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 (12/2) North/Central California had fading surf from Storm #2 in the 1-3 ft overhead range but a bit lumpy. Southern California was still getting fading swell from this storm too with waves at waist to chest high, maybe rarely a little bit larger. Hawaii's North Shore was on the increase with Swell #3 starting to hit near triple overhead and clean with trades in control. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore report was not available.
For Central California a day or two of smaller surf expected but then a moderate pulse of swell from the dateline is expected in by Thursday from the west. Size to be decent but not significant class. Southern CA to continue to slowly drop off into the unrideable range, but then the same dateline swell is expected to start impacting the northern part of this region by late Thursday and from a very westerly direction. The North Shore of Hawaii is already receiving the leading edge of Swell #3 in the significant class range due to it's close proximity to the fetch and also attributable to the fetch being aimed right at them. Size to drop a little Wednesday then start coming up again late Thursday holding into Friday (12/5) as swell from Storm #4 arrives. Winds to be decent too with trades taking effect by later Wednesday. The South Shore of Hawaii is not expecting any surf. The East Shore to start seeing a little more windswell by Saturday as trades get better entrenched.
Longer term swell from Storm #3 is to reach California and the Pacific Northwest by Thursday but size to be much small than what is hitting Hawaii, only in the utility class range. This low pressure system pushed up to the dateline and a bit south of the Aleutians with most fetch focused on Hawaii though decent fetch pushing east to the mainland too. 40-45 kt winds and 30-32 ft seas were reported Sat/Sun (11/30). Reinforcing gale energy was moving in-behind on Tues/Wed (12/3) generating more 40-45 kt winds and 28-30 ft seas with swell radiating both southeast and east though again focused on Hawaii, so larger surf is expected there. But after that the jetstream is to fall apart, taking the storm pattern with it.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Tuesday (12/2) the North Pacific jetstream was still looking decent with stronger winds pushing east off Japan falling into a moderate trough over the dateline with 170 kt winds flowing into it, then starting to lift northeast 1200 nmiles north of Hawaii and dissipating. This trough was providing good support for surface level low pressure development at the oceans surface. Over the next 72 hours that trough is to hold decently through Wednesday (12/3) then start loosing it's footing as a strong blocking ridge builds off the US West Coast, not allowing the trough to make any eastward progress. But even at that, the trough is to hold in some form through Friday. Beyond 72 hours miraculously that trough is to hang on over the dateline but getting more and more pinched off by Sunday (12/7) while a split flow tries to build in over Japan with the northern branch pushing towards the Bering Sea. But that might be a limited event with more energy forecast building over Japan Monday (12/8) with winds to 170 kts starting to drop towards the trough and starting to look decent by Tuesday. Reasonable odds for a surface level gale developing on the dateline then.
At the surface today a large gale (Storm #4 relative to Hawaii) was on the dateline with 40-45 kt winds aimed towards Hawaii and 30 kt winds towards the US West Coast (see Reinforced Dateline Gale below). modest high pressure at 1024 mbs was on either side of it, just off the US West Coast and the other off the Kuril Islands. But this gale was almost filling the bulk of the North Pacific.
Over the next 72 hours that dateline gale is to hold without moving either east of west, just drifting north some. More of an offshore flow is to develop over the US West Coast as high pressure moves into the Great Basin. Maybe a weak and small gale is to develop off Japan tracking east into Friday (12/5) but stunted by high pressure at 1028 mbs to it's north.
Dateline Gale - Storm #3 (Hawaii)
On Friday (11/28) and new gale was pushing off Central Japan with winds up to 45 kts aimed east building to 50 kts over a tiny area late with a small area of 23 ft seas modeled at 38N 153E. The Jason-1 satellite passed over this fetch at 06Z (Sat) and confirmed seas at 33.6 ft at 38N 155E where the model only indicated 23 ft. Good news.
On Saturday AM (11/29) the fetch was moving fast towards the dateline with winds still west at 40 kts at 39N 168E building a larger area of seas to 25 ft at 39N 165E aimed well dow the 310 degree path to Hawaii and reasonably well up the 295 degree path to North CA. In the evening that fetch built more to 40-45 kts over a larger area at 40N 175E with 30 ft seas modeled at 39N 175E. The Jason-1 satellite made a pass directly over the fetch at 2:30 Z and confirmed seas at 32.7 ft with a peak reading to 35 ft. So the models are a little under what was actually occurring again.
On Sunday AM 40 kt northwest winds were taking hold at 42N 178W aimed directly down the 321 degree path to Hawaii and 40 degrees south of the 294 degree path to NCal. 32 ft seas were modeled at 38N 178W pushing mid-way between the Islands and CA. In the evening a larger fetch of 40-45 kt winds are to be in-place in this large gales west quadrant at 45N 173W all aimed southeast aimed directly at Hawaii down the 328 degree path and with limited energy aimed up the 292 degree path to NCal (297 Scal). 31 ft seas forecast at 38N 172W.
Even into Monday AM (12/1) 40 kt fetch is forecast at 42N 172W but now aimed almost to the east generating a small area of 35 ft seas at the same locale pushing 30 degrees south of the 292 degree path to North CA and mostly bypassing Hawaii. The Jason-1 satellite passed over the eastern edges of this fetch at 18Z reporting seas at 30 ft at 45N 158W where the model suggested only 26 ft seas, a good thing. But a new low is to be pushing off the Kurils getting ready to merge and reinforce this existing gale. By evening 30 ft seas (from previous fetch) are to be dropping fast at 42N 166W pushing both east and southeast.
Another pulse of small significant class swell for Hawaii is expected to arrive by Tuesday (12/2) mid-morning with pure swell 8.4 ft @ 16-17 secs (14 ft) from 320-328 degrees. Swell to be fading Wednesday (12/3) 6.8 ft @ 13-14 secs (13 ft faces).
Swell to be pushing into North CA on Thursday AM (12/4) to 6.5-7.3 ft @ 16 secs by mid-day (10-12 ft faces) from 290 degrees. Swell fading Friday from 6.6 ft @ 14 secs (9 ft faces).
Reinforced Dateline Gale - Storm #4 (Hawaii)
Tuesday AM (12/2) the new/reinforced dateline gale was impressive size wise, filling a good portion of the Central North Pacific and generating 40-45 kt and near 50 kt north fetch on it's west side at 42N 175E 1000 nmiles in length aimed 30 degrees south of the 317 degree path to Hawaii and additional 35+ kt fetch in it's south quadrant at 30N 170W aimed towards the US West Coast. 29 ft seas were modeled in both fetch areas (45N 177E & 31N 175E) aimed best at Hawaii. By the evening the whole mess is to congeal into one massive fetch of 35-40 kt north to northwest winds targeting primarily Hawaii but also the US West Coast. 30 ft seas are forecast at 40N 177E aimed at Hawaii down the 317 degree path and 26 ft seas at 32N 176W aimed also at Hawaii down the 310 degree path and only 1000 nmiles out. This same patch of seas to be aimed 30 degree south of the 280 degree path to NCal (285 SCal).
Wednesday AM (12/3) fetch is to be fading 30-35 kts fetch circulating all around this gale with 30 ft seas covering a large area at 35N 177W aimed at Hawaii down the 312 degree path and aimed 30 degrees southeast of the 283 degree path to NCal (290 SCal) and 2500 nmiles out. By evening 30-35 kt winds to remain at 42N 175W with seas fading from 26-28 ft pushing more 15 sec period energy towards both Hawaii and CA from 34N 172W (280 degs NCal).
Another pulse of significant class surf is likely for Hawaii starting Thursday with utility class surf for CA likely by the weekend.
Hawaii: Expect the first pulse of this swell from the initial fetch to hit Thursday (12/4) at 2 PM HST with swell quickly ramping up to 7.1 ft @ 16 secs (11 ft Hawaiian). Swell Direction: 295 degrees. The second pulse to arrive later that evening (8 PM) with swell quickly ramping up to 9 ft @ 17 secs holding near 9 ft @ 15 secs by sunrise Friday (12/5) (13-14 ft Hawaiian) and filtering down through the day. Decent residuals in the 13-14 sec range to hold through Sunday. Swell Direction: 305-315 degrees
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (12/2) weak high pressure at 1024 mbs was building 600 nmiles off Pt Conception starting to ridge into the Central Ca coast. 15 kt north winds were taking over late Tuesday from Cape Mendo south to the Channel Islands. Wednesday more of the same is forecast through the fetch is to be more diffuse (north winds at 10 kts expected nearshore). The gradient is to turn more offshore by Thursday and more so by Friday then getting lighter on Saturday (12/6) into early Sunday. more high pressure is expected off the coast Monday with north winds back in-play over Central CA fading Tuesday (12/9).
No tropical activity of interest was occurring.
At the oceans surface no swell producing fetch was occurring aimed at US targets. Over the next 72 hours no change is 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 the remnants of Storm #4 to be fading in the Northwestern Gulf of Alaska through Sunday (12/7) while high pressure at 1028 mbs moves towards the dateline. a spurious little gael is to start winding up 900 nmiles northwest of Hawaii late Saturday lifting fast to the northeast and generating some fetch, but most all of it is to be aimed northeast towards Alaska, with no swell resulting for our forecast area. Bits of a possible new low pressure system are to start forming on the dateline Tuesday (12/9) but nothing obvious from a swell generation perspective is suggested, with an otherwise neutral pressure pattern suggested. no surprise after the hammering the Northern Pacific has dished out over the past week.
MJO/ENSO Update (reference): As of Tuesday (12/2) the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) was in the Active Phase. The Daily SOI index was down to 4.10. The 30 day average was down some to 16.58 and the 90 day average was down a notch to 14.63. This remains symptomatic of La Nina. Winds anomalies at the surface and the 850 mb level (approx 1000 ft up) indicated east winds non-existent (a good thing) and the Active Phase was just past maxed out over the Philippines pushing westerly winds solidly to the dateline and a little beyond. It is expected to continue drifting east and slowly moderating through Dec 11, with remnants until Dec 21th passing into Central America. Only the faintest hint of the Inactive Phase is forecast behind it reaching Northern Australia by 12/19. Make the most of whatever this Active Phase produces.
No swell producing fetch forecast for the next 7 days.
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
Swell #2 Mavericks Videos from Powerlines Productions: Check out the action on both Saturday and Sunday (11/30) from that massive swell of 12-13 ft @ 25 secs. Filmed by Curt Myers and Eric Nelson. Really thick! See this and more plus the movie Ride-On 12/11 at the Old Princeton Landing or the Red Vic Moviehouse in San Francisco 12/19-23. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tA57cIBkA0o & http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37SCR9kDm60
Stormsurf Video: Just for fun - here's a clip about Stormsurf that ran on Bay Area TV a while back. Thought you might enjoy it: http://vimeo.com/2319455
Help Out a Fellow Mavericks Surfer: Our friend Christy Davis is going through some tough times. His 14 year old daughter was recently diagnosed with leukemia and she is currently undergoing chemotherapy. The prognosis is good but we'd all like to help him out with medical expenses not covered by insurance and a new Mav's gun. Randy Cone has offered to provide the board, we just need to get the funds together. If you would like to donate, send an email to us here or talk to Randy directly.
Pictures from Swell #1 - The first real significant class swell of the season produced a bit of action at Mavericks. See pictures here http://www.mavsurfer.com
Big Surf Up North - the First swell of the Fall 2008/2009 season brought a few large raw waves to the North CA Coast. Check out the details here: http://www.towsurfer.com/default.asp
The Kelly Slater Project - A group of dedicated surfers from Cocoa Beach are working to construct a statue of the the home town legend and set it up for all to enjoy near the break where Kelly grew up surfing. Take a look at the statue and read all about it here: http://www.thekellyslaterproject.com/
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).
Time Zone Converter 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
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/
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!
Free Stormsurf Stickers - Get your free stickers! - More details Here
Read all the latest news and happenings on our News Page here
Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table