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 Saturday (12/13) North/Central California had head high blown out building northwest local windswell. Southern California was flat with best spots to thigh high with clean conditions. Hawaii's North Shore was still getting swell from that cutoff low that was over the dateline, but size was dropping off fast with waves about head high to 1 ft overhead and clean. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was getting trade induced east windswell pushing thigh to waist high.
For Central California the last sizeable swell for a long while is expected in on Sunday (12/14) coming from a very northerly angle, but it's expected to be mostly just pure windswell generated by a local gale over the Oregon coast. Size to push double overhead. Southern CA did not get hardly any of that swell expected in on Friday, with the northerly angle being an issue. Exposed breaks are possibly, and we underline the word 'possibly', to get a smidgeon of surf from the northerly windswell expected pushing down the coast Sunday, mostly later in the day. But after that nothing of interest is projected. The North Shore of Hawaii is to see minimal leftovers from the dateline swell Sunday into Monday but fading all the while and generally small with nothing else expected until next weekend. The South Shore of Hawaii is not expecting any surf. The East Shore to maybe see a little windswell on Sunday (12/14) thanks to the trades, but then fading some though not out and holding through the week.
Longer term the only hope for surf for the West Coast is fading leftovers from Sundays windswell that is to be associated with the interaction of low pressure inland falling south on Sat-Sun (12/14) and high pressure in the Gulf generating north winds and maybe up to 12-13 sec period energy, dropping steadily into the flat zone by late Wednesday (12/17). For Hawaii the last energy from that dateline gale is to fade out on Monday (12/15) with nothing directly behind it. The models suggest another very similar gale is to wind up on late Wednesday (12/17) in the exact same location generating up to 28 ft seas on Thursday aimed decently at the Islands. Possible decent swell to result by the weekend if this comes to pass, but that's a reach at this early date.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Saturday (12/13) the North Pacific jetstream was pushing solidly off Japan with winds 140 kts, but then splitting midway to the dateline with the northern branch pushing hard north into the Bering Sea and beyond while the southern branch flowed basically flat to the east then falling into a steep short trough just northwest of Hawaii. The southern branch then tracked hard north and almost joined forces with the northern branch over Alaska, with the joined forced of the two dropping south along the Canadian coast reaching into North CA and forming a weak trough there. The little trough northwest of Hawaii and the trough over the US West Coast both had potential to support weak gale development. Over the next 72 hours this exact same pattern is to hold with the steep cutoff trough remaining west of Hawaii while the trough pushing down the US West Coast builds a little and moves a bit further off the coast, offering a little support for more gale development there. Beyond 72 hours more of the sale is forecast with the dateline trough looking much more energized with up to 150 kt winds flowing into it Thurs/Fri (12/19) then and more energy pushing into the trough over the US West Coast, maybe tracking yet further off the coast. Some support for gale development expected from both troughs. But the split flow is to remain, with much energy shearing off the flow tracking over the North Pacific and pushing well north of even the Bering Sea. Until the jet consolidates, not serious storm formation should be expected. The split is likely attributable to the turn towards the Inactive Phase of the MJO, so no immediate relief is suggested until we move back toward the Active Phase (25 days out).
At the surface today high pressure was in control, with one at 1046 mbs sitting over Alaska ridging south to a point midway between Hawaii and California totally choking off the storm corridor there. A second high at 1016 mbs was over the dateline and east of Japan. A weak cutoff low was in between the two highs tracking north and of no effect. A new gale had built off Vancouver Island Friday evening (12/12), really a gradient created by the interaction of the 1040 mbs high off the PAcific Northwest and a 996 mbs low over Washington generating up to 45 kt north winds and dropping south over the Pacific Northwest. Over the next 72 hours this gale to continue dropping south with 40-45 kt north winds Saturday AM at 45N 130W and seas building to 26 ft at the same place, then fading in the evening with winds dropping from 30 kts at the same locale and 27 ft seas forecast at 43N 127W, just off the South Oregon coast. By Sunday (12/14) residual 30 kts fetch to be holding off Vancouver Island with 20 ft seas pushing into the North California coast likely generating large and raw windswell. Swell of 10.5 ft @ 13 secs is expected pushing into the San Francisco area Sunday morning with surf in the 12 ft (faces) from 310+ degrees.
Residual 20-25 kt north winds forecast in this area till late Monday (12/15) likely offering more junky windswell for the Pacific Northwest pushing south into exposed breaks in Central California.
No other swell producing fetch is forecast.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
On Saturday (12/13) high pressure at 1046 mbs was over Alaska ridging south through the Gulf of Alaska while low pressure at 996 mbs was over Washington generating a pressure gradient and north winds at 30 kts pushing over outer waters just off Cape Mendocino with 25 kts winds down to Monterey Bay. This is to hold into Saturday evening then the wind pattern is to break some for Sunday with winds less than 15 kts and holding theoretically into Monday and Tuesday, though some degree of northerly winds at 10 kts or greater seems likely nearshore over Central CA during this window with 15-20 kt west winds forecast for Southern CA Monday. Regardless, by Wednesday another bout of north winds looks likely as new local gradient pushes south over Central CA, calming Thursday. Then south winds are possible Friday building into Saturday for Central CA, though Southern CA to remain protected.
No tropical activity of interest was occurring.
At the oceans surface no swell producing fetch was occurring aimed at US targets. Over the next 72 hours no change 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 hours a secondary fetch of 25 kt north winds is forecast falling further south off Oregon down into California Tuesday (12/16) generating 16 ft seas and maybe some windswell for the CA coast.
But of more interest is the expected development of another gale over the dateline on Wednesday (12/17) in a cutoff trough there with pressure 1000 mbs and 40 kt north winds aimed towards the open waters of the South Pacific passing west of Hawaii. This fetch is to build on Thursday with 45 kt winds and 28 ft seas at 40N 177E forecast taking aim more towards Hawaii. The gale to start fading on Friday with 35 kt northwest winds forecast at 37N 175E generating more 20-22 ft seas targeting Hawaii well down the 315 degree path before fading out late in the day. Some degree of decent 13-15 sec period swell could result for the Islands if all this comes to pass.
MJO/ENSO Update (reference): As of Saturday (12/13) the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) was moving into the Inactive Phase. The Daily SOI index was 7.68. The 30 day average was holding at 14.62 and the 90 day average was steady at 13.38. This remains symptomatic of La Nina. Winds anomalies at the surface and the 850 mb level (approx 1000 ft up) indicated east winds over a small area in the tropical Eastern Pacific with west winds associated with the end of the Active Phase fading fast from Java east to the Philippines. These winds area expected continue fading into Dec 22 with an absolutely neutral pattern taking hold after that and in control through 1/1/2009. No support or hindrance to the storm pattern is suggested meaning we're moving into an MJO neutral phase (or likely the Inactive Phase).
No swell producing fetch forecast for the next 7 days.
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
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Ride-On: See the new Curt Myers/Eric Nelson Big Wave surf movie Thursday 12/11 at 460 Capistrano Road, Princeton by the Sea. http://.powerlinesproductions.blogspot.com
Surfrider General Public Meeting: Thursday, December 11, 2008 7:00 PM. Join everyone for an evening with big wave surfer and local legend Dr. Mark Renneker. He will speak on Ocean Beach changes and answer your questions. Pedro Point Fire House (Map/Address)
1227 Danmann Ave, Pacifica
Swell #2 Mavericks Videos from Powerlines Productions: Check out the action on both Saturday and Sunday (11/30) from that massive swell of 12-13 ft @ 25 secs. Filmed by Curt Myers and Eric Nelson. Really thick! See this and more plus the movie Ride-On 12/11 at the Old Princeton Landing or the Red Vic Moviehouse in San Francisco 12/19-23. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tA57cIBkA0o & http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37SCR9kDm60
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
Help Out a Fellow Mavericks Surfer: Our friend Christy Davis is going through some tough times. His 14 year old daughter was recently diagnosed with leukemia and she is currently undergoing chemotherapy. The prognosis is good but we'd all like to help him out with medical expenses not covered by insurance and a new Mav's gun. Randy Cone has offered to provide the board, we just need to get the funds together. If you would like to donate, send an email to us here or talk to Randy directly.
Pictures from Swell #1 - The first real significant class swell of the season produced a bit of action at Mavericks. See pictures here http://www.mavsurfer.com
Big Surf Up North - the First swell of the Fall 2008/2009 season brought a few large raw waves to the North CA Coast. Check out the details here: http://www.towsurfer.com/default.asp
The Kelly Slater Project - A group of dedicated surfers from Cocoa Beach are working to construct a statue of the the home town legend and set it up for all to enjoy near the break where Kelly grew up surfing. Take a look at the statue and read all about it here: http://www.thekellyslaterproject.com/
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).
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.
Mavericks Contest 2008: View all the action from the 2008 Maverick Surf Contest from Powelines Productions here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9o5lj9CUpCc
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