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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: January 27, 2008 6:06 PM
Buoys: Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Buoy Forecast:
Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Pacific Links:  Atmospheric Models - Buoy Data - Current Weather - Wave Models
Forecast Archives: Enter Here
A chronology of recent Mavericks Underground forecasts. Once you enter, just click on the HTML file forecast you want to review (e.g. 073199.html equals July 31, 1999). To view the maps that correspond to that forecast date, select the html file labeled 073199 maps.html
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Swell Potential Rating = 4.2 - California & 3.5 - Hawaii
Using the 'Winter' Scale
(See Swell Category Table link at bottom of page)
Probability for presence of largest swells in near-shore waters of NCal, SCal or Hawaii.    
Issued for Week of Monday 1/28 thru Sun 2/4
Swell Potential Rating Categories
5 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Significant swell
4 = Good probability for 1-2 days of Significant swell
3 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Intermediate/Advanced swell
2 = Good probability for  1-2 days of
Intermediate/Advanced swell
1 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Impulse or Windswell
0 = Low probability for 1-2 days of Impulse or Windswell   

Japan Swell for Hawaii
Windswell for a While on the West Coast - Better Hope Longterm


New Swell Classification Guidelines

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 Sunday (1/27) Northern CA surf was head high to a few feet overhead, but all was pure windswell and looking very disorganized and hacked by wind. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were up to head high but blown out. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was pushing head high with south winds in control. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was up to shoulder high at the better breaks and wind blown. The LA Area southward to Orange County was chest high or a little more with south winds. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were chest high and junked out. The North Shore of Oahu was up to 2 ft overhead and reasonably clean conditions. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was building fast nearly double overhead.

North/Central California was getting just very south angled windswell off the low pressure that has been hanging off the coast for a week now, buried in chop too. Southern California was getting south angled locally generated windswell from low pressure off the coast. Hawaii's North Shore was getting some wrap-around swell coming from the northeast, associated with the low that was off California. The East Shore was getting the brunt of the northeast swell with sizeable surf impacting the coast. The South Shore was seasonally flat with no swell. For the foreseeable future the .cgiit jetstream flow that has been dominating the weather pattern is expected to continue in control. On minor change is that the .cgiit is to become a little less energetic, opening up a slightly larger area in the northern Gulf of Alaska down into the Pacific Northwest and enabling weather systems to track in that region, possibly setting up some swell for California from a rather northerly angle. Hawaii to start getting some more energy originating from just west of the dateline too. So in all the pattern is getting marginally better, but nothing great. See details below...


Current marine weather and wave analysis.cgius forecast conditions for the next 72 hours

North Pacific

Sundays jetstream charts (1/27) for the North Pacific continued depicting a fully .cgiit jetstream with the .cgiit point on the dateline. Winds were very moderate at 140 kts pushing over Japan, with the northern branch tracking due north from the .cgiit point over the Aleutians up into Alaska, then dropping hard south just off the Canadian coast pushing inland over Central CA. The southern branch passed just south of Hawaii then northeast into Baja, somewhat joining the northern flow there. Only the area just off Kamchatka held any potential for serious gale development, with minor potential over the Pacific Northwest coast. Over the next 72 hours the same overall pattern is to hold though the northern branch of the jet is to stop tracking up into Alaska and is instead to travel just south of the Aleutians and then down into the Pacific Northwest, opening up a small area of gale development at the surface in the Northern Gulf of Alaska. This is better than what was the configuration days before. Beyond 72 hours the situation is to remain more of less the same, but the .cgiit is to become a little more energetic by the weekend (2/2) with the northern branch again rising up into Alaska and shutting the Gulf down leaving on the the area west of the dateline open for business.

At the surface today high pressure at 1028 mbs was positioned 900 nmiles north of Hawaii ridging north to nearly Alaska and south over the Hawaiian Islands, generating brisk trades from the east-northeast there. Otherwise the ill defined remnants of low pressure that has been hanging for a week off California was positioned just 100 nmiles off the coast of San Francisco was getting ready to move inland. A moderate pressure gradient between the low and high pressure above Hawaii was generating a broad area of north winds at 25-30 kts aimed not at the CA coast, but into open ocean. No other systems of interest were in.cgiay. Over the next 72 hours another very local and weak low to build off the Pacific Northwest and Canada generating 30-40 kt northwest winds focused on Oregon late Monday into late Tuesday and likely generating some form of windswell for that area down into North California through Wednesday with swell up to 9 ft @ 11-12 secs (9 ft faces) from 305-310 degrees.

Then on Tuesday (1/29) a new storm is forecast to develop in the Gulf of Alaska originating from a low that was passing over the dateline. By evening 55-60 kts winds are forecast over a small area at 48N 163W aimed right at North CA up the 305 degree path and 2100 nmiles out. 29 ft seas are forecast at 49N 167W. 55 kt winds to hold into Wednesday AM (1/30) at 49N 158W aimed at NCal up the 307 degree path. 42 ft seas are modeled at 49N 158W. By evening a small area of 50 kts winds are still forecast at 48N 150W aimed down the 308 degree path to NCal. UP to 44 ft seas are forecast at 48N 150W. Thursday AM (1/31) a small area of residual 45 kts wind are forecast at 45N140W aimed like before with seas fading from 43 ft at 46N 142W. Winds and seas to be fading out late. Possible large swell from a north angle forecast for the North CA coast late in the weekend holding into the weekend if all this.cgiays out at forecast. No energy expected to reach the Hawaiian Islands from this one.


Northeast Shore Swell (Hawaii)
Also on Thursday (1/24) the gradient/gale off Canada was falling south generating 30-35 kt north winds with seas to 20 ft late. That fetch to make it to a point about 600 nmiles off Cape Mendocino CA late Thursday and hold there with winds still 30 kts into Friday and seas to 26 ft late near 35N 138W. Actually fetch is to turn offshore relative to California but take aim directly on Hawaii producing 26 ft seas heading almost in that direction, offering the hope for northeast swell for northeast facing beaches. Hawaii to get swell pushing 12 ft @ 12 secs late Sunday (1/27) with 12 ft faces maybe at exposed northeast facing breaks from 40-50 degrees fading fast Monday and buried in local tradewind induced windswell.


Kamchatka Gale
On Thursday (1/24) a low off Japan built with a broad fetch of 40-45 kt winds and 29 ft seas developing at 36N 153E in it's southwest quadrant aimed a bit south of any great circle path to Hawaii. That fetch hung-on Friday off Japan with winds holding in the 40 kt range aimed better at the Islands, but making zero forward progress eastward and instead drifting north. Up to 37 ft seas were modeled mid-day at 38N 162E. 35 kt winds faded on Saturday off the Kuril Islands as the low drifted well north into the Bering Sea and becoming landlocked, with seas in the 30-36 ft range but aimed pretty well north of any route to Hawaii, but decently towards the US West coast, then gone on Sunday. Good potential for long period advanced class swell to start trickling into Hawaii late Monday (1/28) peaking at 7 ft @ 16 secs (10-11 ft faces) early Tuesday (1/29) from305 degrees. Maybe even some well decayed inconsistent energy to push into the US West Coast late on Wed (1/30) peaking Thursday (1/31) at 4.7 ft @ 16-17 secs (7-8 ft faces) from 300 degrees.


North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height


California Offshore Forecast
As of Sunday (1/27) the last pieces of low pressure that have been lingering off the coast were pushing inland, weaker than expected. South winds are expected to give way to brisk northwesterly winds Monday (1/28) in the 20-25 kt range as the low moves inland and high pressure builds in behind, pushing well into Southern CA resulting in a mess for all locations. A bit of a break on Tuesday AM forecast with light winds early all locations, the more strong northwest winds forecast late starting in North CA and working their way into Southern CA by Wednesday AM again at 20+ kts as high pressure builds in behind another weak front. A brief break is forecast early Thursday before the next front slams into North CA late with south winds taking over followed by more northwest winds pushing into Southern CA Friday (2/1). An yet another is forecast behind that Sat/Sun (2/3) pushing into Southern CA. So the short story is more rain and wind over the entire state, with 1/2 day breaks in between. Time your sessions accordingly.


No tropical systems of interest were being tracked.


South Pacific

Another system formed southeast of New Zealand on Wednesday (1/23) tracking east into Friday and generating 29 ft seas Thursday through Friday starting near 57S 160W and moving to 50S 130W aimed mostly towards Central America. Possible swell for Southern CA if this materializes as currently modeled starting Tues (1/29) with swell 2 ft @ 16 secs (3 ft faces) fading to 2 ft @ 14-15 secs Wednesday. Swell Direction: 190 degrees.


South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height




Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hrs another storm is to be developing just west of the dateline Wednesday AM (1/30) with 50 kt winds forecast at 40N 165E aimed right at Hawaii up the 310 degree path. In the evening winds to build to 55 kts at 43N 175E aimed 20 degree east of the 319 degree path to Hawaii and almost right up the 297 degree path to North CA (302 SCal). a small area of 35 ft seas forecast at 42N 173E. This system to be fading Thursday AM (1/31) with 45-50 kts winds on the dateline at 45N 180W aimed due east of 40 degrees east of the 319 degree path to Hawaii but right up the 297 degree path to North CA (302 SCal). Seas building to 39 ft at 43N 178E. This one to be gone by evening. 38 ft seas to be fading from 47N 175W. If this comes to pass some form of moderate longer period swell could be expected arriving along north facing shore of the Hawaiian Islands late Saturday (2/2) holding into early Sunday from 315 degrees or so.

Yet another smaller storm is forecast east of the dateline.Thursday and Friday (2/1) generating a short blast of 50 kts winds over a small area aimed best at Hawaii generating up to 30 ft seas.

And yet a bigger storm is forecast developing off Japan Sunday (2/3) with winds building to 60 kts targeting Hawaii well but from a rather long distance away. .


South Pacific

No swell producing systems of interst are 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

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Local Interest

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:

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:

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 Submit online at

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.

Stormsurf Google Gadget - Want Stormsurf content on your Google Homepage? It's si.cgie and free. If you have Google set as your default Internet E.cgiorer 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! .xml

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