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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: June 17, 2010 11:11 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 & 2.0 - 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 6/14 thru Sun 6/20
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   

More Windswell for California
Minor Southern Hemi Gale Forecast


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 (6/17) North and Central California had chest high local north windswell with warbled conditions. Southern California was getting knee to thigh high wrap around northwest short period windswell up north and modestly textured. Down south background southern hemi swell was in the waist high range mixed with northwest windswell at the same size with textured conditions. Hawaii's North Shore was effectively flat with some sideshore texture. The East Shore was getting waist high tradewind generated east windswell with a moderate chop on it. The South Shore was getting waist to chest high southern hemi swell with light trades in effect.

The forecast for North and Central CA is for more moderate.cgius sized locally generated north windswell holding at about head high Friday then down to chest high Saturday and Sunday. Southern California is to see northwest local windswell at thigh high Friday and knee high Saturday and Sunday.  The North Shore of Oahu is to see no swell of interest for the foreseeable future. The East Shore to see east tradewind generated windswell at waist to chest high Friday pushing down to waist high Saturday and Sunday.  The South Shore to see southern hemi swell at thigh high Friday coming from the Tasman Sea and maybe up to waist high Saturday and Sunday then waist high on Monday and a little more Tuesday.   

Up north  no real swell producing fetch is expected for the next 7days other than locally generated windswell and even that is to be fading by mid-next week.  A cutoff low is to build some well south of Tahiti on Friday (6/18) offering up a fleeting duration of 30 ft seas aimed well north towards Hawaii and the US West coast perhaps arriving in the Islands on Wed (6/23) if all continues as forecast. Beyond no swell producing weather system are forecast with high pressure in control of the South Pacific. 


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

North Pacific

On Thursday (6/17) the North Pacific jetstream was weak with winds mostly below 100 kts and flowing roughly northeast off Northern Japan to the intersection of the dateline and the Aleutians then tracking east from there before ridging up into mainland Alaska. No troughs of interest were occurring. Over the next 72 hours the jet is to start sagging south flowing flat on the 42N latitude with a trough sort of developing on the dateline over the weekend with winds to 120 kts.  Maybe low pressure forming there at the oceans surface, but nothing more.  Beyond 72 hours that trough is to hold while easing slowly east only reaching the Western Gulf on  Wed (6/23) and not much better organized. It's to hold it's ground there and loose some strength, but still holding together into late in the work week.  Limited support for low pressure development at best. 

At the surface on Thursday (6/17) high pressure at 1032 mbs was stationary 900 nmiles northwest of Cape Mendocino California generating the standard pressure gradient over Central California waters producing north winds there at 25 kts resulting in the usual short period north windswell tracking down the Central CA coast with much less wrapping into exposed breaks in Southern CA. The high was only having limited effects on trades over Hawaiian waters with winds there 15 kts. This high was also ridging west affecting waters out to the dateline and almost Southern Japan shunting any east bound low pressure to the north and taking it through the Bering Sea and of no help producing swell in the North Pacific. Over the next 72 hours high pressure is to remain dominant, at 1028 mbs and stationary off the Central CA coast with winds along Cape Mendocino fading to the 20 kt range Friday/Sat (6/19) then rebuilding to 25 kts on Sun/Mon with windswell coming back up at the same time. Trades to rebuild then some over the Hawaiian Islands at 15+ kts offering only minimal support for windswell production. At the same time weak low pressure is forecast building over the northern dateline region on Sat/Sun (6/20)  and circulating in.cgiace there with perhaps a small fetch of 30 kt northwest winds being generated Mon at 48N 180W.  Seas to not even reach 20 ft. 


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


California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (6/17) high pressure at 1034 mbs was ridging weakly into the coast producing the usual pressure gradient centered over Cape Mendocino with 25 kt northwest winds just off the coast up there and 20 kt north winds reaching down just south of Pt Conception. This was producing local windswell but also making for warbled/chopped conditions from the Channel Islands northward. A brief resurgence is forecast Friday AM with north winds to 30 kts off Cape Mendo, then the gradient fades and northwest winds with it.  Winds to be down to 20 kts, but blowing directly over nearshore Central CA waters making a choppy mess of things for Central and North CA through Sunday. On Monday (6/21) the gradient is to regroup and drift north, directly over Cape Mendo late with winds 25 kts there and holding into Tuesday (6/22). By Wednesday the fetch is to really be dissolving through local winds over North and Central CA to still be 15 kts holding into Thurs (6/24). In general a warbled mess is expected for North and Central CA for the next week with Southern CA remaining protected. 


South Pacific

On Tuesday (6/15) a .cgiit and muddled jetstream flow remained in control of the South Pacific with the southern branch of the jet mostly ridging solidly to the south and positioned just off the Antarctic coast over the width of the Pacific. Remnants of a trough now positioned in the mid-South Pacific were providing only faint support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours that trough is to east east with no real wind energy associated with it and cut-off to the south. Beyond 72 hrs  the jet is to get a little more organized with 140 kt west winds pushing under New Zealand on Wed (6/23) and sweeping east, just barely north of Antarctic Ice. No support for gale development at the oceans surface indicated. 

At the oceans surface real no fetch of interest was occurring in the Hawaiian or California swell windows. But low pressure was circulating well east of New Zealand. Over the next 72 hours this low is to start organizing while stalled in the Central Pacific setting up a large area of 35 kt south winds on Thursday evening getting a.cgiified on Friday (6/18) as it taps the jetstream with supposedly south winds building to 45-50 kts at 55S 135W holding for 12 hours or so resulting in 30 ft seas Friday AM at 41S 157W (from the original fetch) and then another spot of 30 ft seas at 50S 133W from the stronger fetch in the evening. But all is to be gone by Saturday.  Maybe some 16-17 sec period swell to result focused best on Hawaii with luck.        


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 and the associated pressure gradient is to fade out off the CA coast while the core of the high retrogrades west and sets up north of Hawaii. Local windswell to fade off California by Wed (6/23).  The low over the dateline is to dissipate too.  Trades to increase over Hawaii Tues/Wed to near the 20 kts range with windswell coming up some, driven by building high pressure north of the Islands. There's some suggestion the high might start easing east towards California on Friday (6/25) with north winds again on the increase. 

MJO/ENSO Update (reference): As of Thursday (6/17) the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) continued backing off from positive territory. The daily SOI was down at -1.34 and has been in slightly negative territory for 14 days.  The 30 day average was down slightly to 4.28 with the 90 day up to 7.26.  This continued looking like a weak Active Phase dip embedded in a broader La Nina pattern.

Wind anomalies as of Thursday (6/17) at the 850 mb level (approx 5000 ft up) as defined by models suggested light east anomalies fading over the West Pacific and no longer reaching even to the dateline indicative of a fading attempt for the Inactive Phase of the MJO to get a foothold. By 6/24 those light east anomalies are to be all but gone, with a neutral pattern taking hold of the entire Pacific into early July (7/4).

We believe that El Nino is nearly gone, though remnants will linger in the upper atmosphere for a while. Regardless, we'll fall back into some form of a light La Nina Pattern (where the Inactive Phase takes control) for later 2010 into 2011. 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 (6/10) indicates that cooler than normal waters have now developed over a thin strip on the equator from South America drifting west to the dateline now and covering the important equatorial area of the better than 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 almost bleeding into the far Eastern Pacific, 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 strong over the dateline and pushing east (sort of like a cold Kelvin Wave). This pocket was -4 degs below normal. 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 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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