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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: May 29, 2007 7:26 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 = 3.5 - California & 3.0 - 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 5/21 thru Sun 5/27
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   

More Moderate S. Hemi Swell Coming
Longterm Swell Possible for Hawaii

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Tuesday (5/29) Northern CA surf was waist to chest high and blown out. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist to chest t high. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was chest high on the sets with luck. Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was up to waist high at the better breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was shoulder high at the best breaks. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks chest to head high. The North Shore of Oahu was thigh high. The South Shore was waist to chest high. The East Shore was thigh high.

North/Central California was getting the standard mix of northern short period windswell mixed with small longer period southern hemi swell. Size of both was not remarkable. Southern California was getting another small but decent pulse of southern hemi swell, looking a bit better that previous ones. Hawaii was essentially flat on the North Shore with little southern hemi energy on the South Shore. One more small to moderate push of southern hemi energy is scheduled for Hawaii while California is in the middle of one with one more behind. After that one more gale is to develop targeting primarily Tahiti and Hawaii, but California to be off the main swell vector. Nothing else on the charts behind that either so get what you can while the getting is good. See details below...

 

SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours

North Pacific

Overview
Tuesdays jetstream charts (5/29) for the North Pacific depicted no support for surface level gale development with a ridge pushing into the Gulf of Alaska and a weak flow over the dateline. Over the next 72 hours a broad gentle ridge to build over the dateline with winds 150 kts feeding east into a broad trough in the Gulf, and starting to looks pretty decent late week. Some support for gale development there late. Beyond 72 hours the trough is forecast to hold decently in the Gulf through Saturday (6/2) then start fading while pushing into Canada into Monday (6/4). Some decent support for surface level gale development through Saturday.

At the surface today 2 weak low pressure systems were in play, one in the Gulf of Alaska and a second over the dateline. There were some 30 kts northwest winds associated with the dateline system, but nothing remarkable. Over the next 72 hrs the dateline low to fade steadily while tracking east with winds on the decrease. Seas to reach maybe 18 ft on Wednesday (5/30) on the dateline providing some potential windswell for Hawaii a few days beyond, but that's it.

 

Tropics
Tropical Storm Alvin was positioned 600 nmiles south of Cabo San Lucas Baja with sustained winds 35 kts and tracking east at 4 kts. Slow strengthening with a slow west drift expected into the weekend, but not reaching hurricane strength. No swell generation potential expected for California.

 

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

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (5/29) a weak pressure pattern was in-place with no winds grater than 20 kts indicated and no change forecast through Wednesday. A new weak 1022 mbs high to move into the area Thursday (5/31) with north wind starting to regenerate off Central California up to the 25-30 kt range again, but not well positioned for windswell generation. Short period windslop the expected result through the weekend. The core of the winds to center themselves over Pt Conception early week next pushing 30 kts by Tuesday (6/5) only exacerbating the situation.

 

South Pacific

Overview
Tuesdays jetstream charts (5/29) for the South Pacific indicated a steep trough just east of New Zealand pushing well to the north near 40S with 140 kt winds trying to push north into the trough, but not really making it. Some support for low pressure development in this trough through the steepness of it was somewhat problematic. Otherwise 2 ridges were on either side of the trough with winds in the 150 kt range suppressing gale development elsewhere in the South Pacific. Over the next 72 hours the trough to get a little more energy pushing up into it with winds up to 120 pushing almost the whole way up it's west side but the steepness of the trough to increase through Wednesday, then it's to fade. Beyond 72 hours the trough to dissipate with a mild troughiness replacing it under New Zealand by the weekend (6/2). That trough is looking to amplify some mid-next week, but any particular outcome is far from defined.

At the surface today weak low pressure at 980 mbs was southeast of New Zealand while high pressure at 1032 mbs was over Northern New Zealand. The pressure gradient (difference in pressure between the two systems) was producing 40-45 kt south winds since Sunday PM at 56S 177W and again Monday AM at 49S 165W. Seas were modeled to 25 ft at 54S 175W pushing north well towards Hawaii and Tahiti. Jason-1 data suggested seas running 2 ft less. No other swell producing systems were present. Over the new 72 hours this system to be the only game in town. By evening winds to expand in coverage and continue in the 45 kts range at 48S 165W aimed 25 degrees east of the 182 degree path to Hawaii and 10 degrees west of the 206 degree path to California but partially shadowed by Tahiti. Seas building to 29 ft at 50S 165W. The fetch to decay in coverage Wednesday AM (5/30) but still 40 kts at 45N 163W aimed like before. 30 ft seas building at 45S 163W. The last little bit of 40 kt fetch is forecast in the evening at 40S 158W with seas 32 ft over a tiny area at 40S 158W heading right towards Hawaii up the 180 degree path and totally shadowed by Tahiti relative to California. This one to be gone by Thursday AM (5/31). If this comes to pass some form of decent south angle swell is expected for Hawaii (and also Tahiti).

Another relative strong system is forecast developing southeast of New Zealand late Thurs in to Friday (6/1) with winds up to 50-55kts, but aimed almost due east towards Southern Chile. 36 ft seas forecast, but the travel direction suggests little swell pushing north towards either California or Hawaii, and that assumes the models are correct regarding strength etc..

 

Third New Zealand System
On Saturday (5/19) a new low pressure system at 960 mbs was located southeast of New Zealand just starting to generate a fetch of 50-55 kts south to southwest winds at 57S 172W aimed right up the 205 degree path to California and just sneaking east of the Tahitian swell shadow and 20 degree east of the 187 degree path to Hawaii. It had generated a tiny area of 30 ft seas at 60S 175E, of no real interest. The low continued tracking east generating 40-45 kt southwest winds Sat PM at 53S 163W aimed right up the 203 degree path to California and unshadowed but 40 degree off the 181 degree path to Hawaii. Seas of 32 ft were modeled at 57S 170W but very tiny in areal coverage. Winds continued confirmed at 40-45 kts Sun AM at 47S 148W aimed right up the 196 degree path to California with 30 ft seas over a bit broader area at 54S 159W lingering behind. The fetch was aimed outside of the Hawaii swell window. A bit of a resurgence occurred Sun PM but all aimed at Antarctica. Residual southwest winds of 40 kts were confirmed at 43S 140W aimed 20 degrees east of the 190 degree path to California. Seas held at 29 ft at 48S 149W. The fetch was gone Monday AM with supposedly 30 ft seas modeled at 43S 138W, but that is highly suspect, then fading out.

In all this one is interesting not because of it's strength, because it really was mostly in the gael force range, but because it was pretty far to the north and pushing right up the 195-205 degree great circle paths to California (unshadowed by Tahiti) with some virtual fetch developing, This is interesting for California and Baja. Possible utility class swell at 15-16 secs. A little energy to be pushing towards Hawaii, but not much.

South California: A slow decline expected Wednesday (5/30) with swell fading from 2.9 ft @ 15 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces) early. Swell Direction: 193-200 degrees

North California: A slow decline expected Wednesday (5/30) with swell fading from 3 ft @ 15-16 secs early (4.5 ft faces). Swell Direction: 190-198 degrees

 

4th Central Pacific Gale
On Tuesday AM (5/22) a new gale developed in the Southwest Pacific with pressure a whopping 936 mbs generating a fetch of 35-40 kt winds at 53S 168W aimed well to the northeast. That fetch built into the evening to 40-45 kts aimed right at California up the 205 degree path and 20 degrees east of the 187 degree path to Hawaii terminating near 54S 170W with seas on the increase to 28 ft at 52S 165W. No strong high pressure was nearby to create a pressure gradient and really push the wind machine through.

Wednesday AM (5/23) winds continued over a now broad area confirmed at 45 kts at 55S 162W with seas holding at 30 ft at 55S 162W. Winds were aimed right at California up the 203 degree path but 40 degrees east of the 182 degree path to Hawaii. Fetch tried to hold on in the evening at 35-40 kts confirmed at 54S 150W aimed almost right at California up the 196 degree path and 20 degrees east of the 176 degree route to Hawaii. 29 ft seas modeled fading from 50S 150W. The Jason-1 satellite made 2 passes very near this area and confirmed average seas at 26-28 ft, about 1-2 ft less than the model. Some individual readings were up to 30 ft. Not too bad.

Thursday AM (5/24) 35-40 kt winds were confirmed at 54S 147W again aimed northeast just like before with a broad area of 29 ft seas modeled at 51S 150W. The sea height projection (by the model) seems a little bit high given the decreasing wind state, but the prolonged duration of fetch might be making up the difference. No Jason-1 passes occurred near the area. In the evening 40 kt winds were confirmed at 45S 140W pushing well to the north aimed 15 degrees east of the 192 degree path to California. Seas were modeled to respond to the broad fetch by holding if not building a little to 29-30 ft over a broad area at 46S 143W. But the Jason-1 satellite made a pass right over the core of the fetch and found seas only at 26 ft (and that was being generous). So the wave models were off by 3 ft. To make matters worse it made another pass right over the same area 8 hours later and found essentially the same situation with seas 27 ft, or 3 ft less than the projected 30 ft seas state.

Friday AM (5/25) winds were confirmed down to 30-35 kts and fading while rotating northeast around the core of the low at 46S 132W aimed 30 degrees east of the 188 degree path to California with 30 ft seas modeled at 50S 137W. This was in reasonably close proximity to the coast. But again the big issues is the seas were likely much less than what was modeled (no confirmed data available). The fetch was gone in the evening with seas fading fast from 29 ft at 45S 130W. The Jason-1 satellite passed over the outskirts of the fetch area and found seas running about 2-3 ft less than what was modeled.

This was not a strong system, but covered a large area and lasted a long time (nearly 4 days) while slowly lumbering from west to east on a track progressively to the northeast. Swell is already in the water pushing north as confirmed by the Jason-1 satellite with more supposedly being generated Thurs PM/Fri AM if seas had play out as forecast. But that did not really occur. And make no mistake, the seas that were generated were not high seas by any historical standard and were in-fact just right at the cusp of even being at the acceptable level. Still, it's better than nothing. A dose of moderate period swell is pushing north focused mainly on California (from 4753-5694 nmiles away) and totally unshadowed from Tahiti. Hawaii, while closer to the fetch (at 4212-4455 nmiles away) was mainly off axis for the bulk of it with the whole second half of the gale outside their swell window. In all good potential for moderate summertime class utility class swell for California with period in the 16 secs range and fun sized 15 sec energy pushing towards Hawaii.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival starting early Wednesday AM (5/30) with period 17 secs peaking right before sunset at 2.6-3.0 ft @ 16 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces) continuing into Thursday AM (5/31) at 2.6-3.0 ft @ 15 secs (same size). Swell fading late with period down to 14 secs on Friday. Swell Direction: 174-181 degrees

South California: Expect swell arrival starting Thursday AM (5/31) building near sunset with swell to 2.3 ft @ 17 secs and coming up. Swell to start peaking Friday AM (6/1) with swell 2.6-2.9 ft @ 16 secs (4.5 ft faces and up to 6 ft top spots) holding all day. Still solid energy expected Saturday AM (6/2) with swell 2.6-2.8 ft @ 15 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces) then slowly settling down into Sunday. Swell Direction: 192-201 degrees

North California: Expect swell arrival starting Thursday (5/31) at sunset to 2 ft @ 18 secs (3 ft faces). Swell to be maxing mid-Friday (6/1) at 2.6-2.9 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.2-4.6 ft faces and up to 5.5 ft top spots) and holding through the day. Solid energy to continue Saturday AM (6/2) at the same size with period 15-16 secs, then fading late afternoon into Sunday, with period 14-15 secs. Swell Direction: 190-199 degrees

 

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

 

QuikCAST's

 

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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours nothing of any real interest is forecast. A week out a low is modeled to push into the Gulf of Alaska generating theoretically 35-40 kt northwest winds off Oregon targeting California well, but there no reason to think that will really happen.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a large/broad fetch of 40 kt west winds are forecast pushing under New Zealand late Saturday (6/2) holding most solid into Sunday with 35 ft seas forecast. A quick decay is forecast later Monday but not before theses seas push into exposed waters of the South Pacific. Some energy will likely seep north towards Hawaii and Tahiti, and less so California, but it's way too early to suggest anything more than utility class swell will result.

Details to follow...

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Local Interest

Jason-1 Satellite Data Back On-line: Jason-1 satellite data (used to verify significant wave heights) is back on-line. We're got some logic to filter out extraneous data spikes that show up from time to time too. That should be working by next weekend (6/3). The main altimeter on the satellite took a major radiation hit back in November. While that didn't completely disable the sensor or the data feed, the damage did cause the data to be downloaded on a much less frequent basis, making it unusable for posting over our real-time wave models. Fortunately a second altimeter exists and we're tapped into it. The good news is this data is near-real time, with only a 2-3 hour time lag, a significant improvement over the old sensor even when it was operating normally. See the data here: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_alt.html

Comprehensive guides to surfing Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Baja and Mainland Mexico: They ain't pretty. They ain't glossy. They ain't coffee table picture books. These are guides for surfers who want real, useful information. Since 1996 The Surfer's Guides have always provided more info, more detail, more tips, and have been updated more often than any other surf travel guides. Take a look here: http://www.surfingtravel.com/

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 people that make up the surf community. Check it out here: http://www.thesurfbook.com

STORMSURF on the News: NBC-11 came to visit Stormsurf last week to talk about the Mavericks Surf Contest and surf forecasting. See the piece here: http://www.nbc11.com/mavericks Click on 'Mavericks Forecaster'

Surf Video Clips at Yousurftubes.com - Check out this new website dedicated soley to high quality - high action surf clips from around the world. Great action form Morocco, Hawaii, Mexico, California and many more spots all streaming right to your desktop. Piles of fun and hours on enjoyment. Check it out now at: http://www.Yousurftubes.com

High Noon and Low Tide: Eric Nelson has remastered this epic Mavericks documentary covering a week of giant surf leading up to that fateful day of 12/23/94 when we lost Mark Foo. See all the footage with archived and recent interviews of all the best riders including Grant Washburn, Doc Renneker, Evan Slater, Peter Mel and more. This is a must-have piece for any serious Maverick collection. Available at local surfshops. Will be coming to an on-line store shortly.

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: http://www.insidemavericks.com/

Stormsurf Google Gadget - Want Stormsurf content on your Google Homepage? It's simple and free. If you have Google set as your default Internet Explorer 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!
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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