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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: January 30, 2008 12:01 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   

Gulf Storm Track Heating Up
Pattern to Continue for a While


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 Tuesday (1/29) Northern CA surf was head high to a few feet overhead and poorly organized with chop on top. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest to head high and pretty blown. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was head high to 2 ft overhead and chopped. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was waist to chest high at the better breaks and windy. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high or a little more with moderate texture. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks waist to chest high and not too junky. The North Shore of Oahu was up to 2-4 ft overhead and reasonably clean. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was head high to 1 ft overhead and windy.

North/Central California was getting northerly unorganized locally generated windswell. Southern California was getting northerly windswell wrapping around from Pt Conception. Hawaii's North Shore was getting some swell originating off Japan mixed with local windswell, but not looking too inspiring. The East Shore was getting northeast windswell but messy. The South Shore was seasonally flat. An interesting pattern is forecast for the coming week, assuming the models are correct. A series of strong gales with a few intermixed storms are to generally track from the dateline northeast up into the Northern Gulf, then dropping southeast pushing into the Pacific Northwest. The net result is to be much swell energy pushing towards the US West Coast, though mostly bypassing Hawaii due to the swell vector on the dateline systems pushing well to the northeast. At the same time weather associated with these systems is to be pushing down the Pacific coast, providing periods of rain and wind followed by a calm spot before the next one moves in. So it will be a cat and mouse game between the swell and the weather. At least there will be swell. See details below...


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

North Pacific

Tuesdays jetstream charts (1/29) for the North Pacific continued depicting a fully .cgiit jetstream with the .cgiit point now back west of the dateline near 170E. Winds were up a little pushing 170 kts over Japan, with the northern branch tracking northeast from the .cgiit point but remaining south of the Aleutians moving up into the Gulf of Alaska, then dropping southeast and inland into the Pacific Northwest. The southern branch passed just south of Hawaii then east into Baja, somewhat joining the northern flow there. The area just off Kamchatka held limited potential for gale development as did a gap just off the Canadian Coast. Over the next 72 hours the same overall pattern is to hold with winds in the northern branch occasionally reaching 150 kts, offering a bit more energy to support gale development focused mainly on the northern Gulf region. 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 for a spell, then dropping back south again by Tuesday (2/5) with the .cgiit point moving east to near 170W. The movement of the .cgiit point and the oscillation of the jet up and down relative to Alaska will likely have an influence on the size and strength of high pressure situated between the .cgiit flows in the Eastern Gulf.

At the surface today high pressure at 1032 mbs was positioned 750 nmiles north of Hawaii ridging north towards Alaska but not making it, and south over the Hawaiian Islands, generating brisk trades from the east-northeast there. It was not reaching the US West Coast. Low pressure at 988 mbs was just off the North Canada coast sinking southeast and generating a pressure gradient with the high to the west producing 45 kt northwest winds on the very edge of the NCal swell window and focused better on the Pacific Northwest. Seas were 29 ft expected to build to 30 ft by evening at 49N 137W barely squeaking swell into the 319 degree path relative to NCal. Swell from this system expected to reach down into North California late Wednesday near sunset peaking at 9 ft @ 15 secs (13 ft faces at exposed breaks) at sunrise Thursday (1/31) from 320 degrees.


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) from 305 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.


Possible Storm #15 (updated Wednesday mid-day)
On Tuesday AM (1/29) a new storm built in the Gulf of Alaska originating from a low that had previously passed over the dateline. Pressure was 988 mbs with 50 to near 60 kt winds confirmed over a tiny area at 48N 168W aimed due east or right up the 303 degree path to NCal (308 SCal) and totally bypassing Hawaii. Seas were on the increase. By evening 60 kts winds were confirmed solid over a small area at 50N 159W aimed due east or right at North CA up the 308 degree path and 1700 nmiles out. 30 ft seas were modeled at 49N 165W.

50 kt winds were confirmed Wednesday AM (1/30) at 49N 150W aimed due east or 10 degrees east if the 308 degree path to NCal (313 SCal). 38 ft seas were modeled at 50N 158W. By evening a moderate area of 45-50 kt winds are still forecast at 47N 145W sinking southeast and aimed down the 303 degree path to NCal. Up to 39 ft seas are forecast at 48N 147W.

Thursday AM (1/31) a small area of residual 40-45 kts wind are forecast at 45N 135W aimed like before with seas fading from 39 ft back at 46N 140W. Winds to be fading out late with seas from previous fetch fading from 32 ft at 44N 133W..

This is to be a nice little compact system but holding together well for about 60 hours with all energy focused well at North CA with peripheral energy expected as far south at Pt Conception and northward up into Washington. Virtual fetch is expected to come into.cgiay too adding consistency and size in the 17 sec period band. Possible large significant class swell from a north angle forecast for the North CA coast and areas north and south of there, but well shadowed in the vicinity if the Farallon Islands. Swell arrival expected mid-Friday holding into Saturday (2/2). No energy expected to reach the Hawaiian Islands from this one.

North CA: Expect swell arrival at mid AM Friday (2/1) with period 20-22 secs and size ramping up very fast. Swell to start peaking between mid to late afternoon with pure swell 11-12 ft @ 17-18 secs (19-22 ft faces) with imbedded longer period energy. Swell in shadowed areas (behind the Farallon Islands and Cordell Bank) to only be 7-8 ft at 17-18 secs (12-14 ft faces). Peak consistency to hit just before sunset attributable to virtual fetch in the 17 sec band. Swell Direction: 305-310 degrees


Possible Dateline Storm
Another storm is to be developing just west of the dateline Wednesday AM (1/30) with 50-55 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 30 ft seas forecast at 42N 173E. This system to be holding while tracking north just west of the dateline Thursday AM (1/31) with 50 kts winds at 47N 175E aimed due east or 40 degrees east of the 322 degree path to Hawaii but right up the 302 degree path to North CA (307 SCal). Seas building to 33 ft at 45N 175E. This one to be gone by evening. 35 ft seas to be fading from 50N 180W and moving into the Aleutians. If this comes to pass some form of small longer period swell could be expected arriving along north facing shores of the Hawaiian Islands late Saturday (2/2) holding into early Sunday from 315 degrees or so. Maybe a little bit of swell for NCal Monday AM (2/4) from 302-307 degrees. Nothing expected for SCal.


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


California Offshore Forecast
As of Tuesday (1/29) more southerly winds and rain were building in as the next front associated with a low off Canada was tracking south. Brisk northwest winds are forecast early Wednesday in North CA fading fast but holding strong in Southern CA again at 20+ kts as high pressure builds in behind the weak front. A brief break is forecast early Thursday before the next front limps into North CA late with south winds taking over followed by a weak northwest flow pushing over the state Friday (2/1) into Saturday, but not too bad. High pressure to get a better hold Sunday into Monday (2/4) with northwest winds in the 10-15 kt range forecast all locations. Offshore's finally expected by Tuesday.


No tropical systems of interest were being tracked.


South Pacific

A 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 yet another small storm is forecast in the Western Gulf of Alaska Sunday (2/3) generating 45 kt winds late over a thin area aimed marginally at Hawaii and better at the US East Coast. 29 ft seas in the evening forecast at 45N 165W. By Monday (2/4) pressure to be 984 mbs with 50 kts winds over a moderate area at 51N 158W aimed due east or right down the 309 degree path to NCal and mostly out of the SCal swell window. 32 ft seas forecast at 50N 157W. 45 kt winds to hold into the evening at 52N 152W aimed at NCal up the 312 degree path. 36 ft seas forecast at 53N 151W. Winds fading fast on Tuesday (2/5) with 32 ft seas fading at 51N 145W. If this develops some form of long period north angled swell is possible mainly for Central-North CA by Friday (2/8).

And yet a bigger storm is forecast developing off Japan late Sunday (2/3) with a broad area of winds building to 55-60 kts targeting Hawaii well Monday (2/4) while tracking northeast. Seas building to 36 ft at 43N 173E, then going stationary just south of the Aleutians and just west of the dateline near 48N 170W Tuesday (2/5) with winds still 55 kts and seas building to 48 ft, but from a rather long distance away and rather northerly relative to even North CA. none of this larger energy to target Hawaii, bypassing it while traveling east.


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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