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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: October 17, 2006 6:43 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 = 1.9 - California & 3.8 - 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 10/16 thru Sun 10/22
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   

Weak N. Pacific Pattern Continues
Southern Hemi Swell Pushing North


On Tuesday (10/17) Northern CA surf was waist to chest high and a bit raw. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist high with a few bigger sets. Central California surf was chest high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were up to waist high. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were about waist high occasionally a little more. The North Shore of Oahu was waist high overhead. The South Shore was near flat. The East Shore was flat.

Windswell was building in North CA with weak energy from the dateline underneath, pushing south towards Central and South CA but mostly unremarkable. Hawaii was in the flat zone Tuesday but swell was hitting theouter buoy and expectedot make landfall for sunrise Wed. A series of small gales are modeled to push from the dateline into the Gulf of Alaska on a rather northern route for the coming 7 days favoring targets along the US West Coast but since Hawaii is closer to the source, more size should be expected there. But none of these system are to be of any real interest, though the average wind speeds and seas heights appears to be creeping up if one is to believe the models, suggesting incremental improvement but not a big turn of events. So generally more of the same from the North Pacific. Down south two storms pushed under New Zealand over last weekend and have generated swell that is tracking north, expected to hit Hawaii by Wednesday with surf continuing into the weekend and reaching California by late Friday and continuing into mid-next week. See details below...


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

North Pacific

Note: Servers at the National Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) appear to be coming back on-line with some form of data now available for all our products. Whether it will remain updated is yet to be seen, but things appear to be heading in the right direction.


Tuesdays jetstream charts (10/17) indicated a somewhat ragged flow tracking generally off Japan east-northeast into the Northern Gulf of Alaska with maximum speed 120 kts in pockets. The only variation was a weak steep trough dipping south to about Hawaii, then veering north to the Gulf just as fast. This is not a pattern conducive to surface level gale development. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (10/20) more of the same is forecast a light ridge in the west diving into a trough north of hawaii then ridging into the Northern Gulf pushing up into Northern Canada. In general more energy is modeled, but nothing really supportive of surface level gale development. Beyond 72 hours more of the same is forecast but with energy level ratcheting up more, but the ridge in the west building ultimately pushing the jet north of the Aleutians at the dateline then diving south into the Central Gulf only to track hard north again while pushing into Northern Canada. It appears that El Nino has not been around long enough to have much impact on the jet. Limited support for surface level development mainly limited to the Central Gulf of Alaska.

At the surface today weak high pressure at 1024 mbs remained positioned off California with a second high at 1016 mbs over and just east of the dateline. much as it's been lately. The extratropical remnants of Typhoon Soulik had tracked fast to the dateline and were reorganizing in the Northwestern Gulf of Alaska with pressure at 984 mbs and winds confirmed via the QuikSCAT satellite at near 60 kts over a tiny area at 48N 172W aimed towards Hawaii down the 340 degree path and at California down the 304 degree path. At the same time another weak low was over the Kuril Islands preparing to push east into the North Pacific. Over the next 72 hours the remains of Soulik are to continue spinning Tuesday PM with 60 kts winds at 50N 165W aimed generally like before though favoring the US west coast more and seas building to 20 ft. By Wednesday AM the low is to really be fading with winds down to 40-45 kts with seas 28 ft at 51N 158W mostly beyond Hawaii but aimed reasonably well towards California down the 309 degree path. This system to be pushing out of the California swell window with seas fading from 25 ft Wednesday evening. Some form of swell likely pushing Hawaii late Friday with swell approx 5.9 ft @ 14 secs (7-8 ft faces) and fading from 5.2 ft @ 13 secs (6.0-6.5 ft faces) Saturday. North California to see energy starting late Saturday at 4.7 ft @ 14 secs (6.0-6.5 ft) then fading from 4.2 ft @ 12 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces) Sunday AM.See QuikCAST's for more locations and details.

Otherwise the low currently over the Kuril Islands to sweep fast to the northeast Wednesday (1018) with 40-45 kts winds passing over the extreme Northwest Pacific before tracking into the Bering Sea late in the evening. Seas to 25 ft into early Thursday morning then fading. Very limited swell generation potential for Hawaii Sunday into Monday (10/23).


Dateline Low
A low pushed to the dateline and started building late Saturday (10/14) with pressure dropping to 968 mbs generating a small fetch of 40-45 kts winds and 25 ft seas at 50N 175W aimed southeast towards Hawaii and the US mainland, but positioned fairly far away from both. This gale pushed barely into the Bering Sea late Saturday into Sunday morning but with 35-40 kts winds continuing dangling just south of the Aleutians and over the dateline tracking slowly east through mid-Sunday (10/15) with seas 25-27 ft at 50N 172W then rapidly fading. Some swell is expected to push south towards Hawaii reaching there late Tues/early Wednesday AM (10/18) with swell to 7 ft @ 13 secs (8-9 ft faces) from 330 degrees then fading from 6.9 ft @ 12 secs Thursday AM (7-8 ft faces). Lesser energy towards California mid-week. See QuikCAST's for the minimal energy expected to push into California.


No tropical systems were being tracked.

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


California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (10/17) high pressure at 1026 mbs was centered 600 nmiles west of Cape Mendocino generating a brisk northerly flow and chop along the North and Central coasts. It to start ridging eastward into the Pacific Northwest by Wednesday with the bulk of the gradient taking a home north of our area and a light winds regime back in control. Theoretically a summer-like Cape Mendocino pressure gradient to set up by Friday (10/20) with north winds building to 35 kts generating a short pulse of northerly windswell, then fading rapidly Saturday. Low pressure to follow just off the coast with a light southerly flow expected off North and Central CA through Saturday then back to calm well into next week.


South Pacific

On Tuesday (10/17) a mild trough in the jetstream remained over the far Southeastern Pacific tracking east through Wednesday but not really supportive of surface level gale development. Over the next 72 hours a flat/zonal flow to build minimizing any chance for gale development at the surface and continuing out beyond 72 hours.

At the surface no swell producing fetch was indicated. Over the next 72 hours a tiny storm is forecast under New Zealand Thurs/Fri (10/20) generating up to 60 kt winds and 40 ft seas over a tiny area, then fading while tracking east. Some potential for swell development assuming the models are right. At the exact same time a gale to form due south of Southern CA with a brief 24 hours fetch of 40-45 kts winds aimed north generating 39 ft seas. Will monitor.


1st New Zealand Storm
A low started forming Wednesday AM (10/11) in a developing upper trough under New Zealand with pressure 948 mbs and winds confirmed at 50-55 kts over a small area aimed northeast. Winds continued at 50-55 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 a small fetch of 40-45 kts winds remaining aimed mostly east and then gone by evening. Seas still held at 39 ft at 53S 175W and then started 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 life was shadowed by Tahiti for California. Small sideband swell expected to result for Hawaii with period initially 18 secs starting Wednesday (10/18) reaching 2.6 ft @ 18 secs by sunset (4.5 ft faces) from 185-195 degrees. Swell to continue Thursday at 3.0 ft @ 16 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces) then fade from 2.8 ft @ 14-15 secs Friday (4 ft faces). A bit smaller swell to push into California on starting late Thursday (10/19) with period 21 secs and size tiny but on the increase, reaching 1.5 ft @ 20 secs Friday (3 ft faces) and near peaking late Saturday (10/21) with swell 2.6 ft @ 18 secs late (4.0-4.5 ft faces) peaking Sunday with swell 3 ft @ 16 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces) from 212-208 degrees. Some size into Monday with period 14-15 secs but heading down.


2nd New Zealand Storm
A second 952 mb low developed under New Zealand on Friday AM (10/13) generating a small fetch of 50-55 kt winds confirmed aimed almost due east while tracking east. Seas were modeled at 37 ft at 55S 165E. The fetch faded to 45-50 kts in the evening but aimed a bit more to the northeast at 50S 170W while seas built to 40 ft over a tiny area at 53S 178E. By Saturday AM winds faded to the 40-45 kt range with seas 37 ft at 52S 172W. A downward trend forecast from there with no swell producing fetch indicated. Another pulse of smaller sideband swell expected to push into Hawaii starting Friday (10/20) with initial size 2 ft @ 18 secs (3.5 ft faces) building to 2.8 ft @ 16 secs Saturday (4.5 ft) then fading from 2.6 ft @ 14 secs Sunday (3.5 ft ). Likewise small swell to push into California Sunday (10/22) with period near 20 secs, but size tiny and lost under the previous swell.

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 strong high pressure to set up over the dateline driving the storm track north into the Bering Sea. One is forecast approaching this area Saturday (10/21) and building, but to be in the Bering Sea before any significant fetch develops over exposed waters of the North Pacific. A secondary fetch to follow Mon/Tues (10/24) from the dateline pushing into the Gulf generating 40-45 kts west winds targeting the US West Coast. Yet a larger low to follow off Japan but with the 1032 mb high over the dateline ridging north into the Bering Sea, a track into the Bering Sea seems likely.

In all, more of the same.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is indicated.

Details to follow...


Local Interest

Towsurfers & Paddle-in Surfers - 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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