New Swell Classification Guidelines
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 (4/8) Northern CA surf was head high to maybe 1-2 ft overhead and blown to bits. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were a waist high mess. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was chest high and ripped to shreds. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was waist to near chest high and bumpy, though not whitecapped. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high and bumpy. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were waist high and clean early. The North Shore of Oahu was chest high or so. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was chest high plus.
North/Central California was getting swell tracking in from Japan, but mostly buried in local chop. Southern California was getting a mix of Japan swell and local windswell, all unremarkable. Hawaii's North Shore were getting fading background energy emanating from off Japan mixing with Northeasterly windswell which was having most impact on the East Shore. The South Shore remained s effectively flat.
For the future the California coast is see steadily declining swell originating off Japan, leaving only locally generated windswell in it's wake by Friday on through the weekend, and small at that. Only a faction of that is to wrap in the exposed breaks in Southern CA. No southern hemi swell of interest is in the water pushing north or forecast on the charts. Nothing of interest is forecast for the North Shore of Oahu either anytime soon. A gale tracked under New Zealand on Monday (4/7) generating 18 hours of 35 ft seas targeting Hawaii pretty well, providing some potential a week out, but that's it. The charts are depicting a gale forming in the Western Gulf of Alaska Friday offering some hope for the Islands then reorganizing off the Pacific Northwest Monday-Tuesday (7/15), but we have no belief that will actually occur. And a much stronger system is forecast for the area between Kamchatka and the dateline just south of the Aleutians this weekend, but again, the same note of caution. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Tuesdays jetstream charts (4/8) for the North Pacific indicated a very weak flow tracking over the Kuril Islands almost forming something that might be considered a trough, then rising strongly northeast into a strong ridge pushing through the Gulf of Alaska with winds near 150 kts. Only the weak trough in the west offered any hope, and minimal at that. Over the next 72 hours the trough in the west is to push rapidly east, setting up a steep but non-energetic trough tracking through the Gulf of Alaska, offering a smidgeon of hope. But on either side of it ridges are to set up, shutting down any other hope. Beyond 72 hours the Gulf trough is to hold an push east, eventually pushing onshore over the Pacific Northwest on Monday (4/14). A the same time a very weak trough is to push over the dateline bound for the Gulf, though barely able to qualify as a trough and offering minimal support at best for surface level low pressure development.
At the surface today high pressure at 1028 mbs remained locked down over the Eastern Pacific, centered 900 nmiles north of Hawaii ridging east into Central CA generating 20-25 kt northerly winds over the region. A weak wave of low pressure over the Hawaiian Islands was protecting the high from producing trades of interest over the Islands. Low pressure at 1000 mbs was over the intersection of the Aleutians and the dateline, doing nothing of interest. In short, a quiet pattern was in control. Over the next 72 hours the high pressure system is to hold strength while tracking east, continuing to ridge into the US West Coast generating northerly winds there even into Southern CA Wednesday, then moving north through Thursday (4/10). The dateline low is to drop southeast starting to look decent Thursday into early Friday generating 35 kt winds and 20-23 ft seas over a small area aimed a bit east of Hawaii and south of California, but offering hope none-the-less. Will see what actually develops through. Very strong high pressure at 1036 mbs is to be right behind it possibly setting up brisk trades for Hawaii longterm.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (4/8) building high pressure at 1030 mbs brought 20 kts northerly winds to everywhere but Southern CA. But by Wednesday even SCal to feel the pinch, with north winds in control and a little pause in the action up north. A little relief for all of the coast expected Thursday as the gradient fades some and settles more over Cape Mendocino, and then dissipating Friday as low pressure supposedly takes up shop in the Gulf of Alaska. A light northwest flow is forecast for the weekend while a strong high pressure system builds off the coast, hitting Monday on into Tuesday with north wind in control, even having some effect into Southern CA.
The preponderance of northerly winds are having their effect on upwhelling, with water temps now down to 49 degrees in the SF Bay Area. Good for sea life.
No tropical systems of interest were being tracked.
A gale developed under New Zealand early Monday (4/7) at 980 mbs with 45 kt winds pushing northeast generating a small but solid area of 35 ft seas at 59S 165E in the morning and over a fading area in the evening at 56S 175E, targeting Hawaii best (due to it's close proximity). The fetch was gone by Tuesday AM (4/8) with 29 ft seas fading at 53S 178W and dissipating from there. Some odds for swell pushing into Hawaii's Southern Shores Tuesday (4/15) at 2 ft @ 16 secs (3 ft faces) from 195-200 degrees.
Latest data suggest another system might develop under New Zealand Thursday (4/10) with pressure 970 mbs generating 55 kt winds aimed well to the north fading through the day Friday. 32-25 ft seas forecast starting at 55S 180W Thurs PM pushing east-northeast to 50S 170W Saturday AM. Will believe it when it happens. If this occurs more decent southern hemi background swell could be possible for the Islands.
South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Beyond 72 hrs high pressure is to rule supreme at 1036 mbs positioned north of Hawaii setting up 25+ kt trades Sat-Mon (4/14) then decaying slowly from there. Easterly windswell possible. Also theoretically low pressure to set up on the leading edge of that high, pushing towards the Pacific Northwest Sun-Mon generating 35 kts winds and 23 ft seas targeting Oregon down into Central CA, but the high to be hitting in sync with swell from the theoretical gale, likely making a mess of things. Also a 972 mb low to be organizing off Kamchatka Saturday (4/12) tracking east with up to 45 kts winds and 35 ft seas aimed east for 36 hrs, then fading while pushing towards the Gulf of Alaska, targeting California and the Pacific Northwest from a long distance away, offering hope long term. But odds are very low.
No swell producing winds are forecast.
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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Surfrider General Meeting Thursday, April 3, 2008, 7:00 pm Montara Lighthouse All are welcome! Special guest speaker Larry Miller will present a history of the Mono Lake Committee's successful campaign to preserve the lake, and will also share tales of aquatic research.
Mavericks Contest 2008: View all the action from the 2008 Maverick Surf Contest from Powelines Productions here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9o5lj9CUpCc
Half Moon Bay Surfers - Attention: There¹s a movement afoot to dredge sand out of the Pillar Point (i.e. Half Moon Bay) Harbor and dump it just south of the jetty, so it will replenish all sand that¹s disappeared between the harbor and HMB. The guy who¹s spearheading the project, Brian Overfelt, has already received a positive preliminary reading from the local harbor commissioners. He¹s making a formal presentation to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary¹s advisory council this coming Friday (2/15) at Our Lady of Pillar church in Half Moon Bay. (It's on Kelly Ave, just east of the Coast Highway, across the street from Cunha Intermediate School.) starting at 9 AM. More details here: http://www.stormsurf.com/page2/forecast/forecast/hmb_dredge.html
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/
Grib File Switchover: The old grib1 format wave model datafiles that have been the mainstay of the National Weather service for years now are scheduled to be retired on 1/26. We switched over to the new grib2 files starting with the 00z run of Thurs 1/17. All appears to be running fine. There is no functional change to the content of the models, just that files we receive are now smaller due to improved compression of grib2. But this sets us up to start processing new higher resolution files and building new products in the months ahead. So in all it's a good maintenance level change.
Sharkwater: There's a new feature film called Sharkwater that is hitting theaters November 2nd. Sharkwater is an award winning documentary (22 international film awards including the UN and Cannes) that broke box office records in Canada, opening to bigger numbers than any documentary in history save Fahrenheit 911 and Supersize Me. It is a conservation film that demonstrates that the biggest influence on the air we breathe, and global warming is life in the oceans – except life in the oceans is being wiped out. Shark populations have dropped 90% in the last 30 years alone, and the oceans continue to be destroyed because nobody knows that it's happening Learn more here: http://www.sharkwater.com
Bluewater Gold Rush: The first and only chronicle of the California sea urchin dive fishery. Diving, surfing, comedy, and tragedy on and under the waves of California. "A quintessential tale of California ... dramas of adventure and loss on and under the sea" We read it and it's a great story about the bloom of the urchin diving boom in the 70's and the few lucky souls who were right there when it took off. An easy read that's hard to put down. The trials and success of a 'real' California dream right down to it's core. Check it out here: http://www.bluewatergoldrush.com
Submit your story to 'Surfings Greatest Misadventures: Vol. 2': DEADLINE: January 15th, 2008 Casagrande Press is seeking stories, articles, and essays on the general subject of surfing misadventure for publication in Surfings Greatest Misadventures: Volume 2. We are looking for nonfiction, first-person surf stories of bad judgment calls, pranks, comical/ironic episodes, disaster, attacking predators, misfortune, injury, loss of wit or limb, panic, critical conditions, contest meltdowns, everyday fears, surf trips gone wrong or the out-of-water episodes that surround surfing. We are looking for well-written stories that tell a good tale, reflect a culture, and develop the depth of the characters involved. We also like stories that have a tight narrative tension and a payoff at the end. Open to writers and surfers of any level. There is no fee to submit a story. We will consider previously published stories. To see more info on the first book visit www.thesurfbook.com. Submit online at www.casagrandepress.com
Waveriders Gallery: Check out this collection of high quality artwork all related to waves and the ocean. Surf Paintings, Photography, Posters, Books, Boards and exhibits all produced by a variety of top artists provide a beautiful selection of pieces to chose from. Take and look and see some of the stunning work available from these artists. http://www.waveridersgallery.net/
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table