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 Tuesday (7/1) Northern CA surf was waist to chest high and blown out with fog. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist high with a few bigger sets and clean conditions early. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was waist high and chopped. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was waist high with a few bigger sets and a crumbled mess. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high with a few chest high sets and textured. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were waist to maybe chest high and textured or worse. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was waist to chest high and clean. The East Shore was knee to thigh high.
North/Central California was getting the very last tail end of southern hemi swell originating south of Tahiti a week or more ago. Southern California was getting the same swell with more size at the standout south swell spots. Hawaii's North Shore was flat for the summer. The South Shore was getting new southern hemi swell originating in the Tasman Sea, with more behind it. The East Shore had no swell.
For Central California, southern hemi swell is all but gone with no replacement in sight. Windswell to remain in the minimal to nonexistent range too till next Monday when theoretically swell from a low moving from the dateline to the Gulf of Alaska starts to arrive. but odds very low on this one. Some minimal swell originating in the Tasman Sea to possible provide some diversion starting the 4th of July and continuing well into next week, but only in the 2 ft (face height) range. Southern CA to see the exact same pattern with the Tasman Sea swell a little more noticeable especially at top spots, and the Gulf swell probably not showing at all. In the Islands the Tasman Sea swell to be the only thing going. It's already hitting and expected to continue decently through Sunday, then slowly fading off. Tradewind generated east windswell to pulse a little 7/2-7/4, then fading out. But still, no real swell producing storms are forecast for the exposed South Pacific for the next week. Grovel for what you can get. 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. Maybe a weak trough to set up in the Gulf of Alaska Thurs-Sun (7/6) with 110 kts winds, but nothing really of notice.
At the surface today weak high pressure at 1024 mbs was centered 900 nmiles northwest of Hawaii blowing 15-20 kts winds towards the Islands, but having no swell production capacity. It was also setting up a minor pressure gradient over Pt Conception and north winds there, but minimal. Low pressure was trying to build on the dateline with winds modeled to 30 kts in it's south quadrant aimed towards Hawaii, but no QuikSCAT satellite data was available to confirm this. No high pressure of interest was near the California coast. Over the next 72 hours the high is ease east a little providing minimal fuel for a pressure gradient off Pt Conception with winds to 25 kts there Thursday-Saturday (7/5) but no windswell potential. The dateline low pressure system is to move to the Gulf of Alaska, fading along the way, the regenerating late Thurs/early Fri (7/4) generating 20-25 kts winds and 19 ft seas, possibly sending small 13 sec period swell towards exposed break in North and Central CA early next week. Will believe it when it happens. Otherwise north winds at 15-20 kts to continue along the Central CA coast and over the Channel Islands.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (7/1) weak high pressure at 1024 mbs centered beyond Hawaii was barely riding into the coast generating a mild pressure gradient and producing 20-25 kt north winds there pushing down over the Channel Islands creating local chop. Limited and lesser north winds associated with this gradient were generating moderate north winds up into North CA. This same pattern is to hold through Saturday, then become a bit diffuse as the core of the gradient starts moving north bound for Cape Mendocino, becoming established there by Sunday (7/6). North winds at 25-30 kts to continue there over a larger area building to near 35 kts late Monday with windswell on the increase. But the fetch is to pull away from the coast by Monday, leaving calmer winds or a slight eddy flow in it's wake. Decent windswell generation potential forecast.
Hurricane Boris had sustained winds at 75 kts and was positioned about 1200 nmiles southwest of Dana Point CA heading west. It was effectively out of the California swell window and offering no swell generation potential. It is expected to fade slowly over the next 4 days and dissipate before getting decently into the Hawaiian swell window. .
Tropical Depression Christina was well beyond California and halfway to Hawaii on a westerly track and all but gone with winds 30 kts and fading fast with no central dense overcast over her core. No swell generation potential.
On Tuesday (7/1) a very split jetstream pattern was in control of the entire South Pacific with a weak ridge pushing the southern branch over the 70-75S latitude and into the Ross Ice Shelf. There was no support for surface level storm development. Over the next 72 hours the same basic pattern is to hold, with another ridge building stronger and pushing the southern branch even further south over the Ross Ice Shelf. Beyond 72 hrs just maybe a weak trough is to start building under New Zealand Monday (7/7) offering some fuel for the development of surface level low pressure development. But the ridge is to persist over the Eastern South Pacific for some time, so it might take a while before the environment becomes ripe for supporting storm development.
At the oceans surface a weak pressure pattern controlled the western South Pacific and high pressure at 1028 mbs was in control over the Eastern South Pacific. No swell producing fetch of interest was present. Over the next 72 hours high pressure is to build southeast of New Zealand reinforcing the lockdown in the west and the high in the east is to drift almost out of the picture. The result is to be no support for swell development. No seas of interest are forecast in the greater South Pacific Basin.
Tasman Sea Storms
A broad and fairly vigorous gale pushed east of Tasmania Sunday/Monday (6/23) directing 45 kt winds and 32 ft seas (47S 152E Sun PM) and 35 ft seas (45S 158E Mon AM) north into the Tasman Sea aimed at Fiji, then dissipated after impacting New Zealand.
A second smaller but stronger fetch of 55-60 kts winds pushed under Tasmania Tuesday (6/24) sending 37 ft seas (48N 150E Tues PM) and 35 ft seas (45S 160E Wed AM) more towards New Zealand though some energy will undoubtedly push north towards Fiji. But it too faded before reaching the South Pacific offering no potential to our forecast area. In all, Hawaii might see some limited background energy from the Tasman Sea after is gets filtered by the reefs off Fiji.
On Thursday (6/26) one more strong system was pushing under Tasmania with 42 ft seas at 50S 142E but fading. 36 ft seas were modeled in the evening at 46S 152E then pushing up into the Tasman Sea on Friday AM (6/27) with residual 35-40 kts winds aimed directly at Fiji producing 30 ft seas fading while pushing to just west of Northwestern New Zealand Saturday AM (26 ft at 35S 165E). Looks like good swell for Fiji by Monday (6/30) Pacific Time (Tues Fiji time).
The net result is to be small swell pushing into Hawaii starting Tuesday (7/1) and continuing through Sunday (7/6) with swell 1.6-2.0 ft @ 14-16 secs (2-3 ft faces with top spots to 4 ft). Swell Direction: 210 degrees
Limited energy to possibly survive the long journey to California to arriving Fri (7/4) with swell 1.6 ft @ 16 secs (2.0-2.5 ft faces) holding into Saturday with period down to 14-15 secs then fading out. Another pulse expected in on Tues (7/8). Swell Direction: 220-225 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 high pressure is to build in the Gulf of Alaska and generate a solid pressure gradient over Cape Mendocino by Monday (7/7) with 30-35 kt winds and building local windswell expected. No other swell source is indicated. Light trades to persist for the Hawaiian Islands with no windswell generation potential suggested.
MJO/ENSO Update: As of Tuesday (7/1) the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) was moving quickly to the inactive phase. A small area of anomalous west 850 mb winds were pushing east over Central America associated with the usual propagation of the active phase of the MJO, but stronger than normal easterly winds were moving over the equatorial Western Pacific, signaling the start of the Inactive phase. The SOI index turned positive too starting 6/28 and was currently at +11, ending it's negative streak that started 6/11 and held through 6/27. The 30 day average was 3.63 and the 90 day average was 1.3, essentially neutral. La Nina is dead from a weather perspective, but water temperatures over the Central Pacific are still slightly below normal, though warmer than usual waters continue building slightly off Central America and a weak subsurface flow of warmer than usual water persists from the dateline east, fueling the buildup off the Central America coast. This should serve to help wipe out the remnants of La Nina, but is not indicative of an El Nino.
Beyond 72 hrs there some indications that a broad low pressure system might start taking root just east of New Zealand on Sunday (7/6) with pressure 974 mbs and a building fetch of fragmented 40 kt southwest winds taking hold aimed towards Hawaii and the US West Coast. Theoretically it's to build with a large area of 40-45 kt winds aimed well to the north by Monday (7/7) pushing east and seas building to the 35+ ft range by Tuesday. Will see if the models can hold that forecast for even 24 hours. At least it's a step in the right direction.
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
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