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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: May 17, 2007 11:21 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 = 1.0 - California & 2.0 - 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 5/14 thru Sun 5/20
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   

South Swell Poised for Hawaii
Gulf Gale on-Track


On Thursday (5/17) Northern CA surf was waist high and blown out. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were flat. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was up to waist high and windy. Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was flat. The LA Area southward to Orange County was up to maybe thigh high at the best breaks. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were near flat. The North Shore of Oahu was waist high. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was near flat.

North/Central California had only windblown unrideable junky small windswell. Southern California was flat at all locations. Hawaii had no rideable surf north, south or east. The North Pacific is trying to do something off Oregon today with a little low and some wind pushing towards the North CA coast. This is forecast to possibly result in rideable swell for the late weekend north of Pt Conception, but not much size. Otherwise the calm pattern is be the norm now that winter is over. Down south a decent storm developed under New Zealand Fri/Sat (5/12) generating up to 50 kts winds and 40 ft seas pushing well to the northeast, likely good enough for a decent bit of southern hemi swell for Hawaii this weekend and lesser energy pushing into California starting Tuesday (5/22) peaking Wed/Thurs. A series of gales to follow, but not lasting very long or very strong with no decent swell generation potential suggested. So take what you can get and feel lucky for that cause there isn't much else in the forecast for the next week. See details below...


Current marine weather and wave analysis.cgius forecast conditions for the next 72 hours

North Pacific

Thursdays jetstream charts (5/17) for the North Pacific indicated a bit of a trough in the Gulf of Alaska with 120 kt winds falling down it's western side supportive of gale development at the oceans surface. Another pocket of decent energy was trying to push east off Japan, but not making much progress. Over the next 72 hours the trough in the Gulf is to push east and weaken, moving over the Oregon coast saturday (5/19). The energy currently pushing off Japan is to try and form a bit of a trough over the dateline with winds to 150 kts feeding into it, providing some interest there through Sunday. Then it's to quickly fade out. Still there's some hope from this area. Beyond 72 hours the dateline trough to weaken while pushing east but still hold on to some of it's identify into mid-next week as it moves into the Gulf of Alaska. Maybe some hope from this one down at the oceans surface, but that's far from a promise and more like wishful thinking. But given the time of year the pattern isn't too bad actually. Bit in all the jet to remain reasonably well to the south with no big blocking ridge in the forecast.

At the surface today weak low pressure at 992 mbs was developing in the Gulf of Alaska (details below) while weak high pressure at 1020 mbs was off the California coast ridging back to Hawaii. It was serving to generate a small area of 25 kt north winds off Pt Conception and localized windswell there, but was having no positive impact on trades over the Hawaiian Islands. Generally weak winds were over the rest of the North Pacific running below 15 kts. In general a quiet pattern was in effect except off Oregon. Over the next 72 hrs the only area of interest to be the Gulf low that's to build to 990 mbs Thursday PM (5/17) with a little pocket of 40-45 kt northwest winds forecast off Oregon aimed east and towards Northern CA. In fact winds were confirmed via the QuikSCAT satellite this AM at 40-45 kts, so it's ahead of what the models project (not unusual). Winds to be dropping to 30-35 kts Friday AM aimed aimed more to the east then dissipating late and pushing into British Columbia Saturday (5/19). The fetch area to be small and short lived (only 24 hours), resulting in up to 25 ft seas early Friday aimed reasonably well towards North CA and Oregon then fading from 23 ft. Reasonable chance for swell of 4.5-5.0 ft @ 12-13 secs Sunday AM (5-6 ft faces) in North CA by mid-Sunday AM (5/20) pushing down into Central CA by late morning. Doubtful any of this will be seen in Southern CA.


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


California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (5/17) weak high pressure at 1024 mbs had sunk south and was now positioned 600 nmiles off Ensenada Baja producing a weak gradient and northwest winds of 20-25 kts off Pt Conception producing some weak short period windswell over most of the coast. This pattern to hold and build northward through the weekend as the high starts pushing north and into Oregon. 25 kt northwest wind is forecast over all outer California coastal waters by late Saturday continuing into Sunday and then beyond well into the following week. A messy surf scenario is expected through the period. Southern CA to remain protected for the duration of this event, but receiving none of the short period windslop that is expected to result either.


South Pacific

Thursdays jetstream charts (5/17) for the South Pacific indicated a weak to moderate trough under New Zealand with pockets of up to 120 kt winds flowing up into the trough, but nothing impressive by any means. Some support for surface level gale production there. A weak ridge was over the Southeastern Pacific not providing any support there. Over the next 72 hours the energy in the west is to build to 120 kts solid feeding up into the trough there on Friday (5/18), pushing the trough quickly east but holding an a.cgiifying the steepness of the trough some. Not too bad. the trough to be well south of Tahiti by Sunday with most energy pushing into it's east side taking aim on Antarctica. Suspect the surface level winds to follow suit too. Beyond 72 hours the trough to drift east but with most wind energy again aimed towards Antarctica while a big ridge builds under New Zealand, crushing storm development potential there. In short, nothing solid stands out as being capable of supporting surface level storm development with fetch aimed to the north.

At the surface today broad low pressure at 948 mbs was located southeast of New Zealand generating a fetch of 30-35 kts winds, but mostly aimed east to southeast towards southern Chile and Antarctica and fading. A broad area of 29 ft seas was present there (50S 165W) but rapidly turning it's vector towards Antarctica. High pressure dominated the Southeast Pacific, helping to steer surface winds as noted above. Over the next 72 hours that low to continue tracking east with some form of fetch continuing by still aimed southeast and of no use to California or Hawaii or for that matter even Central America. Nothing else of interest forecast.


New Zealand Gale
A low pressure system started developing under Tasmania on Friday (5/11) with winds confirmed at 40-45 kts late at 55S 160E as pressure fell to 960 mbs aimed up the 221 degree path to CA but shadowed from Hawaii by New Zealand. Seas built to 29 ft at 57S 150E. By Saturday AM (5/12) it pushed east and clear of New Zealand with a small area of 50 kt winds confirmed at 55S 168E aimed well up the 215 degree path to NCal and 30 degrees east of the 200 degree path to Hawaii. Seas built to 56S 160E. The low faded to 968 mbs in the evening with winds confirmed at 40-45 kts at 52S 178E aimed at NCal up the 211 degree path and 30 degrees east of the 195 degree path to Hawaii. Seas built to 40 ft at 55S 170E, but that seems a bit high. The low tracked east Sunday AM (5/13) while winds faded from 35 kts. 38 ft seas were modeled at 53S 178E in the morning, then fading from 32 ft late at 50S 172W generated primarily from previous days fetch. This system was effectively dead after that.

All the data suggests this was a small and normal strength summer low that provided 48 hours of decent fetch aimed unobstructed towards California and a bit east of the great circle paths to Hawaii but located closer to the Islands. The wave models seem to have estimated sea heights on the high side, mainly because the winds models appear to have estimated winds higher than what the QuikSCAT satellite indicated. Still some large summer time utility class swell seems likely for Hawaii starting Saturday (5/19) with swell 2.3 ft @ 18 secs late (4 ft faces) peaking late Sunday (5/20) with swell 3.2 ft @ 16 secs (5 ft faces) from 195-200 degrees. Swell fading from 3.3 ft @ 15 secs Monday (4.5-5.0 ft faces) and 3 ft @ 14 secs Tuesday (4 ft faces). Lesser energy eventually filtering into California early Tuesday (5/22) with swell building slowly from 2 ft @ 18 secs (3.5 ft faces) peaking Wednesday (5/23) at 2.3 ft @ 16 secs (3.5 ft faces) from 215 degrees.


Secondary New Zealand Fetch
On Tuesday AM (4/15) a decent fetch of 40-45 kts winds was aimed a bit south of the great circle tracks to Hawaii and California. That fetch continued Tuesday PM with 40-45 kt winds clearing New Zealand at 53S 170E aimed like before. Seas built to 30 ft under New Zealand at 50S 165E shadowed from Hawaii but aimed towards CA well. A small area of 40 kts winds continued Wed AM at 50S 173W aimed due east with 30 ft seas modeled way back at 50S 173E. No winds were left in the evening per the satellite yet the wave models projected 30 ft seas at 50S 180W. This made no sense. Thursday AM (5/17) no fetch was indicated per the QuikSCAT satellite again yet the wave models still indicated near 30 ft seas present southeast of New Zealand. Though there's some hint of swell pushing up into Hawaii mid to late next week we suspect nothing much will materialize.


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




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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hrs a broad but weak pool of 1004 mbs low pressure to set up on the dateline Monday (5/21) but not produce any winds of interest while tropical low pressure tracks northeast off Southern Japan. .The dateline low to track northeast towards the Gulf and remain weak and ineffectual while the tropical system swings northeast and tries to catch up with it, but not quite making it. It might generate some sort period windswell for Hawaii if it survives the trip to the dateline by next Friday (4/25), but that's just a wild guess at this time. In short, no swell generation potential appear immanent.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a broad unorganized low pressure system is to set up well south of Tahiti Sunday (5/20) pushing 35-40 kt winds well to the north over a large area near 42S 142W maybe reaching 45 kts early Monday and holding through the day. Seas building from 32 ft early Monday at 48S 140W to near 40 ft late in the day at 45S 125W. this in an of itself is not particularly impressive, but it is to be very far to the north and closer to California and Central America (and South America) improving the chances for swell development if all comes to pass. The low to hold in this area and additional fetch to possibly result. This might be worth watching.

Details to follow...

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Surfing's Greatest Misadventures: We've been reading a great book of short stories all based around surfing adventures, but not in classical sense. These are stories of surf trips gone bad, personal growth and realizations while on surf trips, silly things that happen while surfing right on up to horrifying shark attacks, and some great nostalgic tails of surfers versus the Marines at Trestles back in the early days. A truly enjoyable, easy to read and entertaining look at the culture and pe.cgie that make up the surf community. Check it out here:

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New Book: 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:

Stormsurf Google Gadget - Want Stormsurf content on your Google Homepage? It's si.cgie and free. If you have Google set as your default Internet E.cgiorer 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! .xml

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