Thursday, December 7, 2017
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 10.2 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 7.8 ft @ 13.3 secs from 334 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.2 ft @ 13.7 secs with swell 1.7 ft @ 13.7 secs from 161 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northeast at 12-14 kts. Water temperature 61.5 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 0.9 ft @ 13.6 secs from 213 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.2 ft @ 13.5 secs from 219 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.6 ft @ 13.7 secs from 205 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.1 ft @ 13.8 secs from 240 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 4.5 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 3.7 ft @ 13.7 secs from 283 degrees. Wind at the buoy was east at 10-12 kts. Water temp 56.7 degs.
See Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (bottom of the page)
Swell Classification Guidelines
Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead).
Summer - Head high or better.
Advanced: Winter - Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Summer - Chest to head high.
Intermediate/Utility Class: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft).
Summer - Waist to chest high.
Impulse/Windswell: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
Summer - up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.
Surf Heights for Hawaii should be consider 'Hawaiian Scale' if period exceeds 14 secs.
On Thursday (12/7) in North and Central CA residual residual swell from the North Gulf of Alaska was still present producing rideable waves in the head high range and clean with offshore winds still in control. Protected breaks were waist high and clean and weak. At Santa Cruz surf was waist to maybe chest high or so and clean with light wind early. In Southern California up north surf was thigh to maybe waist high and clean but soft ad inconsistent. In North Orange Co surf was waist to chest high on the sets and clean coming from the south. South Orange Country's best breaks were waist to chest high and clean but occasionally good. In San Diego surf was waist high and clean. Hawaii's North Shore was getting solid northwest swell with waves 10 ft Hawaiian with some bigger sets and clean early. The South Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was getting wrap around northwest swell at 3-4 ft overhead and clean early with northwest winds less than 5 kts.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Thursday (12/7) swell from a gale that developed in the Northwest Pacific with 24-25 ft seas was hitting Hawaii well with improved conditions while residual swell from a gale previously in the Northern Gulf was fading in California. Yet another gale developed in the Northwestern Gulf on Tues (12/5) easing slowly east into Wed (12/6) with seas in the 26-30 ft range in pockets aimed east. Another gale is to follow in the Western Gulf pushing east Thurs-Fri (12/7) with 26-27 ft seas targeting CA well. And another to develop in the Southwestern Gulf Fri-Sat (12/9) with 24 ft seas targeting Hawaii initially, then redeveloping Sun-Mon (12/11) with 22 ft seas just off and targeting Central CA well. And a broad system is to build off the North Kuril's falling southeast Sat-Sun (12/10) with up to 37 ft seas aimed east then fading while falling southeast over the dateline Mon-Tues (12/12) with 36 ft seas targeting the US West Coast but Hawaii best and moving within 450 nmiles of the Islands. So a rather productive pattern is forecast.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Thursday AM (12/7) the jetstream was pushing east off Japan with winds building to 190 kts over the dateline then falling gently into a pinched trough over the Central Gulf of Alaska before splitting at 145W with the northern branch tracking hard north up into Alaska and the southern branch continuing east over Southern CA. There was some support for limited gale production in the pinched trough. Over the next 72 hours winds in the jet to build to 210 kts over the dateline Thurs PM then moderate to the 150 kt range Fri (12/8) but allowing formation of a broader trough over the Western Gulf pushing 200 kts on Sat (12/9) offering good support for gale development then starting to pinch off again on Sun (12/10) with support for gale development fading then. But at the same time winds off Japan are to be building to 180 kts pushing east likely setting up more potential longer term. The split point is to hold at 145W. Beyond 72 hours the West Gulf trough is to fade briefly Sunday (12/10) only to return Monday (12/11) being fed by 210 kts winds ridging off Japan and falling into the trough offering great support for gale development before moderating into Wed AM (12/13) with the trough still holding in the Southern Gulf and not pinched. But by Thurs (12/14) the trough is to start weakening and pinching but winds are to again be building to 150-160 kts over a weak ridge on the dateline starting to spill southeast into the stationary trough in the Gulf. The Active Phase of the MJO is to in control of the West Pacific feeding energy to the jet and dramatically improving support for gale and storm production in lower levels of the atmosphere.
On Thursday (12/7) swell from a gale previously in the Northwest Pacific was hitting Hawaii (see Northwest Pacific Gale below). Also swell from a gale previously in the Northern Gulf of Alaska was fading in California and no longer of interest. And another gale developed in the Gulf starting to send swell east (see Another Gulf Gale below).
Over the next 72 hours an improving jetstream flow aloft is to be feeding the storm track. A gale was tracking east from the Southern Kuril's Tues-Wed (12/6) generating up to 28 ft seas over a tiny area at 46N 168E Wed AM (12/6) then fading. On Thurs AM (12/7) that gale was tracking east and building with 40 kt northwest winds moving into the Western Gulf with 23 ft seas at 46N 172W (298 degs NCal). In the evening fetch is to fall southeast some at 35-40 kts over a broader area with 27 ft seas at 43N 165W targeting NCal well (296 degs) with sideband energy to Hawaii (345 degs). Fri AM (12/8) fetch is to hold position at 35 kts with additional 30-35 kts northwest fetch building in just west of it resulting in 25 ft seas over a solid area at 42N 161W (291 degs NCal) with sideband energy into HI (355 degs). In the evening the gale is to fade with fetch gone and seas fading 23 ft at 42N 158W aimed east (293 degs NCal). But the secondary fetch is to be building (see Another Gulf Gale - Hawaii) below. Another small pulse of swell for North and Central CA is possible.
Another Gulf Gale - Hawaii
Yet another gale is to form in the Western Gulf Fri PM (12/8) with 35 kt northwest winds taking aim on Hawaii and seas building from 20 ft. Fetch is to fall southeast and grow on Sat AM (12/9) at 30-35 kts from the Aleutians south to a point 600 nmiles north of Hawaii with 24 ft seas peaking at 34N 163W (345 degs HI) and lesser seas behind that. The gale is to fade in the evening with 22 ft seas from previous fetch at 30N 158W just 600 nmiles north of Hawaii. The gale is to be gone after that.
Hawaii: Rough data for planning purposes indicates swell arrival is possible starting Sun AM (12/10) and building through the day pushing 10 ft @ 13-14 secs later (13.5 ft). Swell fading Mon AM (12/11) from 6.4 ft @ 12-13 secs (8.0 ft). Swell Direction 340 degrees
Northwest Pacific Gale
On Sun AM (12/3) a persistent fetch of 30-35 kts west winds were over a large are filling the area from the Kuril's to the dateline generating a broad area of 23 ft seas at 45N 175E targeting Hawaii well (323 degs HI). Fetch and seas held into the evening while migrating east generating 25 ft seas at 44N 180W (325 degrees). Fetch faded in coverage and velocity while tracking southeast Mon AM (12/4) with seas fading from 24-25 ft over a moderate area at 42N 172W (329 degs HI). Fetch fell southeast in the evening with winds still 35 kts from the northwest with seas 22 ft at 37N 163W 100 nmiles NNW of Hawaii.
Hawaii: Swell continues Thurs (12/7) at 7.8 ft @ 14 secs (10.5 ft). Swell fades some on Fri (12/8) dropping from 7.0 ft @ 12-13 secs early (8.5 ft). Residuals on Sat (12/9) fading from 4.8 ft @ 11 secs (5.0 ft). Swell Direction: 335 degrees.
Another Gulf Gale
On Mon PM (12/4) a small gale was developing in the extreme Western Gulf being fed by a good upper level jetstream flow aloft resulting in a tiny area of 30-35 kt northwest winds tracking east with 24 ft seas over a modest area at 45N 171W (297 degs NCal). On Tues AM (12/5) the gale was tracking east-southeast with 40 kts winds over a small area and 27 ft seas at 44N 165W (296 degs NCal). In the evening the gale stalled with 40 kt northwest winds and 29 ft seas holding at 43N 160W (294 degs NCal). On Wed AM (12/6) the gale was fading with 35-40 kt northwest winds and seas fading from 22 ft at 44N 158W (296 degs NCal) with a secondary fetch developing south of there at 30 kts with 21 ft seas at 34N 160W targeting Hawaii some (353 degs HI, 275 degs NCal). The gale pushed east and faded in the evening with 20 ft seas at 42N 158W with secondary seas 19 ft at 30N 156W aimed at Baja. The gale is dissipate from there. Swell is radiating towards Hawaii and North/Central CA.
Hawaii: Swell from this system is to arrive in combination with the Northwest Pacific Gale (see above).
North CA: For planning purposes expect small swell arrival on Thurs PM (12/7) peaking Fri AM (12/8) at 4.1 ft @ 15 secs (6.0 ft). Swell fading on Sat (12/9) from 3.6 ft @ 13-14 secs (4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 294-296 degrees
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest were being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday AM (12/7) bulletproof high pressure at 1046 mbs was inland over the Great Basin setting up an offshore flow for the entire US West Coast at 5-10 kts. The high is to weaken some but holding stable through Sun (12/10) with a light offshore flow forecast. No precipitation projected. This is the classic La Nina high pressure blocking ridge effect. Winds to turn a little more southeasterly on Mon (12/11) in North and Central CA then high pressure rebuilds over the Pacific Northwest on Tues (12/12) with winds turning northeast nearshore again and then north over outer waters to 15 kts Wed-Thurs (12/14) but still northeast/offshore nearshore.
No swell producing winds of interest were occurring.
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are 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 starting Sat (12/9) a gale is forecast developing east of the North Kuril's slowly getting traction on the oceans surface. In the evening 50-55 kt west winds are forecast there and seas building from 32 ft at 47N 167E. On Sun AM (12/10) 45 kt west winds are to retrograde while 40 kt west winds push hard east reaching into the Western Gulf with seas 36 ft at 50N 166E with 30 ft seas east to 46N 175E. In the evening the core fetch is to fade from 45 kts still locked off the Kuril Islands with 35-40 kt west winds extending east to the Gulf with 36 ft seas off the Kuril's over a modest sized area at 48N 165E but with 26-28+ ft seas stretching from the southern tip of Kamchatka the whole way into the Western Gulf with its eastern tip at 43N 168W. Thousands of miles of fetch. Mon AM (12/11) fetch is to start becoming concentrated in the Western Gulf at 35-45 kts from the west over a moderate sized area with 30-36 ft seas centered at 43N 174W. Much swell energy to be pushing towards Hawaii and the US West Coast. In the evening the fetch is to fade while tracking southeast at 35-40 kts with seas holding at 35 ft at 39N 170W targeting Hawaii and California. Tues AM (12/12) fetch is to be from the northwest fading from 30 kts with seas 29 ft at 35N 165W targeting mainly Hawaii. Larger raw swell is possible for the Islands.
A well entrenched pattern is setting up if one is to believe the models.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather system nor fetch is forecast.
More details to follow...
MJO Active for Now - La Nina Mature
The Madden Julian Oscillation is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equator it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slackening if not an outright reversing trade winds while enhancing precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the planet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases in the Pacific help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. Wind anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) are key for understanding what Phase the MJO is in over the Pacific. The KWGA is located on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south (or on the equator from New Guinea east to the dateline). West wind anomalies in the KWGA suggest the Active Phase of the MJO in the Pacific, and east anomalies suggests the Inactive Phase. In turn the Active Phase strengthens and the Inactive Phase weakens the jetstream, which in turn enhances or dampens storm production respectively in the Pacific.The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for MJO activity (which directly relate to the potential for swell production).
Overview: La Nina started developing in early 2016, but westward displaced and generally weak. And by March 2017, it was gone with suspicious warming developing along South America and over the Galapagos to a point south of Hawaii. By May the atmosphere returned to a neutral configuration but then in July east anomalies started building in the KWGA and have not stopped, with cold water upwelling over the the Nino1.2 and 3.4 areas, indicative of La Nina. So it appears now a double dip La Nina is setting up and is to continue through the Winter and Spring of 2017-2018.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Wed (12/6) 5 day average winds were from the east over the entire equatorial Pacific but west in the Central Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were neutral over the East Pacific and strong easterly over the Central Pacific then weakly west over the Western KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (12/7) Strong east anomalies were modeled over the Eastern KWGA but moderate westerly anomalies were over the core of the KWGA. This situation is to hold for the next week. The dividing line between east and west anomalies is to be 165E. The Inactive Phase of the MJO appears to be moving east and the Active Phase of the MJO appears to be holding in the west.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 12/6 an Inactive/Dry MJO pattern was weakly present on the equator south of HAwaii with a building moderate Active/Wet signal west of the dateline. The statistical model depicts the Active/Wet Phase easing east while the Inactive/Dry Phase slowly dissipates and gone by the end of the run 15 days out with the Active Phase over the dateline. The dynamic model depicts much the same thing but with the Active/Wet signal fading to near neutral 8 days out.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (12/7) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO moderately strong over the West Pacific and is to push slowly east into the West Pacific 2 weeks and and holding energy level. The GEFS model suggests the Active Phase is to fade in the West Pacific 4 days out.
40 day Upper Level Model: (12/7) This model depicts a modest Active/Wet MJO pattern over the dateline region and slowly easing east pushing into the far East Pacific 12/20 and incoherent. A slightly stronger Inactive/Dry MJO signal is to follow starting in the West Pacific 12/22 and tracking east to the East Pacific through the end of the model run on 1/16/18 (40 days out). This model runs about 1 week ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (12/7) This model depicts a very neutral MJO pattern over the KWGA with west anomalies west of the dateline and east anomalies east of there. A very weak Active Phase of the MJO is to develop in the far West Pacific 12/12 and easing east through 12/25 with decent west anomalies in the KWGA through the period. After that the Inactive Phase of the MJO is to reappear 12/27 building over the dateline holding through 1/12/18 with weak east anomalies forecast mainly from the dateline eastward. Beyond the Active Phase is to take control in the West Pacific 1/10 through the the end of the model run on 3/6/18 with weak west anomalies holding in the KWGA and east anomalies from the dateline eastward with west anomalies to never make it further east than the dateline. The low pass filter indicates a modest low pressure bias over the extreme west KWGA and it is to ease east filling 75% of the KWGA by 1/28 and holding there. A high pressure bias is over the East KWGA at 170E and is to move east into the East Pacific and only 15% remaining in the KWGA by Feb 1 and tracking east from there. If this verifies, the underpinnings of La Nina are to be fading and then gone by late December. This suggest that as winter builds (typically the peak of La Nina in the jan timeframe), support for La Nina is to be fading. But it takes 3 months for the ocean to respond to whatever happens in the atmosphere, so this winter is lost to La Nina regardless of what the low pass filter indicates. No significant oceanic change is expected until likely early April 2018. Even at that it will take about 5 years for the Pacific to recharge from the 2014-16 El Nino before another El Nino develops. So a neutral ENSO pattern is likely to develop.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (12/7) A pattern change set up in August, with warm water retreating to the west and cooler water building in the east. Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs in the far West Pacific at 165E. The 28 deg isotherm line is holding at 179W. The 24 deg isotherm was weak and has pushed east to 130W and shallow at 50 meters deep at 140W. Anomaly wise a clear change is present in the East Pacific with warm water gone and instead neutral to modestly negative temperatures are at the surface and down to -2 degs C down 100 meters at between 95-155W indicative of La Nina. Warm anomalies are isolated to the West Pacific at +2.0 degrees down to 100 meters deep with the dividing line between cool temps retrograded west to 180W. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 11/29 depicts a large area of subsurface cool water filling the East Pacific (-4.0 degs) and erupting to the surface in broad pockets between 90W to 170W with a near neutral temperature pattern in the west.
Sea Level Anomalies: (11/29) Negative anomalies are in control at -5 cms over the entire equatorial East Pacific with a core of -10 cm anomalies present between Ecuador to 155W. But a little break is at 125W.
Surface Water Temps: The more warm water in the equatorial East Pacific means more storm production in the North Pacific during winter months (roughly speaking). Cold water in that area has a dampening effect. Regardless of what the atmospheric models and surface winds suggest, actual water temperatures are a ground-truth indicator of what is occurring in the ocean. All data is from blended infrared and microwave sensors.
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4: (12/6) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a cool pattern remains is in control. Upwelling is building again along Peru and Ecuador tracking west on the equator out to 160W with a well defined cool pool evidenced over the entire region. The cool pool continues west from there but not as strong. No warm anomalies are indicated within 3+ degs north or south of the equator over the entire region.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (12/4): A warming trend was still in place along Peru and now in building pockets on the equator out to 140W. A modest cooling trend was indicated in pockets also along the equatorial Pacific from the Galapagos west to 140W. .
Hi-res Overview: (12/4) Regardless of the short term warming trend indicated above, a clear La Nina cool stream is present starting off Southern Chile and up to Peru and Ecuador and building in coverage pushing west over the Galapagos and building out to 180W and stable. Cool water at depth is erupting to the surface with the breach point near the Galapagos. There is no sign of warm anomalies in the Nino 1.2 or Nino3.4 regions. A mature La Nina has evolved.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (12/7) Today's temps were falling some to -1.079. The lowest point so far in this La Nina was -2.248 degs reached on 11/5. And that low point was lower than the previous coldest point reached on 10/11 at -1.9 degs.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (12/7) temps have hit a new record low at -1.219, just below the previous coldest peak so far this La Nina on 11/22 at -1.156. And the third previous low peak was reached at -1.1 on 11/23. The long arc suggests a solidifying cold pattern. La Nina is in control.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (12/7) The forecast has temps holding steadily at -0.85 in early Nov and forecast to slip to -1.0 degs in Feb. Then a weak upward trend is suggested with temps reaching -0.7 in April and -0.6 degs in July 2018 and holding there. This suggests a legit La Nina is expected for the Winter of 2017-2018 and possibly extending into 2018-2019. The CFS SST images (11/05) continues to suggest a moderate La Nina cool pattern building on the equator off the Galapagos into Dec-Jan 2018, then fading but still very present into May 2018. A full on La Nina is setting up.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Oct Plume updated (11/7) depicts temps forecast to fade -0.7 degs in Oct and holding through Dec, then slowly rising from there turning neutral in April 2018. See chart here - link The NMME consensus for Oct average indicates temps -0.85 degrees below normal Nov-Jan 2018 then rebounding to normal in April. It sure looks like La Nina is on the way. The CFSv2 is now in the middle of that pack.
Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (12/7): The daily index was falling +6.90 today. The 30 day average was rising from +10.98. The 90 day average was rising +9.35. This suggests a turn towards La Nina.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (12/7) The index was steady at -1.61 (up from -2.20 on 6/28/17). The trend is generally stable for now. Last years La Nina reached -1.94 on 11/2/16 so we've bested that already. But the recent upward trend is offering some hope. Still it looks like La Nina is returning for a double dip/2 year La Nina (not unusual). This index is a forerunner of what happens in the ocean by 2-3 months in developing El Nino and La Nina events.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO is weakly negative, but not as much as one would expect with La Nina in play.
Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.10, Feb = +0.04, March = +0.12, April=+0.52, May=+0.30, June=+0.19, July= -0.50, Aug= -0.68, Sept = -0.28, Oct=-0.60. This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO, even with La Nina, because the warm PDO appears to be dampening the effects of La Nina. No consistently negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington EDU index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.77, Feb = +0.70, Mar = +0.74, April=+1.12, May=+0.88, June=+0.79, July=+0.10, Aug=0.09, Sept = 0.32, Oct=0.05 . No negative readings have occurred since Dec 2013
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive ever since (other than a few months of negative readings in Fall 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina). Looking at the long term record, it is premature to conclude that we have in-fact turned from the negative phase (La Nina 'like') to the positive phase (El Nino 'like'), but the data strongly suggests that could be a possibility. By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.
See imagery in the ENSO Powertool
External Reference Material: El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), Kelvin Wave
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table