On Thursday (5/31) Northern CA surf was waist high and windy. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist to chest high. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was up to waist high on the sets. Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was waist high at the better breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was chest high at the best breaks. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks chest to head high. The North Shore of Oahu was waist high. The South Shore was waist to chest to head high. The East Shore was thigh high.
North/Central California was getting minimal short period windswell with tiny southern hemi swell underneath. Southern California was getting better focus on small southern hemi swell with longer period energy building underneath. Hawaii remained near flat on the North Shore with fun sized southern hemi energy continuing on the South Shore. The last and best pulse of southern hemi swell is scheduled for California starting Friday while southern energy backs off in the Islands. But one more pulse is developing in the South Pacific aimed right for Hawaii next week. Nothing else of interest is on the charts behind so get it while you can. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Thursdays jetstream charts (5/31) for the North Pacific indicated a trough in the Gulf of Alaska with winds feeding into it at 130-150 kts through the weekend then pushing into Canada early next week providing limited support for low pressure development at the oceans surface. Otherwise no features of interest were expected.
At the surface today a broad but weak high pressure system at 1020 mbs was spread from the dateline east to a spot just off Pt Conception. Weak trades were flowing over the Hawaiian Islands and weak north winds pushing down the California coast. Low pressure at 1000 mbs was in the northern Gulf of Alaska generating a tiny fetch of 30 kt northwest winds aimed towards the US mainland. This fetch to track east and fade through Friday (6/1) with seas fading from 18 ft. Minimal support for development of nondescript windswell pushing towards the northern coast of Hawaii on into California and the Pacific Northwest. Over the next 72 hrs there's no indication of any swell producing fetch developing.
On Thursday AM (5/31) Tropical Storm Barbara was 180 nmiles south of Puerto Escondido Mexico with sustained winds 35 kts and expected to start drifting north. Slow strengthening is expected into the weekend, but not reaching hurricane strength. this system to push onshore near Puerto Sunday AM (6/3) with winds to 55 kts then tracking northwest just inside the coast of Mexico. No swell generation potential expected for California.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (5/31) weak high pressure at 1020 mbs was well offshore setting up only a mild northwest flow over exposed waters of North and Central CA. That high is to try and make a little headway Friday into Saturday (6/2) with winds building to the 15-20 kts range, but having no depth and only capable of generating windslop at exposed breaks north of Pt Conception. Low pressure tracking east through the gulf to get closer on Sunday breaking down the high pressure pattern and lightening up local winds until mid-Monday (6/4). Then a new high pressure cell to start getting a grip on the area but portioned well to the south with north winds building to the 25-30+ kt range just off pt Conception Tuesday-Wednesday (6/6) with windswell likely outside the Channel Islands on down into Baja, but windslop north of there. The pressure gradient and windswell to start fading Thursday.
Thursdays jetstream charts (5/31) for the South Pacific indicated the steep remnants of a trough were pushing east over the Central Pacific reaching up to 35S. A big ridge was in the east and a weaker ridge was on the other side of the trough in the west. Limited support for gale development in the vicinity of the trough. Over the next 72 hours the trough to fade more while pushing east and out of the picture. But a broad gentle tough is to start setting up under New Zealand with winds building in spurts to 130 kts pushing a little bit north, but not markedly so. Limited support for surface gale development, but most energy to be aligned west to east. Beyond 72 hours a much stronger batch of upper energy to set-up under New Zealand early next week as a large trough with 150 kt winds blow well up it's west side expected mid-next week pushing right into the southern tip of New Zealand. Decent support for storm development there if this comes to pass.
At the surface today the fading remnants of a gale that was pushing towards Tahiti was fading out just 780 nmiles shy of there. Swell production capability was gone though. Otherwise a broad low at 964 mbs was building southeast of New Zealand with a broad area of 30-35 kt west winds in-play. This low is to slowly creep east Friday and expand with pressure down to 948 mbs Saturday (6/2) but winds aligned in the same unfavorable west to east pattern. Seas building to the 28-30 ft range. A new strong low to be building under New Zealand at the same time racing east then starting to merge into the larger mother load in the evening. It's to push over the large lows north quadrant with winds consistently 45-50 kts on Sunday, but again aimed due east, severely limiting it's swell production capacity relative to California with the fetch 40-45 degrees east of the great circle paths north, and nearly 90 degrees off any path to Hawaii. This will severally limit swell propagation to the north. More of the same forecast beyond.
No other swell producing system forecast.
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: Swell fading late with period down to 2.3 ft @ 14 secs (3 ft faces) 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
On Sunday PM (5/27) weak low pressure at 980 mbs was southeast of New Zealand while high pressure at 1032 mbs was over Northern New Zealand. A pressure gradient (difference in pressure between the two systems) was producing 40-45 kt south winds 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 were running 2 ft less than what was modeled.
On Tuesday evening (5/29) winds expanded in coverage and continued 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 were modeled to 27 ft at 50S 165W.
The fetch area shrank Wednesday AM (5/30) but still confirmed at 40-45 kts at 42N 159W aimed like before. 30 ft seas were modeled at 45S 163W attributable to previous days surge in fetch. The last little bit of 35-40 kt fetch was confirmed in the evening at 38S 156W with seas modeled at 29 ft over a moderate sized area at 40S 159W heading right towards Hawaii up the 180 degree path and totally shadowed by Tahiti relative to California.
This one was gone by Thursday AM (5/31). No Jason-1 satellite passes came near the core of this fetch to verify what was actually occurring down at the oceans surface.
This was not a remarkable system by any stretch of the imagination. But relative to Hawaii and Tahiti there was one redeeming characteristic, the fetch was moving almost due north pushing right up the great circle paths towards these locales and reasonably close too , especially for Tahiti. With winds holding in the 40 kt range for 72 hours and a little bit of virtual fetch expected, some near-significant class surf is likely for Hawaii with period in the 15-16 sec range. Much more size is expected for Tahiti with the fetch pushing to within 1400 nmiles.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival starting Tuesday AM (6/5) building to 3 ft @ 16 secs late (5 ft faces). Swell to continue decent Wednesday AM (5/6) with swell 3 ft @ 15 secs early (4.5-5.0 ft faces), then fading late. Swell fading from 3 ft @ 13 secs Thursday AM. Swell Direction: 180-185 degrees
Tahiti: Expect swell arrival Friday (6/1) with swell 9 ft @ 14-15 secs (13 ft Hawaiian at exposed breaks). Swell holding at 9 ft @ 14 secs (12 ft Hawaiian) early Saturday (6/2) then heading down with period dropping to the 13 secs range. Swell Direction: 200-205 degrees
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 weather systems of any interest are forecast.
Beyond 72 hours the existing large fetch well south of Tahiti to get even bigger and stronger, but with all the same problems. On Monday (6/4) Pressure to drop to a whopping 932 mbs with a large/broad fetch of 45 kt west winds positioned at 55S 133W aimed entirely at Chile. Seas building to 37-39 ft at 55S 128W. This fetch to consolidate some early Tuesday with 50-55 kt west winds forecast on the edge of the California swell window and seas to 45 ft at 58S 120W but again aimed all at Chile and well off any great circle path north. This fetch to be outside the California swell window late Tues evening. With luck some limited utility class swell might seep north, but odds low.
No other swell producing system forecast.
Details to follow...
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Jason-1 Satellite Data Back On-line: Jason-1 satellite data is back on-line and we've got some logic running with it to filter out extraneous data spikes that have been showing up from time to time. It appears to be helping most of the time, but it's not getting all the spikes just yet. We'll have a plan and will keep on it though.. 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
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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 people that make up the surf community. Check it out here: http://www.thesurfbook.com
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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/
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table