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 (7/3) Northern CA surf was waist thigh, light onshore and foggy. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were thigh high and clean. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was thigh to waist high and heavily textured. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was barely thigh high and crumbled. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high and heavily textured. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were waist to near chest high on the biggest rare sets and clean at first light. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was waist high with rare chest high sets and clean. The East Shore was waist high plus.
North/Central California was getting next to not swell at all, though the buoys suggested tiny southern hemi swell was starting to make an appearance originating under new Zealand and pushing up through the Tasman Sea. Southern California was getting the same swell with a little more size at the standout south swell spots. Hawaii's North Shore was flat for the summer. The South Shore was on the downside of a pulse of Tasman Sea swell. The East Shore was getting more east windswell than it has as of late.
For Central California, minimal background southern hemi swell from the Tasman Sea and under New Zealand to peak out on Friday (7/4) fading over the weekend but only in the 2 ft (face height) range. Windswell and swell from the Gulf of Alaska (if you can believe it) is to start showing Monday originating from a low that is moving from the dateline to the Gulf of Alaska (Fri). But odds on the Gulf component are low. 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 not showing, though northwest windswell to probably make the turn at Pt Conception adding to the mix. In the Islands the Tasman Sea swell to be the only thing going. It's fading currently but reinforcement are due in for Friday (7/4) slowly fading through Sunday. Tradewind generated east windswell to pulse a little though 7/4, then fade out with nothing behind. But for now no real swell producing storms are forecast for the exposed South Pacific for the next week. The models keep teasing under New Zealand 6-7 days out, but then disappoint as one gets closer. Take 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. A weak trough continues to be modeled in the Gulf of Alaska through Sun (7/6) with 110 kts winds, but nothing of real notice.
At the surface today weak high pressure at 1020 mbs was centered 700 nmiles northwest of Hawaii but offering no wind of interest. It was setting up a minor pressure gradient over Pt Conception and north winds there at 15-20 kts of no consequence. Low pressure was trying to build in the Gulf of Alaska generating northwest winds at 25-30 kts aimed towards the Pacific Northwest. Over the next 72 hours the high is push east up to 1024 mbs generating northerly winds from Pt Reyes southward to Pt Conception and over the Channel Islands to 20 kts while the Gulf low pushes east towards Canada generating up to 35 kt northwest winds producing seas to 21+ ft for 24 hours targeting Oregon down into the San Francisco Bay area through Friday (7/4). This to possibly sending small 13 sec period swell towards exposed break in the Pacific Northwest down to Central CA from late Sunday through early next week. Will believe it when it happens. Even so, this is likely a product of the fading active phase of the Madden Julian Oscillation (see below). Otherwise north winds at 15-20 kts to continue along the Central CA coast and over the Channel Islands, but unremarkable with no windswell potential.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (7/3) weak high pressure at 1014 mbs centered beyond Hawaii was barely nosing into the South California area producing a limited fetch of north winds at 20 kts limited to Pt Conception. Light winds were reported north and south of there. This same pattern is to hold through Friday, then the gradient is to widen and shift north affecting San Francisco Saturday, and up to Cape Mendocino by Sunday (7/6). Chop over nearshore waters for all of Central CA expected. North winds at 25 kts to continue over Cape Mendocino by Monday with windswell on the increase. But the fetch is to pull away from the coast, leaving calmer winds or a slight eddy flow in it's wake for the bulk of Central CA, at least in the mornings and early afternoons. Modest windswell generation potential forecast Mon-Wed, then on the upswing Thursday (7/10) as the gradient tightens some with winds over CApe Mendo up to 30 kts, but still pulled away from the coast south of there.
Tropical Storm Boris had sustained winds at 40 kts and was heading west, midway between Hawaii and Baja. Slow weakening forecast wit a track turning him more to the southwest. No swell generation potential for anyone expected.
Tropical Depression Douglas was 180 nmiles south-southeast of Cabo San Lucas heading northwest and is expected to turn more to the west with sustained winds 30 kt and fading. Douglas was a tropical storm just 12 hours earlier. No swell generation potential forecast for the US mainland though Cabo to get some small 11 sec swell (if it isn't hitting already).
On Thursday (7/3) a very split jetstream pattern remained in-control of the entire South Pacific with a moderate ridge pushing the southern branch over the Ross Ice Shelf into interior Antarctica shutting down any hope of supporting surface level storm development. Over the next 72 hours the same basic pattern is to hold, with a slow degradation of the ridge by Sunday (7/6) but the jet still over Antarctic Ice. Beyond 72 hrs improvements are suggested starting Wednesday (7/8) as a trough starts building under New Zealand with up to 170 kt winds pushing steadily northeast well south of Tahiti offering some fuel for the development of surface level low pressure. This looks tempting, but it is still a long ways off.
At the oceans surface high pressure at 1020 mbs had a firm grasp on the New Zealand storm corridor sitting right in the middle of it near 60S 150W. No swell producing fetch of interest was present. Over the next 72 hours this high is to slowly drift east while some form of weak and unorganized low pressure moves from the Tasman Sea over New Zealand and theoretically east of New Zealand by Monday. But winds to only be in the 35 kt range aimed north (towards Hawaii), not offering any real potential to generate swell.
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 a second small swell is to push into Hawaii starting Friday (7/4) 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 (Tasman Sea swell corridor)
Limited energy to possibly survive the long journey to California tracking through the Tasman Sea swell window but mostly under New Zealand and up its' east coast 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 generating some form of modest pressure gradient over Cape Mendocino Monday (7/7) with 25 kt north winds and producing modest short period windswell down to Pt Conception on through next workweek, possibly increasing some for the weekend. No other swell source is indicated. Light trades to persist for the Hawaiian Islands (15 kts) with no windswell generation potential suggested.
MJO/ENSO Update: As of Thursday (7/3) 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 started turning positive (after a solid run of negative numbers) on 6/28 in the +11 range, but was back to -2 today. The 30 day average was 3.24 and the 90 day average was 1.02, 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 high pressure is to build in the more normal location over the Tasman Sea pushing winter weather under New Zealand and east into the great South Pacific. No clear organized storm pattern is suggested but the configuration is to be more supportive than it has been for the past week or so.
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