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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: February 1, 2007 9:25 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 = 3.8 - California & 5.0 - 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 1/29 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 Utility swell
2 = Good probability for  1-2 days of Utility swell
1 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Impulse or Windswell
0 = Low probability for 1-2 days of Impulse or Windswell   

Swell Heading Down in California
A Little More Wind for Hawaii


On Thursday (2/1) Northern CA surf was head high with a moderate onshore wind. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest to head high with sets 1 ft overhead and reasonably clean. Central California surf was chest to head high with 1 ft overhead sets too. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were waist to maybe chest high at the best spots. The LA Area southward to Orange County was chest to shoulder high on the sets. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were chest high at the best breaks on the sets. The North Shore of Oahu was 9-10 ft on the face and still a mess. The South Shore was waist high. The East Shore was maybe waist high.

North California was getting some swell from what was Storm #13 north of Hawaii days earlier, though nothing outstanding. Southern California was getting a bit of energy from what was Storm #13, providing something rideable but not much more. Hawaii remained in a funk with Kona winds and lumpy residuals from storms earlier in the week just north of the Islands. One more gale is currently falling southeast towards Hawaii from over the dateline and likely making for more windblown swell for the weekend, but with little of that fetch aimed towards California. Residual energy from Storm #13 to continue filtering into California early in the weekend, then things to really settle down with not much swell forecast. Looking further out a series of rather moderate storms are modeled to develop in the far West Pacific starting this weekend tracking east to southeast over the dateline, then fading fast. The net result is to be moderate swell pushing east, with the first system targeting the mainland best but a long ways away, and the second targeting Hawaii better. With each run of the models these system change some, but it's seems likely some form of moderate swell to result mid to late next week for both Hawaii and California. But until then, a rather lax swell pattern forecast. See details below..



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

North Pacific

Thursdays jetstream charts (2/1) depicted a solid flow of wind energy to 200 kts pushing off southern Japan ridging slightly over the dateline then losing a little punch down to 170 kts while dipping gently southeast to a point just 300 nmiles north of Kauai. The jet actually held together a little further east making it to 145W, then .cgiit hard with the southern branch diving south towards the equator while the northern branch headed straight north through the core of the Gulf of Alaska over the eastern Aleutians on into Alaska. The best potential for surface level storm development was from the dateline tracking east towards Hawaii. Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (2/4) the same pattern is forecast but shifting slight more to the east through the period and feeding into a steep trough developing north of Hawaii on Friday, tracking a bit more to the east Saturday before pinching off Sunday. There's some support for surface level gale development in this trough and also back over the dateline, but nothing out of the ordinary. Beyond 72 hours the jet to really settle down and start taking a more flat track off Japan pushing straight east to a point north of Hawaii and a bit east still from there with winds dropping to 140 kts late Tuesday (2/6) and continuing there through at least Thursday. So thing are looking weaker. Of not, the big high pressure ridge that has been sitting over the US West Coast and Canada appears set to break down with the northern branch of the jet forecast to start pushing east into Oregon late next week. Even a weak trough looks to be setting up in the core of the Gulf of Alaska, a major positive change over the .cgiit pattern the past 4+ weeks. this could possible open the Aleutian Storm corridor into the Gulf.

At the surface today high pressure at 1020 mbs was centered off Central California and connected to another high at 1028 mbs over northern Canada, continuing the weather blockade into the US and British Columbia. Generic low pressure at 972 mbs was in the Western Gulf of Alaska tracking north towards the Bering Sea. A patch of 30-35 kt winds were pushing southeast from the dateline towards Hawaii and getting a little traction on the oceans surface generating 18-20 ft seas, the only swell producing fetch of real interest in the North Pacific today. Over the next 72 hours this fetch to continue tracking southeast towards Hawaii, impacting the Islands Saturday (2/3) and pushing 20-22 ft seas into northwest facing shores. But conditions to be bad upon it's arrival with the fetch sitting nearly over the Islands, continuing the string of onshore wind there. Swell expected in the 14 ft @ 12-13 sec range (15-17 ft faces).

Of more interest is the expected development of low pressure at 972 mbs off the Kuril Islands on Saturday (2/3) pushing towards the dateline with a broad fetch of 40-45 kts winds targeting the US West Coast and Hawaii. But it's to be fading by early Sunday as it crosses the dateline with winds dropping from 35 kts. Seas modeled at 30-32 ft generally on the 40N line ending at the dateline. Some form of moderate 17-18 sec period swell is possible for Hawaii and the US west coast mid to late week assuming this system develops as modeled, but no indication of significant class potential at this time.


Storm #13 (Hawaii)
On Saturday AM (1/27) a new non-close isobar low was on the dateline producing 35 kt winds and 25 ft seas aimed directly at Hawaii from 35N 178E down the 310 degree great circle path. It built in the evening with pressure to 988 mbs and winds up to 40-45 kts at 32N 172W aimed as before with seas to 28 ft just behind.

Sunday AM this low was essentially unchanged repositioned at 32N 160W or a mere 600 nmiles north of Hawaii with 35-40 kt winds aimed well at North California up the 270 degree path (275 SCal) and seas 29 ft just behind while a new fetch developed over the dateline, the product of low pressure formally off Japan. Sunday night the first fetch was all but gone with a tiny area of 35 kts winds and 27 ft seas remaining at 34N 152W aimed like before. Regarding the second fetch, on Sunday morning it had pressure of 996 mbs with winds 45 kts over a small area at 35N 172E aimed right at Hawaii down the 303 degree great circle path. In the evening winds built rather fast to near 50 kts and over a solid area at 32N 178W again aimed right at the Islands down the 300 degree path and 40 degrees south of the 280 degree path to Ncal (285 SCal). 27 ft seas were modeled at 32N 180W.

On Monday AM the low faded with pressure 980 mbs centered due north of the Islands with 45 kt winds at 27N 165W about 400 nmiles northwest of Oahu aimed right at there down the 315 degree path. Seas to 32 ft at 28N 170W. Very close indeed! By Monday PM the low swang north fast with most of it's fetch moving into the storms east quadrant aimed north as well towards Alaska. 29 ft seas were modeled at 27N 160W and pushing to within 300 nmiles of Hawaii. Some of this energy was trying to push towards California, but only fleeting while residual fetch continued aimed at Hawaii but not getting good tractions on the oceans surface.

On Tuesday (1/30) this storm was all but gone, becoming absorbed in a large and broad circulation over the Western Gulf of Alaska spraying a large area of generic 25-30 kt winds towards Hawaii and California. Seas from the main fetch at 25 ft at 34N 155W targeting California up the 270 degree path.

The fetch in the Gulf is to retrograde to the dateline into Thursday (2/1) with winds 35 kts over a broad area targeting both California up the 300-305 degree path and Hawaii up the 320 degree path. Seas 20 ft through Friday morning then fading out.

California: This system has developed weaker than previously forecast. No chance for significant class swell to result along the US west coast. Moderate utility class swell most likely and only at exposed breaks Thursday and Friday (2/2). Consult QuikCAST's for details.


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


California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (2/1) high pressure at 1034 mbs was over interior British Columbia secondary high pressure at 1022 mbs ridging out over the Pacific from the coast there southward off California down into Baja. A weak northwest flow was modeled over outer California waters on into the coast. By Saturday the high off the CA coast is expected to start pushing inland and winds are to weaken even more to a near-calm state holding there into Monday (2/5). Of interest is weak low pressure, the residuals of a gale forecast to push over Hawaii this coming weekend (2/4), that's to take root off South and Central CA and start pushing very close to the coast by Tuesday/Wednesday, likely setting up light south to southeast winds from Pt Conception northward through the rest of the workweek. With the changes forecast in the jetstream aloft, it is not unreasonable that a wetter pattern might become established long term.


South Pacific

t the surface and through the next 72 hours there were no indications of any swell producing fetch in the South Pacific.


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 another system, this one a storm, is expected to develop late Sunday (2/4) off Northern Japan pushing on a track just south of due east. Winds initially forecast to 50-55 kts over a small to moderate area targeting Hawaii as it tracks up to the dateline early Monday. But again a quick fade is forecast Monday as it tracks over the dateline with winds down to 40 kts still targeting the Islands. Seas forecast at 33-36 ft before this one reaches the dateline, then fading. But there's also indication this system could regenerate some as it lifts north into the Gulf of Alaska on Wednesday with 40 kts winds targeting areas a bit east of Hawaii and up into California later in the day. Seas rebuilding to 25-27 ft, but that's a a bit of a reach.

Yet another gale is forecast pushing off the Kuril's next Wednesday (2/7) generating 40-45 kts winds aimed best at Hawaii and a bit south of any track to the US mainland and a very long ways away. It to stall there Friday (2/9) generating 32 ft seas, again providing some utility class potential for both Hawaii and California.

But in all the pattern is weak, with no well defined significant class storms modeled.

The Madden Julian Oscillation remains weakly active. SOI values dipping to the -28 range late last week, then rose to -15 over the weekend and are now in the positive range and of no interest (+20). Very weak trade wind anomalies remain over the dateline to 160W (south of Hawaii), and are modeled to slowly fade there through Feb 15. This provides a light sprinkling of hope for fueling storm development, but it's effects to date have been very moderate to date and no significant change from that status is expected.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is indicated.

Details to follow...

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Local Interest

Surf Comics: If you like surf comics take a look at this little gem. A new comic weekly with a nice archive. See it here:

High Noon and Low Tide: Eric Nelson has remastered this epic Mavericks documentary covering a week of giant surf leading up to that fateful day of 12/23/94 when we lost Mark Foo. See all the footage with archived and recent interviews of all the best riders including Grant Washburn, Doc Renneker, Evan Slater, Peter Mel and more. This is a must-have piece for any serious Maverick collection. Available at local surfshops. Will be coming to an on-line store shortly.

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New Precipitation Models: Over the holidays we focused on expanding our coverage of precipitation models, and now provide high resolution coverage of all US coastal locations. You can now tell whether it will be raining when the surf is pumping, or better yet, know whether it will be snowing in the higher elevations (West Coast). Take a look here:

Weather Model Problem: The past few days the 12Z run of the GFS model has been corrupted when posted on government servers, resulting in our graphic output looking like psychedelic gibberish. This is not a Stormsurf problem and we are switching over to backup servers that are operating normally to capture the data. We have reported the problem to NOAA. This problem has been confirmed by other server users as well. We apologize for the inconvenience. Update: The problem has been fixed. Service has returned to normal as of 11/25/06.

Jason-1 Satellite Problem: On Oct 31 the Jason-1 satellite automatically went into safe-hold mode. This is triggered when sensors on the satellite detect an anomaly that suggests the satellite is in danger. It goes into a type of hibernation to protect it's sensitive instruments. JPL has been working on the issue and was able to restore the satellite to normal operations at 8:30 PM on Friday 11/17. No new data is available yet, but as soon as it is we'll be publishing it over the wave models images as usual here:
Note: The first bit of fresh data was posted on 11/29/06 and we're processing it right now.

New Book: Inside Mavericks - Portrait of a Monster Wave: Ace photographer Doug Acton, cinematographer Grant Washburn and San Francisco Chronicle writer Bruce Jenkins have teamed up to present an insiders view of Mavericks. Read all the first hand accounts from Peter Mel, Ken 'Skin Dog' Collins, Grant Washburn, Mark Renniker and the rest of the gang as they describe the game of surfing one of the largest waves in the world, fully illustrated with the hauntingly artistic images from Doug Acton, long-time Mavericks lensman. There's even a section featuring Stormsurf! Get your autographed copy here:

Towsurfers & Paddle-in Surfers - Participate in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement: The draft EIR for the new Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary management.cgian has been released. Public comment will be accepted until January 7, 2007. The link provided has all of the information that is pertinent to anyone wishing to participate in the crafting of the new regulations. It cannot emphasize enough the importance of making your comments part of the public record as such comments will be used to re evaluate the proposed regulations before inclusion into the final EIR. This will be the public's last and best chance to shape regulations in our Monterey Bay. If you are passionate about what you do, direct that passion into active participation in this process.

Stormsurf Iceberg Breakup Analysis/Decide for Yourself: There been some debate concerning the facts around the breakup of Iceberg B15A. Here's a short exercise that helps to drive out the facts around the research:

Stormsurf Supports Antarctic Iceberg Breakup Study: CNN is reporting the story of a storm in the Gulf of Alaska in Fall of 2005 that contributed to the breakup of Antarctic Iceberg B15A. We all know that South Pacific storms produce swells that provide surf for California in the summer, but has anyone considered the i.cgiications of what monster winter storms in the North Pacific do to the South Pacific? That is the subject of a research paper by professor Doug MacAyeal from the University of Chicago. He and his team traveled to Antarctica and instrumented a series of icebergs with seismometers to see if they could understand what causes icebergs to break up, and their findings are insightful. And best of all, Stormsurf contributed data in support of their research (and received authorship credits to boot). This is a great exa.cgie of how the science of surfing interacts with other pure science disc.cgiines. All the details are available in this months edition of 'Geophysical Research Letters' and the synopsis is available here:

New Stormsurf Local Wave Models: Nine months in development and testing, Stormsurf is proud to announce the release of our upgraded local wave models. More locations, more fidelity, more variables imaged including sea height, swell period, wind speed & direction, and wave height.cgius the older style composite images of surf height and wind all updated 4 times daily. Check them out 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

Free Stormsurf Stickers - Get your free stickers! - More details Here

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

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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