) the windfield is to start sinking south with chop and poor conditions moving over Central CA late in the day and becoming more entrenched Tuesday-Thurs (6/19). Chop and poor conditions to dig in from Pt Conception northward through Southern CA to remain mostly protected from all the wind through the next 7 days (except in the afternoons).
No tropical systems of interest were occurring.
On Thursday (6/12) a fragmented and split jetstream pattern was over the Tasman Sea feeding into a ridge that was pushing south over Antarctic Ice under New Zealand, cutting off the supply of energy to developing surface level systems. A weak trough that had been under New Zealand and that was fueling the storm track there had been pushed east by the building ridge, and was looking weak and ineffective. The flow over the Southeast Pacific was to the southeast, driving gales into Southern Chile and towards Antarctica. Not a favorable configuration. Over the next 72 hours the New Zealand ridge is to build east, then falter some, but not enough while a second stronger ridge builds over the Southeast Pacific. No support for surface level development suggested. Beyond 72 hrs the ridging pattern is to persist until Tuesday (6/17) when an energetic trough is to push to the north at 140 kts under New Zealand, but it's to pinch off pretty fast while drifting east colliding with a major ridge racing south and slamming into Antarctica by Wednesday (6/18) completely shutting down any surface level potential.
At the oceans surface the remnants of the last swell producing system were tracking southeast towards Antarctica though still trying to throw some fetch to the north, but not offering any real hope. Nothing else of interest was occurring. Over the next 72 hours the storm track is to be due west to east, and only fleeting 12-18 hr pulses of 40 kts winds are forecast pushing north, but not getting any traction on the oceans surface.
Third New Zealand Storm
On Thursday AM (6/5) a 944 mb storm passed 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. The Jason-1 satellite passed over this area at 18Z with seas confirmed at 40.2 ft @ 57S 164E. By evening 45-50 kts winds persisted at 55S 178E with 41 ft seas pushing into exposed waters at 55S 170E targeting areas east of there with limited energy likely seeping north towards Hawaii. Fetch faded fast on Friday AM (6/6) with 36 ft seas holding at 55S 180W tracking due east, but anything generated east of there was shadowed from California by Tahiti. The Jason-1 satellite made a pass over the southern reaches of the fetch at 18Z and reported seas of 32 ft with peak reading to 38 ft at 55-56S 179W, consistent with the wave model. No winds were present in the evening with residual seas of 35 ft seas modeled at 52S 170W.
Sideband energy for Hawaii possible from this system with limited background energy for the US West Coast.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival starting Thursday (6/12) with swell building to 2 ft @ 18 secs late (3.5 ft faces with top spots to 4.5 ft). Swell to push 2.6 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces with best break to 5.5 ft) Friday (6/13). Swell fading from 2.3 ft @ 15 secs (3.5 ft faces) on Sat (6/14). Swell Direction: 185-195 degrees
California: . Swell arrival starting Sun (6/15) at 2 ft @ 18 secs (3.0-3.5 ft faces - 4.5 ft top spots) pushing 2.3-2.6 ft @ 16 secs (3.5-4.0 ft faces - top spots to 5 ft) through the day Monday (6/16). Swell to continue at 2.6 ft @ 15-16 secs (4 ft faces) Tuesday (6/17) then down to 2.3-2.6 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.5 ft faces) Wednesday (6/18). Swell Direction: 215 degree SCal, 210 degrees NCal.
4th New Zealand System
Possibly the last in the series of swell producing systems developed Saturday evening (6/7) directly under the southern tip of New Zealand with 45-50 kt southwest winds blowing up into the Hawaiian and California swell window from 52S 165E (right on the westmost 201 degree great circle path for Hawaii and the 218 degree path for CA. Seas were building. These winds were modeled down to 40-45 kts Sunday AM (6/8) aimed directly at Hawaii. A small area of 32 ft seas were near 49S 173W aimed best at Hawaii. Winds faltered Sunday evening with seas 30 ft at 45N 180W, then rebuild to 45 kts over a small area Monday AM (6/9) at 40S 170W again aimed right at Hawaii up the 191 degree path and somewhat up the 215 degree path to California. Seas were barely 30 ft at 41S 176W. More 45-50 kts winds build around the lows western quadrant Monday evening at 48S 165W with 31 ft seas still attributable to the original fetch at 40S 170W then fetch. By Tuesday AM all wind and seas were gone.
Swell likely for Hawaii a week out with only very limited swell potential for California 9 days out (starting 6/18).
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival starting late Saturday (6/14) with swell 2 ft @ 19 secs (3.5 ft faces) then building Sunday (6/15) with swell to 2.6 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces - best breaks to 5.5 ft). Swell expected at 3 ft @ 15 secs on Monday (6/16) (4.0-4.5 ft faces) then fading from from 3 ft @ 14 secs on Tuesday (6/17) (4 ft faces). Swell Direction: 187-191 degrees
Last Pulse (Tahiti/Hawaii)
The hints of one more fetch was starting to organize under New Zealand Tuesday AM (6/10) and started winding up Tuesday evening with a small area of 45-50 kt southwest winds at 58S 175W, and 50 kt southwest winds confirmed at 54S 165W Wednesday AM (6/11) with a tiny area of 28 ft seas at 58S 169W. The fetch lifted northeast through the day with 45-50 kt winds at 50S 155W and seas 30 ft modeled at 50S 160W in the evening. Of most interest, the Jason-1 satellite passed directly over this fetch at 16Z and confirmed a solid area of seas at 38.4 ft with one peak reading to 40.4 ft at at 55S 165W, right on the 203 degree path to NCal/205 SCal and just barely on the edge of the Tahitian swell shadow. This is not too bad. Fetch faded fast thereafter with 30 ft seas still hanging on at 46S 150W Thursday AM (6/12) then fading out.
Some decent southerly swell to hit Tahiti late Saturday (6/14) (2393 nmiles out) with period at 18-19 secs and size coming up, peaking Sunday AM though likely buried in swell from previous fetch still decaying over the region .
Some form of minimal sideband swell pushing into Hawaii (4560 nmiles) peaking Wednesday (6/18) with period 17 secs. Swell Direction 184 degrees.
This one was 5962 nmiles from California and 10 days out from the core hitting the coast. Swell arrival expected Fri AM (6/20) with period 19 secs and peaking Saturday (6/21) with period at 17 secs.
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 large scale swell producing weather systems are forecast. High pressure is to sink southeast off the Central CA coast Tues-Thurs (6/19) pushing north winds into nearshore waters from Pt Conception northward making a mess of things locally, and dropping the period on whatever windswell is produced. Mainly just a chop scenario. Theoretically a little low is to push into the Gulf of Alaska during that window generating up to 30 kt west winds aimed from Oregon southward and generating some seas of interest, but that is far from believable.
Beyond 72 hrs the only system of interest is a low that's to be tracking northeast up the New Zealand east coast on Tuesday (6/17) generating 45 kt southwest winds and up to 36 ft seas late at 42S 180W, then quickly dissipating Wednesday as the upper flow above it shut's off it's energy supply. Winds and seas fading fast. Maybe a good pulse of swell for Tahiti and Hawaii, with utility class swell for California but that's it. And even that is just a figment of the models imagination, so odds are very low of it actually occurring.
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:
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STORMSURF Local Wave Models Upgraded - We significantly upgraded the local waves models on Sunday (6/8). All now utilize our newly developed high-resolution 3D shaded relief topography for mapping landmasses. Coastlines are now accurate down to the individual pixel providing near photographic realism. Mountains and hills are all shaded and accurate to within the same single pixel specification. Cities are overlaid as before, but now we've added major highways and rivers too (for many locations). Some good examples of this new technology can be viewed here:
- View the reefs north of Tahiti and notice their contribution to the 'Swell Shadow' relative to California - Tahiti
- Notice the detail of the coast in and around Vancouver Islands and Washington State - Pacific Northwest
- See the details of inland waterways of the US Northeast Coast - Virginia
- Details of the Mentawai Island and Nias
And all the local models can be found either on our homepage or from the wavemodel page (bottom half of the page).
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/
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!
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table