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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: August 30, 2007 9:43 PM
Buoys: Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Buoy Forecast:
Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Pacific Links:  Atmospheric Models - Buoy Data - Current Weather - Wave Models
Forecast Archives: Enter Here
A chronology of recent Mavericks Underground forecasts. Once you enter, just click on the HTML file forecast you want to review (e.g. 073199.html equals July 31, 1999). To view the maps that correspond to that forecast date, select the html file labeled 073199 maps.html
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Swell Potential Rating = 3.0 - California & 3.5 - Hawaii
Using the 'Summer' Scale
(See Swell Category Table link at bottom of page)
Probability for presence of largest swells in near-shore waters of NCal, SCal or Hawaii.    
Issued for Week of Monday 8/27 thru Sun 9/2
Swell Potential Rating Categories
5 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Significant swell
4 = Good probability for 1-2 days of Significant swell
3 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Utility swell
2 = Good probability for  1-2 days of Utility swell
1 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Impulse or Windswell
0 = Low probability for 1-2 days of Impulse or Windswell   

Southern Hemi Swell Poised For CA
A Little More For Hawaii Too

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Thursday (8/30) Northern CA surf was waist high and clean. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were flat. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was waist high. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was thigh high at the best breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist high or 6 inches more. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was chest high with rare waves to head high at the best breaks. The East Shore was thigh high.

North/Central California was essentially flat with no real northerly windswell and no southern hemi swell yet. Southern California was really small still with only the faintest hint of southern hemi swell rarely peaking through. Hawaii was flat on the North Shore. The South Shore was into a multi-day run of small-to-moderate southern hemi swell mixing with very small easterly windswell. Small easterly windswell continued on the East Shore. The North Pacific continues to have weak low pressure circulating in the Gulf of Alaska, but it wasn't really strong enough to generate any seas of interest. Next week there's hints of something stronger brewing, but that's not really believable. Windswell to remain in the small range for both Hawaii and California too. The South Pacific has been somewhat active. Swell from a gale that was off New Zealand has hit Hawaii and is pushing into California for the Labor day weekend. A second gale formed behind it just strong enough to generate more small swell that's poised to hit Hawaii and then move into California for late in the Labor Day weekend. And third smaller one formed behind the first two but most of it's energy was aimed east of the great circle paths to either Hawaii or California. So a little swell for the Labor Day weekend, then things heading down after that. See details below...

 

SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours

North Pacific

Overview
Thursdays jetstream charts (8/30) for the North Pacific indicated a moderate flow pushing over the intersection of the dateline and the Aleutians dipping south through the Gulf of Alaska ridging before pushing into northern British Columbia. Winds were 110 kts flowing through the Gulf of Alaska, providing a little fuel for low pressure development there. Over the next 72 hours no significant change is forecast with the Gulf providing the only area supportive of surface level low pressure development, and only marginally so. Beyond 72 hours the trough in the Gulf is to fade by Tuesday (9/4) and be replaced by a big ridge, but with a new trough trying to develop back over the dateline late Monday pushing towards the Gulf, but not really making it. Very limited potential for surface level low pressure development in association with this trough. Still, it looks like a Fall pattern is trying to build-in, but only weakly.

Note: We've made a major upgrade to our jetstream forecast models. They now includes topographic landmasses with the jet flowing over it. As before, wind speeds less than 50 kts are masked out. Take a look here:( NPac, SPac )

At the surface today weak high pressure at 1024 mbs was over the dateline stretching southeast towards California but not making it and not having any impact on Hawaii either. Slack winds were being reported in both locations. No windswell generation potential was indicated. Also weak low pressure at 1004 mbs was in the northern Gulf of Alaska, only generating a small fetch of 15-20 kt northwest winds, and not having any swell generation potential either. Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (9/2) the high pressure system over the dateline to push east a little marginally building trades over the Hawaiian Islands to 20 kts and adding a little more height to local windswell there, and doing the same thing along the Central CA coast but serving more just to add chop to the oceans surface. A new low pressure system is to try and start building in the Gulf with up to 25 kt northwest winds taking aim of California and Oregon, but too far away to have any real impact. So for now a generally quiet pattern to continue.

 

Tropics
Minimal Typhoon Fitow was well southeast of Japan with winds 75 kts. It was moving northwest at 12 kts and forecast to continue on that track into Tuesday (9/4) with winds building to 120 kts positioned 250 nmiles southeast of Central Japan. Latest models suggest it to not get move onshore, but is to get absorbed by building low pressure over Kamchatka mid-next week, helping to add fuel to it's development. But that remains just idle speculation at this early date.

Tropical Storm Gil was just northwest of the Island of Socorro (south of Baja) and was heading due west with winds 35 kts. It is expected to slowly fade and dissipate with no swell generation potential forecast for either the mainland or Hawaii.

Tropical Depression 11E was off southern mainland Mexico expected to travel northwest paralleling the coast, passing just west of Southern Baja mid-next week while building and pushing into the Southern CA swell window. This one might bear watching after this weekend.

 

North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (8/30) very weak high pressure was over outer California waters making for light winds nearshore. Clean conditions were being reported up and down the coast. No change forecast through mid-Friday, then high pressure is to start surging east with 15 kt northerly winds building in mid-Saturday and chop on the increase. 15-20 kt northerly winds to settle in by Sunday with chop in effect north of Pt Conception and possible small northwest windswell pushing into Southern CA. These winds to hold if not build to the 25 kts range Tuesday with chop and windswell the name of the game in Central CA while and some form of windswell to push into Southern CA though clean conditions to light southerly eddy winds to remain in control there.

 

South Pacific

Overview
Thursdays jetstream charts (8/30) for the South Pacific indicated a split jet flowing over the Western Pacific with the southern branch landlocked while pushing over the Ross Ice Shelf. In the east a weak trough was in control peaking out at about 115W, on the very edge of the Southern CA swell window. But winds were only 70 kts so there was no real support for surface level low pressure there. Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (9/2) the ridge to only build in the west while drifting to the central Pacific, but helping the situation any. In the east the trough to get a bit more defined with 170 kt winds flowing over it's top (attributed mainly to energy being imparted by the northern branch of the jet) but the apex of this trough to be at 110W, essentially out of even the SCal swell window and heading further east. Maybe a little hope for low pressure in the SCal swell window at the oceans surface. Beyond 72 hours a totally split jetstream flow and zonal flow to take over with no troughs indicated in the southern branch, eliminating any hope for surface level low pressure development.

At the oceans surface today the remnants of low pressure were being elongated on a west to east axis well south of Tahiti near 50S, and fading fast. (see details below). Otherwise no winds of interest were occurring. Over the next 72 hours low pressure at 964 mbs is to start building off Chile on Saturday generating a sizeable fetch of 35 kt winds aimed due north on the 120W longitude line, in the California swell window. By evening winds to build to 50 kts at 52S 113W aimed reasonably well at Southern CA but outside the swell window for anywhere else in our forecast area. 30 ft seas forecast at 48S 117W. Central America to be well positioned though. Sunday AM (9/2) 55 kts south winds forecast at 47S 108W aimed totally at Central America and outside the US swell window. 42 ft seas forecast at 48S 109W. If this develops as forecast maybe background swell could push towards Southern CA, but most energy to be aimed at Central America.

 

New Zealand Gale
At the surface starting Monday AM (8/20) low pressure at 968 mbs started building south of the Tasman Sea pushing east towards the Southwest Pacific. Winds were confirmed at 50 kts over a small area centered at 52S 160E aimed towards California up the 220 degree path but still shadowed from Hawaii by New Zealand. By evening it was at 45 kts at 52S 170E aimed towards CA up the 217 degree path and just in the Hawaiian swell window at 201 degrees. Seas were up to 32 ft at 53S 160E.

On Tuesday AM (8/210) 40 kts winds were modeled pushing north up the southeastern coast of New Zealand at 49S 178W with 33 ft seas modeled at 50S 170E. No Jason-1 satellite passes occurred near this system. In the evening winds faded on the original fetch down below 35 kts while a new fetch started to build to 40 kts at 54S 171E aimed right up the 215 degree path to CA and 30 degrees east of the 198 degree path to Hawaii. Seas fading from 30 ft associated with the original fetch at 48S 178E. The Jason-1 satellite passed near this area and reported seas on the periphery of the fetch running about as modeled.

The new fetch took over on Wednesday AM (8/22) at 40-45 kts centered at 46S 176W generating 30 ft seas at 50S 175E. the Jason-1 satellite passed over the old fetch and found seas running about 3 ft smaller than what the WW3 wavemodel suggested. Not good. On Wednesday PM 35-40 kt winds were fading at 44S 171W aimed well up the 211 degree great circle path to California and the 191 degree path to Hawaii as this one pushed northeast. 29 ft seas fading at 45S 173W.

This system was not impressive by any means from a historical perspective. But given the complete lack of any real storm activity, this was a good step in the right direction. But Jason-1 data, though spotty tended to suggest that it was not as strong as the wave models would have one believe, meaning the resulting swell might be a little less than hoped for. regardless, some form of rideable 16-17 sec utility class swell to result. Swell to be best for the Islands given their close proximity to the swells source (4073-4974 nmiles) though most energy was aimed east of the Islands. Swell to be smaller for CA given the longer travel distance (5583-6712 nmiles) even though it was aimed almost directly toward them.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival starting Thursday afternoon (8/30) at 1.3 ft @ 18 sec late (2 ft faces) and very inconsistent. Swell building Friday (8/31) to 2.5 ft @ 17 sec by sunrise (4 ft faces - best breaks to 5 ft). Swell holding solid Saturday AM at 2.7 ft @ 15-16 secs (4 ft faces - best break occasionally 5 ft) but still inconsistent. Swell fading Sunday at 2.4 ft @ 14 secs early (3.5 ft faces), and dropping. Swell Direction: 218-222 degrees.

Northern CA: Expect swell arrival starting Thursday afternoon (8/30) at 1.3 ft @ 18 sec late (2 ft faces) and very inconsistent. Swell building Friday (8/31) to 2.5 ft @ 17 sec by 9 AM (4 ft faces - best breaks to 5 ft). Swell holding solid Saturday AM at 2.7 ft @ 15-16 secs (4 ft faces - best break occasionally 5 ft) but still inconsistent. Swell fading Sunday at 2.4 ft @ 14 secs early (3.5 ft faces), and dropping. Swell Direction: 215-219 degrees.

 

Central Pacific Gale
A new low pressure system started to build from 964 mbs Thursday AM (8/23) under New Zealand. A moderate sized fetch of 40-45 kts winds was modeled at 55S 175E aimed 30 degrees east of the 211 degree path to CA and 45 degrees east of the 195 degree path to Hawaii. Seas were building but the wind/swell vector was a problem already. The gale built in coverage during the evening to 960 mbs with 45 kts winds at 52S 170W aimed again almost due east or 30 degrees east of the 209 degree path to California (and shadowed by Tahiti) and 65 degrees east of the 190 degree path to Hawaii. 30 ft seas were modeled at 56S 178E. The jason-1 satellite passed over the backside of the fetch and reported seas of 30 ft where the model indicated 29 ft, right on track.

The fetch held solid Friday AM (8/24) at near 40-45 kts at 50S 160W aimed again 30 degrees east of the 202 degree path to California but unshadowed by Tahiti and 90 degree east of the 182 degree path to Hawaii. Seas built to 32 ft at 52S 168W. The Jason-1 satellite passed over the edge of the fetch and reported 28 ft seas where the model suggested 30 ft. The fetch continued east in the evening with a small area of 40 kts winds at 50S 150W aimed 30 degree east of the 196 degree path to California and outside the Hawaiian swell window. 36 ft seas were modeled at 50S 158W (shadowed by Tahiti for CA).

A rapid fade of the first fetch occurred Saturday AM (8/25) with winds down to 35-40 kts at 55S 135W well outside the Hawaiian swell window and aimed 60 degrees east of the 188 degree path to California. 30 ft seas hung near 50S 146W per the model but the Jason-1 satellite passed right over the core of the fetch and reported seas only to 29 ft and likely less at 55S 147W. But a new fetch of 45 kts winds developed behind at 52S 170W aimed due east or 60 degrees east of the 205 degree path to California and shadowed by Tahiti and 90 degrees east of the 185 degree path to Hawaii and starting to generate new seas. In the evening these winds moved to 52S 150W again aimed east or aimed 35 degrees east of the 197 degree path to CA (unshadowed) and outside the HI swell window. Seas from the original fetch were gone with seas from the secondary fetch at 30 ft at 50S 165W.

On Sunday (8/26) the primary fetch was gone and a secondary fetch of 50-55 kts winds was centered at 57S 138W aimed northeast or 35 degrees east of the 190 degree path to California. Seas 30 ft at 50S 150W. In the evening that fetch was sinking southeast continuing at 50 kts but aimed due east at 60S 130W or 80 degrees east of the 182 degree path to California. It was over. Seas 39 ft @ 59S 129W.

Hawaii looks likely to get small utility class sideband swell from this one due to it's close proximity (4319-4836 nmiles) and California possibly a bit more, but not much (5227-6283 nmiles). The big problem with this one was that the fetch passed from west to east quickly and didn't get good traction on the oceans surface, and even when it did, the fetch was aimed almost due and not well up any great circle path to Hawaii or California. So for the most part it will be sideband swell for either location.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival starting Fri (8/31) 7 AM with period 17 secs and size tiny but coming up. Swell to start peaking late afternoon at 2.5-2.8 ft @ 16 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces - best breaks pushing 6 ft on the sets). Swell holding into Saturday AM (9/1) with swell 2.5-2.8 ft @ 15 secs (3.5-4.0 ft faces) fading to 14 secs at sunset. A secondary pulse of 17 sec energy is possible starting mid-Saturday with swell up to 2.4 ft @ 16-17 secs late (3.5-4.0 ft faces), fading to 2.4 ft @ 15 secs by Sunday AM (9/2) (3.5-4.0 ft faces) and holding there for a day as period drops to 14 secs, then fading out. Swell Direction 180-190 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival starting Sunday sunrise (9/2) with period 17 secs and size small but building. Swell to peak right before sunrise into first light Monday morning (9/3) with swell 2.7 ft @ 16 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces - 5.0-5.5 ft faces best breaks). Period dropping to 15 secs Monday afternoon. Swell down to 2.6 ft @ 14 secs at sunrise Tuesday (9/4) (3.5-4.0 ft faces). A secondary pulse of energy to arrive Monday afternoon too with period near 17 secs peaking first light Tuesday with swell 2.5 ft @ 16 secs (3.5-4.0 ft faces - 5 ft faces best breaks) fading to 15 sec late. Period down to 14 secs Wednesday (9/5) with swell 2.5 ft @ 14 secs (3.5 ft faces) and fading. Swell Direction: 200-210 on the first pulse and 198-208 on the second.

Northern CA: Expect swell arrival starting Sunday (9/2) about 2 PM with swell 2 ft @ 17 secs (3 ft faces) and size small but building. Swell to peak at sunrise Monday morning (9/3) with swell 2.7 ft @ 16 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces - 5.0-5.5 ft faces best breaks). Period dropping to 15 secs Monday late afternoon. Swell down to 2.6 ft @ 14 secs late morning Tuesday (9/4) (3.5-4.0 ft faces). A secondary pulse of energy to arrive Monday sunset too with period near 17 secs peaking mid-morning Tuesday with swell 2.5 ft @ 16 secs (3.5-4.0 ft faces - 5 ft faces best breaks). Period down to 15 secs Wednesday (9/5) AM with swell 2.5 ft @ 15 secs (3.5-4.0 ft faces) and fading with period at 14 secs at sunset. Swell Direction: 195-210 on the first pulse and 195-206 on the second.

 

New Zealand Gale
A small new low fired up just east of New Zealand Tuesday AM (8/28) with pressure 980 mbs. A small fetch of 35 kts winds was aimed north from 43S 180W towards Hawaii. In the evening it built with pressure 968 mbs and a tiny area of winds 40-45 kts at 45S 172W aimed well towards Hawaii 20 degrees east of the 196 degree path and right at California up the 217 degree path.

Wednesday AM (8/29) this one held with 40-45 kt winds at 45S 170W aimed more to the east. Seas finally built to 29 ft over a tiny area at 43S 170W. In the evening fetch was fading fast with winds 40-45 kts at 44S 160W aimed due east and not at Hawaii at all and 45 degrees east of the 208 degree path to California and shadowed by Tahiti. Seas built to 32 ft @ 44S 164W (unshadowed to California) attributable mainly to the previous days fetch.

This system was gone by Thursday AM (8/30) with residual 30 ft seas fading at 45S 152W.

This system was small, short lived, and didn't have fetch aimed particularly well at Hawaii when it was strongest, and it was too far away from California to be of particular interest. The net result to be some form of small utility class swell pushing into Hawaii a week out and even less for California 8-9 days away. Will post details in the QuikCAST's.

 

South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height

 

QuikCAST's

 

LONG-TERM FORECAST
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours high pressure to continue moving east eventually pushing up into the Pacific Northwest Wednesday (9/5) with tradewind generated windswell potential fading over the Islands by late Wednesday and northerly winds building over Cape Mendocino Wed-Thurs (9/6) to 25 kts before the high moves inland. Some moderate increase in windswell along the Central CA coast forecast then. Low pressure forecast for the Gulf this weekend is expected to track northeast pushing into northern Canada late Monday (9/3) while theoretically a new gale starts building over the dateline pushing into the northern Gulf, but mostly landlocked over Alaska into Wednesday. A much larger scale low is forecast building over the Kamchatka Peninsula (Siberia) late next week pushing towards the dateline, but that's far from certain. We're really just waiting for the first Fall gale to develop.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours the models suggest multiple spurious gales developing over the width of the South PAcific, some with winds even pushing the 50 kts mark. But all are to be very short lived (24 hours) and not get good tractions on the oceans surface, limiting their potential to generate seas and therefore no swell. No real hope indicated.

Details to follow...

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MAVERICKSSURF MAVFILM MAVSURFER SURFPULSE Inside Mavericks Randy Cone Surfboards

Local Interest

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/

New CDIP Buoys Online: We've updated our buoy system to pick up new CDIP buoys put in service recently. One is the Monterey Canyon (inside Monterey Bay). Check it out here: Buoy 156. Also there are more new CDIP buoys activated in NCal, SCal, Pacific Northwest, and Florida.

Jason-1 Satellite Data On-line and Improved!: Our Jason-1 satellite data was upgraded yet again Wednesday PM (6/6) and is now operating better than ever. We've added a feature that averages the data every 15 measurements on the local views and every 50 measurements on the global view (1 measurement every 3 nautical miles) and overlays the results onto the wave model chart. Both the single highest measurement on the chart and the highest 15 measurement average are posted at the bottom of each chart. This seems to work real well and compensates for the very spiky nature of the raw data coming off the satellite. So we now have an effective way to verify the accuracy (or lack of) the wave model output. See the data here: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_alt.html

Comprehensive guides to surfing Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Baja and Mainland Mexico: They ain't pretty. They ain't glossy. They ain't coffee table picture books. These are guides for surfers who want real, useful information. Since 1996 The Surfer's Guides have always provided more info, more detail, more tips, and have been updated more often than any other surf travel guides. Take a look here: http://www.surfingtravel.com/

Inside Mavericks - Portrait of a Monster Wave: Ace photographer Doug Acton, cinematographer Grant Washburn and San Francisco Chronicle writer Bruce Jenkins have teamed up to present an insiders view of Mavericks. Read all the first hand accounts from Peter Mel, Ken 'Skin Dog' Collins, Grant Washburn, Mark Renniker and the rest of the gang as they describe the game of surfing one of the largest waves in the world, fully illustrated with the hauntingly artistic images from Doug Acton, long-time Mavericks lensman. There's even a section featuring Stormsurf! Get your autographed copy here: http://www.insidemavericks.com/

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!
http://www.google.com/ig/add?moduleurl=http://www.stormsurf.com/gadget/stormsurf .xml

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Read all the latest news and happenings on our News Page here

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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