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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: April 12, 2008 6:10 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 = 2.0 - California & 2.0 - 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 4/14 thru Sun 4/20
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   

Small Gulf Swell for CA
New Zealand Swell Pushing Towards Hawaii


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 Saturday (4/12) Northern CA surf was up to waist high and clean, with warm air temperatures. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were flat. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was thigh high. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was up to waist high. The LA Area southward to Orange County was thigh high. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were thigh high. The North Shore of Oahu was chest to head high. The South Shore was waist high. The East Shore was chest high.

North/Central California was getting no real swell to mention. Southern California was flat. Hawaii's North Shore was starting to get a nice little pulse of background dateline energy mixed with building windswell from the north. The East Shore was seeing locally generated north windswell too. The South Shore was getting minimal background energy from the southeast.

For the future the California coast is see building proto-swell at exposed breaks by Monday coming from the Gulf of Alaska mixed with building locally generated windswell. Southern CA to see limited bits of this swell during the week, but not much else. background southern hemi swell is expected on the south end of the state by next weekend (4/18) while building local windswell starts moving into a respectable size range north of Pt Conception. The North Shore of Oahu to continue with limited windswell into Monday, then it's to turn from more of an easterly direction favoring the East Shore, possibly with real size by Tuesday fading slowly through the work week. A gale tracked under New Zealand on Monday (4/7) generating 18 hours of 35 ft seas targeting Hawaii's South Shore pretty well, providing some potential by late Tuesday (4/15) with a much stronger one that developed Thursday/Friday (4/11), good for more size on the South Shore by Thursday (4/17) possibly reaching California by Sunday (4/20). Nothing else of interest is on the charts so take what you can get. See details below...


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

North Pacific

Saturdays jetstream charts (4/12) for the North Pacific indicated a trough with 120 kt wind pushing through the Central Gulf of Alaska offering some support to fuel surface level low pressure development. A big ridge was pushing east behind it though, tracking north of the Aleutians and eliminating any other chances for surface level low pressure development. Over the next 72 hours that trough is to continue it's eastward track, pushing into Washington on MOnday, with any swell generation potential fading away at the oceans surface. Beyond 72 hours all jetstream energy is to be flowing over or north of the Aleutian Islands, totally eliminating any odds for gale development in the swell window for our forecast area. A summer pattern is to be well established.

At the surface today low pressure at 992 mbs was in the Northeastern Gulf of Alaska generating a fetch of confirmed winds at 45 kts near 50N 146W aimed right down the 315 degree path to North CA, following a similar satellite reading the night before and producing a limited area of 25 ft seas at the same locale. This puts some form of 13-14 sec period swell in the water pushing south, expected to arrive in NCal in 56 hours, or near sunset Monday (4/14), but mixed with local windswell.

A very strong high pressure center at 1040 mbs was centered 1200 nmiles north-northwest of Oahu generating confirmed northeast winds of 25-30 kts about 220 nmiles north of Hawaii, pushing windswell down the great circle paths there. This is to hold into early Tuesday, then start fading. Windswell is likely on the way for exposed North and Northeast Shores expected to reach 7.6 ft @ 10 secs late Monday (7 ft faces) pushing 10 ft @ 10 secs Tuesday (8 ft faces or more) but from more of an easterly direction (likely shutting off the North Shore of Oahu) then slowly fading from there.

Otherwise over the next 72 hours the leaded edge of the Hawaiian high is to slowly push east and start forming a weak gradient along the California coast Monday (4/14), generating northerly winds at 20 kts from Pt Arena southward, building to 25 kts Tuesday. Short period local windswell and messy conditions expected.


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


California Nearshore Forecast
On Saturday (4/12) a light pressure pattern was in control driving no local wind production over the entire state. More of the same is forecast through mid-Sunday, then the leading edge of high pressure is to start pushing into the state dragging cooler winds from the Gulf southward and setting up brisk northerly winds over North and Central CA by Monday AM. Southern Ca is to remain mostly protected. The fetch is to continue Tuesday pushing near 30 kts over Pt Conception then building northward to Pt Arena late. A bit of a break is forecast Wednesday (4/16) then the gradient to re-establish itself over Cape Mendocino Thursday with 25 kt north winds and building windswell. The mother-lode of high pressure to take over late Friday with 35 kt north winds over Cape Mendocino continuing into early Saturday (4/19) generating sizeable windswell by summer standards and maybe offering a break near the coast early, but fully pushing onshore by afternoon.


No tropical systems of interest were being tracked.


South Pacific

No swell producing fetch is occurring nor forecast to occur for the next 72 hours.

Short-Lived New Zealand Gale
A gale developed under New Zealand early Monday (4/7) at 980 mbs with 45 kt winds pushing northeast generating a small but solid area of 35 ft seas at 59S 165E in the morning (actually confirmed at 39 ft by the Jason-1 satellite) and over a fading area in the evening at 56S 175E (again confirmed but down to 33 ft), targeting Hawaii best (due to it's close proximity). The fetch was gone by Tuesday AM (4/8) with 29 ft seas fading at 53S 178W and dissipating from there. Some odds for swell pushing into Hawaii's Southern Shores Tuesday (4/15) at 1.6 ft @ 16 secs (2.5 ft faces) from 195-200 degrees fading from 2 ft @ 15 secs Wednesday (3 ft faces).


Solid New Zealand Storm
Another system developed under New Zealand Wednesday evening (4/9) with pressure 970 mbs and generating 50-55 kt confirmed winds aimed a bit to the north at 58S 171E. The models indicated seas at 25 ft but the Jason-1 satellite confirmed seas at 31.5 ft at 59S 171E. On Thursday AM (4/10) winds were confirmed at 60 kts at 56S 174W aimed right up the 207 degree path to California but shadowed by Tahiti and 30 degrees east of the 189 degree path to Hawaii. Seas were modeled building from 32 ft at 59S 175E, but we know it was higher than that. Wind faded a bit in the evening while seas caught up, building to 38 ft at 57S 173W. The Jason-1 satellite made a pass over the outer edges of the fetch confirming sea at 38 ft. Wind faded from 45 kts Friday AM with seas up to 41 ft early at 53S 165W (outer edges confirmed at 37.4 ft), then dropped from 37 ft in the evening at 50S 162W. Confirmed 29 ft residual seas were at 46S 158W Saturday morning (4/12) and fading.

A decent shot of southern hemi swell is traveling north towards the Islands, expected to arrive Thursday (4/17) pushing 3 ft @ 18 secs (5.5 ft faces) late then peaking early Friday at 3.3 ft @ 16-17 secs (5.5 ft faces with better consistency but less shoaling potential). Swell fading from 3.6 ft @ 14-15 secs Saturday (5 ft). Swell Direction: 185-190 degrees

The lions share of the energy is headed towards Tahiti arriving Monday AM (4/14) peaking at sunset at 9 ft @ 16-17 secs (15 ft Hawaiian) from 200 degrees. East trades 10 kts. Swell to be 8 ft @ 14-15 secs early Tuesday (11 ft Hawaiian) and slowly fading.

California to remain shadowed by Tahiti for the entirety of the storm. First pulse of energy expected Sunday (4/20).


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 the Hawaiian high pressure is to retain it's grip while drifting east, and getting reinforced with more high pressure and holding at 1044 mbs by late Thursday (4/18), now in the northern Gulf of Alaska. This to set up a pressure gradient along the coast of Canada down into the Pacific Northwest and Northern CA with 25 kt winds forecast, building to 35 kts off Cape Mendocino early Saturday and likely generating larger windswell for North and Central CA.

A low pressure system is to set up off the backside of the high Thursday (4/17), north of Hawaii, generating near 40 kt east winds as it interacts with the high, but that fetch to bypass Hawaii. Still a broad area of 15-20 kt trade fetch to be pushing into the Islands likely generating short period windswell through Friday.

Low pressure was tracking off the Kuril's Saturday (4/12) with another to follow Tues-Thurs (4/17) but in both cases they are to get quickly deflected to the north and into the Bering Sea with no fetch aimed at our forecast area.


South Pacific

No swell producing winds 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

Surfrider General Meeting Thursday, April 3, 2008, 7:00 pm Montara Lighthouse All are welcome! Special guest speaker Larry Miller will present a history of the Mono Lake Committee's successful campaign to preserve the lake, and will also share tales of aquatic research.

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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