Thursday, August 23, 2018
- Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 4.9 ft @ 10.5 secs with swell 3.8 ft @ 9.8 secs from 166 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.4 ft @ 12.8 secs with swell 1.3 ft @ 13.4 secs from 194 degrees. Wind at the buoy was west at 8-10 kts. Water temperature 73.8 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 1.3 ft @ 10.4 secs from 267 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 0.9 ft @ 15.6 secs from 193 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 0.9 ft @ 15.5 secs from 210 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.7 ft @ 15.1 secs from 194 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 3.8 ft @ 10.8 secs with swell 3.2 ft @ 10.4 secs from 275 degrees. Wind at the buoy was southwest at 2 kts. Water temp 61.3 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 (8/23) in North and Central CA northern windswell was producing waves in the waist to maybe chest high range and lightly textured soft but rideable. Protected breaks were knee to thigh high and clean and weak and barely rideable. At Santa Cruz surf was knee to thigh high and lightly textured. In Southern California/Ventura surf was thigh high and nearly chopped from northwest winds. In North Orange Co waves were thigh to waist high and nearly chopped from northwest wind. South Orange Country's best breaks were getting background south swell with waves chest high on the peak and pretty textured. In North San Diego surf was thigh to waist high and chopped and soft and weak. Hawaii's North Shore was getting wrap around easterly windswell at waist to chest high and pretty clean. The South Shore was waist high or so and clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell with waves waist to chest high and chopped from moderate east trades starting to be amplified by Hurricane Lane.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Thursday (8/23) no swell other than windswell was hitting California. Windswell was affecting Hawaii generated indirectly from Hurricane Lane. Beyond no gales have formed with no swell in the water and no swell producing weather systems are forecast in both the northern and southern hemi for the next week. But there is some indication of sea development under New Zealand. No windswell was being produced for California, but it is forecast to develop for the coming weekend then is to back off next week. Hawaii is of course forecast to get copious windswell from the east and south swell from Hurricane Lane but all is dependent on Lanes track.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Thursday AM (8/23) no swell was hitting.
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.
California: On Thursday (8/23) high pressure at 1030 mbs was 1200 nmiles west of Oregon not ridging east with light winds along the California coast not generating any windswell. On Fri (8/24) the high is to start ridging east forming a bit of a gradient over North CA generating north winds at 20+ kts later over all of North CA and 15 kt north winds down over Central CA with some form of weak short period northwest windswell starting to be produced. On Sat (8/25) high pressure is to build to 1034 mbs filling the Central Gulf ridging east producing north winds at 25 kts over North CA down to Pt Arena and 10-15 kt north winds from there down to Pt Conception generating limited north windswell. More of the same is forecast Sun AM (8/26) with north winds 20+ kts from Pt Arena northward and 10 kts along the remainder of North CA and all of the Central CA coast. Modest raw short period north windswell is expected to result at exposed north facing breaks. See QuikCAST's for details.
Hawaii: On Thursday (8/23) easterly winds are to start building rapidly as Lane approaches from the south with east winds 20 kts early building to 25 kts later with east windswell on the increase. Friday (8/24) east to southeast winds to be 25-30 kts for all Islands early except Kauai which is to be 20 kts. Windswell peaking. Saturday (8/25) east windswell to be slowly fading depending on Lane track with east winds 30 kts early over a very limited fetch near the center of the storm. Sunday (8/26) east winds to be 15-20 kts still producing some limited windswell mainly for Oahu and Kauai but fading some later. See QuikCAST's for details.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Hurricane Lane: On Thursday 18Z (8/23) Hurricane Lane was 225 nmiles south of Honolulu Oahu with winds 115 kts (132 mph) tracking north at 5 kts with seas 28 ft aimed well at Maui and Oahu. Swell is radiating north. This track is very close to forecast projections days before. By Thurs PM Lane is to be 175 nmiles south of Honolulu with winds 110 kts (125 mph) heading due north. Things to get very interesting 9 AM Friday (8/24) when Lane is supposed to start making a turn to the northwest about 125 nmiles south-southwest of Honolulu with winds down to 105 kts (120 mph). The turn to the northwest should be apparent by 2 PM HST. Friday evening Lane is to be fully tracking northwest with winds 85 kts (98 mph) about 80 nmiles south of Honolulu. By Sat AM (8/25) Lane is to tracking fully west with winds 75 kts (86 mph) positioned 60 nmiles south of Barbers Point Oahu. From there the storm is to fade and accelerating off the west and of no longer of interest.
The real question here is whether Lane will make a turn to the west and when that turn will start. If it is delayed even a few hours, stronger winds and rain could impact the Islands. If it turns sooner, then a more muted impact could result. Unfortunately, if one waits to make evacuation preparations, there will be no time to react. Take immediate action to protect life and property now if you have not already. If the storm turns early, then sop much the better. But if you wait, you are putting yourself in significant jeopardy. Better to be safe, than sorry. Monitor all official forecasts closely.
Oahu - South Shore: Possible swell building Thurs afternoon (8/23) to 5.5 ft @ 12-13 secs (6.5 ft). A mix of windswell and groundswell building to mid-day Fri (8/24) reaching 6.5 ft @ 11 secs (7.0 ft). Swell fading out and all but one Sat AM (8/25). Swell Direction: 145 degrees
Otherwise no swell producing tropical systems were being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (8/23) a weak wind pattern was in control at 10 kts or less for all of North and Central CA. Friday (8/24) north winds are to build to 20 kts over Cape Mendocino down to Pt Arena with 10-15 kts north winds building for all of Central CA later afternoon. Sat (8/25) north winds to be 25 kts limited to Cape Mendocino and 10-15 kts south of there to Pt Conception. Sunday (8/26) more of the same is forecast but with north winds only 10 kts south of Pt Arena. Monday (8/27) northwest winds to be 10-15 kts over all of North and Central CA then fading on Tuesday to near calm.
On Thursday AM (8/23) the southern branch of the jetstream was weak running zonally west to east on the 63S latitude line barley over the northern edge of the Ross Ice Shelf with winds 70-80 kts with no troughs indicated offering no support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours a ridge is to start building later Fri (8/24) over the Southwest Pacific and pushing into Antarctica further suppressing support for gale development and that ridge holding into Sun (8/26). Beyond 72 hours starting Mon (8/27) the ridge is to start dissolving and a weak trough is to try and build under New Zealand but never really crystallizing offering no support for gale development. No real change is forecast but by Thurs (8/30) winds are to finally start building in the southern branch of the jet to 130 kts under New Zealand at 60S, still zonal (west to east) but at least more energetic as compared to weeks previous. Some potential for gale development is possible.
On Thursday (8/23) no swell of interest was hitting nor being generated.
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast. A gale is forecast producing 32 ft seas southwest of New Zealand on Fri (8/24) but generally falling southeast and dissipating later in the day offering no real swell production potential.
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 no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.
California: On Mon (8/27) broad high pressure at 1036 mbs is to be filling the Central Gulf ridging east producing a small area of north winds at 20+ kts over North CA down to Pt Arena early but fading fast later in the morning and with 10-15 kt north winds from there down to Pt Conception generating limited north windswell early. By Tues (8/28) the high is to shrink and retract from the coast with light winds over all California waters but with north winds 15 kts nearshore only for Southern CA. no windswell production is forecast. This same pattern is to hold Wed-Thurs (8/23).
Hawaii: On Mon (8/27) east winds are to fade to the 10-15 kt range directly over the Islands but 20 kts 100 nmiles north of the Islands but any windswell is likely to bypass Hawaii. More of the same is forecast on Tues (8/28). By Wed (8/29) a building fetch of east winds at 15-20 kts is to start building up to 900 nmiles east of Hawaii resulting in building windswell and continuing on Thurs (8/30).
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast. A series of weak and fleeting gales are to fire up southeast of New Zealand Sun-Thurs (8/30) and building towards the Central South Pacific but not lasting long enough or strong enough or aimed north enough to generate meaningful swell.
Details to follow...
ESPI and SOI Steady
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. A double dip La Nina was in control and continued through the Winter of 2017-2018. But warming started building along the South and Central American coast in early March 2018 associated with two upwelling Kelvin Waves, and was building over equatorial waters in July, suggesting the demise of La Nina and possibly turning towards El Nino.
LONG-RANGE PACIFIC STORM AND SWELL GENERATION POTENTIAL FORECAST
Fall/Winter 2018 (California & Hawaii) = 6.5
Rating based on a 1-10 scale: 1 being the lowest (small and infrequent surf conditions), 5 being normal/average, and 10 being extraordinary (frequent events of large, long period swells)
Rationale: Assuming the PDO has moved to the warm phase and that El Nino develops as forecast, and assuming and an ocean-atmospheric coupling becomes established in the Sept timeframe and ocean temperature anomalies in Nino3.4 build to the +1.0 deg range, there is good probability for enhanced storm production in the North Pacific starting in the late Nov timeframe (specifically the Gulf of Alaska and Dateline regions) with an increased intensity in number of storm days and storm intensity, resulting in increased odds for larger than normal swell, with increased duration and higher than normal period.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Wed (8/22) 5 day average winds were solidly from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific reaching west to the dateline then weakening i and turning near calm west of there filling the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were light easterly over the East equatorial Pacific and neutral to light westerly west of there over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (8/21 - no recent update) Light east anomalies were filling the KWGA and forecast to hold through the end of the model run on 8/28. A short lived Westerly Wind Burst (2 week duration 8/7-8/17) is over.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: (8/20) A weak Active/Wet MJO signal was over the west KWGA. The statistical model depicts that an Active/Wet MJO signal is to slowly fade turning dead neutral at the end of the 2 week model run. The dynamic model depicts the same thing. The models are in sync.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (8/20 - no update) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was weak and positioned over the Maritime Continent. It is to remain generally weak while drifting east to the West Pacific over the next 2 weeks. The GEFS model depicts the same thing initially but with the Active Phase holding stationary over the Maritime Continent.
40 day Upper Level Model: (8/19 - no update) This model depicts a weak Active/Wet MJO signal was over the dateline region and is to be easing east over Central America on 9/13. A weak Inactive/Dry pattern is to follow in the West Pacific starting 8/27 making slow east headway reaching the East Pacific at the end of the model run on 9/28. At that time a weak Active/Wet pattern is to be developing over the far West Pacific.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (8/22) This model depicts neutral anomalies over the KWGA today driven by Equatorial Rossby Wave. The forecast indicates that wave is to hold for the next 8 -9 days with neutral anomalies holding, then westerly anomalies starting to rebuild from the dateline 8/29 and building to the west filling the KWGA 9/3 and at WWB status and holding through 9/10, then weakening some but still solid westerly and holding through the end of the model run on 9/19. Basically non-stop west anomalies are on the charts for the next month. It certainly smells of El Nino if the model is correct.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (8/23) This model depicts the Inactive/Dry Phase of the MJO was weakly building over the far West Pacific with neutral wind anomalies in play. The Inactive MJO signal is to hold through 9/6 but with modest west anomalies rebuilding in KWGA starting 8/30 and holding. A neutral phase of the MJO is to set up thereafter 9/7-10/8 but with moderate west anomalies in the KWGA bordering on WWB status. The Active Phase is to build some 10/10 through 10/24 with westerly anomalies holding. A neutral MJO to follow through the end of the model run 10/25-11/20 but with west anomalies continuing. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias is fully in control of the KWGA reaching east to 145W and built from 2 contour lines to 3 on 7/8 then building in coverage 7/24 and is to hold solid through the end of the model run. This means we are biased towards El Nino through the coming Fall season. The eastern edge of the Low Pressure bias is to ease east to 120W (over California) by 10/6. The high pressure bias is currently limited to an area south of California and shrinking steadily and is to be gone by 9/15. The atmosphere and ocean are slowly becoming coupled towards an El Nino bias and were originally thought to reach that state 3 months after the start of when the low pressure bias officially filled the KWGA (on 5/8) or on 8/8. But the coupling is developing a bit less aggressively than expected, so we're thinking coupling should occur more like 8/28 now. This pattern is more favorable to support storm production in the Pacific.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc - Alternate link
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (8/23) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs and migrating east now to 168E. The 28 deg isotherm line started to retrograde west from 148W on 7/2 to 153W on 7/10 and to 163W on 8/10). It started moving east again reaching to 158W on 8/16 due to development of Kelvin Wave #2 under the West Pacific, but today has retreated to 160W. The 24 deg isotherm was 100 meters deep at 140W but retracted from the coast of Ecuador and was breaching the surface at 125W on 8/10. Today it is moving east again at 110W. Anomaly wise warm waters associated with the February Kelvin Wave are gone with neutral anomalies in the far East equatorial Pacific pushing into Ecuador. To the west warm anomalies are building indicative of the new Kelvin Wave (#2) at +3 degs centered under 170W down 150 meters and with a finger of +1.0 degs anomalies reaching east to 130W. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 8/16 is a little more optimistic, with remnants of the first Kelvin Wave still holding over a shallow area in the East Pacific from 140W eastward building to +2.0 degs centered at 110W extending east to 105W and not reaching Ecuador. It was breaching the surface between 120W-140W and losing coverage. The Second Kelvin Wave was pushing east from the Maritime Continent spilling into the West Pacific pushing under the dateline at +4.0 degs reaching east to 130W and building in coherency with broken fragments of warm water joining the existing Kelvin Wave east of there. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (8/16) Positive anomalies were solid from the Maritime Continent over the West Equatorial Pacific and dateline and broad in coverage east to 110W at +5-10 cms indicative of a new Kelvin Wave (#2) building. East of there it weakened some with 5 cms anomalies continuing in pockets east to 90W, but no further east, remnants of Kelvin Wave #1. There were no breaks over that entire area. No negative anomalies were indicated. El Nino appears to be developing.
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: (8/23) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate temps were neutral biased cool along the immediate coast of Peru and Chile and building that way. But solid warm anomalies were holding from Ecuador west on the equator to 105W and continuous aided by dissipation of easterly wind anomalies over this area. A pocket of cool anomalies were from 105W-130W. Then moderate warm anomalies continued from 130W west of out to the dateline. A broad area of strong warming was also filling the area north of the equator from Central America and South Mexico out to the dateline. The remnants of the La Nina cool pool were gone.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (8/22): An elongated area with pockets of alternating warming and cooling but biased in favor of cooling were strung along the equator from the Galapagos to 125W indicative of the end of Kelvin Wave #1's eruption coupled with a fading easterly wind burst over that area supporting cool upwelling. Temps were steady along the coasts of Chile and Peru. Cooling previously solid off Central West Africa has dissipated and are replaced with a building warming pattern. We're waiting from that warming trend to start being mirrored west of Ecuador.
Hi-res Overview: (8/22) An area of weak cool water was present along Chile and Peru. Of interest was mild warm water holding on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos with imbedded pockets of stronger warming and west from there to the dateline from 10S up to 20N, but with a building pocket of cooler water between 105W and 135W. More coherent warming was on the equator from 135W to 140E. The remnant pocket of cool water from La Nina was limited to an area south of the equator starting at 4S between 140-160W and steadily loosing coverage.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (8/23) Today's temps were steady at -0.463 degs. That is down some from weeks past as compared to a big peak at +0.459 on 5/13. Overall temps here are steady in the -0.50 deg range and slowly rising.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (8/23) Today temps were falling some at +0.159 degs, down from a peak at +0.490 on 7/2. Overall temps are holding steady in the +0.25 degs range the past month.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (8/23) The forecast calls for a steady increase from here forward rising in early Oct to +1.20 degs and to +1.50 degs in late Nov holding through January 2019 then slowly fading through April 2019 down to +1.05 degs. This suggests that perhaps El Nino is to build through the Fall of 2018. Most other models are also suggesting a possible turn to weak El Nino conditions by late Fall.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-July Plume depicts temps at +0.5 degs in July and are to slowly rise from here forward, to +0.6 in August and +0.8 in October and +1.0 in Nov and holding there into Feb 2019. See chart here - link. It looks like La Nina is fading out and a weak El Nino might develop. The CFSv2 is in the high end of that pack.
Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad) (8/23): The daily index was rising today at +3.94 but has been mostly negative the last 23 days. The 30 day average was falling today to -6.34 suggesting the Active Phase of the MJO was building. The 90 day average was falling at -3.59. The 90 degree average turned negative for the first time in a year on 6/30 suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern was building in the atmosphere. This is expected for a month more before falling into steady negative territory by mid August.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (8/23) Today the index was falling at +0.16, down from +0.20 on 8/20. The reading from 8/14 (+0.11) was the first time it's turned positive in a year and beats the previous highest peak (-0.09 on 7/2). This suggest that perhaps El Nino is starting to get better coupled in the atmosphere. Recent points of interest in reverse chronological order are: -1.04 on 6/5, -0.70 on 5/20, -0.60 on 5/17, -0.36 on 5/11 and -0.38 on 5/10, -0.35 on 4/26, -1.02 on 4/5, -1.13 on 3/27. The trend suggests La Nina is all but gone. This index is a forerunner of what happens in the ocean by 2-3 months in developing El Nino and La Nina situations.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO is weakly positive, even though La Nina is in play.
Per NOAAs index recent values: June 2017 +0.21, July -0.50, Aug -0.62, Sept -0.25, Oct -0.61, Nov -0.45, Dec -0.13, Jan 2018 +0.29, Feb -0.19, Mar -0.61, April -0.89, May -0.69, June -0.88, July -0.23. 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 solid negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington/JISAO index (Jan-Dec): June 2017 +0.79, July +0.10, Aug +0.09, Sept +0.32, Oct +0.05, Nov +0.15, Dec +0.50, Jan +0.70. Feb +0.37, Mar -0.05, April +0.11, May +0.11, June -0.04. No real 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