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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: May 18, 2013 10:25 AM
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 = 3.8 - California & 3.5 - 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 5/20 thru Sun 5/26
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   

Swell #1S Moving Into California
Much Energy Still For Hawaii Too

Swell Classification Guidelines

Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead).
- Head high or better.
Advanced: Winter - Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Summer - Chest to head high.
Intermediate/Utility Class: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft).
- Waist to chest high.
Impulse/Windswell: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
- up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.

Current Conditions
On Saturday
(5/18) North and Central CA had surf in the waist to maybe chest high range, warbled and weak with an onshore flow and nearly chopped early, all local north windswell. Down in Santa Cruz surf was knee to waist high and weak but clean - looking all like windswell with no southern hemi swell showing early.  Southern California up north was knee high with maybe some thigh high sets and clean but weak and looking only like north windswell. Down south waves were waist high with a few bigger sets and pretty heavily textured early from southwest wind making it pretty crumbled. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean, but with little lines form the northwest trying to materialize. The South Shore was doing quite well with Swell #1S still in.cgiace bigger than hoped for with sets in the 2-3 ft overhead range and clean. The East Shore was getting minimal tradewind generated east windswell at knee high and chopped with trades on it. 

See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.

Meteorological Overview
From the North Pacific the only rideable surf being generated was from windswell, a mix of locally generated short period pushing down the California coast and supposedly a new minimal pulse of background dateline energy generating from 15 ft seas late Tues into Wed AM (5/15) for the northern shores of Hawaii. Next to no tradewind generated windswell was occurring for Hawaii's Eastern Shores.

Longerterm for California the local coastal gradient is to build some on Sunday (5/19) to 25 kts then fade Mon-Tues only to rebuild midweek before fading later in the workweek.This to result in varying degrees of rideable windswell, biggest mid-week. No signs of any real tradewind generated east windswell for the Islands, a change from previous predictions.  

Of more interest is a late season gale that was starting to wrapped up off Japan on Saturday (5/18) with 40-45 kt west winds and 30 ft seas forecast. somewhat impressive for the time of year but still positioned a long ways from even Hawaii much less the US West Coast. Still, some small but rideable swell to results for all locations.    

But the big story remains the gale that developed and tracked northeast from under New Zealand on Thurs (5/9) producing up to 38 ft seas while approaching French Polynesia, then faded early Sat (5/11) with seas dropping from 34 ft while moving to within 1500 nmiles of Tahiti. A small second pulse developed Sunday (5/12) with 34 ft seas aimed well north with yet another pulse developing Mon-Tues (5/14) with 34-36 ft seas tracking again well to the northeast but positioned more southerly. And yet one final pulse of 30-32 ft seas developed Tues-Wed (5/15) providing yet more swell energy radiating north and northeast. Decent size swell is hitting Hawaii. And moderate sized swell should result for the US West Coast by Sunday (5/19) holding through the coming workweek if not a little more.Make the most of what you can get. Details below...   


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

North Pacific

Surface Analysis  -  On Saturday (5/18) weak high pressure was located over the Northeast Pacific at 1024 mbs generating no real fetch of interest other than a generic summer time pressure gradient along Central CA producing a shallow area of 15-20 kt north winds resulting in weak but barely rideable short period local north windswell for Central CA.
Trades were also being generated off the south side of this high relative to Hawaii at 15 kts too producing bare minimal east windswell, and fading.   

Over the next 72 hours starting Sunday (5/19) high pressure is to build over the East Pacific setting off the normal pressure gradient along the North and Central CA coast resulting in building north winds there at 25 kts reaching down to Pt Conception through Monday AM (5/20), with local north windswell on the increase some, but nothing remarkable. Trades relative to Oahu are to drop out by late Saturday with a non-closed isobar low developing north of the Islands. Maybe some 15-20 kt northeast fetch to result aimed mostly west of the Islands Sunday-Monday (5/20) with sideband swell in the 3 ft @ 8 secs range (2.0-2.5 ft) expected late Mon-Wed (5/22).

One more pulse of swell energy associated with persistent low pressure near the dateline occurred on Tues (5/14) tracking east generating seas to 15 ft at 43N 175E.  Limited northwest windswell from it possibly arriving on Oahu by Sat (5/18) at 2.4 ft @ 12 secs (2.5 ft)  pushing 3 ft @ 11 secs (3.0-3.5 ft) early Sun AM (5/19).

Of far more interest is a gale that developed off Japan late Friday (5/17) and was tracking slowly northeast.  By Sat AM (5/18) it had a small area of 45 kt west winds with 40 kt west winds over a modest sized area and seas building from 27 ft at 41N 160E, a long ways from even Hawaii. 40 kt west winds to hold into the early evening with seas building to 30 ft at 40N 166E (308 degs Hawaii). Fetch is to be fading from 30 kts Sun AM (5/19) with seas fading from 26 ft at 40N 168E. the remnants of the gale to start lifting northeast in the evening with seas from previous fetch fading from 20 ft at 41N 172E. This is looking like a sure thing at this point. A nice small pulse of westerly swell could result for the Islands (4 ft @ 13-15 secs with 5.0-5.5 ft faces from 308 degrees). Something to monitor.  

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


No tropical systems of interest were occurring. Former tropical Storm Alvin has dissipated with no swell expected to result.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Saturday (5/18) modest high pressure at 1024 mbs was 600 nmiles west of Central CA and barely ridging into the California coast generating modest north winds along the North and Central coasts in the 15 kt range with a pocket to 20 kts over Point Conception. Southern CA was protected. Pretty typical for the time of year. By Sunday the gradient is to start ramping up with north winds 25 kts early for North and Central CA and 30 kts late over Northern CA but Southern CA is to remain protected. Monday winds to back off some at 25 kts near Cape Mendo and 20 kts off the Central Coast but light nearshore. By Tuesday AM (5/21) a light northerly flow is forecasts for North and Central CA, 10 kts nearshore. But low pressure is to be moving into the Pacific Northwest with strong high pressure at 1040 mbs building in the Gulf of Alaska. By evening the low is to be onshore over North CA with high pressure building over the ocean and north winds building from 20-25 kts along the entire North and Central coasts. 25-30 kt north winds to be pushing down the Canadian coast too. Southern CA to remain protected. Wednesday north wind is to be the rule building to 35 kts by afternoon off San Francisco with 30 kt north winds for all to North and Central CA. A mess. Those winds to hold Thursday at 30 kts moderating to 25 kts late. Southern CA to remain protected.  Winds holding for North and Central CA on Friday at 25 kts, with the gradient finally collapsing Saturday with north winds fading from 20 kts.          

South Pacific

Jetstream  -  On Saturday (5/18) the jet was .cgiit over New Zealand then merging into a single flow over the Central Pacific tracking flat from there into Southern Chile. There was one pocket of 130 kt winds in the just well off Chile but no troughs were present offering no support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours the same basic pattern is forecast but with the southern branch of the jet start to .cgiit more from the northern branch over the width of the South Pacific and falling south while loosing energy. No troughs of interest are forecast with a pure zonal flow (.cgiit and parallel to each other) expected offering no real support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours the situation is to become even more pronounced with the southern branch falling to the Ross Ice Shelf by Thurs (5/23) and continuing di.cgiaced well to the south into the weekend with no troughs of interest forecast offering no support for gale development.     

Surface  -  On Saturday (5/18) swell from the New Zealand Gale (see New Zealand Gale below) was the only thing of interest. No other swell producing weather system were occurring. Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.


New Zealand Gale - Swell #1S
On Thursday AM (5/9) a modest gale started to develop while tracking under New Zealand moving into an upper level trough producing an area of 45 kt southwest winds down at the surface and seas building from 28 ft at 58S 172E. The Jason-1 satellite passed over the southern flank of this gale at 18Z and confirmed seas at 31.1 ft with one readying to 37.4 ft where the model suggested 30 ft seas. The model was under calling it some. Thurs PM the gale tracked northeast with fetch building to the north pushing up into the South Pacific with winds 45-50 kts southeast of New Zealand targeting Hawaii and seas to 37 ft at 54S 177E (39 ft at 06Z at 51S 179W - 189 degs HI, 212 degs NCal, 213 SCal and shadowed by Tahiti).

Additional 45 kt pure southerly winds held while lifting north Fri AM (5/10) generating more 36 ft seas at 51S 175W. The Jason-1 satellite passed over the northern side of the fetch and reported seas 31.5 ft with one reading to 36.7 ft where the model indicated 34-36 ft seas. Looks like the model was over hyping it some. Also the model reported 38 ft seas at 18Z at 51S 173W (189 degs HI, 209 degs NCal and shadowed, 212 SCal and shadowed). A broad fetch of 35-40 kt southerly winds held in the evening with 36 ft seas lifting north at 48S 168W (187 degs HI, 209 degs NCal and shadowed, 211 SCal and shadowed).

A small area of 45 kt south wind was building Sat AM (5/11) with seas 33 ft over a good sized area at 44S 164W (184 degs HI, 209 NCal shadowed, 211 SCal shadowed). Southerly fetch was fading from 40-45 kts in the evening wrapped around the gales core with seas fading from 32 ft at 40S 155W (181 degs HI, 205 NCal shadowed, 209 SCal and barely shadowed) with secondary fetch building to 40 kts south around the core of the gale and another off of New Zealand.

On Sun AM (5/12) a modest fetch of 45 kt southwest winds were wrapping around the core of the gale and also tracking northeast off New Zealand with seas building to 32 ft at 43S 160W (181 degs HI, 207 NCal shadowed, 210 SCal shadowed). By evening winds were fading from 40 kts as the core of the low retrograded to the south with seas fading from 33 ft over a moderate area well to the north at 36S 152W (east of the HI swell window, 205 degs NCal shadowed, 208 SCal unshadowed). 

Some solid degree of decent sized 17+ sec period swell is radiating northeast having already hit Tahiti (with 17+ ft Hawaiian  surf on Mon-Tues (5/21) with secondary swell moving towards Hawaii and the US West Coast. The early part of this fetch was unshadowed for North California by Tahiti but fully shadowed for Southern CA, then moving well into the shadow and remaining there barely becoming exposed for Southern CA late in it's life.

Hawaii: Combined swell fading Sunday at 3.6 ft @ 15 secs early (5.5. ft with bigger sets) with the third pulse pulse (see below) building underneath to 2.6 ft @ 18 secs late (4.5 ft with sets to  6.0 ft). 2nd and 3rd pulses of the swell fading Monday (5/20) from 3 ft @ 16-17 secs (5 ft with sets to 6.0 ft) with energy from the 4th pulse starting to build in late afternoon (1-2 ft @ 19 secs - 3.5 ft). 4th Pulse peaking early Tuesday AM (5/21) at 2.3 ft @ 17-18 secs (4 ft with sets to 5 ft) with swell from previous fetch fading from 2.6 ft @ 14 secs (3.5-4.0 ft) early. Combined swell fading Wed (5/22) from 3 ft @ 15 secs (4.5 ft). Swell dropping out by Thurs (5/23) from 2.3 ft @ 14 secs (3 ft). Swell Direction: 1st Pulse: 180-189 degrees, 2nd Pulse: 180-181 degs, 3rd Pulse: 182-188 degs, 4th Pulse: 181-196 degs

Southern CA: Period dropping to 20 secs near 8 AM Saturday (5/18) with swell becoming rideable at 1.5 ft @ 20 secs (3 ft with sets to 4 ft) and 2 ft @ 19 secs late (3.5 ft with sets to 4.5 ft). Swell starting to peak near noon Sunday as period hits 18 secs and holding through the evening with period 17-18 secs. Pure swell possibly 3.0 ft @ 17-18 secs (5.0 ft with sets to 6.5 ft). Swell fading but still decent at 3 ft @ 16 secs (4.8 ft with sets to 6.0 ft) with the second pulse from the gale (see details above) hitting neat 5 AM Mon (5/20).  Pure swell Monday AM at 2.5-2.7 ft @ 17 secs (4.5 ft with sets to 6.0 ft) fading some late.  Swell fading Tuesday AM (5/21) from 2.4 ft @ 16 secs (3.8 ft sets to 5.0 ft).  Energy from the third pulse hitting near 7 PM and starting to peak on Wed (5/22) near 3 AM at 2.3-2.4 ft @ 17 secs (3.9-4.1 ft with sets to 5.1 ft) and much lesser sized and period energy intermixed. Swell fading Thurs AM (5/23) but new energy building underneath from the 4th pulse late afternoon, peaking near 5 AM Friday (5/24) at 2.2-2.4 ft @ 17 secs (3.7-4.1 ft with sets to 5.1 ft). Residual energy fading Saturday into Sunday. Swell Direction: 1st Pulse: 210-213 degrees, 2nd Pulse 204-209 degs, 3rd Pulse 208-210 degs, 4th Pulse 206-215 degs. 

Northern CA: Period dropping to 20 secs near 10 AM Saturday (5/18) with swell becoming rideable pushing 2.0 ft @ 19 secs late (3.5 ft with sets to 4.5 ft). Swell starting to peak near noon Sunday as period hits 18 secs and holding through the evening with period 17-18 secs. Pure swell possibly 2.9 ft @ 17-18 secs (5.0 ft with sets to 6.5 ft). Swell fading but still decent with the second pulse from the gale (see details above) hitting neat 7 AM Mon (5/20).  Pure swell Monday AM at 2.5-2.7 ft @ 17 secs (4.5 ft with sets to 6.0 ft) fading some late.  Swell fading Tuesday AM (5/21) from 2.4 ft @ 16 secs (3.8 ft sets to 5.0 ft).  Energy from the third pulse hitting near 10 PM and starting to peak on Wed (5/22) near 5 AM at 2.3-2.4 ft @ 17 secs (3.9-4.1 ft with sets to 5.1 ft) and much lesser sized and period energy intermixed. Swell fading Thurs AM (5/23) but new energy building underneath from the 4th pulse late afternoon, peaking near 5 AM Friday (5/24) at 2.2-2.4 ft @ 17 secs (3.7-4.1 ft with sets to 5.1 ft). Residual energy fading Saturday into Sunday. Swell Direction: 1st Pulse 208-211 degrees, 2nd Pulse 202-207 degs, 3rd Pulse 206-208 degs, 4th Pulse 203-213 degs. 

New Zealand Gale (Part 3)
A tiny secondary fetch of 55 kt southwest winds built south-southeast of New Zealand Sunday evening (5/12) producing 34 ft seas over a tiny area at 59S 175E. 45 kt southwest winds raced northeast Mon AM (5/13) producing up to 36 ft seas over a tiny area at 53S 171W (188 degs HI, 209 degs SCal and becoming unshadowed, 208 degs NCal and shadowed). The fetch raced northeast in the evening fading from 40 kts with seas 34 ft at 47S 161W (182 degs HI, 208 degs SCal and unshadowed, 206 degs NCal and shadowed). This system was gone by Tuesday AM.

Another small pulse of 17-18 sec period swell has developed radiating northeast providing sideband swell for Tahiti then arriving in  Hawaii (on Sun 5/18 with period 18 secs - see forecast above) with more direct but highly decayed and shadowed energy for California (arriving Wed AM 5/22 see details above). It will likely just look like a continuation of the existing swell.

New Zealand Gale (Part 4)
The final pulse of the storm developed on Tues AM (5/14) producing 45 kts southwest winds over a small area generating seas to 30 ft at 53S 176E (196 degs HI, 215 degs SCal and shadowed, 213 degs NCal and unshadowed).  The fetch pulsed some Tuesday PM still at 45 kts and covering a broader area with seas to 32 ft at 48S 168W (187 degs HI, 212 degs SCal and shadowed, 209 degs NCal and moving into the Tahiti Swell shadow).  Fetch was fading Wed AM (5/15) from 40 kts and aiming more flat east with seas 32 ft at 48S 157W (181 degs HI, 207 degs SCal and unshadowed, 203 degs NCal and moving east of the Tahiti swell shadow).  By evening all fetch was gone except a small new fetch of 45-50 kt mostly west winds. Seas were fading from 29-30 ft at 48S 150W and of no real interest. 

Yet another small pulse of 17 sec period swell energy is to be radiating northeast  targeting Hawaii on Tues AM (5/21) with 17+ sec period energy.  Swell to start moving into California Thurs PM (5/23) peaking Fri AM (5/24) with period 17 secs (see details above). It will likely just look like a continuation of the existing swell.   


New Zealand Gale Residual Fetch
(Part 1)
The remnants of this system redeveloped some on Thurs AM (5/16) generating a small area of 45 kt southwest fetch and seas to 36 ft at 58S 145W (193 degs NCal, 195 degs SCal and unshadowed by Tahiti, east of the HI swell window) but all energy was pushing flat east. Background energy was radiating northeast towards the US West Coast, but did not qualify as a 5th Pulse.  That fetch pushed east and dissipated by Thurs PM (5/16) with seas from previous fetch fading from 34 ft at 58S 137W (190 degs SCal, 188 degs NCal).  More background sideband energy was tracking northeast, but most energy was targeting Chile, but too far east for significant class swell even there. Additional 35-40 kt fetch moved over the Southeast Pacific Fri AM (5/17) generating barely 30 ft seas at 51S 132W (189 degs SCal, 187 degs NCal) targeting mainly Chile with sideband energy heading north towards the US West Coast. 30-35 kt west winds held into the evening with 28 ft seas moving to the eastern edge of the California swell window at 52S 124W and racing east and out of even the CA swell window by Sat AM (5/18). 

(Part 2)
On Friday AM (5/17) yet another fetch developed southeast of New Zealand tracking flat east with west winds 45 kts and seas building to 32 ft at 57S 172W. In the evening a tiny area of 45-50 kt west winds built tracking flat east generating seas at 33 ft at  58S 160W. A tiny fetch of 45 kt west wind were pushing east Sat AM (5/18) with seas rebuilding to 36 ft at 59S 146W pushing flat east. In the evening seas are to be fading fast from 32 ft over a tiny area at 57S 131W. This fetch to be gone by Sun AM (5/19). Yet more sideband background swell is possible for the US West Coast (204 degs initially and barely shadowed by Tahiti then becoming unshadowed and moving on to 180 degrees) with even some small energy pushing towards Hawaii (181-187 degs). 

Hawaii: Small swell to arrive starting late on Fri (5/24) at 1.2 ft @ 17-18 secs (2 ft). Swell holding Sat AM (5/25) at 1.2 ft @ 15-16 secs (2 ft) and then fading out. Swell Direction: 188 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 hours local windswell is forecast to rebuild along the North and Central CA coast starting Wednesday (5/22) as high pressure starts building in the Gulf of Alaska to 1032 mbs and falling south setting up the usual pressure gradient along the North and Central Coast. North winds building to near 30 kts with 25 kt winds impacting nearshore for all affected regions. Windswell pushing 8 ft @ 10 secs - 8 ft). Winds to fade some Thursday from 30 kts early but holding into early Friday (5/24) at 25 kts and still having a good footprint over nearshore locations of North and Central CA. Finally the gradient is to die on Saturday. Windswell fading with it.

No tradewind generated east windswell of interest is expected for the East Shore of the Hawaiian Islands.

Note: The Madden Julian Oscillation is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equatorial Pacific it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slack if not an outright reversal of trade winds and enhanced precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the.cgianet. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to .cgiit resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for MJO activity (which directly relate to the potential for swell production).

As of Saturday (5/18) the daily Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) continued up at 20.70. The 30 day average was up to 0.65 with the 90 day average up at 5.63. Overall this is neutral territory and not indicative of El Nino, with the upward trend a likely lagging indicator of the Inactive Phase of the MJO that is already starting to fade.   

Current equatorial wind analysis indicated light east anomalies over the Maritime Continent and dateline region holding half way to Central America before fading to neutral. The Inactive Phase of the MJO was still in control but fading. A week from now (5/25) neutral anomalies are to be in control over the Maritime Continent and dateline regions turning to slight west anomalies south of Hawaii then neutral into Central America. This suggests a return to a neutral phase of the MJO should take over. But still, right now is most activity we've seen from the MJO in a while. Unfortunately it's in the Inactive direction rather than a Active Phase.           

The longer range models (dynamic and statistical) run on 5/17 remain in agreement, but contradict reality. Both suggest a weak Active Phase of the MJO pattern was already in control over the far West Pacific, though there's no evidence of that in any other data. The Dynamic model has the Active Phase dissipating 5 days from now then turning neutral and then Inactive 8 days out and building 15 days out to moderate strength. The Statistic model conversely has the Active Phase in.cgiay now and slowly fading over the 15 day forecast period. That all remains preposterous. Regardless, the assumption is we are returning to a stronger MJO cycle with some sort of MJO activity building over the next 2 weeks. But whether its Active or Inactive is yet to be seen.    

The more warm water in the equatorial East Pacific means more storm production in the North Pacific during winter months (roughly speaking). As of now (5/16) a very La Nina looking pattern has emerged in the East Pacific over the equator with much cooler water tracking north up along the South American Coast turning west at Ecuador extending to the Galapagos Islands and pushing west from there. This looks like a real La Nina cold pool at this time, or maybe just a precursor to what has developed into a strong Inactive Phase of the MJO. It's almost as if this cold pool developed before  anomalous east winds started blowing over the West Pacific. The question now is: "Will those cold waters moderate and disperse or will they stay in.cgiace?". It's too early to know. Interestingly the.cgiume of slightly cooler than normal water that has been radiating southeast off California tracking near Hawaii to the equatorial dateline for 2 years has finally closed off. Warm water is filling the entire Northeast Pacific basin. This is a reflection of the collapse of high pressure that has dominated the East Pacific. But that is likely to be short lived with high pressure expected to return with a vengeance by next week (5/20). Subsurface waters temps on the equator continue indicating a pool of cooler water (-2.0 deg C) in.cgiace at 150W and down 150 meters, blocking the transport path. A building pocket of slight warmer water appears to be backing up in the West Pacific, typical of La Nina. In short, temperatures on the surface are not warming and if anything are cooling, while the subsurface path is blocked by cooler water, not doing anything to transport warm water eastward, even if there was warm water to transport. The only good news is the coastal pattern off the US mainland suggests somewhat lower higher pressure and cooler water temps, all signs of a weak La Nina-like pattern. Interestingly the falling SOI (both daily and 30 day average) suggests something else is in.cgiay. It's still a very mixed pattern with no clear long term signal suggesting either El Nino or La Nina.  

Projections from the CFSv2 model run 5/18 are up some. The model indicates water temps bottomed out (in May) near normal (+0.0 degs C). A gradual rebound to the +0.20 degree C level is possible by July holding through Fall to Jan 2014 if not creeping up to the +0.35 deg C range. A consensus of all the other ENSO models suggest near normal water temps into Summer and early Fall 2013 with no warming indicated. We are in the Spring Unpredictability Barrier where accuracy of all the ENSO models is historically low. But by mid-June we'll be clear of that barrier and will have a better handle on the long term outlook. So for now the outcome is uncertain, but not trending towards anything that would be considered warm. Historically, if a warm water buildup indicative of any significant El Nino pattern were to occur, it would be starting to happen by now (normally would start building in Feb-Mar).  That is clearly not the case for this year.  Expect a neutral pattern for Winter of 2013-2014. 

We are in a dead neutral ENSO pattern with neither El Nino or La Nina imminent.  But that is a far better.cgiace than previous years (2010-2011 and 2011-2012) under the direct influence of La Nina. We had expected a normal number of storms and swell for the 2012-2013 winter season, but that did not materialize with the pattern looking more like La Nina than anything. This past season was more of a 3 rating than the 5 that was predicted. That said, there was good consistency, with the west dateline area very productive and almost machine-like.  But the storms were very small in areal coverage and rarely made enough eastern headway to  reach over the dateline.  The result was very westerly but reasonably sized utility class swells for the Islands with far smaller and more inconsistent swell energy for the US West Coast.  Longer term the expectation there will be at least one year of neutral to slightly warmer temps (2013-2014) ultimately converging in a stronger warmer pattern and possible El Nino 2-3 years out (2014 or 2015). And historically, this is the 'normal' pattern (a few years of false starts post La Nina before a legit El Nino forms). 

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool and more details in the  El Nino Update Last Updated 10/6/12 


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is 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

Visit! Boardshorts - Looking for a sick pair of boardshorts? Check out the selection at with brands from O'Neill, Quiksilver and Rusty and free shipping on every order. They won't disappoint.

The Mavericks Invitational Big Wave Surf Contest is scheduled to air on CBS on Thurs (2/7) at 7 PM (PST) r.cgiaying again on Sunday (2/10) at 7 PM.  Set your DVR.

'CBS This Morning' with the Mavericks Invitational Surf Contest - See a nice morning TV show piece on the Mavericks Contest held Sun 1/20/13. The show aired Wed 1/23. Interviews with Colin Dwyer, Jeff Clark, Mark Sponsler and Grant Washburn:

Jaws Redbull Contest Forecast E.cgiained By Stormsurf

Cortes Bank Mission (12/21-12/22/2012)

The Making of 'Chasing Mavericks' - See some background footage on how the movie was made: Part1, Part2

The Psychology of Big Wave Surfing with Greg Long - A must see for any aspiring big wave rider:

Greg Long XCel Core Files - Here's a great profile of Greg Long and his contributions toward pushing the state of big wave surfing. Well Done -

Chasing Mavericks - The Jay Moriarty Movie: Two trailers for the new movie about Jay, Frosty and Mavericks has been posted. Movie opens on 10/26/12. Here's the link: &

Props from the Pros:  Stormsurf was mentioned over the past week in two different media sources.  One was in an interview Kelly Slater did with the New York Times and another was in a promotional piece Ramon Navarro did for the Big Wave World Tour. Many thanks to Curt Myers from Powerline Productions for alerting us and of course thanks to Kelly, Ramon and the Tour for using our service. Here's the links:

Steve Colleta Surfboards - Check out surfboards by local shaper Steve Coletta - A long time Santa Cruz local and master shaper. Progressive shapes for North and Central CA waves

Chasing the Swell has been nominated for a Webby Award. See details of this great piece of video journalism below. Some say this is the "Oscars" of online awards.One of the awards is voter based. If you have a moment,.cgiease cast your ballot by going to:, register, then click on the "Get Voting" tab and then to the "Online Film and Video" > "Sports" category and vote for "Chasing the Swell".

Timmy Reyes - Curt Myers from Powerlines Productions found this little gem with Timmy Reyes providing a brief statement about which sites he uses for swell chasing. Thought we'd pass it on. Enjoy:

Buell Wetsuits - When surfing in Santa Cruz, we've been seeing a new wetsuit in the line-up worn by many top flight surfers. They're getting good traction and are well respected. Take a look:

Stormsurf Mobile App (1/9/11) We are proud to announce the official public release of our smartphone mobile app. It provides access to our most popular and commonly used products, optimized for use on the road, on the beach or anywhere you don't have a desktop or laptop.  With a smart phone and signal, you will have access to our data. And we're not talking just a few teaser products - We're talking full feature wave models, weather models, real-time buoy data, manually built forecasts and hundreds of spot wave and wind forecasts enabling you to construct a surf forecast for any location on the.cgianet, all from your cell phone and all for free.  No subscription required and no hidden fees. And better yet, there's a few new things sprinkled in that are not yet available even on our full-featured web site. From your smart phones browser just navigate to: 

Chasing The Swell: Sachi Cunningham from the LA Times spent the entirety of last winter chasing surfers and swells around the North Pacific with her high def video cam. Her timing couldn't have been any better with the project exactly coinciding with the strongest El Nino in 12 years resulting in the best big wave season in a decade. And being an acco.cgiished surfer herself helped her to bring a poignant and accurate account of the what it's like to ride big waves and the new (and some not so new) personalities that are revitalizing the sport. This is must-see material for any surfer or weather enthusiast. Check it out here:

New Weather Models With the activation of our new server we have now released a new block of weather models including North America jetstream, wind and precipitation, local coastal wind forecasts in 1 hr increments and snow and mountain wind forecasts in both 1 and 3 hours increments. The new animations can be found here (look for those items tagged with the New! icon):

New Weather Model Server Stormsurf has installed another weather model production server. This has enabled us to spread the load across more servers allowing us to post both wave and weather model updates much quicker.  Also we are testing new content (like North America jetstream, winds and precipitation, local wind forecasts in 1 hr increments and snow and mountain wind forecasts in both 1 and 3 hours increments). The model menus will be updated shortly with these new links.   

Click here to learn more about Casa Noble Tequila! Casa Noble Tequila If you are looking for an exquisite experience in fine tequila tasting, one we highly recommend, try Case Noble. Consistently rated the best tequila when compared to any other. Available at BevMo (in California). Read more here:

New Wave Model Facts: Click HERE to read more about the new wave models. Important info.

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.

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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