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 (7/8) Northern CA surf was shoulder to head high with light onshore winds and glassy conditions early. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist high and glassy. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was waist high plus and textured. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was thigh high and textured. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high and textured with overcast. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were waist high. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was knee high and clean. The East Shore was flat.
North/Central California was getting fading swell from the Gulf of Alaska with limited locally generated north windswell. Southern California was getting mostly swell from the Gulf of Alaska with limited southern hemi background swell intermixed. Hawaii's North Shore was flat for the summer. The South Shore was nearly flat. The East Shore was flat.
For Central California windswell local windswell to be the only hope, and even that fading for Wednesday, then rebuilding but a bit rawer holding some rideable size or more into the weekend. Southern CA to see only windswell for the rest of the week and limited in size to boot. In the Islands flatness to remain with no southern hemi swell of interest expected for the next 7 days. Tradewind generated east windswell is not forecast either, with suppressed trades in effect. Looking into the very long range the models are teasing with a strong storms forecast in the Southeast Pacific later this week going into the weekend targeting primarily Chile northward into Central America with good energy pushing into California. Not much expected to result for the Islands though. And in all likelihood, this one will evaporate off the models before every forming. 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 other than a moderate ridge pushing over the West Coast offering a good potential for heat at the surface.
At the surface today moderate high pressure at 1024 mbs was centered 600 nmiles west of Cape Mendocino CA producing a pressure gradient off the coast there generating north winds there at 30 kts and producing small to moderate windswell for exposed breaks into Central CA. This fetch is be aimed a bit more offshore on Wednesday with lesser windswell resulting, then turn back south Thursday and hold near 30 kts through Sunday (7/13) generating more decent north windswell for exposed breaks in North and Central CA with limited energy down into only the most exposed breaks in Southern CA. Trades to remain suppressed in the Hawaiian Islands with no easterly windswell of interest forecast. No other swell producing fetch forecast.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (7/8) weak high pressure at 1024 mbs remained centered 600 nmiles east of Cape Mendocino ridging into British Columbia generating a moderate pressure gradient over Cape Mendocino and surrounding areas producing north winds of 30 kts and small to moderate northerly windswell for exposed breaks down through Central CA. These winds were positioned off the coast too affording relatively clean local surf conditions. This pattern to hold but with weaker winds off Cape Mendocino and smaller windswell on Wednesday. On Thursday (7/10) the high is to regroup off Washington still at 1024 mbs generating more 30 kt north winds over Cape Mendocino aimed south through Sunday then starting to decline. Windswell expected through the period with local winds tending towards eddy conditions (southwest).
No tropical systems of interest were being tracked.
On Tuesday (7/8) a very split jetstream pattern remained in-control of the entire South Pacific with a solid ridge pushing to Antarctica under New Zealand and tracking east, with a previously existing ridge in control of the eastern part of the South Pacific. There was no support for surface level storm development. Over the next 72 hours the same basic pattern is to hold until Thursday (7/10) when a trough starts building over the Ross Ice Shelf pushing north about due south of Tahiti. Beyond 72 hrs big improvements are suggested starting Friday (7/10) as the trough builds in the Southeast Pacific and with up to 130 kt winds pushing northeast and up to 170 kt winds in it's apex as it crashes in the the northern branch of the jet. This trough to lose energy pretty fast up it's west side but 170 kt winds to remain in it's apex. And it is to still offer a pretty big hole to support surface level gale development (or better) nestling up again the coast of Chile 7 days out. At the same time another trough is to start building under New Zealand Sat/Sun (7/13) providing another opportunity for surface level development. This is mildly encouraging.
At the oceans surface high pressure at 1032 mbs was centered over New Zealand as it should be with a second high at 1028 mbs off Chile, but a neutral pressure pattern over the Central South Pacific. Weak low pressure was in the gap in between, but not doing anything of interest. Over the next 72 hours a weak low is to push under New Zealand bound for the Central South Pacific generating only 35-40 kt west winds on Wednesday on Wednesday but having no real effect on the oceans surface, but is to serve to roughen it up a bit and act as a primer for the next system forecast directly behind (see Long Range Forecast).
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 start retrograding west late in the weekend moving to a point 1200 nmiles north of Hawaii by Monday (7/14) reducing the pressure gradient off Cape Mendocino and too far north to offer any trades of interest for the Hawaiian Islands. In short, no windswell generation potential.
MJO/ENSO Update: As of Tuesday (7/6) the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) was moving to the inactive phase. A fading area of anomalous west 850 mb winds were pushing from the dateline over the equator east into Central America associated with the usual propagation of the active phase of the MJO. But a fragmented area of slightly stronger than normal easterly winds were moving over the equatorial far Western Pacific, signaling the start of the Inactive phase there. But it appears to now be a weak inactive phase. It is forecast to be dead by the end of July opening up the next window for the active phase to move in behind. The SOI index started turning positive (after a solid run of negative numbers) on 6/28 in the +11 range, but had held in the -2 range over the 4th weekend but has since rebounded to the +2-+10 range through Tuesday. The 30 day average was 0.33 and the 90 day average was 1.11, as neutral as it can get. La Nina is dead from a weather perspective with water temperatures over the Central Pacific just slightly below normal, though a broad warmer than usual pool of water continued building 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 wipeout the remnants of La Nina, and is mildly indicative of an El Nino. The pattern of persistent Japan storm surviving the trip to the Gulf of Alaska in mid-summer is a bit puzzling too. But if El Nino were to actually be forming, there should be clear signs of it by now in the SOI, which there is not. No clear Westerly Wind bursts have been indicated either. Will monitor.
Beyond 72 hrs a significant class summer time storm is forecast for the Southeast Pacific (see Possible Pacific Storm below). No other swell producing systems are forecast.
Possible Pacific Storm
A 960 mb storm is to form under New Zealand on Thurs AM (7/10) generating a broad area of 45 kt west winds at 58S 178E tracking east and totally shadowed from California by Tahiti. 29 ft seas building 59S 170 but the fetch is to be moving so fast to the east these winds are to not get much traction. In the evening pressure to drop to a deep 948 mbs with 55 kt winds building in the systems west quadrant aimed well to the north at 60S 162W and out of the core of the Tahiti shadow relative to California remaining only partially obstructed. A broad area of 30 ft seas are forecast at 60S 168W aimed due east. Again, the fast moving fetch is a problem.
On Friday AM (7/11) a most impressive fetch of hurricane force winds forecast at 60-70 kts is to be at 59S 142W aimed well northeast or 15 degrees east of the 192 degree path to NCal. The fetch area is to slow it's forward speed too. Seas to quickly respond building to 37 ft at 58S 148W. In the evening these winds are to unbelievable hold with forward motion of the storm slowing significantly, allowing the winds great traction on the oceans surface. 60-65 kt northeast winds forecast at 58S 132W aimed 20 degrees east of the 185 degree path to NCal. Seas building to 45 ft at 56S 135W. This is getting impressive.
On Saturday AM (7/12) the fetch to shrink some but still providing 60 kt winds at 55S 127W aimed 25 degrees east of the 183 degree path to NCal. 51 ft seas are forecast at 53S 127W. The fetch to fade fast in the evening with only a sliver of storm force 50-55 kts winds remaining at 50S 123W aimed 30 degrees east of the 180 degree path to NCal. Seas to peak at 52 ft at 49S 121W.
On Sunday AM (7/13) decaying seas from previous days fetch are to be 47 ft at 45S 115W and fading. No additional fetch expected.
If all this comes to pass this will be a most impressive storm. But looking at the jetstream charts, it's manifestation at the surface seems overstated. Expect to see much pulling back of the surface weather and wave models in subsequent runs. If swell is generated per the storms current specifications it will impact primarily northern Chile into Peru with most solid energy heading into Central America and significant class swell to California. It's something to watch.
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