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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: October 12, 2006 6:52 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 = 2.2 - California & 3.0 - Hawaii
Using the 'Winter' 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 10/9 thru Sun 10/15
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 Gulf Swell Hits NorCal & Hawaii
Forecast Backs Off Longterm - New Zealand Turns Productive


On Thursday (10/12) Northern CA surf was head high to 2 ft over and clean and lined up. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest high. Central California surf was chest high.cgius. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were thigh high. The LA Area southward to Orange County was near flat. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were near flat. The North Shore of Oahu was 2-3 ft overhead. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was waist high.

Swell from a gale that was in the Gulf of Alaska over weekend continues hitting Hawaii with surf 1-3 ft overhead. California was starting to see some of that energy too with waves a foot overhead and pretty decent. Another gale tracked off the Kuril Islands reaching the dateline ensuring more surf in the days ahead for the Islands. But California to see much less of that swell seeing how the storm that generated it faded on the dateline, not making it any further east. Over the long haul sporadic bit's of energy are forecast on the dateline and just barely south of the Aleutians favoring Hawaii. One of these systems is to actually dive south nearly impacting the Islands mid-next week, but it too is to be in the weak category from a swell generation perspective. A storm is pushing under New Zealand and looking decent if it were the doldrums of summer, with another modeled right on it's tail. See details below...


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

North Pacific

Note: The National Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) is the source for most of our weather model data. They are going through a.cgianned outage this week. Data has been spotty and expected to continue that way during the outage window. Our wave models and buoy forecasts remain unaffected through. Thanks for your patience.


Thursdays jetstream charts (10/12) indicated a moderate flow pushing off Japan along the 40N latitude with a trough over the dateline though winds were only up to 120 kts flowing under it. That trough fed into a bit of a ridge off California. in all not a particularly energetic flow with the trough being the only area capable of supporting surface level low pressure development. Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (10/15) energy level to kick up in the trough with winds to 140 kts on Friday and digging well south almost to Hawaii. But the trough is to get too steep and pinch off by Saturday limiting it's effectiveness at supporting surface level low pressure development. But much more energy to build behind it, with 190 kts winds flowing into the pinched off remnants of the previous trough and the rest .cgiitting and tracking due north into the Eastern Bering Sea. Beyond 72 hours more of the same is forecast with a peculiarly steep and pinched trough remaining north of Hawaii with a big ridge building west of it suggesting the trough will become cut off from the main flow which to run from west of the dateline northeast over the Aleutian Islands and into Alaska, pretty much shutting off any chance for surface level development over exposed waters.

At the surface today weak high pressure at 1020 mbs remained positioned off Oregon with a second high at 1024 mbs over the dateline. Weak low pressure was pushing into the Northern Gulf of Alaska but no swell producing fetch was indicated. Also a broad low was just east of the Philippines. In all no swell generation potential was indicated though swell was in the water from the two systems documented below. Over the next 72 hours energy from the broad low off the Philippine to break off and merge with cold core energy pushing east off Siberia forming a low over the dateline on Saturday but quickly tracking north guided by a strong upper flow. This low to wind up in the Bering Sea with only 35 kts fetch dangling south of the Aleutians producing a shortlived area of 27 ft seas Sunday aimed east towards the Pacific Northwest with a secondary area of 23 ft seas Monday targeting Hawaii. But all this to be rather far from land resulting in much decay before arrival. Minimal background swell the likely outcome next week for Hawaii and California.


Gulf Gale
On Saturday (10/7) a chunk of energy from a low just off Japan .cgiit off building into Sunday northwest of Hawaii with pressure dropping to 972 mbs with a small area of winds to 40-45 kts targeting Hawaii from the storms southwest sector then swinging into the storm south quadrant targeting California. Seas 22 ft Sun PM aimed at Hawaii (barely) then targeting California. But this was very short-lived with the whole gale lifting due north by nightfall and in the northern Gulf of Alaska by Monday AM with 40-45 kt winds circulating around the storms southern half producing 27 ft seas aimed at Alaska with only 22 ft seas pushing down from the south towards Hawaii and CA. This is not nearly as strong as was forecast earlier, but given what was happening at the jet level, it made sense. This system quickly dissipated as it pushed onshore over Alaska late Monday. North California should see swell at 4 ft @ 13 secs Thursday (10/12) late afternoon (5 ft faces) holding through Friday then fading. Smaller energy still pushing into Central CA Friday with swell 4 ft @ 12 secs (4.5 ft faces).


Kuril Low
Low pressure at 990 mbs was approaching the dateline from the west with a weak fetch of 30 kt winds in it's south quadrant targeting Hawaii much as it has since Monday with seas 20-22 ft. More of the same is forecast Wednesday with the low tracking further east then veering north while the fetch hangs back by the dateline, then dissipates late. Small swell to result for Hawaii starting Friday (10/13) peaking through the weekend with swell 5 ft @ 12 secs (5-6 ft faces). Only dribbles expected to push into North and Central CA Sun/Mon (10/16).


Typhoon Soulik was positioned nearly over Iwo Jima and 600 nmiles south of Tokyo Japan and nearly stationary with sustained winds 70 kts. It is forecast to continue holding here through Saturday with winds building to 90 kts Then taking off on a northeasterly course pushing towards the dateline by Tuesday (10/17). See longterm forecast.

No other system were being tracked .

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


California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (10/12) a weak pressure pattern was in control of waters off California with no swell producing fetch indicated. No significant change forecast until late Monday (10/16) when high pressure start building off the coast generating north winds at 15-20 kts over the nearshore waters of Central and North California. That to hold Tuesday then start lifting north Wednesday into Thursday moving towards Cape Mendocino, but not before making some rather chunked out conditions and theoretically some small short period windswell.


South Pacific

On Thursday (10/12) a trough of sorts in the jetstream was under New Zealand with 140 kt winds flowing over it. Over the next 72 hours It is to continue while building in areal coverage and slowly weakening to 130 kts through Sunday. Beyond 72 hours it to continue fading but holding it's configuration while tracking east to the Southeast Pacific on the edge of the Southern CA swell window next Thursday. Regardless of the time of year there appears to be good support for surface level low pressure development.

At the surface a new low started forming Wednesday AM (10/11) in a developing upper trough under New Zealand with pressure 948 mbs and winds modeled at 50-55 kts (no QuikSCAT imagery available for review) aimed generally just north of east. Winds then fading to 50 kts late and taking aim more to the north with seas to 39 ft at 55S 175E. The Jason-1 satellite made a pass directly over the fetch and reported seas to 38.4 ft before even reaching the core (where readings were contaminated by rain). By Thursday AM (10/12) pressure was up to 952 mbs with 50 kts winds aimed due north and expected to be gone by evening. Seas still held at 39 ft at 53S 175W and are then to start decaying from 35 ft in the evening at 50S 165W. Given the time of year this was a fairly impressive system, though very short lived with only 36 hours of good fetch indicated. Of note: the entire duration of this storms lie was shadowed by Tahiti for California. Small sideband swell expected to result for Hawaii with period initially 18 secs a week out (Fri Oct 20) from 185-195 degrees. A bit smaller swell to push into California a few days later beyond with period 20 secs from 212-208 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 the models suggest yet a second batch of energy (the extratropical remnants of Typhoon Soulik) to break off the Philippine low Monday tracking east to the dateline then sinking south towards Hawaii Tuesday, falling into the upper trough expected to be in.cgiace there. The models have been varying in their estimation of it's strength and swell generation potential, ranging anywhere from 35-60 kts. It's just too early to make an accurate assessment, though we tend to believe the weaker of that range will be the likely result. Finally the remains of the Philippine low to track fast northeast to the dateline and get shoved north of the Aleutians with high pressure building in behind it. Not looking very good.


MJO Update
On Thursday (10/12) westerly winds (reverse trade winds) continued on the equator over the Western Pacific (west of the dateline) reinforcing our Westerly Wind Burst event. In fact westerly anomalies now extend to almost 120W, which is fairly impressive. This situation is associated with the active phase of the Madden Julian Oscillation currently centered over the dateline and pushing east into the Eastern Pacific. It's expected track across the entire Pacific over the next 3 weeks. Westerly Winds Bursts push warm surface waters to the east, eventually dropping below the oceans surface and traveling the whole width of the Pacific under the equator eventually gurgling up off South America. These pockets of warm water are called a Kelvin Wave and are contributors to the development of El Nino. This is a good sign for the winter to come. Historically the active phase of the MJO supports enhancement of storms over the dateline pushing into the Gulf, so it would not be surprising to see a spike in storm activity developing over the next 2 weeks in sync with a drop in the SOI index. In fact the SOI, which had been hovering in the neutral range, has now fully settled into negative territory the past 14 days at -25 to -29 and is expected to continue for at least the next 2weeks. This is the strongest MJO pulse in at least the last year. This is a great learning experience unfolding for us realtime. The true test will be whether it has any impact on storm development in the Gulf/Dateline region (Aleutian Storm Corridor). Will monitor.
ENSO/MJO link:


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a second small fetch of 50 kt winds to develop under New Zealand Friday AM (10/13) aimed somewhat northeast tracking east fading to the 45 kt range Saturday then gone by nightfall. Seas modeled at 40 ft over a tiny area Friday in the 37-39 ft range Saturday then decaying away. More potential for some rideable swell in Hawaii, though the Tahitian shadow remains and issue for California.

Details to follow...


Local Interest

Towsurfers - Participate in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement: The draft EIR for the new Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary management.cgian has been released. Public comment will be accepted until January 7, 2007. The link provided has all of the information that is pertinent to anyone wishing to participate in the crafting of the new regulations. It cannot emphasize enough the importance of making your comments part of the public record as such comments will be used to re evaluate the proposed regulations before inclusion into the final EIR. This will be the public's last and best chance to shape regulations in our Monterey Bay. If you are passionate about what you do, direct that passion into active participation in this process.

Stormsurf Iceberg Breakup Analysis/Decide for Yourself: There been some debate concerning the facts around the breakup of Iceberg B15A. Here's a short exercise that helps to drive out the facts around the research:

Stormsurf Supports Antarctic Iceberg Breakup Study: CNN is reporting the story of a storm in the Gulf of Alaska in Fall of 2005 that contributed to the breakup of Antarctic Iceberg B15A. We all know that South Pacific storms produce swells that provide surf for California in the summer, but has anyone considered the i.cgiications of what monster winter storms in the North Pacific do to the South Pacific? That is the subject of a research paper by professor Doug MacAyeal from the University of Chicago. He and his team traveled to Antarctica and instrumented a series of icebergs with seismometers to see if they could understand what causes icebergs to break up, and their findings are insightful. And best of all, Stormsurf contributed data in support of their research (and received authorship credits to boot). This is a great exa.cgie of how the science of surfing interacts with other pure science disc.cgiines. All the details are available in this months edition of 'Geophysical Research Letters' and the synopsis is available here:

New Stormsurf Local Wave Models: 9 months in development and testing, Stormsurf is proud to announce the release of our upgraded local wave models. More locations, more fidelity, more variables imaged including sea height, swell period, wind speed & direction, and wave height.cgius the older style composite images of surf height and wind all updated 4 times daily. Check them out 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

Shark Park DVD: Watch an international team of towsurfers ride a virgin wave at a remote offshore reef during the giant winter swells of 2005/2006. Greg Huglin is a man possessed; a Californian who has traveled the world in search of surf, returning home only to continue the hunt in his own backyard. And what a find he uncovered. A truly thick, dumping, mud-dredging slab of a wave sitting out in the open exposed to all the energy the North Pacific can throw at it. This is the story of Greg's pursuit and amazing adventures to Shark Park. Read more here and buy the video:

Oregon Shark Attack - Here's a first hand account and pictures (somewhat graphic) of a recent shark attack in Oregon. Tom (the victim) is recovering well. We wish him and his family the best of luck - Oregon Shark Attack

El Nino Forecast Updated: After a long hiatus since our last update (we've been heads-down building new wave models - coming soon) , we've finally dug in and did the analysis of what's going on over the Equatorial Pacific. Things are looking up some, so take a glance and get into all the details:

2006 Wave of Compassion: The 2006 Wave of Compassion is a sweepstakes style fundraiser for SurfAid International; a non-profit humanitarian aid organization on a mission to improve the health of pe.cgie living in isolated regions connected to us through surfing. This October, one grand-prize winner and guest will go on an all expense paid surf/cultural boat trip to the Mentawai Islands and North Sumatra. The Wave of Compassion trip is a chance to raise awareness and funds. Through the support of Surfline, Indies Trader Marine Adventures, FUEL TV, Reef, Jedidiah, Cobian, Anarchy Eyewear, Wave Riding Vehicles, Kandui Resort, Saraina Koat Mentawai, and a many other supporters, Wave of Compassion's ultimate goal is to raise $250,000 for SurfAid International. If you're interested, you have have until September 1st to enter. There's a suggested donation of $10 - but donating more increases the odds of winning the grand prize, or other prizes. Learn more at the Wave of Compassion website:

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

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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