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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: April 11, 2009 12:36 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 = 2.5 - California & 2.5 - 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 4/13 thru Sun 4/19
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   

Dateline Swell Pushing Towards US West Coast
Another Gale Forecast off Kamchatka


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.

Next Forecast Update Thursday (4/16) - Taking Spring Break

On Saturday (4/11) North and Central California had shoulder high chopped north windswell with remnants swell buried underneath. Not very inspirational. Southern California was getting mostly northwest windswell with faint hints of southern hemi swell and pretty jumbled up north. In all the surf was waist high with some chest high sets down south and pretty well blown even early. Hawaii's North Shore was effectively flat with no rideable surf occurring. The East Shore had thigh high east tradewind generated windswell. The South Shore had thigh high background southern hemi swell, but was pretty weak. 

The forecast for North and Central CA expects one more pulse of northwest swell moving in on Monday (4/13) from a gale that was in the Western Gulf on Wed-Thurs (4/9) but likely buried in local chop and wind. That to fade out on Tuesday with nothing immediately behind it. Southern hemi swell is expected Mon-Wed too making for fun surf at south facing breaks out of the wind. Southern CA to have some small windswell through the weekend but thing are to be heating up a litter later Sunday as southern hemi swell from a south direction starts showing later in the day. This one to peak out on Monday providing the biggest shot of southern hemi swell so far this season (hard to believe we're moving into summer already) and from a more southerly direction Some size expected through Wednesday (4/15). Some swell from the Gulf is to be mixed in there too. Oahu's North Shore is to not see anything till Sunday when a little sideband energy from a gale over the northern dateline starts sneaking in for a day or so, but by Tuesday it will be gone. The East Shore is expected to continue with some form of mostly very small easterly trade wind generated windswell for the next 7 days, perhaps a little bigger mid-next week pushing to chest high then.  The South Shore is to have no rideable southern hemi swell for the next 7 days.  

Longterm yet another gale is forecast tracking from Kamchatka east to the Gulf Sun-Thurs (4/16) generating up to 26 ft seas, maybe good for another pulse of northwest swell for Hawaii by Thurs and the West Coast by next weekend. after that things to really quiet down up north. But down south a decent system is on the charts starting Tues (4/14) and winding up pretty nice by Wed-Thurs (4/16) with up to near 40 ft seas aimed pretty well to the northeast in the CA swell window but east of the Hawaiian swell window. Will believe it when it happens.


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

North Pacific

On Saturday (4/11) the North Pacific jetstream was fragmented and weak flowing generally from Japan towards British Columbia and not as .cgiit as it's been most of the winter. Still energy levels were very weak and there was no real support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours through Tuesday (4/14) the jet is to .cgiit again from JApan to the US West Coast, two discrete streams over the whole North Pacific (not good). A weak trough is forecast forming in the northern branch on Sunday (4/12) off Kamchatka pushing east and deepening some in the Gulf by Tuesday with winds building to 130 kts for 18 hrs, then fading. Reasonable support for gale development if this occurs. Beyond 72 hours the northern branch of the jet is to start ridging hard to the north off Kamchatka, pushing up well north of the Bering Sea then dropping into a weak semi-persistent trough in the Gulf.  Maybe some support for gale development there through next weekend but not much since wind speeds are to be generally light.

At the surface weak high pressure at 1024 mbs was centered 800 nmiles west of San Diego CA ridging into the coast and generating northwest winds at 25 kts centered over Pt Conception but affecting the entire CA coast. Weak low pressure was in the Northern Gulf of Alaska generating 20 kt northwest winds. And a new gale was trying to organize just off the Kamchatka Peninsula. Over the next 72 hours the only thing of interest is to be from the gale off Kamchatka.  Saturday PM (4/11) 40 kt west wins are to be centered just off Kamchatka at 48N 162E and cut off from any track to the US West Coast, but maybe sending some energy down towards HAwaii down the 318 degree path. Sunday winds are to fade to 35 kts with seas to 28 ft early at 47N 167E as the gale limps east and almost gone on Monday with only 30 kts winds and 25 ft seas crossing the dateline at 46N 178W pushing down the 302 degree path to North CA. . Limited regeneration is forecast on Tuesday (4/14) in the Gulf with near 40 kts winds over a small area and nearly stalled with seas to 25 ft at 46N 160W, pushing 26 ft Wed AM at 45N 153W, then fading from 35 kts on Thursday with seas down to 20 ft. Possible modest swell for next weekend for the US West Coast if this occurs as modeled.

Western Gulf Gale
On Thursday (4/9) a gale low had organized on the dateline just south of the Aleutians with 45 kt west winds and 32 ft seas at 49N 176W aimed at the Pacific Northwest south towards North CA down the 306 degree great circle path. By Thursday evening it's continued east with winds down to 40 kts and seas peaking at 36 ft at 48N 169W, then east into the Gulf on Friday while fading with seas 29 ft first light at 48N 162W and dropping fast from there.  The Jason-1 satellite passed directly over the core of the fetch Thursday Pm and reported seas of 36.2 ft with a peak reading to 39.4 ft at 48N 169W, so the wave model was right on. This was all on the 306-308 degree paths relative to Central CA  with very limited energy heading south towards Hawaii. Maybe some decent longer period swell for Oregon/Washington Sunday and North California by Sunday (4/12) a few hours past sunset at 5.5-6.0 ft @ 17 secs (9-10 ft faces) fading on Monday. 


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


California Nearshore Forecast
On Saturday (4/11) moderate high pressure at 1026 mbs was 700 nmiles west of San Diego CA riding into the coat there. Weak low pressure at 990 mbs was in the Northern Gulf of Alaska trying to push into the Pacific Northwest coast, with the dividing line roughly on Cape Mendocino. North winds at 15-20 kts covered the entire California coast courtesy of high pressure to the west. Light northerly winds to continue Sunday (4/12) before strong high pressure at 1034 mbs builds off the coast hitting on Monday with up to 30 kt north winds nearshore San Francisco building to 35 kts Tuesday.  SCal to be protected but everywhere north of Pt Conception to be in tatters.  The high is to rapidly dissipate on Wednesday with north winds fading fast as low pressure builds in the Gulf. A light 10-15 kt north flow is forecast for Central and North CA on Thursday and Friday before the low retreats, with high pressure forecast building back for the weekend (4/18).

No tropical activity of interest was occurring.


South Pacific

On Saturday (4/11) no swell producing fetch was occurring and none was forecast for the next 72 hrs. 

Second New Zealand Gale
Another gale tried to get going under New Zealand Wednesday (4/1) producing a modest area of 40 kt wind at 60S 180W Wed PM aimed somewhat to the northeast, but dissipating into Thursday AM. 28 ft seas were modeled  Wed afternoon (3/31) at 60S 170W pushing to 29 ft Thursday AM (4/2) at 58S 177W then down to 26 ft in the evening at 55S 165W. This swell was barely unshadowed (Tahiti swell shadow) for California.with smaller energy limping in Sun (4/12) with swell 1.6 ft @ 19 secs (3 ft faces) from 195 degrees.

Southeast Pacific Gale
Remnants of the Second New Zealand Gale (see details below) congealed in the Southeastern Pacific on Sunday AM (4/5) producing a small fetch of confirmed 50 kt almost south winds at 48S 138W aimed 15 degrees east of the 194-197 degree path to CA and east of the Tahiti swell shadow, expected to hold into the evening at 46N 128W aimed up the 184 degree path to CA. 35 ft seas were modeled Sunday evening at 45S 132W with the momentum pushing them more east than north. 30 ft seas were modeled Monday AM at 43S 125W. Beyond the fetch quickly turned east to southeast on Monday AM (4/6) and fading. 26 ft seas were pretty well east bound for Peru from 42S 115W in the evening. This system was gone  after that. Possible very southerly angled swell pushing up into South California starting Sunday afternoon (4/12) at 1.6 ft @ 18 secs (3.0 ft faces) building to 2.6 ft @ 17 secs (4.5 ft faces - 6.5 ft top spots) Mon (4/13). Swell still decent but fading on Tues at 2.3 ft @ 14-15 secs. Swell Direction: 188-190 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 hours virtually no swell producing fetch is forecast in the North Pacific. Looks like summer is settling in (but it's barely spring). So in all reality the Inactive Phase of the MJO is likely taking it's toll (details below).

MJO/ENSO Update (reference): As of Saturday (4/11) the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) was moving solidly into the Inactive Phase with the ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation) index moving positive. The Daily SOI index was up to 17.38. The 30 day average was up to 3.7 and the 90 day average was up to 7.1. The SOI indicies remained barely symptomatic of La Nina mainly attributable to the 90 day average. Wind anomalies at the surface and the 850 mb level (approx 1000 ft up) indicated a strong pulse of the Inactive Phase pushing from Northern Australia east to the international dateline and over it some suppressing storm development in the West Pacific. The Inactive Phase is to push hard east of the dateline by 4/15, then racing into the Eastern Pacific by 4/20 and over Central America into the Atlantic by 4/25. A new Active Phase is forecast to build behind it in the Indian Ocean by 4/15 and looking stronger than previous estimates, but not reaching the Pacific until 4/25, but only weakly pushing into it.  The residual effects of 3 years of La Nina remain in-control in the atmosphere, but cooler than normal water off of Central America is all but gone. And below the surface the equatorial subsurface warm pool of water that has been repressed back west of the dateline is making eastward progress flowing the whole way to Central America unabated now. Still a patch of cool water -0.5 degree C is present down 125 meters at 130W, but looks pretty uninteresting as compared to even 3 day earlier. The big question is how much effect will this next Inactive Phase of the MJO have on surface and subsurface waters of the East Pacific through the next 3 weeks, and whether the Active Phase behind it comes-on strong. Suspect we will loose some ground by the middle to end of the month. Regardless, it will still take months before the atmosphere begins to respond to any warming of the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, so expect a continuation of cool and foggy Spring weather in California into early summer. But come summer, if warming develops in the Tropical Eastern Pacific, this could set up up for a decent Fall, and maybe an enhanced late summer southern hemi season.   


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours the models.cgiace low odds of a gale developing under New Zealand pushing east Monday (4/13). By Tuesday pressure is to drop to 960 mbs with a decent sized fetch of 40-45 kt southwest winds building at 63S 162W starting to get traction on the oceans surface and building in size. Pressure to drop to 952 mbs with a large area of 40-45 kt southwest winds building at 60S 158W pushing northeast on the 197 degree path to California and unshadowed by Tahiti. Seas building from 35 ft at 56S 160W. By Wednesday AM (4/15) a large fetch of 40-45 kt southwest winds are forecast at 53S 152W pushing right up the 197-199 degree paths to California and unshadowed with seas forecast to 36 ft at 51S 150W. Yet more 45 kt southwest winds are forecast in the evening consolidating at 57S 148W with 38 ft seas projected at 53S 149W (196 degrees CA). Thursday AM (4/16) yet more 35-40 kt almost south winds are forecast at 54S 144W aimed right up the 193 degree path to California pushing seas to 40 ft at 53S 142W.  40 kts winds are to be fading in the evening at 50S 139W with seas at 36 ft at 49N 140W. 35 kt winds to continue into Friday with seas still 35 ft late at 43S 125W. If all this occurs possible solid longer period southern hemi swell would be pushing towards the US West Coast, the first significant class swell of the 2009 summer season. 

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

North California Surf Report Works Again: After an extended downtime we finally got the North California Surf Report working again. Thanks for your patience. See it here:

Shark Video: Our friend Curt Myers of Powerlines productions shot this footage of 2 great whites munching on a whale carcass off Devils Slide (south of San Francisco) on Thursday. Kind of interesting to watch. Check it here: (Fixed link)

Wave Model Upgrade Status Report: At this point we believe the installation of the new wave models is complete, with no problems being reported, the server stabilizing and the much requested return of the old style hemispheric Surf Height models now operational (again) and running side-by-side along the new ones. We thank you for your patience and input as we went though this process.  Your feedback helps guide our efforts and ultimately results in a better product for everyone.  Now we're off to start providing better menus to some wave model products most of you probably haven't uncovered yet (site specific graph and text forecasts), updateing the wave model FAQs and then upgrading the Weather Models.  

New Wave Model Facts: Click HERE to read more about the new wave models. Important info.

Stormsurf Wave Models Updated: On Friday (2/6) we installed the latest upgrade to our wavemodels. A year in the works, this upgrade essentially is a total re-write of every wave model product we produce. They now take advantage of the new Version 3 of the Wavewatch wavemodel. This version runs at a much higher resolution, specifically 0.0 X 0.5 degrees for the global grib with local products at 0.1667 X 0.1667 degrees, and it uses the hi-res GFS model for wind speeds. And of even more interest, the model now identifies primary swell and windwave variables. As such we now have new model images which displays this data. Also we've included out special 3D topographic land masks into all models. In all it makes for a radical step forward in wave model technology. We'll be upgrading minor components (FAQ, new menu pages etc) for a few weeks to come, but all the basics are available for your use now. Check it out here:

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:

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:

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:

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.

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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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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