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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: May 27, 2007 10:14 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
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Swell Potential Rating = 3.5 - California & 3.0 - 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 5/21 thru Sun 5/27
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 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   

Moderate Southern Hemi Swell to Continue
Longterm Outlook Not So Good


On Saturday (5/26) Northern CA surf was chest high and wind blown. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were thigh to waist high with luck. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was thigh to waist high. Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was mostly flat. The LA Area southward to Orange County was thigh high up to waist high at the best breaks. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks waist to chest high coming from the south. The North Shore of Oahu was up to waist to chest high. The South Shore was waist to chest high. The East Shore was thigh high.

North/Central California surf remained weak with maybe waist high windswell and smaller southern hemi background swell. Southern California was getting a little southern hemi swell at the usual south facing breaks. Hawaii was getting minimal swell on the North Shore with a little pulse of southern hemi swell on the South Shore. A small pulse of southern hemi energy is hitting California having already passed Hawaii. Two more small to moderate pulses from the south are forecast for both Hawaii and California, with the last one focused best on California. After that it's pretty much over, with no decent systems indicated on the charts. So make the most of what you can get now. See details below...


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

North Pacific

Saturdays jetstream charts (5/26) for the North Pacific depicted the flow generally tracking west to east over the 40N line with winds less than 100 kts from the dateline eastward. One small trough was over the dateline with winds to 150 kts, but that is to be short lived. In general minimal support for gale development there. Over the next 72 hours the dateline trough is to push east into the Gulf by Monday (5/28) with a strong ridge behind it. Minimal support for surface level low pressure development suggested. Beyond 72 hours another weak trough is forecast starting about Wednesday (5/30) on the dateline pushing east again into the Gulf with winds in the 130 kt range. Some support for surface level gale development.

At the surface today weak high pressure at 1024 mbs was off the California coast providing a light northwest windflow down the US coast and a light trade flow over the Hawaiian Islands. Nothing else of interest was occurring. Over the next 72 hrs a series of two low pressure systems are forecast developing, one northwest of Hawaii and another off Japan. The first is to push into the Gulf of Alaska into Mon/Tues (5/29) with no fetch of interest. The second is to push to the dateline south of the Aleutians by Tuesday nd start developing. But until that time no fetch of interest forecast. In all a very quiet pattern is in.cgiace and expected to continue.


No tropical activity was being monitored at this time.


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


California Offshore Forecast
On Saturday (5/26) weak high pressure at 1026 mbs was 1100 nmiles west of Cape Mendocino tracking east. Minimal windswell producing fetch was suggested off the cape with winds 20 kts there over a tiny area. Otherwise a light northwest windflow was in effect. Late Saturday the high to surge a little east generating the usual weak pressure gradient off Cape Mendocino with winds building up to 30 kts late Sunday with windswell on the increase. That to hold into Monday then wither as low pressure approaches from the Gulf. Windswell fading. Light winds and diminishing windswell after that until Thurs/Fri (6/1) when a new batch of high pressure and north winds start regenerating off Cape Mendocino up to the 25-30 kt range again. Windswell generation coming up again then into the weekend. Generally light winds are forecast all locations south of Pt Reyes through the period.


South Pacific

Saturdays jetstream charts (5/26) for the South Pacific indicated a fading trough in the far Southeast Pacific with no energy of interest associated with it. A new trough is trying to build in the far Southwest Pacific under New Zealand with winds up to 130 kts over a tiny area. It was just getting started. Some support for surface level gale development under the second trough. Over the next 72 hours the second trough to try and build northward but it's to be very steep, not allowing any real room for something to develop under it. A big ridge to build in the east shutting that region down. Beyond 72 hours the trough off New Zealand to finally start to get some footing, opening up and starting to look supportive for surface level gale development late Tuesday (5/30) with 110 kts winds flowing up it's west side, though most energy to be pushing south down it's east side towards Antarctica and fueling the big ridge in the east. Some support for gale development through Wednesday, then it's to all pinch off with a ridge taking over the entire South Pacific into next weekend. In all, things aren't looking too good.

At the surface today the weak remnants of a broad low pressure system were in control of the Southeast Pacific but not generating any swell. Another disorganized low under New Zealand at 980 mbs was making a gradient with high pressure over the Tasman Sea and producing 50 kts winds but all impacting the southern tip of New Zealand and not producing any swell of interest into the greater Pacific. Over the new 72 hours this system to try and make it east around New Zealand but is now modeled to fall apart, with no real fetch making the turn around the corner. No other swell producing fetch indicated elsewhere either. An if anything fetch in the Central Pacific is to be building aimed straight south towards Antarctica. Not encouraging.


Secondary New Zealand Fetch
On Tuesday AM (4/15) a decent fetch of 40-45 kts winds was aimed a bit south of the great circle tracks to Hawaii and California. That fetch continued Tuesday PM with 40-45 kt winds clearing New Zealand at 53S 170E aimed like before. Seas built to 30 ft under New Zealand at 50S 165E shadowed from Hawaii but aimed towards CA well. A small area of 40 kts winds continued Wed AM at 50S 173W aimed due east with 30 ft seas modeled way back at 50S 173E. No winds were left in the evening per the satellite yet the wave models projected 30 ft seas at 50S 180W. This made no sense. Thursday AM (5/17) no fetch was indicated per the QuikSCAT satellite again yet the wave models still indicated near 30 ft seas present southeast of New Zealand. Though there's some hint of swell pushing up into Hawaii mid to late next week we suspect nothing much will materialize. But just in case, here's the calculated swell numbers (expect something less).

California to see swell of 2 ft @ 16-17 secs (3 ft faces) Saturday (5/26) pushing 2.6 ft @ 15 secs (4 ft faces) Sunday and fading late.


Third New Zealand System
On Saturday (5/19) a new low pressure system at 960 mbs was located southeast of New Zealand just starting to generate a fetch of 50-55 kts south to southwest winds at 57S 172W aimed right up the 205 degree path to California and just sneaking east of the Tahitian swell shadow and 20 degree east of the 187 degree path to Hawaii. It had generated a tiny area of 30 ft seas at 60S 175E, of no real interest. The low continued tracking east generating 40-45 kt southwest winds Sat PM at 53S 163W aimed right up the 203 degree path to California and unshadowed but 40 degree off the 181 degree path to Hawaii. Seas of 32 ft were modeled at 57S 170W but very tiny in areal coverage. Winds continued confirmed at 40-45 kts Sun AM at 47S 148W aimed right up the 196 degree path to California with 30 ft seas over a bit broader area at 54S 159W lingering behind. The fetch was aimed outside of the Hawaii swell window. A bit of a resurgence occurred Sun PM but all aimed at Antarctica. Residual southwest winds of 40 kts were confirmed at 43S 140W aimed 20 degrees east of the 190 degree path to California. Seas held at 29 ft at 48S 149W. The fetch was gone Monday AM with supposedly 30 ft seas modeled at 43S 138W, but that is highly suspect, then fading out.

In all this one is interesting not because of it's strength, because it really was mostly in the gael force range, but because it was pretty far to the north and pushing right up the 195-205 degree great circle paths to California (unshadowed by Tahiti) with some virtual fetch developing, This is interesting for California and Baja. Possible utility class swell at 15-16 secs. A little energy to be pushing towards Hawaii, but not much.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival early Sunday (5/27) with swell peaking at 2.3 ft @ 16 secs late (3.5 ft faces). Energy fading from 2.3-2.5 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.5 ft faces) early Monday (5/28). Swell Direction:185-187 degrees

South California: Expect swell arrival starting Monday (5/28) with swell building to 2.3 ft @ 17 secs late (4 ft faces). Swell to peak early Tuesday (5/29) with swell 3.0 ft @ 16 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces). A slow decline expected Wednesday (5/30) with swell fading from 2.9 ft @ 15 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces) early. Swell Direction: 193-200 degrees

North California: Expect swell arrival starting Monday (5/28) with swell building to 2 ft @ 18 secs late (3.5 ft faces). Swell to peak midday Tuesday (5/29) with swell 3.0 ft @ 16 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces). A slow decline expected Wednesday (5/30) with swell fading from 3 ft @ 15-16 secs early(4.5 ft faces). Swell Direction: 190-198 degrees


4th Central Pacific Gale
On Tuesday AM (5/22) a new gale developed in the Southwest Pacific with pressure a whopping 936 mbs generating a fetch of 35-40 kt winds at 53S 168W aimed well to the northeast. That fetch built into the evening to 40-45 kts aimed right at California up the 205 degree path and 20 degrees east of the 187 degree path to Hawaii terminating near 54S 170W with seas on the increase to 28 ft at 52S 165W. No strong high pressure was nearby to create a pressure gradient and really push the wind machine through.

Wednesday AM (5/23) winds continued over a now broad area confirmed at 45 kts at 55S 162W with seas holding at 30 ft at 55S 162W. Winds were aimed right at California up the 203 degree path but 40 degrees east of the 182 degree path to Hawaii. Fetch tried to hold on in the evening at 35-40 kts confirmed at 54S 150W aimed almost right at California up the 196 degree path and 20 degrees east of the 176 degree route to Hawaii. 29 ft seas modeled fading from 50S 150W. The Jason-1 satellite made 2 passes very near this area and confirmed average seas at 26-28 ft, about 1-2 ft less than the model. Some individual readings were up to 30 ft. Not too bad.

Thursday AM (5/24) 35-40 kt winds were confirmed at 54S 147W again aimed northeast just like before with a broad area of 29 ft seas modeled at 51S 150W. The sea height projection (by the model) seems a little bit high given the decreasing wind state, but the prolonged duration of fetch might be making up the difference. No Jason-1 passes occurred near the area. In the evening 40 kt winds were confirmed at 45S 140W pushing well to the north aimed 15 degrees east of the 192 degree path to California. Seas were modeled to respond to the broad fetch by holding if not building a little to 29-30 ft over a broad area at 46S 143W. But the Jason-1 satellite made a pass right over the core of the fetch and found seas only at 26 ft (and that was being generous). So the wave models were off by 3 ft. To make matters worse it made another pass right over the same area 8 hours later and found essentially the same situation with seas 27 ft, or 3 ft less than the projected 30 ft seas state.

Friday AM (5/25) winds were confirmed down to 30-35 kts and fading while rotating northeast around the core of the low at 46S 132W aimed 30 degrees east of the 188 degree path to California with 30 ft seas modeled at 50S 137W. This was in reasonably close proximity to the coast. But again the big issues is the seas were likely much less than what was modeled (no confirmed data available). The fetch was gone in the evening with seas fading fast from 29 ft at 45S 130W. The Jason-1 satellite passed over the outskirts of the fetch area and found seas running about 2-3 ft less than what was modeled.

This was not a strong system, but covered a large area and lasted a long time (nearly 4 days) while slowly lumbering from west to east on a track progressively to the northeast. Swell is already in the water pushing north as confirmed by the Jason-1 satellite with more supposedly being generated Thurs PM/Fri AM if seas had.cgiay out as forecast. But that did not really occur. And make no mistake, the seas that were generated were not high seas by any historical standard and were in-fact just right at the cusp of even being at the acceptable level. Still, it's better than nothing. A dose of moderate period swell is pushing north focused mainly on California (from 4753-5694 nmiles away) and totally unshadowed from Tahiti. Hawaii, while closer to the fetch (at 4212-4455 nmiles away) was mainly off axis for the bulk of it with the whole second half of the gale outside their swell window. In all good potential for moderate summertime class utility class swell for California with period in the 16 secs range and fun sized 15 sec energy pushing towards Hawaii.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival starting early Wednesday AM (5/30) with period 17 secs peaking right before sunset at 2.6-3.0 ft @ 16 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces) continuing into Thursday AM (5/31) at 2.6-3.0 ft @ 15 secs (same size). Swell fading late with period down to 14 secs on Friday. Swell Direction: 174-181 degrees

South California: Expect swell arrival starting Thursday AM (5/31) building near sunset with swell to 2.3 ft @ 17 secs and coming up. Swell to start peaking Friday AM (6/1) with swell 2.6-2.9 ft @ 16 secs (4.5 ft faces and up to 6 ft top spots) holding all day. Still solid energy expected Saturday AM (6/2) with swell 2.6-2.8 ft @ 15 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces) then slowly settling down into Sunday. Swell Direction: 192-201 degrees

North California: Expect swell arrival starting Thursday (5/31) at sunset to 2 ft @ 18 secs (3 ft faces). Swell to be maxing mid-Friday (6/1) at 2.6-2.9 ft @ 16 secs (4.2-4.6 ft faces and up to 5.5 ft top spots) and holding through the day. Solid energy to continue Saturday AM (6/2) at the same size with period 15 secs, then fading late afternoon into Sunday, with period 14 secs. Swell Direction: 190-199 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 low pressure to start developing over the dateline on Tuesday (5/29) at 988 mbs with a reasonably broad fetch of 30-35 kt winds forecast in it's southwest sector aimed a bit east of Hawaii. It to track east with the wind vector turning more east too and gradually dissipating into early Thursday (5/31) in the Western Gulf of Alaska. Seas forecast building to 22 ft Tuesday building to near 23 ft late Wednesday (5/30) in the far Western Gulf then fading out Thursday. Limited potential for small swell along Hawaiian Northwest Shores.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours nothing of any real interest is forecast. A low is to try and form well to the north Wed (5/30) but is only to last for 24 hours with it's rather meager 40 kt winds not getting any real purchase on the oceans surface. Another broad system is forecast pushing under New Zealand at the same time but getting shunted well to the south. Maybe some 45-50 kts winds forecast, but short lived. Otherwise nothing of interest forecast.

Details to follow...

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Local Interest

Jason-1 Satellite Data Back On-line: Jason-1 satellite data (used to verify significant wave heights) is back on-line. It had been down for months. The main altimeter on the satellite took a major radiation hit back in November. While that didn't completely disable the sensor or the data feed, the damage did cause the data to be downloaded on a much less frequent basis, making it unusable for posting over our real-time wave models. Fortunately a second altimeter exists and we're now receiving and process data from it. There are still a few spurious bit's of bad data in the stream that were working to filter out, but in the mean time most of it is quite useable. The good news is this data is near-real time, with only a 2-3 hour time lag, a significant improvement over the old sensor even when it was operating normally. See the data here:

Comprehensive guides to surfing Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Baja and Mainland Mexico: They ain't pretty. They ain't glossy. They ain't coffee table picture books. These are guides for surfers who want real, useful information. Since 1996 The Surfer's Guides have always provided more info, more detail, more tips, and have been updated more often than any other surf travel guides. Take a look here:

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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