New Swell Classification Guidelines (Winter)
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 Sunday (6/8) Northern CA surf was 1-2 ft overhead and textured bordering on windy. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were up to waist high and clean. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was head high to one foot overhead and reasonably clean early. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was thigh to waist high at exposed breaks and clean. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high with a few bigger sets and lightly textured. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were waist high and clean early. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was chest to head high with best spots 1 ft overhead and clean (the Lanai buoy is back online). The East Shore was thigh high.
North/Central California was seeing solid northwest windswell. Southern California was seeing a bit of wrap in from the northwest windswell and the hint of southern hemi swell should be showing later today. Hawaii's North Shore was flat for the summer. The East Shore was getting minimal east windswell. The South Shore was the standout spot with southern hemi swell in the water and more coming.
Northwest windswell from the usual local pressure gradient off Cape Mendocino to continue at a reasonably decent size through the week on into next weekend from Pt Conception northward. Improving local wind conditions expected to later in the workweek. Limited amounts of this windswell to wrap into exposed breaks of Southern CA too. Trades are to continue blowing a little over the Hawaiian Islands producing minimal windswell on the East Shore. But best bets still are on southern hemi swell focused mainly on the Islands. The main thrust of that swell hit this weekend but additional storm energy passed under New Zealand on Thursday (6/5) producing another pulse of 38-40 ft seas with one more tracking up the New Zealand coast with 32 ft seas and expected to hold into early Tuesday. Only limited energy from these systems to reach California given the long journey northeast. After that a slowdown in southern hemi activity forecast. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
The North Pacific jetstream is in hibernation for the summer. No features of interest are indicated.
At the surface today moderate high pressure at 1028 mbs remained locked between Hawaii and Vancouver Island ridging into the California coast generating a pressure gradient over Cape Mendocino waters and producing northerly winds at 30 kts early there. Trades were modeled at 15-20 kts pushing from the gradient the whole way southwest into and over Hawaii, raising potential for short period windswell along exposed eastern shores there. Over the next 72 hours weak low pressure is to move onshore over Vancouver Island while the dominant high pressure system continues it's reign between Hawaii and California, re-fueling the pressure gradient off the US West Coast with up to 35 kt north winds forecast building over Northern CA late Tuesday into Wednesday (6/11) continuing the run of moderate local windswell. Trades to falter over the Hawaiian Islands by Wednesday as the high lifts a little to the north, with minimal east windswell fading.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
On Sunday (6/8) high pressure at 1030 mbs was located 800 nmiles west of Monterey Bay and riding into the Pacific Northwest coast creating a pressure gradient and generating north winds at 30 kts. Generally chopped local conditions were in-place from Morro Bay northward to the California-Oregon boarder. No change is expected Monday and then Tuesday weak low pressure is to move inland over Washington re-fueling the pressure gradient building north winds to 35+ kts late off Pt Arena and 30 kt winds down to Pt Conception. It's to hold in fit's a starts through late Thursday (6/12) while gradually lighting more to the north. Winds to start subsiding off the Central Ca coast Thursday and up to Bodega Bay by Friday (6/13) though the gradient is to hold off Cape Mendocino. This to result in continued smaller windswell and cleaner conditions finally. But there's suggestions the gradient could move south again later Sunday (6/15) with chop again moving into the picture from Pt Conception northward.
No tropical systems of interest were occurring.
On Sunday (6/8) a split jetstream pattern remained over the far western South Pacific, then was trying to stay locked together in a single flow from near New Zealand and parts east, but was looking like it was nearly over. A pulse of 160 kt winds was pushing under New Zealand troughing to the north and offering a little pocket for surface level low pressure development along the coast, but east of there the whole jetstream was pushing to the southeast driving the surface flow likely towards Antarctica. Over the next 72 hours that trough off New Zealand is to track east into Tuesday with winds aimed well to the north at 140 kts or greater continuing to offer good support for surface level low pressure development. Beyond 72 hrs this trough is to dissipate with a generalized ridging pattern taking over exposed waters pushing the whole flow to the south and east, suppressing surface level low pressure development from Wednesday (6/11) and beyond.
At the oceans surface yet another fetch, and possibly the last in the series developed Saturday evening (6/7) directly under the southern tip of New Zealand with 45-50 kt southwest winds blowing up into the Hawaiian and California swell window from 52S 165E (right on the westmost 201 degree great circle path for Hawaii and the 218 degree path for CA. Seas were building. These winds were modeled down to 40-45 kts Sunday AM (6/8) aimed directly at Hawaii. A small area of 32 ft seas were near 49S 173W aimed best at Hawaii. Winds to falter Sunday evening with seas 32 ft at 45N 180W, then rebuild to 45 kts over a small area Monday AM at 40S 170W again aimed right at Hawaii up the 191 degree path and somewhat up the 215 degree path to California. Seas barely 30 ft @ 41S 178W. More 45-50 kts winds to build around the lows western quadrant in the evening at 48S 165W with 32 ft seas still attributable to the original fetch at 40S 170W then fetch moving to 158W Tuesday AM with seas 32 ft @ 47S 159W, then fading out.
Swell likely for Hawaii a week out with only very limited swell potential for California.
First New Zealand Storm
A moderate gale pushed under New Zealand late Wed (5/28) with pressure at 944 mbs and 45-50 kt west winds at 60S 165E pushing to 180W Thursday AM and generating 36 ft seas at 58S 170E Thursday AM (5/29). The Jason-1 satellite passed over the fetch at 18Z and 00Z confirming seas at 33.3/33.8 ft at 59S 172E with peak reading to 35/37 ft, consistent with the wave models. This fetch was just barely free and clear of the Tahitian swell shadow relative to California and moving eastward into it. A little secondary fetch continued pushing more to the northeast in the 40 kt range holding through Thursday evening keeping seas in the 35 ft range at 55S 178W. 32 ft seas were modeled Fri AM at 58S 174W. This should be enough to produce background energy moving into California by late in the weekend (6/8). But this to be only a primer for the swell building in behind it. This system was 6278-6644 nmiles from California and 4675-5000 nmiles from Hawaii.
This first dribbles of this swell to into California Saturday (6/7) at 7 PM with period 19 secs but unrideable. Swell to become noticeable Sunday (6/8) reaching 1.6 ft @ 17 secs late (2.5-3.0 ft faces) and holding at 2.0-2.3 ft @ 16 secs (3.0-3.5 ft faces) Monday (6/9). Swell down to 2.0 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.5 -3.0 ft faces) on Tuesday (6/10).Certainly nothing worthwhile given that the bulk of it is shadowed by Tahiti. Swell Direction 200-210 degrees
Second New Zealand Storm - Storm #2S (Hawaii)
Of more interest is another 956 mb storm that followed behind Friday evening (5/30) generating 50-55 kt southwest winds over a small area at 60S 170E building to 65-70 kts Saturday AM at 60S 178W and still aimed well to the northeast, if not moving pretty fast to the east. 35 ft seas were modeled for the area Saturday AM at 58S 180W building to 38 ft at 55S 168W in the evening with 50 kt winds still in-play. The Jason-1 satellite passed over this area at 0Z Sun and confirmed seas of 38.5 ft with a peak reading of 41.3 ft at 52.2 S 168.5W. Unfortunately the peak seas/swell from this storm ware shadowed by Tahiti relative to Northern California, though swell pushing towards Southern CA is sneaking just under (east) of the shadow (a good thing). 35 ft seas continued Sunday AM at 52S 160W. Varying degrees off 40-45 kt winds continued pushing east across the Pacific generating 32 ft seas Sunday evening at 50S 150W then down to 31 ft Monday AM (6/2) at 50S 145W.
This one was much more solid than the storm before it, but still heading mainly on a west to east track not pushing a whole lot of energy due north or northeast towards Hawaii and the US West Coast. This storm was 4281-4865 nmiles from Hawaii and 5212-6309 nmiles from California. Still decent swell should push into the Hawaiian Islands due to their reasonably close proximity generating perhaps minimal significant class summer-time swell there, with lesser energy into the US West Coast, decaying on the long journey. Interestingly, Southern CA will NOT be shadowed by Tahiti for the bulk of this swell, where Northern CA will. The further south one goes the better the exposure.
In Hawaii swell to be fading from 2.6 ft @ 14 secs (3.5 ft faces) on Monday (6/9). Swell Direction: 181-191 degrees
Swell to hit the Southern California starting Sunday at 4 PM (6/8) with period 20-21 secs and size imperceptible. Swell period dropping to 18-19 secs through the day Monday (6/9) building to 2.6 ft @ 18-19 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces) late. Swell period dropping to 17 secs at 1 AM Tuesday (6/10) with swell at 3.4 ft @ 16-17 secs by sunrise (5.5 ft faces with best breaks to 7 ft) and holding through the late morning. Swell to continue solid Wednesday AM with swell 3 ft @ 15 secs (4.5 ft faces with best breaks to 5.5 ft), and settling down through the day. Marginal leftovers early Thursday. Swell Direction: 197-209 degrees.
Swell to hit the Northern California starting Sunday at 7 PM (6/8) with period 20-21 secs and size imperceptible. Swell period dropping to 18-19 secs through the day Monday (6/9) building to 2.3 ft @ 18-19 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces) late. Swell period dropping to 17 secs at 5 AM Tuesday (6/10) with swell at 2.6 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.5 ft faces with best breaks to 5.5 ft) and holding through the early afternoon. This estimate assumes the shadow effect. Maybe a few sets bigger, but not consistently so. Swell to continue Wednesday AM with swell 2.6 ft @ 15-16 secs (4.0 ft faces with best breaks to 4.5-5.0 ft), and settling down through the day. Marginal 14 sec leftovers expected through Thursday. Swell Direction: 194-208 degrees.
Third New Zealand Storm
On Thursday AM (6/5) a 944 mb storm passed under New Zealand with a broad area of 45-50 kt west to southwest winds at 55S 170E generating 36 ft seas at 56S 156E pushing east. The Jason-1 satellite passed over this area at 18Z with seas confirmed at 40.2 ft @ 57S 164E. By evening 45-50 kts winds persisted at 55S 178E with 41 ft seas pushing into exposed waters at 55S 170E targeting areas east of there with limited energy likely seeping north towards Hawaii. Fetch faded fast on Friday AM (6/6) with 36 ft seas holding at 55S 180W tracking due east, but anything generated east of there was shadowed from California by Tahiti. The Jason-1 satellite made a pass over the southern reaches of the fetch at 18Z and reported seas of 32 ft with peak reading to 38 ft at 55-56S 179W, consistent with the wave model. No winds were present in the evening with residual seas of 35 ft seas modeled at 52S 170W.
Sideband energy for Hawaii possible from this system with limited background energy for the US West Coast.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival starting late Saturday (6/14) with swell 2 ft @ 19 secs (3.5-4.0 ft faces) then building Sunday (6/15) with swell to 3 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces). Swell Direction: 191 degrees
California: Rough data suggests swell has pushed into the CA swell window and not shadowed at least from the early and most powerful part of this storm 10-11 days out. Swell arrival starting Sun PM (6/15) but not even rideable then.
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 large scale swell producing weather systems are forecast. High pressure is to persist off North CA at least through Sunday (6/15) generating 25-30 kt north winds off Cape Mendocino and producing more moderate northerly windswell for exposed breaks from there down to Pt Conception and limited spots into Southern CA. This fetch is to hug the coast pretty well through Thursday (6/12), making for chopped conditions, then the gradient is to move north with calmer conditions locally expected.
Beyond 72 hrs only one system of interest is scheduled to push under New Zealand next weekend (6/15) with 40-45 kt west winds and 35 ft seas. But that's purely a guess at this early date. In all, a definite backoff in storm activity 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:
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STORMSURF Local Wave Models Upgraded - We significantly upgraded the local waves models on Sunday (6/8). All now utilize our newly developed high-resolution 3D shaded relief topography for mapping landmasses. Coastlines are now accurate down to the individual pixel providing near photographic realism. Mountains and hills are all shaded and accurate to within the same single pixel specification. Cities are overlaid as before, but now we've added major highways and rivers too (for many locations). Some good examples of this new technology can be viewed here:
- View the reefs north of Tahiti and notice their contribution to the 'Swell Shadow' relative to California - Tahiti
- Notice the detail of the coast in and around Vancouver Islands and Washington State - Pacific Northwest
- See the details of inland waterways of the US Northeast Coast - Virginia
- Details of the Mentawai Island and Nias
And all the local models can be found either on our homepage or from the wavemodel page (bottom half of the page).
Surfrider's General Meeting: The San Mateo County Chapter is holding a General Public Meeting on June 12th at the Montara Lighthouse. Meet the SMC Chapter leaders and other like-minded activists, and learn more about how you can get involved in our current activities and campaigns. Then listen to an interesting talk by Mark Hylkema, a State archaeologist with 28 years' experience in California archeology and Native American culture. Mark has interacted with many different tribal communities, particularly in central and northern California. In 1994, he discovered a crescent of stone during an excavation in a cypress forest at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. The 5700-year-old rock is believed to have been used by early Native Americans and is the oldest artifact discovered in San Mateo County.
Doors open at 7, meeting begins at 7:30. The Lighthouse is at 16th Street and Highway 1 in Montara. Parking is limited, so please carpool if possible and park in the upper lot (nearest to Hwy 1). For more information, visit surfridersmc.org or email email@example.com .
Time Zone Converter - Finally! 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.
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/
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