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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: February 28, 2008 8:52 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 = 4.0 - California & 3.0 - 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 2/25 thru Sun 3/2
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   

Moderate Gale Activity Over Dateline
Jetstream To Rebuild 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 Thursday (2/28) Northern CA surf was 1.5 times overhead and a bit lumpy. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were head high to 2 ft overhead and clean. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was 1-3 ft overhead and onshore mid-day. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was waist to chest high and reasonably clean early. The LA Area southward to Orange County was chest high and textured. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were chest high and warbled. The North Shore of Oahu was double overhead and clean. The South Shore was up to waist high and clean. The East Shore was thigh high at top spots.

North/Central California was getting new swell from a gale that was north of Hawaii earlier in the week and coming from a very westerly direction. Southern California was getting a mix of swell building from the west (same Hawaiian swell) with longer period southern hemi swell originating under New Zealand. Hawaii's North Shore was getting solid swell originating from a gale that was east of Japan last weekend, the best in the Pacific. The East Shore was essentially flat. The South Shore was getting the last dibbles of southern hemi swell originating under New Zealand Sun-Mon (2/19).

Hawaii to continue getting swell from the gale that was off Japan, but it's to be steadily fading over the next several days. Another pulse of weak dateline swell is forecast early next week, with more scheduled behind that and possibly with more size a week out. Swell hitting California originating north of Hawaii is to fade pretty quick, but another pulse is expected from the weekend from a gale that developed over the dateline Tuesday pushing to the Gulf through Friday with seas up to 28 ft, though most less than that by a good margin. Off-season southern hemi swell is already hitting California too, with a larger pulse forecast for the weekend. Much more modest size and period is expected to follow, providing something rideable, but definitely down from previous weeks. It actually looks like a Springtime pattern is setting up, so get what you can now. See details below...



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

North Pacific

Thursdays jetstream charts (2/28) for the North Pacific depicted a solid flow of up to 190 kts winds pushing to the dateline then totally falling apart east of there with a three way .cgiit in control driving energy north to the Bering Sea, east ridging into Canada and south to the equator. A weak trough was trying to push into the Gulf of Alaska offering a smidgeon of support for surface level low pressure development there, but not much. Over the next 72 hours a significant improvement is forecast with the energy emanating of Japan pushing well over the dateline to a point north of Hawaii with winds to 180 kts and then connecting up with the remnants of the old jet, fueling 150 kts winds from there ridging up into British Columbia. No defined troughs are forecast, but at least it's all to be consolidated and with decent energy levels. Beyond 72 hours the same consolidated flow is to hold control over the Western Pacific pushing over the dateline to a point north of Hawaii, then gently riding northeast from there into the Gulf and Canada with a broad trough setting up on the dateline pushing into the Gulf. Decent support for surface level low pressure development suggested there.

At the surface today a weak gale was in the Western Gulf of Alaska offering bare minimal potential to the US West Coast (see Japan/Dateline/Gulf Gale below). Another broad gale was over the Kuril Islands, but was getting sheared apart by the strong jet in the area offering only 30-35 kt west winds streaming off Northern Japan and no real hope. High pressure at 1024 mbs was set up just north of Hawaii joining another high just off Central CA and forming some modicum of storm protection, and northerly winds along the California coast. No other weather features of interest were occurring. Over the next 72 hours swell from the Japan/Dateline/Gulf Gale is to reach California. Otherwise the gale off the Kuril's is to push east and not really get much traction on the oceans surface, generating period bits of 30-35 kts west winds and up to 26 ft seas pushing towards the dateline then fading late Saturday (3/1), perhaps generating some swell pushing towards Hawaii for next week. A calm pattern to hold in over the East Pacific.


Japan/Dateline/Gulf Gale
A system off Japan mid-day Saturday (2/23) generated 45-50 kts west winds for 18 hours near 35N 150-160E targeting Hawaii well down the 302 degree great circle path, then headed quickly north by late Sunday afternoon bound for the Bering Sea with residual 40 kt westerly fetch fading just off Kamchatka on Monday (2/25). Seas peaked at 36 ft over a small area at 35N 160-162E aimed right at Hawaii mid-Sunday then rapidly faded off Kamchatka on Tuesday (2/26). Some form of 18 sec period swell possible for Hawaii early Thursday (2/28) with swell near 6.8 ft @ 16 secs (10-11 ft faces) from 302 degrees. Swell fading from 6 ft @ 13-14 secs Friday (8 ft faces).

The remnants of this gale reorganized somewhat well to the north and east on the dateline Tuesday evening into Wednesday AM (2/27) with pressure 984 mbs generating a small fetch of 40 kts northwest winds near 46-44N and 177-173W generating 12 hours of 27-28 ft seas at 44N 171W Wednesday AM fading to 25 ft in the evening at 43N 165W. Fetch was aimed mid-way between Hawaii (335 degs) and California (296 NCal, 301 SCal) 30 degree of of the paths to each.

Thursday (2/28) 30-35 kt remnant winds to persist moving east from 45N 165W in the morning and 44N 158 in the evening generating a moderate area of 23 ft seas at 42N 160W and 43N 158W respectively. This energy to all be aimed at North California up the 290 degree path (295 SCal).

30 kt remnant winds to be fading Friday (2/29) well off the Cape Mendocino coast with 20 ft seas at 43N 151W in the morning and 19 ft seas at 43N 145W in the evening before dissipating. .

Decent odds for some form of advanced class swell for the weekend with luck for breaks North of Pt Conception, with lesser energy filtering into Southern CA late in the weekend. The forecast for Hawaii is uncertain, though some energy could be expected Saturday (3/1).

North CA to see swell of 5.4-5.7 ft @ 14-15 secs (8 ft faces) Sunday from 291-296 degrees


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


California Nearshore Forecast
As of Thursday (2/28) moderate high pressure was in-control of waters from the dateline east to California, though only weakly ridging into the coast of the mainland at the current time, generating a modest northerly flow over exposed waters. A new local low to be building off British Columbia Friday (2/29) cutting into the high's edge and softening winds down to a well manageable level locally. But it's to be gone Saturday morning and high pressure is to be consolidating while moving east nudging right into the coast by evening with 30-35 kt north winds forecast blowing over Pt Conception and lesser energy up to Cape Mendocino. A distinctly Spring-like pressure gradient is to be set up by Sunday AM with 25-30 kt north winds blowing from Cape Mendocino south to Pt Conception and over the Channel Islands (though Southern CA to be mostly spared the direct assault) and continuing into the evening. A break is forecast Monday for all with only light northerly winds forecast, then another bout of high pressure to be ridging into the Pacific Northwest coast Tuesday (3/4) setting up more north winds from Cape Mendocino down into Pt Conception, fading by Wednesday AM. Light local wind to persist thereafter.


No tropical systems of interest were being tracked.


South Pacific

An unusual mid-winter southern hemi gale at 960 mbs is passing under New Zealand on Sunday (2/17) generating 45 kt southwest winds at 55S 170E aimed well up the 210 degree path to Hawaii with seas to 36-38 ft there. The Jason-1 satellite made a pass directly over the core of the fetch Sunday evening and confirmed seas at 34.5 ft at 53S 176E with a peak reading to 37 ft, within 1 ft of what the wave model expected. Very nice. It seeped slowly east into Monday (2/18) with winds slowly fading and 36 ft seas fading from 50S 175W but aimed almost right up the 190 degree path to the Islands through the period. Actually 30 ft seas held on till early Tuesday morning (2/19) before heading on a downward trend. Off season southern hemi swell has already hit the Hawaiian Islands and is on the way down.

Limited energy expected to reach exposed breaks in California (mainly Southern CA though Northern CA will see it too and at the same time, just not as noticeable) starting Wednesday (2/27) with swell 2 ft @ 17 secs late (3 ft faces) pushing 2.3 ft @ 16 secs (3.5 ft faces) on Thursday (2/28). Secondary swell from the reformed remnants of this system to rebuild to 2.3 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5 ft faces) on Friday (2/29) fading from 2 ft @ 15 secs (3.0 ft faces) on Saturday (3/1). Swell Direction 200-210 degrees


Residual energy from this system reorganized in the Southeast Pacific Friday into Saturday (2/23) generating 30 ft seas pushing well to the northeast from 62S 153W Friday AM (2/22) pushing to 58S 145W in the evening then 52S 138W Saturday AM before fading rapidly in the evening.

Another pulse of more southerly angled swell is expected to reach Southern CA Sunday (3/2) with swell 3 ft @ 16-17 secs (5 ft faces) dropping from 2.6 ft @ 15 secs (4 ft faces) on Monday (3/3) from 190-195 degrees.

Northern CA to swell swell of 2.9 ft @ 17 secs on Sunday (3/2) (5 ft faces) fading from 2.9 ft @ 16 secs Monday (4.5-5.0 ft faces) and 2.3 ft @ 14-15 secs Tuesday (3.5 ft faces) from 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 additional energy to track off Japan merging with a broad low set up on the dateline late Saturday (3/1) producing a 980 mbs low with 40-45 kts winds near 38N 170E aimed reasonably towards Hawaii. By Sunday AM (3/2) to low to deepen to 968 mbs with 45 kt wind at 40N 178W aimed right at Hawaii down the 319 degree path producing 26 ft seas, then quickly swinging to the east in the evening with 45 kt winds holding at 45N 173W aimed right at NCal up the 297 degree path. 32 ft seas forecast building at 43N 175W heading towards California. Secondary 35 kt fetch to persist in the area of 40N 170E-170W Monday and Tuesday (3/4) getting good traction on an already agitated seas state generating 28-30 kts seas near 35N 175E-175W targeting Hawaii best. Advanced class swell likely if this develops as forecast.

Additional weak low pressure to follow a similar course in the days beyond, setting up more modest swell potential on the dateline targeting Hawaii best but with secondary swell likely pushing towards California.


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

Mavericks Contest 2008: View all the action from the 2008 Maverick Surf Contest from Powelines Productions here:

Half Moon Bay Surfers - Attention: There¹s a movement afoot to dredge sand out of the Pillar Point (i.e. Half Moon Bay) Harbor and dump it just south of the jetty, so it will r.cgienish all sand that¹s disappeared between the harbor and HMB. The guy who¹s spearheading the project, Brian Overfelt, has already received a positive preliminary reading from the local harbor commissioners. He¹s making a formal presentation to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary¹s advisory council this coming Friday (2/15) at Our Lady of Pillar church in Half Moon Bay. (It's on Kelly Ave, just east of the Coast Highway, across the street from Cunha Intermediate School.) starting at 9 AM. More details 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:

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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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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