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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: June 3, 2010 9:25 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 = 2.0 - 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 5/31 thru Sun 6/6
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 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   

Small Gulf Swell For CA for the Weekend
Southern Swell for Next Week - Hawaii Remains Quiet


New Swell Classification Guidelines (Winter)

Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead). Summer - 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: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft). Summer - 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. Summer - up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.

On Thursday (6/3) North and Central California had up to head high windswell coming out of the Gulf of Alaska with light winds and some fog, making for rideable conditions by summertime standards. Southern California was getting thigh high wrap around windswell up north and clean even late while southern hemi swell was pushing near head high on the sets down south and a bit textured but not too bad.  Hawaii's North Shore was getting thigh to waist high northwest windswell and clean. The East Shore was getting thigh high and fading tradewind generated east windswell and chopped. The South Shore was getting some thigh high wrap around easterly windswell with light trades and clean conditions.

The forecast for North and Central CA is for more northwest windswell at chest high Friday with southern hemi swell dropping from waist high and then gone by the weekend while larger new northwest swell arrives for early Saturday dropping some Sunday and then gone by Monday as local short period northwest windswell and southern hemi swell starts to build. Southern California is to see primarily southern hemi swell at chest high on Friday fading out Saturday. Northwest windswell moves in for Saturday at waist high fading a little Sunday while new southern hemi swell pushes chest high later Sunday and maybe head high Monday, then fading from Shoulder high Tuesday.  The North Shore of Oahu is to see nothing of interest for the next week other than thigh high northwest windswell on Saturday.  The East Shore to see no real east tradewind generated windswell for the next week. The South Shore to see no southern hemi swell of interest for the next week.   

A small and generally weak gale formed in the deep Southeast Pacific over the weekend (5/30) with 32 ft seas but only covering a small area. Maybe some background energy to push north into Southern California by late Sunday (5/6) building on Monday and holding into Tuesday (5/8). A stronger system was forecast tracking under New Zealand and pushing east on Thurs (6/3), but that has since been downgraded with all energy pushing due east and seas barely 35 ft. Nothing else to follow meaning southern hemi swell levels re to drop off long term.  



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

North Pacific

On Thursday (6/3) the North Pacific jetstream was flowing flat over the 40N latitude with 140 kt winds extending from the dateline east pushing towards Central CA then pushing north into Oregon from just 400 nmiles off the coast. A weak almost trough like structure was in the Northeastern Gulf of Alaska but of no real strength. There was limited support for weak gale development there. Over the next 72 hours the exact same pattern is to hold but with energy levels dropping slightly, with winds 120-130 kts. Minimal support for gale development forecast. Beyond 72 hours the flat flowing jet is to start lifting north with most of the strongest energy starting to push east into the interior US mainland, with next to nothing of interest left over exposed waters of the Pacific by Thurs (6/10).

At the surface on Thursday (6/1) low pressure continued circulating in the Northeastern Gulf of Alaska with 30 kt northwest winds at 48N 145W generating 18 ft seas there heading mostly towards British Columbia and the northern Pacific Northwest. High pressure at 1024 mbs was over the Western Pacific edging north of Hawaii and generating weak trades south of Hawaii , but nothing that would produce windswell up into the Hawaiian Islands. In fact, east windswell was fading there. Over the next 72 hours the Gulf gale is to be winding down, dragging much small area of low pressure from the Central Pacific into it's orbit generating limited small areas of 20-25 kt west winds, but likely not having much traction on the oceans surface resulting in minimal (at best) small windswell pushing towards Central and North CA. In all a pretty benign pattern is forecast.

Minimal Gulf Gale
On Tuesday (6/1) low pressure was developing in the Gulf of Alaska at 988 mbs generating a small are of 30 kt northwest winds in it's southwest sector and aimed towards the US West Coast with additional 25+ kt southwest winds in it's south quadrant aimed mostly at the Pacific Northwest. Windswell was being produced pushing towards Central CA and points northward. That windswell hit later on Thursday (6/3) at 4.5 ft @ 10 secs (5 ft faces). .

On Wednesday AM (6/2) a low pressure system that has been in the Gulf of Alaska deepened to 984 mbs generating a broader fetch of 30-35 kt west winds at 45N 147W aimed towards the US West Coast (296 degs NCal) with 18 ft seas in the area pushing to 20 ft in the evening at 46N 145W. An additional fetch of 35 kt west to southwest winds built south of there at 37N 140W Thursday AM aimed from San Francisco Northward up into the Pacific Northwest and pushing into Oregon late evening. More 17 ft seas resulted. Somewhat larger windswell from both fetches (5 ft @ 11 secs - 6 ft faces) to start hitting the Central CA area late Friday into early Saturday (6/5) from 298 degrees.


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


California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (6/3) a patch of low pressure was in the Gulf of Alaska just off North and Central CA tracking northeast bound for Oregon. Light winds were in control of Central CA waters. High pressure was out of the local weather scene and expected to stay that was through the weekend as another pulse of low pressure orbits into the Pacific Northwest on Saturday/Sunday. That said, a limited area of northwest winds (20 kts) is expected to control the immediate area near Point Conception through Sunday. After that the Gulf low is to dissipate and weak high pressure is to start building off the coast, producing a steady northwest flow by Monday AM (6/7) at 20 kts over Central CA pushing 25 kts by Wed (6/9) holding through the end of the workweek pretty much chopping things up  But Southern CA is to be shadowed by the wind and remain in a light wind scenario.   


South Pacific

On Thursday (6/3) no swell producing fetch of interest was occurring in the South Pacific.   A gale was tracking under Australia pushing into the extreme Southwest Pacific and starting to develop, carrying seas previously generated with it. 45 kt west winds were modeled at 56S 180W with seas of 35 ft at the same location, but with limited if any energy radiating north.Over the next 72 hours starting Thursday evening more 45 kt west winds are forecast at 59S 175W aimed 40 degrees east of the 208 degree path to NCal and totally shadowed by Tahiti and 70 degrees east of the 193 degree path to Hawaii generating seas of 35 ft at 59S 180W.  On Friday AM 45 kt southwest winds are forecast at 60S 160W aimed 40 degrees east of the 200 degree path to California (totally shadowed) and 80 degrees east of the 184 degree path to Hawaii generating seas of 36 ft at 57S 180W. 40 ft west winds are to lift a little northeast in  the evening at 55S 158W producing seas of 36 ft at 55S 164W pushing 40 degree east of the 210 degree path to California and almost east of the Tahitian swell shadow and pushing completely east of any route to Hawaii.  On Saturday AM (6/5) this system is to have raced east with none of the original fetch remaining. 34 ft seas from previous fetch to be fading at 58S 152W all pushing pretty well due east with minimal energy tracking up the 196 degree path to California and effectively unshadowed by Tahiti. If all goes as.cgianned some degree of limited mostly shadowed sideband swell could radiate into California with background swell for Hawaii.  But even that is wishful thinking given how much of the fetch is pushing due east.              

Southeast Pacific Gale
On Saturday AM (5/29) a small gale developed with 40 kt southwest winds at 52S 142W lifting northeast producing 30 ft seas at 54S 150W pushing somewhat up the 196 degree path to California.  Fetch held into the evening with 32 ft seas continuing at 50S 142W. Sunday AM (5/30) 40 kt southwest winds were modeled at 43S 125W with lingering 30 ft seas at 47S 133W and starting to push more east towards South America. Fetch and seas were gone after that. Possible small 16 sec period swell will be radiating north towards the US mainland arriving in Southern CA late Sunday (6/6) at 2.3 ft @ 18 secs (4 ft faces) peaking on Monday at 3 ft @ 16 secs (4.5 ft faces) from 192 degrees.  Swell down to 3 ft @ 14-15 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces) on Tues (5/8).  But most swell energy is to be bound for Central America and points south of there.


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 high pressure is to start setting up off the US West Coast generating north winds at 20-25 kts on Monday (6/7) holding through the workweek resulting in some degree of short period northerly windswell for North and Central CA. Trades to return to the Hawaiian Islands too courtesy of this high by later Tues (6/8) with windswell on the increase for east facing shores, moving into the moderate range by Thurs (6/10). The models continue to suggest a low pressure system forming just west of the dateline Mon/Tues (6/8) with up to 35 kt west to northwest winds and 23 ft seas aimed well at Hawaii, offering some windswell generation potential there. Remnants from that low might regroup in the GUlf on Thurs (6/10) offering hope for the US West Coast too. But that all remains so far into the future as to not be believable yet.     

MJO/ENSO Update (reference): As of Thursday (6/3) the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) was backing off some from positive territory. The daily SOI was down to 1.48.  The 30 day average was down to 9.8 with the 90 day up to 5.38.  This still was looking like a La Nina pattern.

Wind anomalies as of Thurs (6/3) at the 850 mb level (approx 5000 ft up) as defined by models suggest near neutral/normal conditions over the entire equatorial Pacific suggestive of neither the Active or Inactive Phase of the MJO.  Weak west anomalies were pushing over the far Eastern Pacific and weak easterly anomalies were over the Philippines and New Guinea.   

We believe that El Nino will not hang on for another year, and that rather we'll fall back into some form of a light La Nina Pattern (where the Inactive Phase takes control). Of other interest will be whether the Iceland Volcano will spew enough high level fine particle dust and aerosols into the atmosphere to produce a reflective effect, dropping surface temperature and pushing us into a multi-year La Nina.  This is a very real concern.  

Sea Surface Temp anomaly data (6/31) indicates that cooler than normal waters have now developed over a thin strip on the equator from South America drifting west and covering the important equatorial area of almost half the Pacific Ocean.  This is a dramatic turn for the worse and only seems to have gotten stronger over the past week. A massive buildup of warmer than normal waters continues in the Atlantic, of concern to hurricane forecasters there. We'll see if upper level winds support development of hurricane activity or whether residual upper level shear from El Nino will chop the tops of developing systems. Suspect shear will be gone by the heart of hurricane season in the Atlantic.

Below the surface on the equator no Kevin Wave activity was present and if anything colder than normal water was building over the dateline and pushing east (sort of like a cold Kelvin Wave). Not good. 

Over the entire Equatorial Pacific trades were blowing all the way to almost the Philippines, but only in the normal range. Perhaps a slight push to the west was occurring, but nothing extraordinary. This looks like the normal Springtime transition typical for this time of the year but is likely to change towards an increased easterly flow as Fall approaches symptomatic of La Nina.  

El Nino is effectively gone and slowly losing it's grip on the global atmospheric weather pattern. Still some lingering impact is to continue into the Summer of 2010 enhancing the storm track in the South Pacific some. A slow transition to a normal if not slight cooler than normal state (La Nina) is expected through Nov 2010, and the signs continue to point to a La Nina pattern for the long term future. 

See more details in the new  El Nino update.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours the models indicate no swell producing fetch 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

Add a STORMSURF Buoy Forecast to your Google Homepage. Click Here: Add to Google
Then open your Google homepage, hit 'edit' button (top right near graph), and select your location


Local Interest

The Mavericks: Everest of the Seas Exhibition has unveiled its latest gallery featuring some of the most heart-stopping images from the epic El Niño-fueled Big Wave Season. This year's lineup includes not only a culmination of images from Award-winning photographers Doug Acton, Frank Quirarte, Seth Migdail, Ed Grant and Art Gimbel but a multimedia slide show and a video recap of the 2010 Mavericks Surf Contest, one of the greatest days in surfing history.

Thanks to an El Nino weather pattern, this has been one of the most dramatic big-wave surf seasons on record, said Doug Acton, Mavericks Veteran Lensmen.

Now Eric Nelson and Curt Myers of Powerlines Productions have come on board to bring the gallery images to life by presenting both water and cliff-angle video of the Mavericks contest, won by South Africa's Chris Bertish in the biggest waves ever ridden in a paddle-surf contest.

The Mavericks crew will transform the Longboard Vineyards tasting room into a virtual caldron of 50-foot drops, glory rides and heinous wipeouts. As you stand under the colorful Tibetan Prayer flags, tasting some of Longboard Vineyards' libations, you'll be hard-pressed not to become immersed in the real-life drama, energy and stoke that surrounds the surfers and photographers every time they head out to the lineup.

Longtime big-wave surfer Mark (Doc) Renneker put it best when he said, “Every time you leave the shore, you head out into the wildnerness.”

“We're coming off one of the most phenomenal big-wave seasons to date," said Quirarte, the longtime Mavericks lifeguard and master lensman. “This season we witnessed so many great rides by so many different surfers from so many different countries. Mavericks is still the No. 1 all-around spot in the world for big-wave surfing.”

Oded Shakked, a longtime surfer who founded Longboard Vineyards, will be on hand at the reception to unveil the latest release in his Mavericks Signature Series, the Ken “Skindog” Collins Syrah.

Veteran waterman Ken “Skindog” Collins (Santa Cruz, CA) is hands down one of the most recognized and respected big wave surfers today. With his recent trip to the podium at the 2010 Mavericks Surf Contest or his epic twenty-foot Puerto Escondido barrel that earned him top honors at the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards. Collins has traveled the world mentoring up and coming crop of big wave chargers -- and has himself pioneered and ridden the biggest waves on the.cgianet.

“I can't think of a better person to honor with our next Mavericks label than Kenny Collins,” said Shakked. “A true icon of the sport.”__

Oded Shakked, along with the featured photographers, videographers, surfboard shapers and wine makers will be on hand at the Longboard Vineyards Tasting room in beautiful Healdsburg California for the Saturday night reception on May 22nd The reception will begin at 5pm and run until roughly 9pm.

“Everest of the Seas” was launched in the summer of 2009, with the idea of bringing together the most memorable photos from Mavericks' best sessions. It drew large crowds and an enthusiastic response in its debut at the Coastal Arts League Gallery in Half Moon Bay, then moved on to successful runs at San Francisco's world-class SFMOMA Museum and Gallery, The Fillmore, The Half Moon Bay Big Wave Surfing Festival and Longboard Vineyards.

Stormsurf Hi-Res Coastal Precipitation Models Upgraded Though a bit late in the season, on 3/20 we i.cgiemented the same basic technology used in our new snow/ski models into the coastal hi-res precipitation models. So now you can not only determined whether rain is forecast for your area, but also snow. And not just light, medium or heavy snow like most sites, but the exact snowfall amount (in inches) for each 3 hr frame of the animation. Here's a sa.cgie, but now this approach is used in all our precipitation models.

Stormsurf Precip Models Upgraded! On 2/20 we upgraded some of the broader precipitation models driven by the hi-def GFS model to include snow fall. The algorithm used is similar to the recently released snow models for the Southwest US in that the areas where snow is expected are identified and the exact amount of snow forecast over a 3 hr window is e.cgiicitly color coded. For East and West Coast US interests the following links provide good exa.cgies:
West Coast:
East Coast:

Stormsurf Weather Models have all been upgraded! Over the New Years break we installed all new and upgraded weather models. Also new are experimental snow models for the Southwest US. Take a look here:

Read about Eric Nelson and Curt Myers, the makers of Ride-On and other Big Wave Surf Movies here:

Ride On! Powerlines new big wave epic is now available on DVD. Get the entire big wave story of the 2008-2009 season here:

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:

Interview With Stormsurf:  The crew at worked with Stormsurf on a feature about why surfers should be able to read wave charts themselves. They are firm believers that a little learning can go a long way to help your surfing.  This is a great article to help convince your friends that they can benefit from being able to read the data themsleves rather than just relying on the forecasts of others.  See the full thing here:  Create Your Own Surf Forecast with Stormsurf

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:

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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