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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: January 29, 2009 9:21 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
Swell Potential Rating = 2.0 - California & 1.5 - 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 1/26 thru Sun 2/1
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   

Models Suggest Building Gale Pattern
A Bit of Flatness Till Then


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 (1/29) North and Central California had surf in the waist to maybe chest high range on the biggest sets and pretty weak and shifty, mostly just local windswell. Local conditions were good though with offshore winds. Southern California was getting thigh high wrap around northerly windswell at select breaks and mostly unrideable.  At least the wind was offshore. Hawaii's North Shore had some chest high windswell pushing into select breaks with almost trades trying to keep thing clean though a defined lumps was still present.  The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was getting head high.cgius northeast windswell.

For Central California more of the same is forecast for the next 3 days, basically just windswell but with a little more size by Sunday but also more local north winds too. Certainly nothing to get excited about. Southern California is to fair even worse with basically no rideable swell forecast through the weekend other than some small north windswell pushing into Santa Barbara County on Sunday, but with cleaner conditions. The North Shore of Hawaii to be effectively flat by Friday and holding there through the weekend into early Monday with no swell expected. The South Shore of Hawaii is not expecting any surf. The East Shore remains forecast to see some small to moderate northeasterly windswell slowly fading Friday through Monday and the only real hope for surf in the Islands for the time being.  

Longer term the models continue to dish out images of hope, though none of that is even close to being realized just yet.  They're just images dreamed up by the one-bit mind of a super computer.  First up is a small gale forecast forming in the northeastern Gulf of Alaska late Friday (1/30) with the core nearly inland over Alaska generating 35 kt west winds and up to 25 ft seas targeting Central Canada, with sideband energy pushing south down the 319 degree path to exposed breaks in Central CA with luck. Another better positioned gale is forecast forming over the northern dateline region on Sat (1/31) generating up to 40 kt winds and 28 ft seas tracking southeast and decaying to the 25 ft range late Monday as it falls south of any great circle paths to the South and Central CA coasts, likely providing hope for sizable utility class raw swell for the state  if this comes to pass. A glancing blow of sideband northerly swell also seems likely for the Islands starting late Monday.  And finally a broad gale remains forecast building off Northern Japan Saturday (1/31) pushing northeast and peaking quickly with up to 50-55 kt winds and 45 ft seas pushing east towards Hawaii and the US West Coast, but breaking up as it hit's the dateline by Wednesday. In all 2 good possibilities for swell are indicated for the Islands and California, with the Pacific Northwest benefiting best from the first of the series. 


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

North Pacific

On Thursday (1/29) the North Pacific jetstream had a weak and fragmented (but not .cgiit) flow easing off Japan pushing east over the dateline to a point north of Hawaii, then .cgiit with the northern branch ridging hard north into Alaska the southern branch headed southeast over Hawaii then turning east on into Baja. The weakest imaginable trough was trying to organize over  the northwestern Gulf of Alaska bound for Canada. Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (2/1) the Gulf trough is to push east and dissipate before moving into Canada early Saturday offering minimal support for gale development there. Meanwhile a new broad trough is to form on the dateline Saturday following the same route through the Gulf on Monday (2/2) but with up to 160 kt winds feeding into it from the west affording a better chance for surface level gale development. This trough is to get too steep and pinched of  by late Monday, ending it's productivity. Beyond 72 hrs yet another trough is forecast forming off Kamchatka Sunday (2/1) pushing east and expanding it's area of influence early next week but with only 130 kt winds flowing through it. Some support for gale development possible. The .cgiit flow is to continue in the east supporting high pressure down at the surface, but the .cgiit point is to steadily push east moving to within 600 nmiles of Central/South CA then onshore by Thursday (2/5) as a big trough sets up over the Pacific Northwest coast, possibly offering up a wetter pattern for a while down into California. 

At the surface today high pressure at 1036 mbs was situated just off Oregon and ridging into the coast there forming the usual summer-like pressure gradient over Cape Mendocino with 25 kt north winds there and generating weak short period windswell pushing south into exposed breaks in Central CA. A second high at 1028 mbs was almost north of Hawaii.  And yet a third at 1032 mbs was just east of Japan.  in short, the North Pacific was locked down in high pressure. Over the next 72 hours a new weak gale is forecast to build in the Northern Gulf on Friday  (1/30) with up to 35 kt west winds pushing seas to 25 ft at 52N 142W (319 degree relative to Central CA) late with limited odds for 13 sec period sideband swell pushing towards the US West Coast. This gale to continue east into early Saturday with westerly winds holding at 35 kts and seas building to 26 ft at 55N 135W, increasing odds for 13-14 sec period swell for the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia. The gale is to push on into North Canada by mid-Saturday (1/31). Limited odds for small north angled swell pushing south to breaks north of Pt Conception early Monday (2/2) assuming this system forms, but most focus is to be on the Pacific Northwest up into British Columbia.


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


California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (1/29) high pressure at 1038 mbs was just off the Oregon coast easing into the  Great Basin and forming a short lived pressure gradient off Cape Mendocino with north winds there to 25+ kts, though offshore winds were evidenced south of there. By Friday that high is to be inland with a new weaker high starting to build off San Francisco at 1030 mbs, perhaps turning local winds a little more to the north, but still light (10 kts at worst) while low pressure pushes into Canada. Reinforcing high pressure to join the existing high off Central CA on Saturday with pressure up to 1034 mbs and north winds building to 15 kts a bit off the coast and moving east while pushing south to Pt Conception by sunset. This high is to be ridging into Oregon on Sunday with 15 kt north winds forecast over all of North and Central CA nearshore waters. Fortunately that even t to be short lived with the high moving inland on Monday (2/2) and offshore east winds in control then over the entire state. But all the while low pressure is to be moving into the area, with south winds in control by Tuesday everywhere but Southern CA, and even moving there by Wednesday, Thursday into Friday as the low nudges up to the coast.  Rain possible starting Thursday for the entire state, though snow levels likely to be high as this is to be a warm core system.  

No tropical activity of interest was occurring.


South Pacific

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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a new gale is modeled developing on the dateline late Friday (1/30) with winds at 40-45 kts over a tiny area at 46N 180W and seas to 26 ft late at 46N 175W, dropping southeast. Additional energy is to become assimilated into this system from the west Saturday with 40-45 kt northwest winds and seas building to 26 ft at 43N 175W late. The low to continue dropping southeast with 35-40 kt northwest winds Sunday AM (2/1) and seas 28 ft then starting to decay in the evening with with 25 ft seas at 35N 163W. Monday AM 35-40 kt northwest winds are forecast at 40N 155W with 26-27 ft seas at the same.cgiace, all aimed southeast towards Mexico.  Fetch is to continue pushing to the southeast near 30 kts but aimed even more to the south on Tuesday with seas to 23 ft.  Possible moderate 14-15 sec period swell pushing towards the US West Coast with some sideband energy dropping into Hawaii by as early as late Monday (2/2) but most size on Tuesday.

Yet anther system, this time a storm, is forecast building off Japan Saturday (1/31) though no fetch is to be aimed at either Hawaii or the US West Coast, instead all to the south. But by  Sunday AM (2/1) 40 kt west wind are to be getting hold of the oceans surface targeting Hawaii and building up to 55 kts by the evening at 45N 158E taking aim well to the west at  Hawaii though a long ways away. On Monday 50 kt west winds to persist through the day with the fetch starting to track to the east and seas building from 39 ft in the AM at 44N 162E, tracking east and building to 45 ft in the evening at 45N 169E, traveling right up the 300 degree path to Central CA and 20 degrees east of the 319 degree path to Hawaii.  Tuesday AM 40-45 kt west winds are to be steadily decaying with seas fading from 43 ft in the AM at 45N 175E (same heading as before) decaying to 39 ft in the evening straddling the dateline. This system to dissipate after that. Perhaps some decent hope for both Hawaii and California from this one with inconsistent energy pushing into the mainland and better size for the Islands due to their proximity but coming from a less direct path. And again, this is just a projection from the models.  


MJO/ENSO Update (reference): As of Thursday (1/29) the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) was fully in the a neutral state. The Daily SOI index was up to 15.69 having hovered near 0 for 21 days. The 30 day average was down to 7.42 and the 90 day average was up a tick to 11.98. La Nina was still well dug-in, with the MJO trying to make headway against it. Wind anomalies at the surface and the 850 mb level (approx 1000 ft up) indicated a completely normal wind pattern over the equatorial Pacific, suggestive that the MJO was in a neutral state.  That is not unexpected.  But what is more interesting is that the Inactive Phase, which was to be be building, remains non-existent on forecast projections.  The Inactive Phase was to be reaching the dateline on 2/1 pushing east from there, but is nowhere to be seen. this is good news. We had expected most of February to be a write-off due to the impending Inactive Phase taking control of the North Pacific, but perhaps something else is at hand. Will continue monitoring.  


South Pacific

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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Local Interest

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:

Help Out a Fellow Mavericks Surfer: Our friend Christy Davis is going through some tough times. His 14 year old daughter has been 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. If you would like to donate, send an email to us here or send it to Christy directly at: Chris Davis PO Box 628 Moss Beach, CA 94038

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.cgius the movie Ride-On 12/11 at the Old Princeton Landing or the Red Vic Moviehouse in San Francisco 12/19-23. &

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:

Pictures from Swell #1 - The first real significant class swell of the season produced a bit of action at Mavericks. See pictures here

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:

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:

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 exa.cgies 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:

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:

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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Read all the latest news and happenings on our News Page here

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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