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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: May 10, 2009 6:13 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 = 1.0 - California & 1.0 - Hawaii
Using the 'Summer' 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 5/11 thru Sun 5/17
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   

North and South Pacific Go Stagnant
Gale PAttern in the Tasman Sea


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.

On Sunday (5/10) North and Central California had waist to chest high crumbly junked up northwest windswell and mostly unrideable. Southern California had a thigh to waist high northwest crumbly windswell wrapping into exposed breaks with clean condtions. best breaks had some chest high sets. Hawaii's North Shore was flat. The East Shore had knee high east windswell. The South Shore was near flat with only 1 ft background southern hemi swell lapping in and fading.

The forecast for North and Central CA is more of the same, with only local short period north windswell in the water for the next week. And period on it is to drop dramatically by Monday AM and stay there till later in the week, so whatever surf results will be gutless. Size to be about waist high. Southern CA is to see a portion of this same north windswell through the week with top spots knee high and eddy winds (southerly) in control in the mornings. Theoretically a pulse of background southern hemi swell is to move in on Tuesday (5/12), but don;t bet on it. Oahu's North Shore is to not see anything rideable for a long time, with the North Pacific sound asleep. The East Shore is to see some minimal easterly short period windswell Mon-Wed or so and very weak. The South Shore is to be the big standout later in the week due to the anticipated arrival of tiny background southwest swell originating from the Tasman Sea. But set your sights low, cause size is to not be much.   

Longterm virtually no swell producing weather system are forecast over the North Pacific. Summer is here and the North Pacfic is asleep. A cutoff low sheduled for the Gulf of Alaska has all but vaporized from the charts. Down south nothing is on the charts for the South Pacific for the next 7days. The only exception is a decent storm pattern that started Wed (5/6) in the Tasman Sea, with 3 separate swell events forecast to push energy well to the north through Tues (5/12) with another one now projected on Sat (5/16). Hawaii is to get a fraction of this swell starting late next week assuming all develops as forecast, but only after Fiji steals a good chunk of the size and period.   


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

North Pacific

On Sunday (5/7) the North Pacific jetstream was flowing more or less flat from Japan into Oregon, but energy leves were low and a ridge was stealling a portion of that energy off Japan and pushing it way up north of even the Bering Sea, then returning on the dateline. Wind speeds were light at 90-100 kts and not offering any odds to support low pressure formation. Over the next 72 hours the same basic pattern is to hold but with a ridge peeling off the main flow and fading leaving a flat singular 90-110 kts flow pushing east across the North Pacific with no troughs capable of support gale development. Beyond 72 hours more of the same is forecast. It's effectively summer now, and we'll likely start downsizing our North Pacific monitoring operations in the next few days till the Fall.

At the surface high pressure at 1032 mbs was centered in the Northwestern Gulf of Alaska over the Aleutains Islands and pushing southeast into California. It was just strong enough to form a weak gradeint along the coast from Cape Mendocino south to the Channel Islands generating north winds at 20-25 kts and producing short period local north windswell. It was also generating light trades to 15 kts pushing southwest off California and reaching under the Hawaiian Isalnds to the dateline producing minimal east windswell for the Islands. No other swell producing systems weere in.cgiay. Over the next 72 hours trades over Hawaii are to die as the Gulf high shrinks, holding down just a fraction of space off the Calfiraoni coast and continuing to generate north winds at 20 kts along the coast there through Wednesday (5/13). A weak cutoff low is to form in the Central Gulf on Monday tracking 1500 nmiles north of Hawaii and producing only west winds (in it's north quadrant) aimed only towards Japan. No swell to result. Summer is here. 


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


California Nearshore Forecast
On Sunday (5/10) high pressure was in control of waters off California centered in the Northwestern Gulf of Alaska genrating 25 kt north winds centered off Monterey Bay with some portion of them pushing down to the Channel Islands and up into Cape Mendocino.  Chop was in control of outer waters and ri.cgiing nearshore. Southern Ca was protected from most of this, but from Pt Conception northward chop was in control. The core of the gradient is to get shunted back south by Monday (5/11) as weak low pressure pushes into the Pacific Northwest, with more right behind it. This to drop the period of any windswell along the CA coast way down. Some northwest winds to reach into Santa Barbara Co. North winds and a local gradient to continue Tues into Wed (5/13) as a cutoff low in the Gulf pushes into the Pacific Northwest. Only after this low is gone on Friday is high pressure to get better footing with north winds building northward again, pushing 30 kts late Friday (5/15) and the gradient/fetch expanding in size. But by Saturday high pressure is to start pushing inland too over Washington and the gradient is to start dying by Sunday, providing nearshore wind relief from Pt Arena southward.

No tropical activity of interest was occurring.


South Pacific

On Thursday (5/7) the South Pacific jetstream was massively .cgiit over it's entire width with a solid ridge in the southern branch pushing down over the Ross Ice Shelf and totally shutting off surface level low pressure production. That said, a steep weird cutoff upper low was circulating in the Tasman Sea and over New Zealand likely helping to support gale development there. Otherwise there was zero support for gale development over the South Pacific. Over the next 72 that .cgiit pattern is to hold offering no help. The cutoff low over the Tasman Sea is to slowly fade too. A possible trough is to start building at 120W late Tuesday (5/12) on the eastern most edge of the Caldron swell window with winds building to 130 kts, possibly aiding in surface level low pressure development, but likely more of interest to Central and South America. Beyond 72 hrs the .cgiit pattern is to continue if not get stronger. Another cutoff trough is forecast for the Tasman Sea on Friday (5/15) while that steep trough in the far East Pacific holds too while pushing east, but well outside any great circle track to the US mainland. In short, no support for gale development in the Hawaiian or United States swell windows. 

At the surface on Sunday high pressure at 1032 mbs remains locked down well east of New Zealand in the middle of the South Pacific.  No swell producing fetch was occurring. Over the next 72 hours that high pressure system is to remain stationary if not getting reinforced, oscillating between 1032-1036 mbs and completely eliminating low pressure development in that area. 

Of some interest is activity in the Tasman Sea. It started on Wednesday (5/6) with a push of wind energy originating under Australia with 35 kt south winds fed by an upper trough forecast in that area. Seas built to 25 ft at 47S 158E late. That fetch pushed up to northwest New Zealand on Thursday (5/7) with 30-35 kt south winds there and more 23 ft seas aimed straight at Fiji pushing up to 37S 162E late and to 33S 167E Friday AM. This should be good for 14 sec period swell. Another gale built in the South Tasman Sea on Friday again with 35-40 kt south winds pushing into the center of the Tasman Sea with a secondary south fetch arriving on Saturday AM (5/9) to 45 kts resulting in seas building to 26 ft at 43S 165E, pushing 30 ft Sat evening at 40S 167E aimed due north at Fiji. Winds were holding Sunday AM at 30 kts from the south with 26 ft seas modeled at 34S 163E expected to hold at 26 ft in the evening at 32S 165E aimed due north. Winds are to be fading Monday (5/11) from 30 kts off Northwestern New Zealand with seas at 25 ft at 40S 164E in the morning fading from 25 ft at 34S 168E in the evening a mere 900 nmiles from Fiji. This continues to look good for Fiji, with some background southern hemi swell potential for Hawaii assuming all proceeds as forecast. Small southern hemi background swell expected to arrive in Hawaii on Thursday (5/14) with swell 1.6 ft @ 16 secs (waist high with chest high sets at top breaks) from 210 degrees. Period slowly dropping to 13 secs by Saturday (5/16) .


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 weak high pressure at 1024-1028 mbs is to remain locked just off California feeding the usual pressure gradient along the coast and generating north wind and short period north windswell. Another weak cutoff low is forecast for the Gulf on Friday (5/15) , even weaker than the previous one with no swell production resulting. Trades to remain light over the Islands.


MJO/ENSO Update (reference): As of Sunday (5/10) the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) was past the peak of the Active Phase with the ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation) index likely bottomed out. The Daily SOI index was at -15.45, with 15 previous days in a row of near negative readings (after 26 days of positive values). The 30 day average was down to 1.26 and the 90 day average was down to 3.76 (the lowest in 6+ moths but still not negative). The SOI indicies remained completely neutral at the moment though there was still some remnant signs of La Nina present. Wind anomalies at the surface and the 850 mb level (approx 1000 ft up) indicated that the Active Phase had peaked out with weak westerly anomalies still covering the entire equatorial Western Pacific to the dateline and into Central America, but fading. It is to be weakening more as it tracks east but having lingering effects over the Eastern Pacific through 5/17.  A new version of the Inactive Phase is queued up in the Indian Ocean, expected to be weak as it moves east, not even making it intact to the dateline around 5/21, and nearly gone by 5/27 with nothing reaching the Eastern Pacific. The residual effects of 3 years of La Nina are effectively gone over the ocean, and fading fast in the atmosphere. Cooler than normal surface water off of Central America are gone with slightly warmer than normal waters temps reported. And below the surface on the equator, cool water that had locked down the region are gone, the first time in months, with a steady flow of normal subsurface water tracking from the West Pacific over the dateline and then breaking the surface near Central America with warmer water starting to pool up there. So now we are waiting to see if this current episode of the Active Phase will pump more warm waters of the West Pacific eastward, kicking us into a building warm regime in the equatorial Eastern Pacific. There continue to be evidence of a Westerly Wind Burst occurring on the dateline 5/3-5/5, but we'll have to wait to see if that results in a transport of warm subsurface waters pushing east.  And the models are depicting a moment of consolidated jetstream pattern occurring over the North Pacific, a early sign of recovery (if it holds). Months of high pressure off California and stiff north winds there turning trades over Hawaii had resulted in a huge cool tongue of water extending from Central CA the whole way over Hawaii to the dateline which generated massive upwelling. Now even that is quickly  moderating, but not entirely gone. We had expected 1-2 more months of high pressure before a possible neutral pattern takes hold (i.e. no .cgiit in the jetstream over the North Pacific - warmer waters off California). But that might be healing even earlier than expected.  


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours the models suggest that perhaps a gale is to form in the far southeastern Pacific generating 30 ft seas at 53S 120W by Thursday (5/14) on the eastern edge of the Southern CA swell window. The fetch to lift northeast for 24 hours with seas holding in the 30 ft range, then dissipating. This would likely be best for Central America into South America, assuming it even forms.

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

Rebuild Jeff Clark: Jeff Clark the first pioneer of Mavericks, recently underwent hip resurfacing surgery due to severe pain from deterioration of his hip. Needless to say the procedure is very expensive and his insurance only covers tiny portion of the bill. If you're interested in learning about the procedure or would like to donate to help Jeff out,.cgiease take a look here:

Half Moon Bay Surf Club, "A Luau for the Waveriders", May 16th, Seacrest School Half Moon Bay
The Half Moon Bay Surf Club is hosting its annual fundraiser on May 16 at 6:00. The club consists of students from 6th Grade - High School who compete in the Interscholastic Surfing Federation against schools along the central coast. This is the primary fundraiser for 2009 and your smile would add to the rich gathering of friends. The location is Seacrest School, 901 Arnold Way, HMB. Tickets are $40 for adults ($50 after May 9th) and Kids 2-12 are $25. Music entertainment is by Blame It On The Dog. There will be lots of prizes, a silent auction and a raffle. Several surprise guest appearances and a few bonus prizes may find their way in through the doors. Please contact Tracy at 650-712-1242 for tickets. 

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

Free Stormsurf Stickers - Get your free stickers! - More details Here

Read all the latest news and happenings on our News Page here

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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