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 Thursday (6/26) Northern CA surf was head high and a little more, foggy and gray with onshore texture. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were knee high and clean. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was chest to head high and heavily textured. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was near flat and reasonably clean. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high with a few bigger sets and 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 waist high with a few chest high sets and clean. The East Shore was near flat.
North/Central California continued receiving unremarkable locally generated short period northwest windswell. Southern California was getting a little wrap around northwest windswell action and maybe a hint of southern hemi swell mixed in at the best exposed breaks. Hawaii's North Shore was flat for the summer. The South Shore continued receiving more small background south hemi background swell. The East Shore was essentially flat.
For Central California, northwest windswell to be fading steadily Friday and even less Saturday as a decent pulse of southern hemi swell starts to build underneath, peaking Sunday then trailing off slowly Monday and Tuesday. Southern CA to see the exact same pattern only with smaller windswell, and with the southern hemi swell starting to be noticeable near sunset Friday. In the Islands small background southern hemi swell to to continue for the next week in the waist to chest high range. Tradewind generated east windswell to pulse a little on Tuesday (7/1) then start retreating 24 hours later. No swell producing storms forecast for the exposed South Pacific for the next week. 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 though a consolidated flow was pushing through the Gulf of Alaska with a bit of a trough on it and winds to 120 kts, but expected to move inland over Canada by the weekend with no fetch of interest expected. Another similar trough is forecast for the dateline-Gulf region Tues-Thurs of next week too, likely driving by the active phase of the MJO.
At the surface today moderate high pressure at 1028 mbs remained centered 700 nmiles west of Monterey Bay ridging into the Pacific Northwest and trailing off to the west over the dateline. It was serving to generate increased northerly winds along the Northern California coast at 25 kts over Cape Mendocino generating short period windswell for Central CA and light trades were over the Hawaiian Islands having no swell producing impact. Over the next 72 hours the high off the coast is to retrograde and dissolve with winds off Cape Mendocino gone by late Friday (6/27) and windswell fading with it. Trades to slacked over the Hawaiian Islands by later Saturday too. No swell producing systems forecast.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (6/26) high pressure at 1028 mbs was just 650 nmiles off the Central California coast and generating north winds at 25 kts from Monterey Bay up to Cape Mendocino but pulling away from the coast. . This pattern is to hold into Friday but with the high ridging more onshore and the wind vector off Northern CA turning more to the west, with windswell fading and local windswell turning calmer. By Saturday the high pressure center is to be gone with winds calm everywhere along the California coast and staying that way at least till Monday, then rebuilding slightly with north winds limited to the Pt Conception area on Tuesday (7/1) pushing 30 kts Wed and blowing into Southern CA. Chop likely there but calm up north.
No tropical systems of interest were being monitored.
On Thursday (6/26) a split jetstream pattern was in control of the entire South Pacific with a ridge pushing the southern branch well into Antarctica southeast of New Zealand and staying there almost the width of the Ross Ice Shelf. No support for surface level storm development. Over the next 72 hours the energy of the southward push is to relax with the southern branch flowing flat west to eat on the 70S latitude, totally icebound over the Ross Ice Shelf. Beyond 72 hrs more reinforcing ridges are to build in the same area under New Zealand, though not as extreme as the current one, but suppressing storm development potential just the same for the next 7 days.
At the oceans surface high pressure at 1016 mbs was in control over the Central South Pacific forcing the storm track decidedly to the south and over Antarctica. No swell producing fetch of interest was present in the California swell window. Over the next 72 hours that high is to drift east almost out of the picture, but a new high is to build directly southeast of New Zealand reinforcing the existing pattern driving everything on a southward tact towards Antarctica and offering no support for swell development.
A broad and fairly vigorous gale pushed east of Tasmania Sunday/Monday (6/23) directing 45 kt winds and 32 ft seas (47S 152E Sun PM) and 35 ft seas (45S 158E Mon AM) north into the Tasman Sea aimed at Fiji, then dissipated after impacting New Zealand.
A second smaller but stronger fetch of 55-60 kts winds pushed under Tasmania Tuesday (6/24) sending 37 ft seas (48N 150E Tues PM) and 35 ft seas (45S 160E Wed AM) more towards New Zealand though some energy will undoubtedly push north towards Fiji. But it too faded before reaching the South Pacific offering no potential to our forecast area. In all, Hawaii might see some limited background energy from the Tasman Sea after is gets filtered by the reefs off Fiji.
On Thursday (6/26) one more strong system was pushing under Tasmania with 42 ft seas at 50S 142E but fading, with 36 ft seas forecast by evening at 46S 152E then pushing up into the Tasman Sea on Friday (6/27) with residual 35-40 kts winds aimed directly at Fiji producing 30 ft seas pushing to just west of Northwestern New Zealand Saturday AM. Looks like good swell for Fiji by Monday (6/30) Pacific Time (Tues Fiji time).
South Pacific Storm
On Wednesday PM (6/18) a small 956 storm developed just north of the Ross Ice Shelf on the dateline tracking due east with winds confirmed at 50-55 kts aimed east about 30 degrees east of any route to California and 80 degrees east of any route to Hawaii. Seas were on the increase. By Thursday AM (6/19) winds were confirmed at 45-50 kts aimed a bit north of due east or 30 degrees off the 196 degree path to California and unobstructed from Tahiti. Seas were modeled at 32 ft at 60S 170W but the Jason-1 satellite made a pass over the southern quadrant of this system at 15Z and reported seas at 37.1 ft with a peak reading to 40.7 ft at 60.6S 164W actually doing better than what the models suggested. The fetch tracked east through the day and held if not built slightly by evening with winds at 50 kts at 56S 145W aimed well up the 192 degree path to California (outside the HI swell window). Seas were modeled at 35 ft at 60S 152W. By Friday AM (6/20) the fetch was fading fast from 35-40 kts but seas from the evenings winds were modeled at 36 ft 55S 140W. Seas faded out quickly after that.
Limited background sideband swell is likely pushing north towards Hawaii from early in this storms life. Fetch and seas from Thursday into Friday AM (6/20) were pushing well up the great circle paths to California likely having a more direct impact here. Solid utility class swell expected.
Background sideband swell to reach Hawaii on Thursday (6/27) with swell to 1.6 ft @ 16-17 secs (2.5 ft faces). Swell pushing 2 ft @ 16 secs (3 ft faces - 4 ft sets) on Friday fading to 1.6 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.5 ft faces) Saturday (6/29). Swell Direction: 185 degrees
Swell to push into California starting Friday (6/27) at 2 PM with period 20 secs but size tiny though slowly building. Decent sized energy to start hitting late Saturday (6/28) afternoon with pure swell 2.3 ft @ 18 secs late (4 ft faces). Swell to peak at 2.3-2.8 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.0-4.8 ft faces with top spots to 6 ft) first light Sunday in SCal and later in the morning in NCal. Swell Direction 192-195 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 hours high pressure to try and make a reappearance north of Hawaii and into Southern California by Thursday (7/3) but offering only local winds off Pt Conception and the Islands with no distance behind it and no windswell generation potential.
MJO/ENSO Update: As of Thursday (6/26) the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) remain barely in the active phase. A small area of anomalous west 850 mb winds were straddling the dateline and pushing east, pretty weakly. The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) started hovering in the slightly negative range (-2 to -8 ) on 6/11 then backed off a little holding near 0 through 6/20, then dropped to the -24 to -27 range on 6/21 and has been at -17 and -19 and now to -9 today. The 30 and 90 day averages sit right on 0, meaning a long term neutral trend. This current active phase of the MJO has peaked and is fading, expected to be gone by 7/5. This should serve to help wipe out the remnants of La Nina, though slower to change water temperature anomalies still persist.
Beyond 72 hrs no change is forecast with all fetch reaching the South Pacific taking the southward dive and producing no fetch aimed northeast towards Hawaii or the US mainland.
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!
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table