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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: August 19, 2007 1:33 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
Click Here to Visit Killer Dana!
Swell Potential Rating = 2.5 - California & 1.5 - 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 8/20 thru Sun 8/26
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   

Small Southern Hemi Swell Hits SCal
Southwest Pacific to Become Productive with Luck


On Sunday (8/19) Northern CA surf was waist high with luck and clean. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were flat. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was thigh high. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was flat. The LA Area southward to Orange County was thigh high. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were hear flat. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was waist high. The East Shore report was up to waist high.

North/Central California was seeing only the faintest bit of local windswell. Southern California was getting a little bit of locally generated windswell and the start of some long period small southern hemi swell originating off Chile. Hawaii was flat on the North Shore with easterly windswell on the East Shore. The South Shore was getting wrap-around easterly windswell. The North Pacific remained essentially calm though a little bit of westerly fetch well off the Pacific Northwest was trying to do something, but not quite. And high pressure between California and Hawaii is expected to start generating windswell for the mainland later this week. Down south a series of gales was trying to generate some swell in the far southeast Pacific, but it was too far east to even have any significant impact for Southern CA, focusing mainly on Chile. The models are teasing of at some form of activity under New Zealand early this week, with much more forecast behind that, but we have no belief any of that will actually occur based on the models track record as of late. See details below...


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

North Pacific

Sundays jetstream charts (8/19) for the North Pacific indicated a weak to moderate flow tracking flat across the 48 degree latitude with wind up to 120 kts in the Gulf of Alaska. but no troughs of interest were indicated. Still, this is a modest improvement from weeks previous. Over the next 72 hours a weak trough is to develop just off the Canadian coast early Monday, pushing onshore within 24 hours. Otherwise just a inconsequential flow is to continue pushing west to east along the 50 degree latitude line. Beyond 72 hours maybe a weak trough is forecast for the Gulf early next weekend (8/25), then a quiet flat pattern is forecast.

Note: We've made a major upgrade to our jetstream forecast models. They now includes topographic landmasses with the jet flowing over it. As before, wind speeds less than 50 kts are masked out. Take a look here:( NPac, SPac )

At the surface today high pressure at 1024 mbs remained centered north of Hawaii with weak low pressure in the Bering Sea trying to spill into the northeastern Gulf of Alaska, but not really making it. The interaction of the low and the high south of it was generating westerly winds in the Gulf aimed at the Pacific Northwest, but too far away to have any real impact. Also trades off the south side of the Hawaiian high pressure system were generating trades and modest windswell over the Islands, but nothing more. Over the next 72 hrs through Wednesday (8/22) high pressure which has been rooted north of Hawaii for weeks now is forecast to start tracking east, moving 1200 nmiles west of Cape Mendocino CA and starting to generate brisk north winds along the North CA coast at 25-30 kts building moderate sized northerly windswell for all of the CEntral CA coast. Unfortunately this movement of the high to shut down trades over the Hawaiian Islands and eliminating their main source of swell (local windswell).


No tropical systems of interest were being tracked.


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


California Offshore Forecast
On Sunday (8/19) high pressure north of Hawaii was weakly ridging into Pt Conception generating maybe 20 kt north winds there, but otherwise was having no impact on California with a calm sea state in control. The focus to shift north but with no other consequence into early Tuesday (8/21), then the high to start surging east, with stronger northerly winds building off Cape Mendocino early Wednesday. A broad fetch of 25 kt north winds are to be pushing south to almost San Francisco generating windswell and rather jumbled local conditions, though the fetch is not scheduled to actually impact the coast. This pattern to continue unchanged through Thursday (8/23) when winds peak out of 30 kts. Theoretically windswell with face heights to 7 ft are possible then. The high to shift just a touch to the north Friday opening up the gap of calmer waters between land the the windswell source, but winds to hold steady up north at near 30 kts into Sunday (8/26). A good windswell setup.


South Pacific

Sundays jetstream charts (8/19) for the South Pacific remained mostly unfavorable with the southern branch of the jet sweeping south of the Ross Ice Shelf while moving east, then lifting into an almost-trough in the far Southeast Pacific. Winds at 110 kts were pushing up into this trough trying to support some form of low pressure development down at the oceans surface, but for the most part it was too far east of even the California swell window. Over the next 72 hours through Wednesday (8/22) hints of a trough are to try and develop under New Zealand while the trough in the east shifts even further east and out of the picture into Chile. The New Zealand trough to get winds of 120 kts blowing up into it. but not too ste.cgiy and not looking overly supportive of low pressure development. Still,it's a step in the right direction. Beyond 72 hours more energy to push up into this trough by Friday (8/24) with winds to 140 kts under New Zealand moderating while pushing east. Some form of decent low pressure development is possible at the oceans surface just southeast of New Zealand if this occurs.

At the surface today high pressure at 1036 mbs was over the northern latitudes of the Central South Pacific with low pressure in the far Southeastern Pacific, outside of even the Southern CA swell window. A generalized west to east flow of 30 kt winds was covering the balance of the South Pacific aimed towards Chile and flowing mostly over Antarctic Ice. No real support for swell generation was occurring. Over the next 72 hours the Southwest Pacific is to take control with first a little primer low forming Monday (8/20) southeast of New Zealand sinking south over the Ross Ice Shelf. A second system to be following right behind south of the Tasman Sea (south of Tasmania) pushing to a point due south of New Zealand Monday night and clearly in to the Hawaii and California swell windows. Winds expected at 40 kts near 50S 170E aimed well northeast Monday night with seas 35 ft at 53S 163E pushing northeast and fading into Tuesday morning with winds down to 35 kts but seas holding at 35 ft at 53S 170E fading to 30 ft in the evening at 50S 177E. A second fetch to be right behind though with 40-45 kts winds at 55S 165E with seas building. That low to push northeast with 40 kts winds continuing at 47S 175E with 30 ft seas developing just south of there. This on e to fade thereafter. The short story is some form of small to moderate 16 sec period swell is possible pushing northeast with Hawaii likely getting the lions share of the size due to their close proximity a week beyond, with California likely to get something less about 10 days out. If nothing else it's a step in the right direction, but far from certain whether even this modest activity will actually occur.


Chile Storm (Southern CA)
Also a little storm formed just off Chile Saturday-Monday (8/13) generating up to 50-55 kts winds aimed due north over a moderate size fetch area and producing 30-35 ft seas confirmed by the QuikSCAT satellite in the vicinity of 53-40N and 95-105W. These seas were much higher than what the Wavewatch III wavemodel would have one believe. This one was well outside the traditional California swell window but some energy is likely traveling on that due north path and will likely wrap into breaks in southern California with good southeast exposure. Swell arrival expected late Sunday (8/19) at 1.6 ft @ 18 secs (2.5 ft faces) building to 2.3 ft @ 16 secs Monday (3.5-4.0 ft faces). swell fading Tuesday from 2.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.0-3.5 ft faces). Swell Direction: 165 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 hours high pressure to hold well off the North California coast generating more northerly winds off Cape Mendocino at 25-30 kts through next weekend (8/26) generating a steady su.cgiy of reasonable sized northerly windswell for exposed breaks in Central CA on down into Southern CA though next weekend. Also minor bits of low pressure from the Bering Sea are to break off and move through the extreme northern Gulf of Alaska next weekend possibly generating a gradient between it and high pressure previously mentioned, pushing northwest winds at 20-25 kts towards the Pacific Northwest. But that's more of a guess at this early date. Still, something is starting to move in the Gulf from time to time. possibly signaling a change to the seasons.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours the models indicate a real storm to develop southeast of New Zealand on Thursday AM (8/23) pushing northeast with a small area of 55 kts winds aimed well to the northeast through late Friday. Possible larger than usual seas developing pushing into the Hawaii and California swell windows, but that remains a highly speculative guess at t his time. Yet more activity forecast behind that, but there is much variability form one run of the models to the next with no specific and consistent pattern emerging yet.

Details to follow...

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Local Interest

Submit your story to 'Surfings Greatest Misadventures: Vol. 2': DEADLINE: January 15th, 2008 Casagrande Press is seeking stories, articles, and essays on the general subject of surfing misadventure for publication in Surfings Greatest Misadventures: Volume 2. We are looking for nonfiction, first-person surf stories of bad judgment calls, pranks, comical/ironic episodes, disaster, attacking predators, misfortune, injury, loss of wit or limb, panic, critical conditions, contest meltdowns, everyday fears, surf trips gone wrong or the out-of-water episodes that surround surfing. We are looking for well-written stories that tell a good tale, reflect a culture, and develop the depth of the characters involved. We also like stories that have a tight narrative tension and a payoff at the end. Open to writers and surfers of any level. There is no fee to submit a story. We will consider previously published stories. To see more info on the first book visit Submit online at

Bluewater Gold Rush: The first and only chronicle of the California sea urchin dive fishery. Diving, surfing, comedy, and tragedy on and under the waves of California. "A quintessential tale of California ... dramas of adventure and loss on and under the sea" Check it out here:

Waveriders Gallery: Check out this collection of high quality artwork all related to waves and the ocean. Surf Paintings, Photography, Posters, Books, Boards and exhibits all produced by a variety of top artists provide a beautiful selection of pieces to chose from. Take and look and see some of the stunning work available from these artists.

New CDIP Buoys Online: We've updated our buoy system to pick up new CDIP buoys put in service recently. One is the Monterey Canyon (inside Monterey Bay). Check it out here: Buoy 156. Also there are more new CDIP buoys activated in NCal, SCal, Pacific Northwest, and Florida.

Jason-1 Satellite Data On-line and Improved!: Our Jason-1 satellite data was upgraded yet again Wednesday PM (6/6) and is now operating better than ever. We've added a feature that averages the data every 15 measurements on the local views and every 50 measurements on the global view (1 measurement every 3 nautical miles) and overlays the results onto the wave model chart. Both the single highest measurement on the chart and the highest 15 measurement average are posted at the bottom of each chart. This seems to work real well and compensates for the very spiky nature of the raw data coming off the satellite. So we now have an effective way to verify the accuracy (or lack of) the wave model output. 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:

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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