New Swell Classification Guidelines (Winter)
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: 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.
On Tuesday (6/1) North and Central California had thigh to maybe waist high combination northwest windswell and southern hemi swell with modest southwest winds and fog early. Southern California was near flat up north and clean early while minimal southern hemi swell was in the thigh to waist high range down south and clean early. Hawaii's North Shore was getting a little leftover northwest windswell with waves up to chest high and a bit ruffled by near sideshore trades. The East Shore was getting waist high plus tradewind generated east windswell and chopped. The South Shore was getting minimal background southern hemi swell with waves thigh to waist high with light trades early and clean conditions.
The forecast for North and Central CA is for more northwest windswell at waist high or so Wednesday with southern hemi swell at waist high plus holding into Thursday but with the northwest windswell pushing chest high and holding into Friday. Southern hemi swell to drop out over the weekend while larger new northwest swell arrives for Saturday dropping some Sunday. Southern California is to see primarily southern hemi swell at near chest high Wednesday a exposed breaks, then starting to drop some on Thursday only to return to chest high on Friday. Northwest windswell moves in for Saturday at waist high fading a little Sunday while new southern hemi swell pushes chest high later Sunday. The North Shore of Oahu is to see nothing of interest for the next week unless thigh high northwest windswell is of interest. If so, then that can be expected on Thursday and Saturday. The East Shore to see east tradewind generated windswell at waist high plus Wednesday and heading down Thursday and gone after that. The South Shore to see southern hemi swell fading out entirely by later Wednesday with nothing else forecast to follow.
A gale formed south of Tahiti on Monday (5/24) with seas building to 35 ft over a small area aimed well to the north. Small swell from it has has started hitting California on Tuesday. Another small and generally weak gale formed in the deep Southeast Pacific over the weekend (5/30) with 32 ft seas but only covering a small area. Maybe some background energy to push north into Southern California by late Sunday (5/6) and holding into Tuesday (5/8). A stronger system remains forecast tracking under New Zealand and pushing east on Thurs (6/3) continuing on that heading through the weekend with seas theoretically up to 40 ft. This is a bit of an improvement from previous model runs, but is far from a certain outcome. Something to monitor though.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Tuesday (6/1) the North Pacific jetstream was holding together nicely with a single consolidated flow pushing gently northeast off Japan generally over the 40N latitude. A weak trough was in the Gulf of Alaska with winds building to 140 kts offering some support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours the same basic pattern is to hold with the trough in the Gulf getting better footing with a broad area of 130-140 kt winds in-play and improving odds for low pressure development down at the oceans surface. Beyond 72 hours that trough is to still hold it's ground, maybe losing a little energy but still holding with winds in the 120-130 kt range covering the entire Pacific east of the dateline. Decent odds for gale development with some luck and holding into Sun (6/6). But after that most energy is to be tracking into the US mainland with the jet weakening and gale development potential dropping off some and isolated entirely to the Eastern Gulf.
At the surface on Tuesday (6/1) weak high pressure at 1024 mbs was pancaked north of Hawaii producing 15 kt trades blowing over the Hawaiian Islands offering minimal odds for windswell along East facing shores. Of more interest was low pressure developing in the Gulf of Alaska at 988 mbs generating a small are of 30 kt northwest winds in it's southwest sector and aimed towards the US West Coast with additional 25+ kt southwest winds in it's south quadrant aimed mostly at the Pacific Northwest. Windswell production likely developing in both fetch areas. Over the next 72 hours this low pressure system is to hold if not deepen to 984 mbs generating a broader fetch of 30-35 kt west winds at 45N 147W on Wednesday AM aimed towards the US West Coast (296 degs NCal) with 18 ft seas in the area pushing to 20 ft in the evening at 46N 145W. An additional fetch of 35 kt west to southwest winds is to build south of there at 37N 140W Thursday AM aimed from San Francisco Northward up into the Pacific Northwest and pushing into Oregon late evening. More 17 ft seas to result. Somewhat larger windswell from both fetches to start hitting the Central CA area late Friday into early Saturday (6/5) if all goes as forecast.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (6/1) the leading edge of low pressure in the Gulf of Alaska was moving into the Pacific Northwest shunting high pressure entirely from the local weather scene with lighter northwest winds in control other than a patch of 20 kt north winds over Point Conception. This same basic pattern is to hold with weak local winds as wave after wave of weak low pressure pushes into the Pacific Northwest suppressing the usual summertime high pressure pattern off California other than 20 to maybe 25 kt north winds isolated to a small but concentrated area over Pt Conception through Saturday (6/5). After that the Gulf low is to dissipate and weak high pressure is to start mounting a return, producing northwest winds by Sunday later Morning and building to 20 kts over Central CA into Wed (6/9). Southern CA to remain in a light wind scenario.
On Tuesday (6/1) no swell producing fetch of interest was occurring in the South Pacific. But on Wednesday a gale tracking under Australia is to he pushing into the extreme Southwest Pacific and starting to develop, carrying seas previously generated with it. By Thursday AM (6/3) 45 kt west winds are forecast at 56S 180W with seas of 35 ft at the seam location, but with limited if any energy radiating north. By the evening a broader fetch of 40 kt southwest winds are forecast at 58S 180W aimed 20 degrees east of the 208 degree path to NCal and totally shadowed by Tahiti and 50 degrees east of the 193 degree path to Hawaii generating seas of 37 ft at the same location. On Friday AM 45 kt southwest winds are forecast at 57S 170W aimed 20 degrees east of the 204 degree path to California (totally shadowed) and 60 degrees east of the 187 degree path to Hawaii generating seas of 40 ft at 57S 172W. 45 ft southwest winds are to lift a little northeast in the evening at 55S 158W producing seas of 42 ft at 55S 160W pushing 30 degree east of the 210 degree path to California and almost east of the Tahitian swell shadow and pushing completely east of any route to Hawaii. On Saturday AM (6/5) 40-45 kt southwest winds are to continue over a large area at 53S 140W with 36 ft seas at 53S 150W all pushing pretty well due east with limited energy tracking up the 196 degree path to California and effectively unshadowed by Tahiti. beyond all fetch is to be aimed due east if not southeast eliminating swell generation potential for the Northern Hemisphere. If all goes as planned some degree of limited mostly shadowed swell could radiate into California with background swell for Hawaii. There is much variability in the models from one run to the next so nothing is certain.
Southeast Pacific Gale
On Saturday AM (5/29) a small gale developed with 40 kt southwest winds at 52S 142W lifting northeast producing 30 ft seas at 54S 150W pushing somewhat up the 196 degree path to California. Fetch held into the evening with 32 ft seas continuing at 50S 142W. Sunday AM (5/30) 40 kt southwest winds were modeled at 43S 125W with lingering 30 ft seas at 47S 133W and starting to push more east towards South America. Fetch and seas were gone after that. Possible small 16 sec period swell will be radiating north towards the US mainland arriving in Southern CA late Sunday (6/6) at 2.3 ft @ 18 secs (4 ft faces) peaking on Monday at 3 ft @ 16 secs (4.5 ft faces) from 192 degrees. Swell down to 3 ft @ 14-15 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces) on Tues (5/8). But most swell energy is to be bound for Central America and points south of there. Over the next 72 hours no other swell producing fetch is forecast.
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 the low pressure system in the Gulf is to slowly spin
itself out with most effective fetch gone by Sat AM (6/5). and totally
dissipated 24 hours later. Short period windswell to maybe Sun/Mon (6/7) on Central CA. Trades to remain suppressed over the Hawaiian Islands due to the presence of low pressure in the Gulf of Alaska for the foreseeable future. The models do suggest a low pressure system forming just west of the dateline early next week with up to 30 kt west winds aimed well at Hawaii. But that is so far into the future as to not be believable yet.
MJO/ENSO Update (reference): As of Tuesday (6/1) the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) was moving firmer into positive territory. The daily SOI was at 12.79. The 30 day average was up to 10.55 with the 90 day up to 4.57. This all is starting to look like a La Nina pattern.
Wind anomalies as of Sun (5/30) at the 850 mb level (approx 5000 ft up) as defined by models suggest near neutral/normal conditions over the entire equatorial Pacific suggestive of neither the Active or Inactive Phase of the MJO. Weak west anomalies were pushing over the far Eastern Pacific and Central America and weak easterly anomalies were over the Philippines and New Guinea.
We believe that El Nino will not hang on for another year, and that rather we'll fall back into some form of a light La Nina Pattern (where the Inactive Phase takes control). Of other interest will be whether the Iceland Volcano will spew enough high level fine particle dust and aerosols into the atmosphere to produce a reflective effect, dropping surface temperature and pushing us into a multi-year La Nina. This is a very real concern.
Sea Surface Temp anomaly data (5/31) indicates that cooler than normal waters have now developed over a thin strip on the equator from South America drifting west and covering the important equatorial area over almost half the Pacific Ocean. This is a dramatic turn for the worse and only seems to have gotten stronger over the past week. A massive buildup of warmer than normal waters continues in the Atlantic, of concern to hurricane forecasters there. We'll see if upper level winds support development of hurricane activity or whether residual upper level shear from El Nino will chop the tops of developing systems. Suspect shear will be gone by the heart of hurricane season in the Atlantic.
Below the surface on the equator no Kevin Wave activity was present and if anything colder than normal water was building over the dateline and pushing east (sort of like a cold Kelvin Wave). Not good.
Over the entire Equatorial Pacific trades were blowing all the way to almost the Philippines, but only in the normal range. Perhaps a slight push to the west was occurring, but nothing extraordinary. This looks like the normal Springtime transition typical for this time of the year but is likely to change towards an increased easterly flow as Fall approaches symptomatic of La Nina.
El Nino is effectively gone and slowly losing it's grip on the global atmospheric weather pattern. Still some lingering impact is to continue into the Summer of 2010 enhancing the storm track in the South Pacific some. A slow transition to a normal if not slight cooler than normal state (La Nina) is expected through Nov 2010, and the signs continue to point to a La Nina pattern for the long term future.
See more details in the new El Nino update.
Beyond 72 hours the models indicate no swell producing fetch is 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
Add a STORMSURF Buoy Forecast to your Google Homepage. Click Here:
Then open your Google homepage, hit 'edit' button (top right near graph), and select your location
The Mavericks: Everest of the Seas Exhibition has unveiled its latest gallery featuring some of the most heart-stopping images from the epic El Niño-fueled Big Wave Season. This year's lineup includes not only a culmination of images from Award-winning photographers Doug Acton, Frank Quirarte, Seth Migdail, Ed Grant and Art Gimbel but a multimedia slide show and a video recap of the 2010 Mavericks Surf Contest, one of the greatest days in surfing history.
Thanks to an El Nino weather pattern, this has been one of the most dramatic big-wave surf seasons on record, said Doug Acton, Mavericks Veteran Lensmen.
Now Eric Nelson and Curt Myers of Powerlines Productions have come on board to bring the gallery images to life by presenting both water and cliff-angle video of the Mavericks contest, won by South Africa's Chris Bertish in the biggest waves ever ridden in a paddle-surf contest.
The Mavericks crew will transform the Longboard Vineyards tasting room into a virtual caldron of 50-foot drops, glory rides and heinous wipeouts. As you stand under the colorful Tibetan Prayer flags, tasting some of Longboard Vineyards' libations, you'll be hard-pressed not to become immersed in the real-life drama, energy and stoke that surrounds the surfers and photographers every time they head out to the lineup.
Longtime big-wave surfer Mark (Doc) Renneker put it best when he said, “Every time you leave the shore, you head out into the wildnerness.”
“We're coming off one of the most phenomenal big-wave seasons to date," said Quirarte, the longtime Mavericks lifeguard and master lensman. “This season we witnessed so many great rides by so many different surfers from so many different countries. Mavericks is still the No. 1 all-around spot in the world for big-wave surfing.”
Oded Shakked, a longtime surfer who founded Longboard Vineyards, will be on hand at the reception to unveil the latest release in his Mavericks Signature Series, the Ken “Skindog” Collins Syrah.
Veteran waterman Ken “Skindog” Collins (Santa Cruz, CA) is hands down one of the most recognized and respected big wave surfers today. With his recent trip to the podium at the 2010 Mavericks Surf Contest or his epic twenty-foot Puerto Escondido barrel that earned him top honors at the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards. Collins has traveled the world mentoring up and coming crop of big wave chargers -- and has himself pioneered and ridden the biggest waves on the planet.
“I can't think of a better person to honor with our next Mavericks label than Kenny Collins,” said Shakked. “A true icon of the sport.”__
Oded Shakked, along with the featured photographers, videographers, surfboard shapers and wine makers will be on hand at the Longboard Vineyards Tasting room in beautiful Healdsburg California for the Saturday night reception on May 22nd The reception will begin at 5pm and run until roughly 9pm.
“Everest of the Seas” was launched in the summer of 2009, with the idea of bringing together the most memorable photos from Mavericks' best sessions. It drew large crowds and an enthusiastic response in its debut at the Coastal Arts League Gallery in Half Moon Bay, then moved on to successful runs at San Francisco's world-class SFMOMA Museum and Gallery, The Fillmore, The Half Moon Bay Big Wave Surfing Festival and Longboard Vineyards.
Stormsurf Hi-Res Coastal Precipitation Models Upgraded Though a bit late in the season, on 3/20 we implemented the same basic technology used in our new snow/ski models into the coastal hi-res precipitation models. So now you can not only determined whether rain is forecast for your area, but also snow. And not just light, medium or heavy snow like most sites, but the exact snowfall amount (in inches) for each 3 hr frame of the animation. Here's a sample, but now this approach is used in all our precipitation models. http://www.stormsurfing.com/cgi/display_alt.cgi?a=nwcoast_precip
Stormsurf Precip Models Upgraded! On 2/20 we upgraded some of the broader precipitation models driven by the hi-def GFS model to include snow fall. The algorithm used is similar to the recently released snow models for the Southwest US in that the areas where snow is expected are identified and the exact amount of snow forecast over a 3 hr window is explicitly color coded. For East and West Coast US interests the following links provide good examples:
West Coast: http://www.stormsurfing.com/cgi/display_alt.cgi?a=nepac_precip
East Coast: http://www.stormsurfing.com/cgi/display_alt.cgi?a=watla_precip
Stormsurf Weather Models have all been upgraded! Over the New Years break we installed all new and upgraded weather models. Also new are experimental snow models for the Southwest US. Take a look here: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_wx.html
Read about Eric Nelson and Curt Myers, the makers of Ride-On and other Big Wave Surf Movies here: http://coastviewsmag.com/powerlines-productions-filming-the-art-of-big-wave-surfing
Ride On! Powerlines new big wave epic is now available on DVD. Get the entire big wave story of the 2008-2009 season here: http://www.mavz.com/
||Casa Noble Tequila If you are looking for an exquisite experience in fine tequila tasting, one we highly recommend, try Case Noble. Consistently rated the best tequila when compared to any other. Available at BevMo (in California). Read more here: http://www.casanoble.com/
Interview With Stormsurf: The crew at SurfScience.com worked with Stormsurf on a feature about why surfers should be able to read wave charts themselves. They are firm believers that a little learning can go a long way to help your surfing. This is a great article to help convince your friends that they can benefit from being able to read the data themsleves rather than just relying on the forecasts of others. See the full thing here: Create Your Own Surf Forecast with Stormsurf
North California Surf Report Works Again: After an extended downtime we finally got the North California Surf Report working again. Thanks for your patience. See it here: http://www.stormsurf.com/page2/report/ncal.html
Shark Video: Our friend Curt Myers of Powerlines productions shot this footage of 2 great whites munching on a whale carcass off Devils Slide (south of San Francisco) on Thursday. Kind of interesting to watch. Check it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8I4rZYEZMWQ (Fixed link)
Wave Model Upgrade Status Report: At this point we believe the installation of the new wave models is complete, with no problems being reported, the server stabilizing and the much requested return of the old style hemispheric Surf Height models now operational (again) and running side-by-side along the new ones. We thank you for your patience and input as we went though this process. Your feedback helps guide our efforts and ultimately results in a better product for everyone. Now we're off to start providing better menus to some wave model products most of you probably haven't uncovered yet (site specific graph and text forecasts), updateing the wave model FAQs and then upgrading the Weather Models.
New Wave Model Facts: Click HERE to read more about the new wave models. Important info.
Stormsurf Wave Models Updated: On Friday (2/6) we installed the latest upgrade to our wavemodels. A year in the works, this upgrade essentially is a total re-write of every wave model product we produce. They now take advantage of the new Version 3 of the Wavewatch wavemodel. This version runs at a much higher resolution, specifically 0.0 X 0.5 degrees for the global grib with local products at 0.1667 X 0.1667 degrees, and it uses the hi-res GFS model for wind speeds. And of even more interest, the model now identifies primary swell and windwave variables. As such we now have new model images which displays this data. Also we've included out special 3D topographic land masks into all models. In all it makes for a radical step forward in wave model technology. We'll be upgrading minor components (FAQ, new menu pages etc) for a few weeks to come, but all the basics are available for your use now. Check it out here: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_wam.html
Story About Stormsurf: The folks at SurfPulse (and specifically author Mike Wallace) have written up a really nice article about Stormsurf, complete with some good pics. Learn about how we came to be and a little of where we are going. Check it out here: http://www.surfpulse.com/2009/01/visceral-surf-forecasting-with-mark-sponsler/
Stormsurf Video: Just for fun - here's a clip about Stormsurf that ran on Bay Area TV a while back. Thought you might enjoy it: http://vimeo.com/2319455
Time Zone Converter By popular demand we've built and easy to use time convert that transposes GMT time to whatever time zone you are located. It's ion left hand column on every page on the site near the link to the swell calculator.
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/
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