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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: April 21, 2008 9:02 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
Click Here to Visit Killer Dana!
Swell Potential Rating = 1.0 - California & 1.0 - 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 4/21 thru Sun 4/27
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   

N. Pacific Settles Down Even More
New Zealand Gale Brewing


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 Monday (4/21) Northern CA surf was maybe chest high and heavily textured, but cleaner than days past. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist high and reasonably clean. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was chest high and windblown. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was up to chest high at top spots and windy. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high not clean, but not chopped either. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were waist high with a few bigger sets and clean early. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was waist high with a few bigger sets. The East Shore was waist high and onshore.

North/Central California was seeing just the last little bit of locally generated windswell with rare pulses of fading southern hemi swell underneath. Southern California was getting a mix of very limited locally generated northerly windswell and inconsistent southern hemi swell. Hawaii's North Shore was flat. The East Shore had the usual small easterly tradewind swell pushing in. The South Shore was getting the last bit of energy originating from under New Zealand a week before and fading.

For the future the North and Central California coast to see a real drop in size, with only very minimal 3 ft locally generated windswell providing anything of interest mid-week, and then a remote chance for an equal sized pulse from the Gulf providing something to stand up on, but nothing more. Southern CA to fall into the dead zone with virtually nothing of interest forecast. The North Shore of Oahu is to remain small for a bit, but there's good possibilities that swell from a low pushing over the dateline might drive a little bit of rideable swell in Thursday on through the weekend. Not much, but better than nothing. Southern hemi swell is forecast for the South Shore a week out thanks to a building gale under New Zealand. This is not for sure, but odds are in favor of this one coming down the pipe. Keep you fingers crossed. And it might help to provide a taste of something for California long-term. See details below...


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

North Pacific

Mondays jetstream charts (4/21) for the North Pacific indicated a weak trough pushing over the dateline headed for the Western Gulf of Alaska with winds up to 120 kts pushing under it offering a little support for surface level low pressure development. A .cgiit flow was east and west of the trough pretty much shutting down the rest of the North Pacific. Over the next 72 hours the trough is to drop southeast into the Gulf and get cutoff from the main flow, just sitting there north of Hawaii spinning without any real winds to feed it. Beyond 72 hours that trough is forecast to tap the jetstream once again by Sunday (4/27) pushing east eventually moving into British Columbia by Monday (4/28). A giant ridge to be building behind shutting any potential down for the future.

At the surface today weak high pressure was positioned along the 35N latitude stretching from San Francisco west to the dateline making for a modest northerly flow down the California coast strongest over Point Conception at 25 kts then turning east making for 15 kt trades over the Hawaiian Islands. Very limited windswell generation potential in both CA and HI. Otherwise low pressure at 996 mbs was sitting over the intersection of the dateline and the Aleutians generating 30-35 kt north winds targeting Hawaii well with 18-20 ft seas at 47N 180W (since Sunday 4/20). Some form of minimal 13 sec swell is already in the water heading south towards Hawaii.

Over the next 72 hours high pressure to fade, centered just off Southern California making for a moderate northerly flow there, but fading mid-week. The low over the dateline is to drop southeast and stall 1200 nmiles north of Hawaii on Wednesday (4/23) generating limited 25-30 kt winds aimed towards both Hawaii and California, but favoring the Islands due to it's closer proximity. 16 ft seas are to be generated, offering a little hope of something rideable pushing south and east, arriving on the North Shore late Thursday (4/24).


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


California Nearshore Forecast
On Monday (4/21) high pressure that had been the source of much wind over the weekend was fading and drifting south offering some relief for the Bay Area but still making a bit of a chopped mess over Pt Conception and surrounding areas. The high to hold strength while sinking just a bit further south mid-next week, possibly continuing the windy pattern for exposed breaks in Southern CA into Friday (4/25), though the Channel Islands might offer some protection. Up north first one small and weak low to nudge into Cape Mendocino late Monday with a front dissipating off San Francisco Tuesday (4/22) providing a light southerly flow from Monterey Bay northward. Rain from this system is forecast pushing down the central coast through early Wednesday. High pressure to ridge northward late Thursday making for northerly winds over the entire state through the weekend save Southern CA, which is to be shadowed. Monday (4/28) the high to back off as low pressure in the Gulf pushes towards the state, offering some wind relief for the northern half of the state, but even that break is 'iffy'.

No tropical systems of interest were being tracked.


South Pacific

A gale was pushing under New Zealand on Monday (4/21) generating a diffuse are of 40 kt winds aimed north east towards Hawaii with seas to 31 ft modeled at 50S 170E. Some form of limited swell is already in the Hawaiian swell window pushing north. It is forecast to start re-organizing just off the southeastern New Zealand coast Tuesday (4/22). Winds to build over a decent sized fetch area at 48S 178E to near 45 kts aimed well up the 200 degree great circle path to Hawaii pushing 40-45 kt fetch through the day Wednesday near 44S 170W traveling northeast continuing into Thursday near 43S 160W all aimed well towards Hawaii and then California. Seas to 35 ft late Tuesday at 43S 180W then to 39 ft at 47S 170W Wednesday PM fading from 36 ft at 42N 160W early Thursday AM and slowly fading into Friday morning (to 30 ft or less). Possible decent long-lived southern hemi swell for Hawaii a week beyond with less size for the US West coast about 9-10 days out. Will monitor.


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 only potential swell source of interest is to come from the cutoff low hanging in the Central Gulf of Alaska. As it starts to become re-absorbed in the upper level flow it might get re-energized Fri-Sun (4/27) with winds to 30-35 kts aimed right at the Central CA coast. Seas building to 20 ft with luck. This continues to seem very far fetched, but is something to watch. No other swell source is indicated.


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

Time Zone Converter - Finally! 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.

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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