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 Sunday (12/21) North/Central California had some waist high clean little peelers. Southern California had some thigh high clean waves at top exposed spots. Hawaii's North Shore was getting a mini pulse of sideband dateline energy making for some waist to chest high surf. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was getting trade induced east windswell at waist to chest high.
For Central California basically flat conditions expected early Monday but with windswell building in late. Real swell to build in overnight with 12 ft faces on Tuesday AM, but pretty windy and shadowed, coming from a north direction in the SF area. Things to drift down Wednesday and Thursday (12/25) but still in the head high range. This from a gale that is forming on Sunday off Oregon expected to produce 40 kt winds and 26 ft seas. Southern California Is expected to remain near unrideable Monday but them start seeing a fraction of this same swell on Tuesday but only at the most exposed north facing breaks. The extreme north angle is to be a real issue. This swell to be fading out on Wednesday into Thursday (12/25). The North Shore of Hawaii is to remain nearly flat through Tuesday (12/23) with only that little background pulse of dateline energy in the waist to chest high range holding into early Monday then going flat Tuesday. Maybe another pulse of that sideband dateline energy on Wednesday, but set your sites very low. The South Shore of Hawaii is not expecting any surf. The East Shore to continue seeing modest easterly tradewind generated windswell for the foreseeable future.
Longer term strong high pressure is expected off Japan forming a gradient with perpetual low pressure over the dateline, generating seas but all aimed well west of Hawaii and offering nothing of real interest other than the South Pacific Islands. In the East Pacific a series of 2 more gales are forecast pushing south from the Gulf of Alaska Wed/Thurs (12/25) then again possibly on Sunday (12/28) thanks to a very southward dropping jetstream focused along the US West Coast, offering odds for very north angled semi-swell mixed with wind and rain, and snow in the higher elevations. But overall the split jetstream pattern continues to damper storm formation in the usual winter storm corridor for the foreseeable future.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Sunday (12/21) the North Pacific jetstream almost looked like it was trying to repair it's split configuration, with the northern branch so far to the north it was out of the picture and the southern branch flowing almost flat across the North Pacific on the 45N latitude. That weird little trough remained over the dateline and another weak trough was trying to organize just off Central Canada, but nether was well defined. In all no solid support for surface level gale development was indicated. Over the next 72 hours the whole split jetstream thing is to start building all over again, with the northern branch totally shearing off and arching hard north through the Bering Sea then down the US West Coast, with the southern branch meandering east, dipping south over the dateline then arching north of HAwaii only to rejoin the main flow off California. This to likely reinforce the gale pattern sinking down the Pacific Northwest and California coasts and shutting off any solid development for the bulk of the North Pacific. Beyond 72 hours more of the same is forecast but with the northern branch pushing even further north by Saturday (12/27) missing even the Bering Sea and heading for the North Pole, while the southern branch remains highly unorganized. Still some tendency towards a trough is to remain along the US west coast. But the trough that's been holding over the dateline looks to be fading out. Limited support for gale development to be focused off the Pacific Northwest.
At the surface today high pressure remained in control, with one high off Japan reaching to the dateline at 1032 mbs and a second at 1024 mbs between Hawaii and the US West Coast. A weak cutoff low was over the dateline at 1000 mbs generating 30 kt northeast winds and 20 ft seas, and a new gale was forming off Vancouver Island at 996 mbs generating near 20 ft seas. In all pretty quiet. Over the next 72 hours the dateline low pressure is to not really get any stronger, but the interaction of high pressure off Japan with the low over the dateline is to generate up 35 kt northeast winds at 37N 170W producing up to 24 ft seas into Tuesday (12/23) but all aimed southwest and totally missing the Hawaiian Islands. No surf of interest from this systems expected. The next is the series of little gales is winding up off Oregon Sun (12/21) with up to 40 kt northwest winds forecast generating 26 ft seas at 46N 133W Sunday evening sinking southeast and fading from 25 ft Monday AM at 43N 130W (just off the Oregon/CA border. Possible swell to push into the Pacific Northwest reaching Central CA/San Francisco late Monday PM (12/22) with swell to 9.7 ft @ 15 secs (14 ft faces) then fading from the 9-10 ft range at 12-13 secs by sunrise Tuesday (12/23) and shadowed relative to the SF area, coming from 308 degrees. Weather likely to be an issue too.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
On Sunday (12/21) the front associated with the next southward moving gale was approaching the San Francisco Bay and expected to push well south into Southern CA on Monday. Decent rain expected with this one. High pressure behind it to bring north winds at 15-20 kts to Central and Southern CA, holding down south into Tuesday (12/22). Behind it the next systems is to be building, this time a more local low forming just off San Francisco on late Tuesday pushing into Southern CA on Wednesday with much wind and heavier rain associated with it. And yet a much larger gale is forecast building behind that in the Northern Gulf, pushing into the Pacific Northwest on Christmas Day dropping into Northern CA late, and then into Southern CA by Friday (12/26) morning with north winds right behind it. Possible good amounts of precip for the Central Sierras from this one. Maybe a break on Saturday (12/27) but then the next system is to be closing in on Central CA by Sunday (12/28).
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 another broad low is to build off Northern Canada Wednesday (12/24) interacting with high pressure at 1032 mbs located north of Hawaii. Up to 55 kt northwest winds are forecast in the extreme northeastern Gulf of Alaska Wed AM with seas building fast from 35 ft nestled up along the coast there, and pushing 40 ft in the evening at 52N 135W, totally shadowed relative to Central CA but well in the Oregon Swell window. This fetch is to fade on Thursday (12/25) dropping from 35-40 kts while sinking south with 37 ft seas at 47N 135W early fading from 32 ft in the evening at 43N 130W. Possible larger very north angled and very raw swell for the Pacific Northwest Thursday reaching down into Central CA on Friday (12/26).
Yet another Gulf gale is forecast building a week out on Sunday (12/28) possible positioned a bit further away from the coast and offering better odds for a more reasonable swell angled for US breaks. But that's a mere guess by the models at this early date.
MJO/ENSO Update (reference): As of Sunday (12/21) the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) was moving into the Inactive Phase. The Daily SOI index was down again at 5.86 and showing more weakness of late than in a long while. The 30 day average was holding at 12.99 and the 90 day average was steady at 13.29. This remains symptomatic of La Nina and is making no significant headway either up or down. Winds anomalies at the surface and the 850 mb level (approx 1000 ft up) indicated fading west winds covering a good portion of the West Pacific reaching just to the dateline, fading from our last report. These were associated with the end of the Active Phase of the MJO. These winds are expected to fade out through Dec 30 with a neutral pattern taking hold after that and in control through 1/9/2009. Theoretically there is still support for development of storms from purely an MJO perspective, but the jetstream pattern certainly doesn't seem to give any hints that it will occur. A small pocket of easterly winds are to start building over the Indian Ocean all the while, pushing into the far Western Pacific near 1/9, signaling the start of the Inactive Phase. It's all downhill from there. .
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
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Help Out a Fellow Mavericks Surfer: Our friend Christy Davis is going through some tough times. His 14 year old daughter has been 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. If you would like to donate, send an email to us here or send it to Christy directly at: Chris Davis PO Box 628 Moss Beach, CA 94038
Also there is a fundraising party for those that know Christy this Sunday 12/21 at 3 PM in Ocean Beach. There is very limited space so were trying to keep it small. If you know Christy, write us for directions.
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
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/
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table