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 Thursday (6/10) North and Central California had 1 ft overhead windblown local windswell and basically trashed. Southern California was getting thigh high crumbly wrap around northwest short period windswell and comparatively clean up north with waist high southern hemi swell in the mix down south and lightly textured. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was getting knee high tradewind generated east windswell and lightly chopped. The South Shore was getting southern hemi swell at waist high intermixed with tradewind wrap around energy with clean conditions.
The forecast for North and Central CA is for locally generated and generally tattered short period windswell Friday at 1 ft overhead, then fading from chest to head high early Saturday and chest high Sunday then rebuilding to 1 ft overhead on Monday. Some southern hemi swell to be in the mix Sun/Mon too. Southern California is to see northwest local windswell Friday at waist high or so, holding Saturday then dropping from thigh to waist high Sunday rebuilding Monday at waist high. Southern hemi swell moves in Sunday too at chest high pushing near head high on Monday. The North Shore of Oahu is to see nothing of interest for the next week other than waist high windswell on Monday. The East Shore to see east tradewind generated windswell at near head high early Friday then starting to fade a little to chest high Saturday and slowly drifting down some from there into Monday. The South Shore to see waist to chest high southern hemi swell on Friday, down to waist high Saturday and fading to thigh high or so Sunday and holding there.
A decent gale tracked under New Zealand and pushed east Thurs-Sat (6/5) with 36-38 ft seas, all aligned very much to the east limiting energy pushing north. Still some energy is forecast into Hawaii by Friday (6/11) and the US West Coast by late Sat/early Sunday (6/13). Otherwise nothing is on the charts down south. Up north and weak gale is forecast tracking from a point 1200 nmiles north of Hawaii on Thurs (6/10) with 16 ft seas pushing fast up into the northern Gulf of Alaska with up to 26 ft seas, but most of that later energy is to be aimed at the Pacific Northwest and points north of there. Possible tiny swell for Central CA with alot of luck but it will be buried in locally generated windswell with high pressure holding tight off the coast well into next week.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Thursday (6/10) the North Pacific jetstream was snaking east from the dateline with a pinched off trough just east of the dateline with most energy east of there pushing up into a ridge in the Central Gulf then down into another weak trough pushing into Central interior Oregon. Only the trough out by the dateline has any hope of supporting gale development at the oceans surface, and even that had all energy pushing northeast towards Alaska. Over the next 72 hours that trough is to lift northeast and weaken, pushing into extreme north Canada and Alaska on Sunday (6/13) offering no real hope for gale development for anywhere except the area where is was making landfall. Beyond 72 hours the jet is to all shift north up around 50N with all energy less than 100 kts other than a little trough tracking east directly over the Aleutian Islands reaching the Western Gulf of Alaska on Monday then pushing into Alaska beyond. A rapid decline in jetstream energy is forecast into mid-next week offing no support for swell producing gale development.
At the surface on Thursday (6/10) high pressure at 1032 mbs was 800 nmiles west of Central CA ridging hard into the coast there generating up to 30 kt north winds over exposed waters from Washington southward and producing short period local windswell. This high was also generating trades at 20 kt over the Hawaiian Islands producing increased but modest short period east windswell there. A modest low pressure system at 996 mbs was in the Central Gulf of Alaska tracking fast to the northeast, shunted away from a more favorable route towards the US coast by the high pressure system in front of it. The low was producing 25 kt northwest winds and 15 ft seas pushing towards the US mainland, but most wind and wave energy was tracking northeast towards Canada. More high pressure at 1032 mbs was behind that on the dateline and west of there, pretty much locking everything down. Over the next 72 hours the gale is to push northeast and develop some with winds at 35-40 kts wrapping south into it's south quadrant producing up to 26 ft seas, but mostly aimed towards Canada and moving fast in that direction, getting little traction on any other route, then pushing into Alaska on Sunday (6/13). Some limited westerly windswell is expected into the Pacific Northwest on Sunday (6/13). All the while high pressure is to hold tight off California continuing the pressure gradient there with 30 kt north winds off Cape Mendocino into early Saturday, then simmering down some and moving north, providing some relief for the Central CA coast. Windswell to continue there. Trades are to also be holding in the 15-20 kts range over Hawaii producing some degree of modest short period east windswell there.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (6/10) building high pressure at 1032 mbs was ridging hard into the coast, producing a solid 20-25 kt northwest flow nearshore and up to 30+ kts offshore. Needless to say this was making for totally chopped conditions everywhere from Pt Conception northward and out over the Channel Islands too. Southern CA was pretty well protected. More of the same is forecast Friday as the high pushes eastward with the focus of the fetch easing towards Cape Mendocino with up to 35 kt northwest winds there and 20-25 kt north winds reaching down to Pt Conception on out over the Channel Islands, but likely sparing Southern CA. Still a mess. Later Saturday (6/12) the gradient is to be fading and lifting more to the north, with local winds improving in Central CA late and a calm pattern if not southerly eddy winds pattern expected by Sunday AM (6/13) from Pt Arena southward. But more high pressure is to be building off the coast and arriving for Monday AM. This time the gradient is to be mainly over the Cape Mendo area with north winds building there to 35 kts holding into early Wednesday (6/16). More windswell likely with some lump in the water, but no locally generated chop. Southern CA is to remain clean throughout the period.
On Thursday (6/10) a split jetstream flow was in control of the South Pacific with the southern branch of the jet ridging solidly to the south and positioned just off the Antarctic coast over the width of the Pacific. A faint hint of a trough is track east from under Australia to a point southeast of New Zealand on Monday (6/14), providing a little window to support gale development, but shutting down 24 hours later and staying closed after that. No support for gale development suggested.
At the oceans surface virtually no fetch of interest was occurring the the Hawaiian or Californian swell windows aimed north enough to produce swell. If anything , fetch was aimed south towards Antarctica. Over the next 72 hours a malformed gale is to try and track northeast up into the Tasman seas with 30-35 kt south winds and producing 26 ft seas targeting Fiji early Friday (6/11). Nothing expected to result for Hawaii though, much less the US West coast. Otherwise no swell producing fetch forecast.
Southwest Pacific Gale
On Thursday AM (6/3) a gale was tracking under Australia pushing into the extreme Southwest Pacific and starting to develop, carrying seas previously generated with it. 45 kt west winds were modeled at 56S 180W with seas of 32 ft at 58S 170E, but with limited if any energy radiating north. Thursday evening (6/3) more 45 kt west winds were modeled at 61S 175W aimed 40 degrees east of the 208 degree path to NCal and totally shadowed by Tahiti and 70 degrees east of the 193 degree path to Hawaii generating seas of 36 ft at 59S 180W. On Friday AM 45 kt west winds were modeled at 60S 160W aimed 40 degrees east of the 200 degree path to California (totally shadowed) and 80 degrees east of the 184 degree path to Hawaii generating seas of 35 ft at 57S 170W. 45 kt west winds lifted a little northeast in the evening at 55S 158W producing seas of 38 ft at 56S 167W pushing 40 degree east of the 203 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) this system raced east with the core becoming fragmented and none of the original fetch remaining. 36 ft seas from previous fetch were fading at 57S 152W all pushing pretty well due east with minimal energy tracking up the 196 degree path to California and effectively unshadowed by Tahiti. Some degree of limited mostly shadowed sideband swell is expected to radiate into California with background swell for Hawaii.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on late on Thurs (6/10) with pure swell 1.6 ft @ 19 secs (3 ft faces). Swell to peak on Friday (6/11) at 2 ft @ 18 secs (3.5 ft faces - top spots to 4 ft) then settling down on Saturday with swell 1.6 ft @ 16 secs (2.6-3.0 ft faces). Residuals of 1.6 ft @ 15 secs (2.5 ft faces) expected on Sunday (6/13). Swell Direction:192 degrees
Southern CA: Expect swell arriving late on Saturday (6/12) at 1.6 ft @ 20 secs (3 ft faces). Swell building to 2.6 ft @ 18 secs (4.5 ft faces) on Sunday (6/13) and possibly 3 ft @ 17 secs on Monday (4.5-5.0 ft faces), fading to 3 ft @ 16 secs (4.5 ft faces) on Tuesday (6/15). Swell down to 3 ft @ 15 secs on Wednesday (chest high faces). Swell Direction: 195-200 degrees
Northern CA: Expect swell arriving on Sunday (6/13) at 2.0 ft @ 18-19 secs (3 ft faces) building to 2.6 ft @ 17 secs (4.5 ft faces) on Monday (6/14) and possibly 3 ft @ 16 secs (4.5 ft faces) on Tuesday (6/15). Swell down to 3 ft @ 15 secs on Wednesday (chest high faces). Swell Direction: 195 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 hrs high pressure is to push closer to North California reaching up to 1040 mbs Monday (6/14) with the pressure gradient regenerating over Cape Mendocino and north winds there reaching 35 kts on Tuesday with seas near 18 ft, then down to 30 kts on Wednesday producing more north windswell. Nearshore conditions to be better with most fetch away from the Central CA coast. With the high pushing east next week, trades to back down some over Hawaii, mostly in the 15-20 kt range with east windswell backing down as well.
MJO/ENSO Update (reference): As of Tuesday (6/8) the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) continued backing off from positive territory. The daily SOI was down to -16.10. The 30 day average was down to 7.57 with the 90 day up to 6.10. This was looking like a weak Active Phase dip embedded in a broader La Nina pattern.
Wind anomalies as of Thursday (6/10) at the 850 mb level (approx 5000 ft up) as defined by models suggested light east anomalies over the West Pacific to the dateline and a bit east of there indicative of the building Inactive Phase of the MJO and neutral/normal winds over the rest of the Pacific. By 6/14 those light east anomalies are to continue pushing east into Central America on into 6/19, then a neutral pattern is to be taking hold of the entire Pacific through the end of the month.
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 (6/3) 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 of 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 strong 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!
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