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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: May 30, 2010 12:06 PM
Buoys: Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Buoy Forecast:
Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Pacific Links:  Atmospheric Models - Buoy Data - Current Weather - Wave Models
Forecast Archives: Enter Here
A chronology of recent Mavericks Underground forecasts. Once you enter, just click on the HTML file forecast you want to review (e.g. 073199.html equals July 31, 1999). To view the maps that correspond to that forecast date, select the html file labeled 073199 maps.html
Swell Potential Rating = 1.0 - California & 1.0 - Hawaii
Using the 'Summer' Scale
(See Swell Category Table link at bottom of page)
Probability for presence of largest swells in near-shore waters of NCal, SCal or Hawaii.    
Issued for Week of Monday 5/31 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 Mix of Windswell & Southern Hemi for the Week
Stronger New Zealand Storm Hinted At Longterm


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 Sunday (5/30) North and Central California had waist high local windswell with decent conditions early. Southern California was getting some portion of this swell too with waves thigh high on the sets up north and clean while southern hemi swell was in the thigh to waist high range down south and reasonably clean yet inconsistent.  Hawaii's North Shore was getting a nice late season pulse of swell with waves head high to 2 ft overhead on the sets and clean. The East Shore was getting 1 ft overhead tradewind generated east windswell and chopped. The South Shore was getting minimal background southern hemi swell with waves thigh to waist high with light trades early and clean conditions.

The forecast for North and Central CA is for even the windswell is to be gone Monday though a little bit of northwest windswell is expected arriving from the dateline at waist high with some southern hemi swell at maybe thigh high intermixed. Tuesday and Wednesday its more of the same, but with more northwest swell in the water Wednesday to the chest high range holding into Thursday. Southern California is to see primarily southern hemi swell starting Monday at waist high pushing chest high or a little more on Tuesday and Wednesday, then starting to drop on Thursday.  The North Shore of Oahu is to see northwest dropping on Monday (5/31) from chest high with nothing behind it for the next few days. The East Shore to see east tradewind generated windswell rebuilding to waist high Monday and chest high Tuesday then waist high.cgius Wednesday and heading down. The South Shore to see southern hemi swell fading Monday from the near chest high range. Small reinforcements to follow Tuesday at waist high before dropping out entirely by later Wednesday and beyond. 

A gale formed south of Tahiti on Monday (5/24) with seas building to 35 ft over a small area aimed well to the north.  Small swell from it has already hit Hawaii and is to start pushing into California later Monday (5/31). 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. And a stronger one is forecast under New Zealand pushing east on Thurs (6/3) continuing through the weekend. But in general the trend is for nothing remarkable.  


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

North Pacific

On Sunday (5/30) the North Pacific jetstream was still holding together reasonably well with one consolidate flow pushing gently northeast off Japan generally over the 43N latitude. There was something that could almost be called a trough in the Western Gulf of Alaska with winds building to 140 kts offering minimal odds to support gale development. Over the next 72 hours that trough is to hold it's ground and get better organized with a broad area of 140-150 kts winds developing still in the Western Gulf and improving odds for low pressure development down at the oceans surface. Beyond 72 hours that trough is to still hold it's ground, maybe easing east some with 130-150 kts winds in the jet covering almost the entire Central and East Pacific ocean. Decent odds for gale development with some luck and holding into Sun (6/6). But after that most energy is to be tracking into the US mainland with the jet weakening and gale development potential dropping off. t

At the surface on Sunday (5/30) weak high pressure at 1024 mbs was positioned mid-way between Hawaii and California producing north winds at 20 kts over and off of the Central CA coast generating minimal short period north windswell there. It was also making for 15 kt trades blowing over the Hawaiian Islands offering bare minimal odds for windswell along East facing shores. Over the next 72 hours this low pressure system is to hold generating a weak pressure gradient between itself and high pressure between Hawaiian and the US mainland, generating 25 kt southwest winds aimed at Washington northward with the fetch itself moving towards Washington impacting it early Wed (6/2). Maybe some weak windswell like northwest swell to push into Central CA on Wed and continue into the weekend at 5 ft @ 10 secs (4-5 ft faces). Limited trades to continue over Hawaii into Tues (6/1) at 15 kts making for minimal short period east windswell. .


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


California Nearshore Forecast
On Sunday (5/30) weak high pressure was generating north winds at 20 kts over outer waters but reasonably light nearshore in Central and South CA early. Monday low pressure is to be moving into the Gulf of Alaska shunting high pressure south if not dissipating it outright resulting in decreased northwest winds expect for the Point Conception area (15 kts). By Tuesday the low is to move into the Pacific Northwest eliminating high pressure entirely from the local picture with light winds forecast (other than perhaps Point Conception). No change forecast through the workweek until the Gulf low dissipates over the weekend (6/6) and meager high pressure returns, producing northwest winds in the afternoons.


South Pacific

On Thursday (5/27) no swell producing fetch was forecast for the South Pacific. But 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 to be gone after that. Possible small 16 sec period swell radiating north towards the US mainland if this goes as forecast arriving in Southern CA late Sunday (6/6), though most swell energy is to be bound for Central America and points south of there. Over the next 72 hours no other swell producing fetch is forecast.

Small Tahitian Gale
On Tuesday (5/25)
what was a cutoff low tracking east from New Zealand got better organized by Monday (5/24) resulting in a small fetch of 45-50 kt south winds at 40S 147W aimed well north towards Tahiti and Hawaii with decent fetch towards the US West Coast too. Seas to build to 35 ft at 33S 147W Monday PM (5/25) and were fading fast Tuesday AM from 30 ft at 42S 140W. 

Swell is also expected into California starting later Monday (5/31) pushing 2 ft @ 17 secs (3.5 ft faces) and 2.6 ft @ 15-16 secs on Tuesday (4 ft faces).  Swell Direction: 200 degrees (up north) and 203 degrees (down south).    


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 is to continue in the Gulf of Alaska generating some degree of 25 kt west to southwest fetch aimed mostly at Oregon but also providing sideband windswell potential pushing into points from Central CA northward through Sat (5/5). Trades are to be suppressed in the Hawaiian Islands due to the presence of low pressure in the Gulf. No east windswell forecast there.

MJO/ENSO Update (reference): As of Thursday (5/27) the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) was hanging around neutral territory. The daily SOI was up to 32.04.  The 30 day average was up to 7.58 with the 90 day up to 3.25.  Lower readings were expected as the Active Phase of the MJO started to move over the Pacific, but that is not happening.

Wind anomalies as of Sun (5/30) 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 Central America 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 (5/27) indicates that cooler than normal waters have now developed on the equator from South America drifting west and cover the important equatorial area over almost half the Pacific Ocean.  This is a dramatic turn for the worse and has only seemed to get stronger in 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 yet one more gale forming south of New Zealand on Thurs (6/3) with a broad area of 40-45 kt southwest winds at 53S 173E and 38 ft seas at 55S 173E aimed reasonably well towards the Northern Hemisphere. This fetch is to build on Friday with up to 50 kt nearly pure south winds and near 40 ft seas forecast, then fading some but pulsing again on late Saturday (6/5) with 45-50 kts winds mostly ice locked and more 36 ft seas over exposed waters. Maybe some swell to result for Tahiti, Hawaii and the US West Coast if all goes as.cgianned, a long shot at best at this early date.

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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