On Saturday (5/19) Northern CA surf was thigh high and blown out. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were flat. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was thigh high and weak. Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was maybe thigh high at top spots but clean. The LA Area southward to Orange County was flat at the best breaks. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were near flat. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was flat.
North/Central California had no surf of interest and local winds were unfavorable on top of that. Southern California was flat as a lake at all locations. Hawaii had no rideable surf on any shore. No rideable surf was occurring at any of our usual forecast locations. Fortunately there is some hope on paper. The Gulf of Alaska produced a small gale off Oregon late Thurs/Fri (5/18) with some decent winds pushing towards North and Central California. Small rideable swell is expected for Sunday north of Pt Conception, but winds could be an issue. Otherwise calmness is the pattern for the future. There's an outside chance of a tropical system under Japan tracking northeast next week and regenerating, but that's more wishful thinking than anything. 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. Beyond the models keep teasing with a large system forecast in the Central South Pacific sometime later next week, but that forecast is highly unstable and we'll take a wait and see approach until we get a little close to mid-next week. So for now take whatever you can get and be thankful for it. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Saturdays jetstream charts (5/19) for the North Pacific indicated a weak trough from the Gulf of Alaska getting ready to push into Oregon with 110 kt winds. Another shallow trough was approaching the dateline with up to 150 kts winds falling into it and looking pretty decent. And over all the jet was positioned reasonably well to the south with no splits or significant problems other than it being generally weak, typical for the season. Over the next 72 hours the trough in the Gulf is to have pushed well inland and out of the picture while the dateline trough weakens and flattens out, with residual 120 kt energy hanging over the region from the dateline east to a point north of Hawaii and not really supportive of much. A bit of a ridge to be pushing in tot he US West coast and a very weak and split pattern to by over Japan, a possible indicator of the future. No real support for gale development across the North Pacific suggested. Beyond 72 hours the dateline trough to push east to the Gulf (Wednesday 5/23) getting marginally better organized with winds maybe 130 kts, then it's to fade on Thursday with the whole thing lifting steady north. No hope there. Another trough is theoretically forecast developing over the dateline Friday, but nothing expected from it either. In all things don't look horribly bad, but there's nothing there really fuel gale development.
At the surface today the weak 996 mb remnants of a gale were off British Columbia with only 25 kt west winds left and getting ready to push inland. This system has generated small swell though (see details below). High pressure at 1024 mbs was centered 600 nmiles west of Northern Baja generating a small pressure gradient off Pt Conception and 25 kt northwest there. But otherwise a rather calm pattern was in control of the rest of the North Pacific. Not even any trade winds of interest were present over Hawaii to generate windswell on the eastern shores. Over the next 72 hrs high pressure to hold off Baja if not increase some Sunday (5/20) driving a strong northerly flow over California waters generating only more short period windslop. A series of 2 low pressure centers are to be present to the far west, one over the dateline and a second over the Kuril Islands but neither is to be producing winds greater than 20 kts.
On Thursday PM (5/17) a low built to 990 mbs with a little pocket of confirmed 40-45 kt northwest winds off Oregon aimed southeast 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 dropped to 35 kts Friday AM aimed aimed more to the east then dissipated late, getting ready to pushing into British Columbia Saturday (5/19). The fetch area was 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. Good chance for swell of 6.0 ft @ 12-13 secs Sunday AM (6-7 ft faces) in North CA by mid-Sunday AM (5/20) pushing down into Central CA by late morning. Check local wind models for conditions. Doubtful any of this will be seen in Southern CA.
Typhoon Yutu was positioned 900 nmiles south of southern Japan with sustained winds 90 kts and tracking just east of due north. A steady turn to the northeast is expected through Tuesday (5/22) while winds steadily slacken. The storm is to take a path just barely north of Iwo Jima Monday AM then accelerate and turn extratropical with winds down to 45 kts. Beyond the models depict it making the full re-curve into the open Pacific heading over the dateline and pushing towards the Gulf of Alaska mid-week, though steadily fading. Earlier runs of the models had suggested some regeneration into late next week. Best bet is to watch this one and see what happens.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Saturday (5/19) high pressure at 1026 mbs remained positioned 600 nmiles west of 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 build some Sunday with wind up to 30 kts and expand northward as the high lifts a little north, then pushing towards Washington on Monday with the core of the fetch moving to a more normal position off Cape Mendocino. Winds 30 kts then and windswell production improving for the whole coast. This to hold into Tuesday (5/22) with fetch starting to pull away from the coast in the Central CA, then starting to dissipate Wednesday but not totally out until Friday (5/25). A calm pattern expected next weekend with no windswell of interest suspect.
Saturdays jetstream charts (5/19) for the South Pacific continued indicated a weak trough now repositioned a bit more east of New Zealand interacting with the northern branch of the jet forming a pocket of up to 150 kts winds at it's apex, but all aimed south towards Antarctica. no much support for gale development with winds pushing north towards our forecast area. A ridge was directly under New Zealand and again in the far East off Chile. No support for gale development in those locations. Over the next 72 hours the trough noted above is to track east but with strong energy pushing down it's south side all aimed at Antarctica. Ridge conditions to be in control elsewhere with no support for gael development. Next Thursday (5/24) energy from the west is to be lifting into the trough now centered in the Southeast Pacific, possibly fueling development of gale class low pressure at the surface, but that is a very preliminary forecast. Limited support for gale development possible.
At the surface today a new low pressure system at 960 mbs was located southeast of New Zealand just starting to generate a fetch of 50 kts south winds at about 55S 170W. This is almost looking interesting at the moment. But above it a series of high pressure systems were generating a steady push south, likely limiting it's long term potential. It had generated a tiny area of 30 ft seas, of no interest yet. Over the next 72 hours that low to continue tracking east generating 45-50 kt southwest winds Sat PM at 55S 165W with seas 32 ft, then fading to 45 kts Sun AM at 52S 150W with 30 ft seas linger behind. A bit of a resurgence expected Sun PM with a broad fetch of 45 kt southwest winds forecast at 45S 142W and seas holding at 29 ft at 46S 147W. A little more expected into Monday AM with 29 ft seas forecast at 42S 137W, then fading out. But the real energy in this system is to be aimed south towards Antarctica Sun-Mon with 50-55 kts north winds then. In all this one is interesting because it's to be pretty far to the north and pushing right up the 195-200 degree great circle paths to California (unshadowed by Tahiti) with some possible virtual fetch developing This is somewhat interesting for California and Central America. Possible 14-15 sec period swell resulting if all goes as planned. Little energy to be pushing towards Hawaii.
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) 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
Beyond 72 hrs a broad but weak pool of 996 mb low pressure to set up pushing from the dateline Monday (5/21) into the Gulf of Alaska on Tuesday but not producing any winds of real interest. The extratropical remnants of typhoon Yutu to be right behind and trying to catch up, though not making it. The Gulf low to be decaying by late week with Yutu pushing over the dateline Some remote hope for development if it makes it to the Gulf and starts tapping some energy from the pool of low pressure there, but that's more wishful thinking. Trades over the Hawaiian Island to try and make a bit of a comeback by late in the week, but probably not enough yet to generate any windswell. At least it's a start.
Beyond 72 hours another low pressure system is to set up well south of Tahiti on Tuesday (5/22) pushing 40-45 kt winds well to the north over a large area near 55S 155W continuing through Thursday. Seas modeled up to 37 ft at 52S 150W late Wednesday (5/23) pushing pretty well to the north with much follow on fetch and seas into early Saturday. Possible near significant class swell for California, Central America and South America if this develops as forecast.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table