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 Tuesday (6/10) Northern CA surf was shoulder to head high with light winds. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist to chest high and clean. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was chest to head high and fairly clean. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was waist high at exposed breaks and textured midday. The LA Area southward to Orange County was chest high with some few bigger sets and textured. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were head high to 2 ft overhead and clean early. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was waist high and clean (Lanai buoy is back online). The East Shore was waist high.
North/Central California was seeing more modest windswell with small to moderate southern hemi swell lurking underneath. Southern California was seeing minimal wrap around from the northwest windswell but the southern hemi swell was the more dominant swell, doing nicely at the usual breaks. Hawaii's North Shore was flat for the summer. The East Shore was getting minimal east windswell. The South Shore still had some southern hemi swell in the water, but it was fading.
Northwest windswell from the usual summertime local pressure gradient off Cape Mendocino enhanced by La Nina to continue at reasonably levels through Thursday then start dying off as winds relax. Improving local wind conditions expected by Thursday. Very limited amounts of this windswell to wrap into exposed breaks of Southern CA too. Trades are to continue blowing a little windswell into the East Shore through Wednesday, then fading. But best bets still are focused on southern hemi swell for the Islands on through the next week. Nothing extraordinary, but not flat either. Southern hemi swell for the mainland has peaked out and is to be on it's way down by Wednesday, but more small energy is queued up over the next week. But longterm the southern hemi is forecast to lay down, so make the most of what you can get. 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 was in control of the North Pacific, one at 1024 mbs over the dateline and the stronger of the pair at 1032 mbs off the Oregon/N. California border. It was generating a pressure gradient over Cape Mendocino waters and producing northerly winds at 30-35 kts there by late afternoon. Trades were modeled at 15-20 kts pushing from the gradient close to Hawaii, through retreating a bit from days earlier. Still it was sufficient to provide potential for short period windswell along exposed eastern shores there. Over the next 72 hours weak low pressure is to be moving onshore over Washington while the dominant high pressure system continues it's control of the Eastern Pacific, re-energizing the pressure gradient off the US West Coast with up to 35 kt north winds over Northern CA through Wednesday (6/11) continuing the run of moderate local windswell, then the vector is to turn more to the east and windswell starts fading by Thursday. Trades to falter over the Hawaiian Islands by Wednesday as the high slowly lifts a little to the north, with minimal east windswell fading out. Windswell even in NCal to be almost gone by Friday.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (6/10) high pressure at 1034 mbs was located 600 nmiles west of Oregon while lower pressure was pushing into the coast of British Columbia, fueling the Cape Mendocino pressure gradient by late afternoon with north winds on the increase to near 35 kts. Windswell was also bumping up at buoys along the coast but so were local winds down into Pt Conception. On Wednesday 35 kt north winds to hold generating more moderate windswell but also making for chopped conditions nearshore on down to Pt Conception. By Thursday the gradient is to be retreating fast with local winds dying and surf conditions improving though a weak eddy flow might build in. Generally light winds and clean conditions are forecast from Pt Arena southward though Sunday, though the gradient is to try and rebuild Sunday with 30 kt north winds and building windswell forecast, but fetch and chop limited to Pt Arena northward. By Monday the fetch is to fad to the 20 kts range but start sinking south with chop and poor conditions moving over Central CA late Monday (6/16) and holding into Tuesday. Southern CA to remain protected from all the wind through the next 7 days.
No tropical systems of interest were occurring.
On Tuesday (6/10) a split jetstream pattern was over the Tasman Sea, then joined into a singular flow from north of New Zealand sinking southeast over the width of the South Pacific likely directing the storm track south towards Antarctica. 130 kt winds in the southern branch of the jet were pushing east under New Zealand then troughing to the north along it's eastern coast before joining the main flow offering a continued pocket for surface level low pressure development. Over the next 72 hours that trough off New Zealand is to be fading while sinking southeast likely signaling an end to the favorable flow aloft. A solid ridge is to be pushing east under New Zealand by Thursday (6/12) further putting an end to the good flow. Beyond 72 hrs a ridging pattern is to persist until Tuesday (6/17) when a new trough is to push to the north at 170 kts under New Zealand, possibly setting up a return to favorable upper level winds, but it's too early to believe that just yet.
At the oceans surface the 4th fetch of the series was tracking east off New Zealand (see details below - 4th New Zealand System) but on it's last legs. The hints of one more fetch was starting to organize under New Zealand. Over the next 72 hours this new system is to start winding up Tuesday evening with a small but potent area of 55 kt southwest winds forecast at 56S 166W Wednesday AM (6/11) with a tiny area of 30 ft seas at 58S 169W. The fetch is to lift northeast through the day but fading some in the evening with 50 kt winds at 50S 156W and seas 35 ft forecast at 50S 158W. A small area of 45 kt south winds to persist at 49S 145W Thursday AM (6/12) then fading out with seas peaking at 36 ft at 46S 150W. Seas fading fast thereafter. Assuming all this comes to pass some decent southerly swell to hit Tahiti and some form of sideband swell pushing into Hawaii. Lesser energy to push towards California.
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.
Swell to continue solid in Southern California 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 continue Wednesday AM in Northern California 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 Thursday (6/12) with swell building to 2 ft @ 18 secs late (3.5 ft faces with top spots to 4.5 ft). Swell to push 2.6 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces with best break to 5.5 ft) Friday (6/13). Swell fading from 2.3 ft @ 15 secs (3.5 ft faces) on Sat (6/14). Swell Direction: 185-195 degrees
California: . Swell arrival starting Sun (6/15) at 2 ft @ 18 secs (3.0-3.5 ft faces - 4.5 ft top spots) pushing 2.3-2.6 ft @ 16 secs (3.5-4.0 ft faces - top spots to 5 ft) through the day Monday (6/16). Swell to continue at 2.6 ft @ 15-16 secs (4 ft faces) Tuesday (6/17) then down to 2.3-2.6 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.5 ft faces) Wednesday (6/18). Swell Direction: 215 degree SCal, 210 degrees NCal.
4th New Zealand System
Possibly the last in the series of swell producing systems 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 faltered Sunday evening with seas 30 ft at 45N 180W, then rebuild to 45 kts over a small area Monday AM (6/9) at 40S 170W again aimed right at Hawaii up the 191 degree path and somewhat up the 215 degree path to California. Seas were barely 30 ft at 41S 176W. More 45-50 kts winds build around the lows western quadrant Monday evening at 48S 165W with 31 ft seas still attributable to the original fetch at 40S 170W then fetch. By Tuesday AM all wind and seas were gone.
Swell likely for Hawaii a week out with only very limited swell potential for California 9 days out (starting 6/18).
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival starting late Saturday (6/14) with swell 2 ft @ 19 secs (3.5 ft faces) then building Sunday (6/15) with swell to 2.6 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces - best breaks to 5.5 ft). Swell expected at 3 ft @ 15 secs on Monday (6/16) (4.0-4.5 ft faces) then fading from from 3 ft @ 14 secs on Tuesday (6/17) (4 ft faces). Swell Direction: 187-191 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 large scale swell producing weather systems are forecast. High pressure is to rebuild and move solidly in to the core of the Gulf of Alaska Sunday (6/15) generating more 30 kt north winds off Cape Mendocino and producing some moderate northerly windswell for exposed breaks from there down to Pt Conception. But the fetch area is to be small somewhat limited windswell size. The high is to retrograde west Monday with windswell dying, but is to be too far north to enhance trades over the Hawaiian Islands, with no windswell resulting there either. A pretty quiet pattern is shaping up.
Beyond 72 hrs the only system of interest is a low that's to be tracking east from New Zealand reaching the mid-Pacific next weekend (6/15) with 40-45 kt west winds and 35 ft seas, then tracking northeast in response to a improving jetstream flow aloft. But it's way too early to know anything for sure.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org .
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!
Free Stormsurf Stickers - Get your free stickers! - More details Here
Read all the latest news and happenings on our News Page here
Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table