Saturday, January 6, 2018
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 5.2 ft @ 16.7 secs with swell 2.9 ft @ 17.3 secs from 307 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.1 ft @ 12.8 secs with swell 2.4 ft @ 12.7 secs from 273 degrees. Wind at the buoy was west at 4-6 kts. Water temperature 61.3 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 2.6 ft @ 12.4 secs from 268 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.8 ft @ 13.1 secs from 264 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.3 ft @ 13.1 secs from 240 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.3 ft @ 13.3 secs from 267 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 7.8 ft @ 11.1 secs with swell 4.2 ft @ 13.2 secs from 276 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 10-12 kts. Water temp 56.7 degs.
See Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (bottom of the page)
Swell Classification Guidelines
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/Utility Class: 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.
Surf Heights for Hawaii should be consider 'Hawaiian Scale' if period exceeds 14 secs.
On Saturday (1/6) in North and Central CA raw swell from the Dateline-Western Gulf was still hitting producing waves in the 2 ft overhead range with clean surface conditions early but with a distinctive windswell quality to it. Protected breaks were head high on the sets and clean. At Santa Cruz surf was shoulder to maybe head high on the sets and reasonably clean but with lump running through it. In Southern California up north surf was decent with head high sets and lined up and clean. In North Orange Co surf was waist to chest high on the sets and clean. South Orange Country's best breaks were waist to chest high and clean but with some sideshore lump running through it. In San Diego surf was waist to chest high and mostly closed out but clean. Hawaii's North Shore was getting residual Dateline-West Gulf swell with waves head high on the sets and clean and lined up. The South Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was getting northeast windswell at waist high and chopped from moderate east-northeast wind.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Saturday (1/6) swell from a gale that formed Sun-Mon (1/1) lifting from west of the Dateline up into the Northern Gulf producing 30-32 ft seas aimed east was fading in California and moreso in Hawaii. Another gale followed directly behind positioned further south off Japan and tracking to the dateline Tues-Fri (1/5) with 33 ft seas initially fading to 22 ft later aimed east. Another stronger system to follow tracking northeast over the Dateline Sun-Mon (1/8) with up to 48 ft seas aimed east with remnants Tues (1/9) fading from 36 ft on the Northern Dateline aimed east. And yet another system is to form in the North Dateline region Wed-Thurs (1/11) with 45 ft seas falling southeast with secondary energy reinforcing it Fri-Sat (1/13) producing 47 ft seas in the Western Gulf aimed east. A stronger storm pattern looks possible.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Saturday AM (1/6) the jetstream was pushing solidly east off Japan with winds to 190 kts and starting to form trough just east of there then fading to 150 kts over the dateline lifting gently northeast and moving inland over British Columbia and consolidated over the width of the Pacific, the first time this season it has held together over that entire area. A backdoor trough was pushing southwest off North California supporting some sort of upper low off the coast there. Over the next 72 hours the trough off Japan is to build and track east peaking over the dateline on Mon (1/8) with 160 kt winds feeding it from Japan the whole way into the Western Gulf and offering good support for gale development, then ridging north to nearly the Eastern Aleutians before falling southeast into a newly developing but steep trough in the Eastern Gulf also supportive of gale development. The Dateline trough is to fade on Tues (1/9) while the East Gulf trough moves inland over Central CA. Beyond 72 hours wind energy is again to start building over and off Japan on Thurs (1/11) with 200 kt winds ridging over the dateline falling into a developing but somewhat steep trough in the Western Gulf providing some support for gale development with the jet again starting to show signs of splitting at 155W with remnant energy pushing into the Pacific Northwest while the southern branch tries to rebuild pushing weakly just west over Hawaii and heading east from there. The West Gulf trough is to hold 900 nmiles north of Hawaii Fri-Sat (1/13) again providing decent support for gale development while east of there the jet is somewhat muddled generally tracking northeast and up into British Columbia. In all a favorable pattern is projected.
On Saturday (1/6) residual swell from a gale that developed over the dateline pushing northeast was all but gone in Hawaii and was fading in Northern CA (See Dateline Gale below). Swell from another gale was pushing east poised to hit Hawaii (see Another Dateline Gale below).
Over the next 72 hours another gale was starting to form off Japan Sat AM (1/6) producing 40 kt northwest winds over a small area and tracking east. On Sat PM the gale is to build to storm status with 60 kt west winds building and seas building from 37 ft at 36N 164E. On Sun AM (1/7) northwest winds to be 55-60 kts over a tiny area aimed southeast while the storm lifts northeast with seas 40 ft over a small area approaching the dateline at 38N 173E. The storm is to track northeast in the evening with winds still 55-60 kts over a solid area with 46 ft seas at 43N 179E aimed east. On Mon AM (1/8) the storm is to continue tracking northeast and over the North Dateline region with 50+ kt west winds and seas building to 48 ft at 46N 176W aimed east at the US West Coast. In the evening the gale is to be moving into over the Central Aleutians with 40-45 kt west winds over a decent area south of the Central Aleutians with 39 ft seas fading free and clear just south of the Aleutians at 49N 170W. Secondary fetch is to be developing from 45 kts from the northwest Tues AM (1/9) with seas 33 ft over a modest area south of the Central Aleutians at 48N 177W aimed east. Fetch is to be fading from 40 kts in the evening tracking east with seas fading from 33 ft at 48N 175W. This system is to be gone from there. Something to monitor with potential for another long run of swell resulting mainly aimed east.
A gale developed in association with the broad trough over the dateline Sun AM (12/31) with 40 kt northwest winds over a small area on the dateline and 25 ft seas at 35N 177E aimed east. In the evening winds built to 45 kts from the west over a small area with seas building to 33 ft at 39N 170W. On Monday AM (1/1) the gale was lifting northeast in the Western Gulf with 45 kt west winds generating a moderate area of 31 ft seas at 45N 158W. In the evening winds are held while tracking northeast at 45 kts over a small area in the Northern Gulf aimed northeast with 31 ft seas holding at 52N 152W. This system was fading Tues AM (1/2) in the Northern Gulf with winds fading from 40 kts and seas 32 ft up at 57N 150W impacting Alaska directly. Swell is radiating east with sideband energy towards Hawaii and more direct but distant energy towards California.
North CA: Swell continues Sat (1/6) fading from 5.0 ft @ 12-13 secs (6.0 ft) with windswell intermixed. Swell dropping out on Sun (1/7) from 4.3 ft @ 11 secs (4.5-5.0 ft). Swell Direction: 295 degrees.
Another Dateline Gale
Another gale developed off Japan on Tues AM (1/2) with 40 kts northwest winds and seas building from 28 ft aimed east at 37N 156E. In the evening 40 kt west fetch was tracking east with seas building to 32 ft over a small area at 37N 162E aimed east. The gale is to start building in coverage west of the dateline Wed AM (1/3) with additional 40 kts west winds and seas building to 33 ft at 38N 168E targeting Hawaii well. The gale started to fragment in the evening while lifting northeast with west winds 35-40 kts in a pocket south of the core and seas building to 30 ft there at 35N 172E. On Thurs AM (1/4) the core of the gale was over the North Dateline region while fetch lagged well south of there on the dateline at 35 kts from the southwest and west with seas fading from 28 ft at at 32N 175E. 35 kt west winds were pushing northeast in the evening with 27 ft seas at 38N 177W targeting Hawaii and the US West Coast. Fri AM (12/5) the gale was fading well to the north over and north of the Eastern Aleutians with winds 30-35 kts south of there over the North Dateline region with seas from the original fetch fading from 24 ft at 40N 174W targeting Hawaii and the US West Coast. The gale was solely over the North Dateline region Fri PM with west winds 30-35 kts from the west with 23 ft seas just south of the Aleutians at 49N 178W aimed east. Fetch was fading from 30-35 kts from the west Sat AM (1/6) over the North Dateline region with 22-24 ft seas at 50N 175W. The gale is to be gone from there. A long run of swell looks possible mainly for the US West Coast.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Sat (1/6) building to 5.2 ft @ 16 secs later (8.5 ft). Swell fading Sun AM (1/7) from 4.6 ft @ 14-15 secs (6.5 ft). Residuals on Mon AM (1/8) fading from 3.0 ft @ 13 secs (4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 308 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival on Mon (1/8) building to 5.9 ft @ 15-16 secs later (9.0 ft). Swell to hold Tues (1/9) at 6.5 ft @ 14 secs (9.0 ft) but with much local windswell intermixed and combined seas to 10.5 ft @ 14 secs. Swell fading Wed (1/10) from 5.0 ft @ 14 secs (7.0 ft).
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest were being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Saturday AM (1/6) weak high pressure was trying to build into the SF Bay Area with north winds 10 kts over outer waters early but less nearshore and expected to hold in the afternoon over all of North and Central CA. Light rain was indicated in Central CA near sunrise. Light snow for Tahoe and the Southern Sierra early. 4 inches reported at Squaw Valley above 7500 ft. Sunday (1/7) northeast winds are expected at 10 kts for North and Central CA early fading later. Monday high pressure moves east and fades with a new low pressure system building off the US and BC coasts with southeast winds 5-10 kts early for all of North and Central CA building to 25 kts later with rain building into the coast from Orange County northward to Cape Mendocino focused on the SF Bay Area. Snow for the highest peaks in the Southern Sierra in the afternoon then down to near lake level after midnight. Tuesday (1/9) the core of the low is to be just off San Francisco falling southeast with winds north 10 kts for North and Central CA but building to near 30 kts for Southern CA late afternoon. Solid rain for Southern CA east and lighter rain up to Cape Mendocino early and nearly clearing late afternoon north of Morro Bay but still raining south of there. Heavy snow possible for the Southern Sierra fading out overnight. 25-31 inches of accumulation for best locations and 8-9 inches for most of Tahoe. Wednesday north winds forecast at 20 kts early for San Francisco south to Pt Conception and 10 kts north of there. No rain forecast. Thurs (1/11) north winds fading from 15 kts early for Central CA while another low pushes into British Columbia. No rain forecast except for north Cape Mendocino. Friday north-northeast winds forecast at 10 kts for all of North and Central CA fading to calm for Saturday (1/13).
No swell producing winds of interest were occurring.
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are 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 perhaps another gale is to develop off the North Kuril Islands on Tues PM (1/9) producing a developing fetch of 40 kt west winds aimed east with seas building. On Wed AM (1/10) 45-50 kt west winds to be getting traction mid-way to the dateline with 34 ft seas developing over a small area at 46N 167E. By Wed PM (1/10) 50 kt west winds to be building over a broad area just west of the dateline with a smallish area of up to 44 ft seas at 44N 175E aimed east. Thurs AM (1/11) 45-50 kt northwest winds are to be straddling the dateline with 47 ft seas at 44N 177W falling southeast. In the evening 40 kt northwest winds to be fading in the Western Gulf aimed east with 42-43 ft seas at 40N 170W targeting both Hawaii (sideband energy) and the US West Coast. Something to monitor.
A secondary fetch of 40-45 kt northwest winds to develop in the same area Fri AM (1/12) just east of the dateline with seas rebuilding from 33 ft over a solid area at 40N 163W. 40-45 kt west winds to pushing into the Gulf in the evening with 34 ft seas at 40N 167W. Sat AM (1/13) fetch is to be fading from 35 kts from the northwest with seas fading from 28 ft at 41N 159W. More swell generation possible.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather system nor fetch is forecast.
More details to follow...
Inactive MJO Still in Control
The Madden Julian Oscillation is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equator it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slackening if not an outright reversing trade winds while enhancing precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the planet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases in the Pacific help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. Wind anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) are key for understanding what Phase the MJO is in over the Pacific. The KWGA is located on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south (or on the equator from New Guinea east to the dateline). West wind anomalies in the KWGA suggest the Active Phase of the MJO in the Pacific, and east anomalies suggests the Inactive Phase. In turn the Active Phase strengthens and the Inactive Phase weakens the jetstream, which in turn enhances or dampens storm production respectively in the Pacific.The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for MJO activity (which directly relate to the potential for swell production).
Overview: La Nina started developing in early 2016, but westward displaced and generally weak. And by March 2017, it was gone with suspicious warming developing along South America and over the Galapagos to a point south of Hawaii. By May the atmosphere returned to a neutral configuration but then in July east anomalies started building in the KWGA and have not stopped, with cold water upwelling over the the Nino1.2 and 3.4 areas, indicative of La Nina. So it appears now a double dip La Nina is setting up and is to continue through the Winter and Spring of 2017-2018.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Fri (1/5) 5 day average winds were from the east over the entire equatorial Pacific including the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were neutral over the East Pacific but moderate easterly over the entire KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (1/6) Moderate to strong east anomalies were modeled over the entire KWGA. This pattern is to amplify hold over the next 3 days with strong east anomalies expected over the core of the KWGA holding through 1/9, then starting to move east reaching the dateline/Eastern KWGA at the end of the model run on 1/13. The Inactive Phase of the MJO looks to be building per this model.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: These have not updated since 1/31 when a moderate Inactive/Dry Phase was over the West Pacific. The statistical model depicts the Inactive/Dry Phase slowly easing east and pushing to the dateline over the 15 day run while weakening. The dynamic model depicts a variation on the same theme, but with the Inactive Phase building stronger over the next 15 days.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (1/1) These have not updated since 1/1. At that time the ECMF model depicted the Active Phase of the MJO modest in strength over the Indian Ocean and is to continue slowly easing east through the Indian Ocean 15 days out. The GEFS model suggests the same thing but with it stronger.
40 day Upper Level Model: (1/6) This model depicts a moderate Inactive/Dry MJO pattern over the West Pacific and its to slowly ease east into Central America 1/23. A weak Active/Wet Phase is to follow in the West Pacific on 1/16 pushing east and moving into Central America on 2/10. Another pulse of the Inactive Phase is to follow in the west on 2/5 pushing east to the Central Pacific through the end of the model run on 2/15. This model runs about 1 week ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (1/6) This model depicts a well formed Inactive/Dry pattern over the KWGA with east anomalies in control of the entire KWGA. The Inactive Phase of the MJO is to build over the dateline peaking 1/12 and holding through 1/16 with east anomalies over the entire KWGA then retreating on 1/20. On 1/15 the Active/Wet Phase is to start building over the West Pacific getting decent positioning by 1/22 with west anomalies over the Western KWGA and then building east with weak west anomalies filling the western half of the KWGA through 1/25 then building solidly and holding through 2/17. A weak Inactive Phase is to follow in the West KWGA on 2/17 holding through the end of the model run on 4/4 but west anomalies holding weakly in the KWGA. The low pass filter indicates a modest low pressure bias over the western half of the KWGA to 165E and is hold till 2/15, then start moving east reaching the dateline 3/10 with a high pressure bias over the East KWGA at 175E and is to move east and out of the KWGA by 3/3/18. Even so, no significant oceanic change is expected as it will take 3 months for the ocean to respond to what occurs in the atmosphere, providing the change is consistent and permanent.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (1/6) The overview pattern is that warm water has retreated to the west and cooler water is in control in the east. Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 29-30 degs in the far West Pacific at 160E. The 28 deg isotherm line is steady at 180W and steep (meaning there is a headwind of cooler water pushing into it from the east). The 24 deg isotherm was weak and retreated to 135W and shallow at 50 meters deep at 140W. Anomaly wise it is clear that in the East Pacific warm water gone and instead modestly negative temperatures are at the surface and down to -3 degs C down but down only 50 meters at 110W with far less cool waters filling the area between Central America to 180W indicative of La Nina. Warm anomalies are in the West Pacific at +3.0 degrees down 150 meters and appear to be making some easterly headway with the dividing line between cool and warm temps at 135W down 150 meters. Maybe a Kelvin Wave is developing from the Active Phase of the MJO/WWB that ran 12/15-12/27. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 12/29 depicts a large area of cool water filling the subsurface East Pacific (-2.5 degs) but not as cool as the past months and erupting to the surface almost continuously between Ecuador to 170W with warm anomalies at +4 degs in the west. The cool pool appears to be slowly discharging to the surface and loosing density and depth while warm water appears to be pushing east at up to +4.0 at 175E and the leading edge at 140W.
Sea Level Anomalies: (12/29) Negative anomalies are in control at -5 cms over the entire equatorial East Pacific with a core of -10 cm anomalies present between the Galapagos to 155W with no breaks and 1 small pocket to -15 cms.
Surface Water Temps: The more warm water in the equatorial East Pacific means more storm production in the North Pacific during winter months (roughly speaking). Cold water in that area has a dampening effect. Regardless of what the atmospheric models and surface winds suggest, actual water temperatures are a ground-truth indicator of what is occurring in the ocean. All data is from blended infrared and microwave sensors.
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4: (1/5) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a cool pattern remains in control. Upwelling is fading nearshore along Peru and Ecuador with weak warm anomalies shallow near the coast of Chile and Southern Peru. Stronger cool anomalies are tracking west on the equator from the Galapagos out to 140W with a reasonably well defined cool pool evidenced over the entire region. No warm anomalies are indicated within 3+ degs north or south of the equator over the entire region.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (1/5): A warming trend continues along Chile and Peru, and in some pockets on the equator from the Galapagos out to 140W. There was a equal number of pockets of cooling water interspersed over the same area. A warming trend was developing.
Hi-res Overview: (1/5) Regardless of the short term warming trend indicated above, a clear La Nina cool stream is present starting off Southern Chile and up the coast of Peru and Ecuador then building in coverage and intensity over the Galapagos pushing west and peaking near 120W, then slowly fading out to 180W. Cool water at depth is erupting to the surface with the breach point near the Galapagos. There is no sign of warm anomalies in the Nino 1.2 or Nino 3.4 regions. A mature La Nina has evolved.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/6) Today's temps were falling slightly at -1.847 degrees. Temps in this area bottomed out on 12/23 at -2.1 degs, a third near peak negative reading. The lowest point so far in this La Nina was -2.248 degs reached on 11/5. And that low point was lower than the previous coldest point reached on 10/11 at -1.9 degs.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/4) Today temps were rising slightly at -1.171 after reaching another record peak on 1/5 at -1.225 degs. On (12/7) temps hit a previous record low at -1.219, just below the previous coldest peak so far this La Nina on 11/22 at -1.156. And the third previous low peak was reached at -1.1 on 11/23. The long arc suggests a solidifying cold pattern. La Nina is in control.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (1/4) The forecast depicts temps bottomed out at -0.80 in early Dec and are to hover at -0.60 degs through Feb. A weak upward trend is to follow with temps reaching -0.5 in April and -0.35 degs in June and holding there. This suggests the peak of La Nina has occurred and it is to be fading into the summer of 2018.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Dec Plume updated (1/4) depicts temps bottomed out at -0.8 in early Dec and are to slowly rise, to +0.0 in May and +0.3 in August. See chart here - link The NMME consensus for Dec average indicates temps -0.9 degrees below normal Nov-Dec 2018 then rebounding to -0.5 in May and normal by July. It looks like La Nina is peaking out now. The CFSv2 is in the low end of that pack.
Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (1/6): The daily index was falling at -16.76 today. The 30 day average was falling at -4.83. The 90 day average was falling at +4.61. This suggests La Nina is in control.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (1/6) The index was rising at -0.96. The trend suggests La Nina is steadily loosing its grip. Last years La Nina reached -1.94 on 11/2/16 and then fell to -2.20 on 6/28/17. It held pretty negative after that but has been rising some as of late. This index is a forerunner of what happens in the ocean by 2-3 months in developing El Nino and La Nina events. The goal is to have it rise to at least -0.5 before a significant change could be suggested.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO is weakly negative, but not as much as one would expect with La Nina in play.
Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.10, Feb = +0.04, March = +0.12, April=+0.52, May=+0.30, June=+0.19, July= -0.50, Aug= -0.68, Sept = -0.28, Oct= -0.60, Nov = -0.52, Dec= -0.18. This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO, even with La Nina, because the warm PDO appears to be dampening the effects of La Nina. No consistently negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington EDU index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.77, Feb = +0.70, Mar = +0.74, April=+1.12, May=+0.88, June=+0.79, July=+0.10, Aug=0.09, Sept = 0.32, Oct=0.05. No negative readings have occurred since Dec 2013
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive ever since (other than a few months of negative readings in Fall 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina). Looking at the long term record, it is premature to conclude that we have in-fact turned from the negative phase (La Nina 'like') to the positive phase (El Nino 'like'), but the data strongly suggests that could be a possibility. By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.
See imagery in the ENSO Powertool
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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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table