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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: August 15, 2006 6:46 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
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Swell Potential Rating = 1.3 - California & 0.5 - 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 8/14 thru Sun 8/20
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 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   

Gale Developing Down South
Small Windswell In CA


On Tuesday (8/15) Northern CA surf was up to waist high with southwest wind providing speed bumps. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were flat. Central California surf was thigh high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were flat. The LA Area southward to Orange County nearly flat with a rare thigh to waist high sets every now and then. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were thigh to waist high. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was waist to chest high. The East Shore was waist-chest high.

California was flat. Hawaii had some rideable surf on the South Shore but the period was generally short and it was weak. But that's better than nothing. Fortunately a gale was brewing in the South Pacific providing some better hope long term. And at least one more storm to follow, if not two, but the issue with them is most of the energy is to be aimed south towards Chile and Antarctica, rather than north towards Hawaii and CA. The models could change, but we're not betting on it. So for now let's assume the current gale churning northeast is the best, and we'll keep our eye's to the future and our fingers crossed for something better. See details below...


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

North Pacific

Sundays jetstream charts (8/13) indicated a seasonally weak flow providing no support for surface level gale development for the next 7 days.

At the surface high pressure at 1032 was positioned 1300 nmiles north-northeast of Hawaii and 900 nmiles west of Oregon ridging east to the Pacific Northwest and west to the dateline then up to Kamchatka. A weak pressure gradient was trying to form between the high and lower pressure over Central California generating north winds at 25 kts off Cape Mendocino CA producing small windswell, but it did not extend to Hawaii with less than normal trades occurring there. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (8/18) the high is to drift a little east weakening to 1024 mbs and continuing the pressure gradient off Cape Mendocino producing more 25 kt north winds there and improving the potential for windswell generation Wednesday/Thursday. tropical low pressure passing south of the Islands might help to invigorate trades there through the period back to the 15-20 kts range, but this windfield to be shallow not resulting in much windswell (Eastside). Otherwise an uneventful pattern suggested.


A tropical depression with a decent looking cloud has pattern formed 600 nmiles south-southeast of the southern tip of Baja California tracking east. No detailed data available but it shows promise towards developing more.

Tropical Storm Wukong was 300 nmiles south of southern Japan, forecast to track west-northwesttowards the southern tip of Korea maybe reaching minimal hurricane strength on Thursday. No indication it was to recurve towards open waters of the North Pacific.

What was Tropical Storm Sonamu was pushing north towards Southern Japan but fading fast. It to be gone late Wednesday.


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


California Offshore Forecast
High pressure off the coast is generating the usual 20-25 kt northerly flow off Cape Mendocino producing very small windswell. This pattern to a.cgiify a little Wed/Thurs with winds up to 25 kts over a broader area increasing the size of the windswell, then fading back to 20 kts while drifting a further north into Oregon waters late in the weekend before dissipating all together. A light to moderate eddy flow (southwest winds) forecast all days except Wednesday as the core of the gradient dips south, bring northwest winds and junkier conditions closer to the coast. By Friday the gradient to back off and drift rapidly north with no real winds or light southwest winds back in.cgiay. Light winds to continue into early next week before another weak gradient tries to set up Tuesday (8/22) bringing a return of northwest winds. Southern CA to remain in a weak southwesterly eddy flow through the period.

The detailed 5 Day Wind Forecast is included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.


South Pacific

On Tuesday (8/15) the southern hemi jetstream continued showing signs of improvement with the southern branch rising north of the Ross Ice Shelf in the mid-South Pacific with a secondary gap in the Southeast Pacific before diving back south well east of the California swell window. The northern branch of the jet remained energetic but was flat pushing over the top of New Zealand then almost joining the southern branch with winds 170 kts at the junction point. This are was somewhat favorable for storm development. Over the next 72 hours that gap is to expand even more with a clear opening for storm development over the Central Pacific over the eastern edge of the Hawaiian swell window and moreso in the California swell window. Winds continuing in the 170 kts range with the whole area drifting slightly east. Beyond 72 hours a second gap/trough to set up under New Zealand merging with the one east of it, continuing in some degree into early next week, but showing signs of getting cut off into Wednesday. Decent potential for storm development under the trough expected through the period.


Mid-Pacific Gale
At the surface early Sunday (8/13) low pressure at 952 mbs formed in the far Southeastern Pacific. Winds of 45-50 kts were confirmed by the QuikSCAT satellite at 57S 126W aimed 45 degrees east if the 180-182 degree paths to California. This was not a favorable angle. By evening 40-45 kt winds were confirmed increasing their total areal coverage but aimed even more to the east from 61S 123W or 70 degrees east of the 181 degree path to California). Seas on the increase to 29 ft at 60S 127W. More of the same was occurring Monday AM (8/14) with winds 45-50 kts from 65S 117W aimed even more eastward and sinking south over Antarctic Ice with seas 32 ft at 62S 120W. By Monday evening this system was tracking fast to the east and outside even the Southern CA swell window with residual seas of 32 ft modeled inside the Southern CA swell window. The big issue for this system is the wind angle. Most fetch was blowing more than 45 degrees (really near 70 degrees) east of any great circle track to California thereby severely limiting whatever swell energy will travel north towards the state. Maybe some background swell will push up to Southern CA a week out, but even that is likely optimistic. No swell energy forecast for Hawaii with the storm totally outside their swell window.


Central Pacific Gale
Beyond 72 hours the next candidate system was forming just east of New Zealand on Monday AM (8/14) with pressure 964 mbs producing a tiny confirmed fetch of 40-45 kts winds aimed due north from 55S 153W targeting locations near Hawaii. Slightly more fetch built late Monday into early Tuesday with 40 kt south winds continuing in the gales west quadrant aimed better at Hawaii from 52S 162W up the 180-185 degree path. But because the fetch is so small only 20 ft seas were modeled, increasing to 26 ft Tuesday AM centered at 55S 165W. This is good for some small 13-14 sec energy pushing towards Hawaii. By Tuesday night this system to start tapping improving jetstream energy, with pressure dropping to 960 mbs and the west side of the storm becoming somewhat better organized, though winds still only in the 40 kt range. 32 ft seas to be at 52S 160W, good for both Hawaii (181 degrees) and California (201 degrees - just barely unshadowed by Tahiti).

By Wednesday AM (8/16) a broad fetch of 40 kt winds to set up in the gales northwest quadrant centered at 53S 150W aimed northeast and barely providing sideband energy to Hawaii up the 175 degree path and more directly at California up the 196 degree path totally unshadowed by Tahiti. Seas to 35 ft modeled at 53S 153W. By evening the core of the low to become a bit diffuse but 40 kt winds forecast to continue centered at 50S 145W outside the Hawaiian swell window and aimed well towards California up the 195 degree path. Seas building to 36 ft over a moderate area centered at 50S 145W and mainly a function of the continued stress over the oceans surface for an extended period of time. More of the same Thursday AM but with winds down to 35-40 kts centered roughly near 45S 138W with seas 37 ft at 48S 140W heading towards California up the 195 degree path. A quick decay forecast after that as a new storm starts building in west, stealing any remaining energy left behind.

This is not to be a well organized gale (not even a storm), or a strong wind producer. In fact, there is nothing that is be remarkable about it other than it's to be 'something' as compared to nothing. In it's favor it is to hold together reasonably well for 3+ days and traveling reasonably well to the northeast towards California, but not moving as close as was forecast earlier. This will likely result in solid utility class swell energy for the California or even small significant class swell if all goes as modeled. Hawaii to get some initial energy from this system too, but at it's peak this gale to be well outside the Hawaiian swell window with only utility class swell possible. Will monitor.


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 things to start get a little interesting further out in the West Pacific. High pressure that has been so dominant is forecast to start backing off a little off Japan east to the dateline by Sunday (8/20), with a string of tropical lows starting to turn north from the equator pushing up into the gap. 2 defined lows are to be in.cgiay by Tuesday of next week trying to track northeast and both with some degree of 30 kt winds in their south quadrants. It it unclear whether the high will actually break down enough to let them make the loop to the Gulf of Alaska, but this is the first hint of the usual seasonal pattern change over the North Pacific.

South Pacific

Stronger Storm (Bad wind Direction)
On Friday AM (8/18) a new gale is modeled forming in the northern reaches of the Central Pacific with pressure 986 mbs and winds to 40 kts over a small area aimed due north at 35S 155W targeting Hawaii up the 180 degree path and California up the 208 degree path, shadowed by Tahiti (especially SCal). Seas on the increase. By evening a broad fetch of 30 kt winds forecast at 35S 155W aimed 30 degrees east of the 180 degree path to Hawaii and right up the 207 degree path to California, but totally shadowed by Tahiti. Up to 50 kts winds are to be aimed due south towards Antarctica from the gales east quadrant. No swell from this side though. 23 ft seas centered at 40S 158W.

On Saturday AM (8/19) a tiny area of 40-45 kts winds to continue in the storms west quadrant centered at 42S 135W aimed well up the 190 degree path towards California free and clear of the Tahitian swell shadow. Seas 26 ft pushing north from 35S 155W. Much stronger winds and higher seas to be targeting Antarctica. In the evening pressure to drop to 944 mbs with near 50 kt south winds blowing towards California from 45S 130W up the 187 degree path unshadowed producing 30 ft seas from the same location with much more energy heading towards Antarctica.

Still Sunday AM (8/20) 40-45 kt south winds forecast aimed towards CA from 50S 125W up the 182 degree path producing 32 ft seas. In the evening winds to drop from 40 kts at 52S 120W aimed 45 degrees east of any path to CA with seas still 32 ft.

A quick decay scheduled for Monday with no swell producing fetch forecast aimed at California or in the Ca swell window.

This was schedule to be a solid swell producing storm, but the latest models are far from encouraging, with all real fetch now scheduled to take aim on Antarctica and anything of any real interest aimed north moving east and south so fast it will hardly get any traction on the oceans surface. Will monitor for changes but the situation looks highly unfavorable.


Another similar storm to form right behind it on Tuesday (8/22).

Details to follow...


Local Interest

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New Content - QuikCAST's and Satellite Altimetry: Stormsurf has been busy this winter putting some new things together. First up is two new QuikCAST's for the Northeast US Coast, one for Cape Hatteras-to-Virginia Beach and another for New Jersey-to-New York. Check them out Here
Also we now provide Jason-1 Altimetry data overlaid on our Wavewatch III wave models. Take a look Here

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