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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: April 24, 2007 8:05 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 = 4.5 - California & 4.0 - 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 4/23 thru Sun 4/29
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 # 19 Hits California
South Pacific Reasonably Active Under New Zealand


On Tuesday (4/24) Northern CA surf was 3-4 ft overhead and reasonably clean. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest high. Central California surf was shoulder to head high in Morro Bay and reasonably clean early. Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was up to waist high at the best breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist to chest high. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were chest to maybe head high. The North Shore of Oahu was near double overhead and a mess. The South Shore was waist high. The East Shore had head high to 1 ft overhead windswell.

North/Central California was on the downside from Mondays bigger than expected dateline swell, with new energy starting to shoe at the outer buoys. Southern California was getting some portion of dateline swell. Hawaii was getting the backside of the last dateline swell on the North Shore, with the last little bit's of southern hemi swell fading out on the South Shore. The South Pacific is starting to warm up under New Zealand with stronger energy on the charts for Wed/Thurs, providing hope mainly for Hawaii and to a lesser extent California. Up north swell from the last dateline storm is passing Hawaii and starting to build in Northern California, expected to sweep south over the next 24-36 hours. After that one more much smaller system is forecast for the Northern Gulf of Alaska providing weekend hope for mainly the Pacific Northwest and Northern CA, then a retreat to a much more subdued storm pattern. See details below...



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

North Pacific

Tuesdays jetstream charts (4/24) for the North Pacific depicted a moderate flow tracking east off northern Japan meandering across the width of the North PAcific and pushing into Oregon with no .cgiits noted. Winds ranged from 130-140 kts. A weak trough was over the dateline providing only modest support for surface level gale development. Over the next 72 hours the overall pattern to remain about the same but with the dateline trough pushing into the Gulf of Alaska and providing some more support for gale development at the surface while a moderate ridge starts building over the dateline pushing up to the Aleutians, reducing gale development potential from there on back to Siberia. Beyond 72 hours that ridge to be short lived though, flattening out by Monday (4/30) then actually forming into a trough in the Western Gulf mid-week. But there remain signs that the jet to loose it's cohesiveness over Siberia pushing out into the West Pacific beyond, hinting that maybe the gale pattern that has been so prevalent will totally break down.

At the surface today week low pressure at 988 mbs was in the northern Gulf of Alaska while high pressure at 1028 mbs was just 600 nmiles northern of Hawaii ridging fast to the east poised to start pushing into California. This high was generating enhanced trades over the Hawaiian Islands at 20-25 kts and producing windswell along east facing shores. The low in the Gulf was generating an elongated fetch of 30 kt west to southwest winds targeting mostly Canada, with a secondary little low trying to organize in the far western Gulf pushing towards the core of the Gulf, providing potential for the near-term future. Swell from Storm #19 was pushing towards California (see details below). Over the next 72 hrs the new little low in the Gulf is to wind up some on Wednesday (4/25) with pressure dropping to 980 mbs and winds building to 45 kt over a tiny area in it's south quadrant at 49N 150W targeting mainly the Pacific Northwest and North CA down to the 309 degree great circle path. The low to stall Thursday with fetch fading from 40 kts and pushing even more to the east all aimed completely at Northern Canada late while residual 25 kt fetch remains targeting areas south of there. Some form of sideband north swell expected for exposed breaks in North and Central CA for the weekend but posting details would be premature.


Storm # 19 (Hawaii/California)
A new storm pushed off Japan Wednesday (4/18) and started developing Thursday AM with 55-60 kt north winds confirmed in it's west quadrant aimed mostly south then moving into it's southeast quadrant aimed northeast in the evening from 35N 163E. It was aimed 20 degrees north of the300 degree path to Hawaii and right up the 292 degree path to North California.

Friday AM (4/20) pressure dropped to 980 mbs with a nice fetch of 55 kt northwest winds at 37N 167E aimed 20 degrees north of the 305 degree path to Hawaii and right up the 292 degree path to North California. Seas were building to 30 ft at 35N 165E. Winds were down to 50 kts in the evening over a small area at 38N 177E aimed 20 degrees north of the 317 degree path to Hawaii and again right up the 292 degree path to North California. Seas built to 32 ft at 36N 175E through we suspect 35 ft is more likely.

Saturday AM (4/21) brought the low east with pressure 976 mbs and a broad fetch of 45 kt northwest winds at 42N 174W aimed about right up the 322 degree path to Hawaii and 20 degrees south of the 292 degree path to NCal. Seas holding at 32 ft at 38N 178W through again we suspect 35 ft is more likely. The fetch faded to 40-45 kts in the evening at 43N 167W aimed almost due east and bypassing Hawaii and aimed almost right up the 292 degree path to NCal and 2000 nmiles away. 32 ft seas were holding at 41N 170W and maybe to 35 ft.

Sunday AM (4/22) winds were down to 35 kts over a broad area at 43N 163W aimed right at NCal down the 294 degree path and 1900 nmiles away. 32 ft seas remained modeled at 43N 162W. Winds were still hanging on in the evening at 35 kt at 45N 160W aimed like before and 1800 nmiles away, right in the middle of the prime swell corridor for NCal. 29-30 ft seas were modeled at 43N 158W.

A brief resurgence occurred Monday AM (4/23) with winds back up to 40 kts at 46N 162W aimed right at NCal down the 297 degree path with seas 27 ft at 45N 154W just 1500 nmiles from NCal. Wind faded in the evening with 25 ft seas at 45N 150W.

Like the storm before it, we suspect the wave models probably did not do a good job of capturing the high winds imbedded in this storms center, resulting in higher seas than modeled. And no good Jason-1 satellite passes occurred to confirm sea heights either, so this forecast is not as solid as we would like. But at a minimum some form of significant class swell seems likely for exposed breaks in California.

Significant class swell to hit exposed breaks in North California starting Tuesday (4/24) at sunset with swell 4 ft @ 20 secs ( 8 ft faces) and size build. Wednesday morning (4/25) swell building to 7.8 ft 17 secs (13-14 ft faces) fading from 7.8 ft @ 14 secs Thursday (4/26) at sunrise. Swell Direction: 290-296 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival first light Wednesday (4/25) with swell 1-2 ft @ 20 sec (2-3 ft faces at exposed break up north) and size building, reaching 2.9 ft @ 17 secs by sunset (4.5-5.0 ft at exposed breaks up north). Swell fading from 3 ft @ 14-15 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces at exposed breaks) early Thursday (4/26). Swell Direction 295-301 degrees


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


California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (4/24) strong high pressure at 1030 mbs was north of Hawaii ridging eastward, with the leading isobars poised just off the California coast. By Wednesday first light the effects of that high to start materializing with increasing northwest winds building along the coast from 15-20 kts building to 25-30 kts by afternoon and then holding through Thursday. Southern California to be protected from the bulk of this activity though, with the axis of the high too far to the north. The high to settle down some on Friday, with perhaps even light winds nearshore most locations early. A light winds pattern to hold through the weekend too. Beyond more high pressure and renewed northerly winds forecast by late Monday (4/30).


South Pacific

Tuesdays jetstream charts (4/24) for the South Pacific indicate a moderate trough trying to develop under New Zealand with 120 kt winds feeding into it, providing some support for surface level gael development. A big but weak and decaying ridge was in control of the far Southeastern Pacific. Over the next 72 hours the trough to build a bit more with 130 kt winds feeding it and pushing more directly to the north into Thursday (4/26)t, improving the odds for gael development. The trough to hold it's ground well through the period vacillating in energy levels a bit below and up to the 130 kt mark. Beyond 72 hours the trough to remain essentially unchanged though weakening by early to mid-next week while a ridge locks down the far Southeast. Some degree of support for gale development possible under the trough southeast of New Zealand

At the surface a steady and broad flow of 35 kt southwest winds was pushing from under New Zealand centered near 55S 180W as it had since Monday (4/23) and was generating seas to 29 ft at 55S 175W expected to hold into the evening. This to provide an initial push of 17 sec period southern hemi swell for Hawaii by Tuesday AM (5/1) (see QuikCAST's for details). Otherwise no fetch of interest was in.cgiay.

Over the next 72 hours a new closed isobar 968 mb low is to finally form south-southeast of New Zealand Wednesday AM (4/25) with a broad area of 40-45 kt southwest winds forming at 60S 175E aimed well towards California up the 212 degree path and only 20 degrees off the 195 degree route to Hawaii and starting to get traction on the already agitated oceans surface there. A broad area of 32 ft seas forecast developing west at 58S 175E. In the evening the whole fetch to be lifting northeast winds 45 kt winds forecast at 50S 170W aimed right up the 210 degree path to California and 35 degrees east of the 187 degree path to Hawaii. 36 ft seas forecast at 52S 175W. The low to drop to 964 mbs on Thursday AM (4/26) with some limited 40 kts winds holding in the vicinity of 50S 160W but aimed more to the east, Residual 35 ft seas forecast at 50S 165W. The low to quickly fade after that with residual 32 ft seas forecast at 48S 155W and fading fast.

If this.cgiays out as forecast a reasonably solid long period swell is possible for Hawaii with decent long period energy forecast for California too, though inconsistent.

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 models indicate virtually no decent swell producing fetch to develop over the North Pacific. A series of weak low pressure system to migrate east off Japan and the Kuril Islands lifting gently northeast but remaining south of the Aleutians, but none to have the necessary fuel to develop into swell producing systems.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours generic low pressure to remain under New Zealand, but no real swell producing fetch is suggested, and the fetch forecast there is to be aimed primarily towards Chile. no real swell for our forecast area to result.

Details to follow...

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Local Interest

Surfing's Greatest Misadventures: We've been reading a great book of short stories all based around surfing adventures, but not in classical sense. These are stories of surf trips gone bad, personal growth and realizations while on surf trips, silly things that happen while surfing right on up to horrifying shark attacks, and some great nostalgic tails of surfers versus the Marines at Trestles back in the early days. A truly enjoyable, easy to read and entertaining look at the culture and pe.cgie that make up the surf community. Check it out here:

STORMSURF on the News: NBC-11 came to visit Stormsurf last week to talk about the Mavericks Surf Contest and surf forecasting. See the piece here: Click on 'Mavericks Forecaster'

Surf Video Clips at - Check out this new website dedicated soley to high quality - high action surf clips from around the world. Great action form Morocco, Hawaii, Mexico, California and many more spots all streaming right to your desktop. Piles of fun and hours on enjoyment. Check it out now at:

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.

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:

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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