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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: May 4, 2007 8:07 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 = 3.0 - 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 4/30 thru Sun 5/6
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 #3S Limps into California
Pacific Goes to Sleep


On Friday (5/4) Northern CA surf was head high to 2 ft overhead messy. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest to head high. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was head high with some occasional larger sets. Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was waist high with up to chest high sets at top spots. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist to chest high at the best breaks. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were pushing chest high. The North Shore of Oahu was maybe waist high. The South Shore was chest to head high with best spots 1 ft overhead. The East Shore had waist to chest high windswell.

North/Central California was on the downside of possibly the last North Pacific swell of the season. Southern California was getting windswell waiting for the arrival of what is to be fun sized southern hemi swell. Hawaii was flat on the North Shore, with trade windswell on the East Shore and still some decent southern hemi swell on the South Shore. The North Pacific has officially gone into hibernation with virtually no storm production forecast for the foreseeable future, suggesting that summer has arrived. Southern hemi swell that is currently hitting Hawaii is bound for California, with the first faint signs starting to show on the south end of the state. This to build for the weekend providing something moderate to ride, mixed with local windswell. Make the most of this because there's really nothing of interest storm-wise forecast in the South Pacific, suggesting only minor background swell for the foreseeable future. It's been a good late season run of surf from the north mixed with occasional early season sprinkles from the south, but it's over now. See details below...



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

North Pacific

Fridays jetstream charts (5/4) for the North Pacific indicated an energetic ridge pushing through the Gulf of Alaska with winds at 150 kts and totally blocking any developing of surface low pressure there. To the west a .cgiit pattern was in control and no energy of interest was present. Over the next 72 hours the ridge in the Gulf is to push east and inland while a weak pattern sets up over the bulk of the North Pacific. A new ridge is to start building over the Kuril Islands. No support in the NPac for gale development. Beyond 72 hours the ridge is to hold in the west while a weak but consolidated trough tries to take hold in the GUlf late (Friday 5/11). Perhaps with some luck a weak gale could develop in this area by next weekend, but that's more likely wishful thinking.

At the surface today solid high pressure at 1028 mbs was in control of the Eastern Pacific with a secondary high at 1032 mbs over the dateline. Only a weak 1004 mbs low was northwest of Hawaii tracing northeast towards the Gulf of Alaska pushing a very limited fetch of 30 kts winds towards Hawaii, but not getting much traction on the oceans surface. The high over the Northeast PAcific was serving only to generate brisk north winds down the California coast starting to produce localized windswell and providing enhanced trades over the Hawaiian Islands. Otherwise no swell producing fetch of interest was indicated. Over the next 72 hrs the little low north of Hawaii to track fast out of the picture providing only the most limited opportunity for swell generation for the Islands (see QuikCAST for details). The dateline high is to build significantly to a whopping 1042 mbs and filling the bulk of the North Pacific from a rather northerly position, shutting down gale development potential. It might server to generate windswell pushing into the Pacific Northwest, but that's about it.


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


California Offshore Forecast
On Friday (5/4) high pressure at 1028 mbs was building in over California coastal waters with northwest winds pushing 25-30 kts by evening even down into Southern CA and chop building. This to continue Saturday though the south end of the state to start getting some relief as the high ridges into Oregon. Sunday the wind to settle down all locales south of Pt Reyes, though an eddy southwest flow would not be unexpected. By Monday no change forecast though new high pressure is to be building aligned on the 40th parallel enhancing windswell generation potential off Cape Mendocino and continuing into Thursday (5/10), then fading. Light winds for South and Central CA. More high pressure and northwest winds forecast starting by the weekend pushing over Central CA, but much less defined that the previous event.


South Pacific

Fridays jetstream charts (5/4) for the South Pacific indicated a moderate trough in the deep southeast Pacific with a pocket of 130 kts winds pushing into it, providing limited support for surface level gale development. A ridge was under New Zealand shutting down gale development potential there and another in the far southeast Pacific. Over the next 72 hours the trough to move east and weaken through the weekend, providing only limited support for surface level gale development. A much weaker pattern to setup behind it. Beyond 72 hours a generally weak pattern forecast, with only the hint of a trough forecast in the deep Central Pacific mid-next week and most energy aimed at Antarctica.

At the surface an area of gale winds was trying to build in the Southeast Pacific up to 40-45 kts, but they were all aimed east to southeast providing no swell generation potential for California and east of the Hawaiian Swell winnow. Chile might get something from this though. Over the next 72 hours a generalized west to east flow to persist but no swell producing fetch is indicated.


New Zealand Gale (Swell #3S Hawaii)
A new closed isobar 968 mb low formed south-southeast of New Zealand Wednesday AM (4/25) from an earlier fetch in the area. A broad area of 40-45 kt southwest winds developed 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 were modeled at 58S 173E. In the evening the whole fetch was lifting northeast winds confirmed at 45 kts at 50S 170W aimed right up the 210 degree path to California and 35 degrees east of the 187 degree path to Hawaii. 35 ft seas were modeled at 52S 175W becoming shadowed for NCal (210) and SCal (213 degrees).

The low dropped to 964 mbs on Thursday AM (4/26) with some limited 35-40 kts winds holding in the vicinity of 50S 160W but aimed more to the east, Seas built to 37 ft at 50S 167W, though that seems a bit high. And it was shadowed from S California (213 degrees) and most of NCal (210 degrees) by Tahiti. The low to quickly fade after that Thurs PM with residual 35 ft seas modeled at 47S 159W and still shadowed for the mainland, then fading out.

This was not a long lasting system, only lasting essentially 48 hours and did not reach storm status. But it theoretically generated a solid fetch and some seas of interest, though we suspect the wave models have overestimated seas heights some. Hawaii is likely to be best positioned to receive swell from this one being only 4140-5014 nmiles away versus the 5428-6567 nmiles from California and the fact that the mainland was shadowed by Tahiti. A reasonably solid long period swell with some size is likely Hawaii with rideable long period energy forecast for California too, though inconsistent.

South California: Expect swell arrive Friday (5/4) building to 2.6 ft @ 17-18 secs late (4.5 ft faces). Swell to peak Saturday (5/5) at 3 ft @ 16 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces). Swell fading from 3 ft @ 15 secs Sunday (4.5 ft faces). Residual swell of 2.6 ft @ 14 secs (3.5 ft faces) Monday (5/7) and fading. Swell Direction: 202-207 degrees

North California: Expect swell arrival Friday (5/4) with swell building to 2.3 ft @ 17 secs late (4 ft faces). Swell to peak Saturday (5/5) with swell up to 3 ft @ 16 secs late (4.5-5.0 ft faces). Swell fading from 2.6 ft @ 15 secs Sunday (4 ft faces). Residual swell of 2.3-2.6 ft @ 14 secs (3.5 ft faces) Monday (5/7) and fading. Swell Direction: 206-211 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 the models indicate that dual high pressure systems are to merge setting up one huge high at 1040 mbs sitting just east of the dateline reaching from almost California west of the dateline. It's to generate north winds over Cape Mendocino CA and enhanced trades over the Hawaiian Islands for the balance of next week producing short period windswell at both locations.

Of some interest is low pressure that to be riding over this high pushing from the Kuril's into the Bering Sea and then settling dow into the Gulf of Alaska next weekend. This might offer a smidgen of hope, but it's really too early to tell.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours 2 low pressure system are modeled but again all their fetch is to be aimed west to east or even to the southeast, providing no swell generation potential for targets in the Northern Hemisphere.

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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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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