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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Saturday, November 8, 2014 1:01 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 = 3.0 - California & 3.3 - 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 11/10 thru Sun 11/16

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   

Extratropical Storm Nuri Pushing Into Bering Sea
Fetch to Hold South of the Aleutians

Swell Classification Guidelines

Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead).
- 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/Utility Class: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft).
- 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.
- up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.


Current Conditions
On Thursday (11/6) in North and Central CA surf was chest high with head high sets at better breaks still coming from the Gulf with clean conditions and lined up, but weak. Down in Santa Cruz surf was thigh high and clean, but weak. In Southern California up north surf was flat and clean. Down south waves were waist high and weak but clean with some light texture on it early. Hawaii's North Shore was still getting Gulf sideband swell early from the north with waves chest high and clean. The South Shore was knee to thigh high and weak. The East Shore was getting tradewind generated east windswell at waist high and chopped.

See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.

Meteorological Overview
A decent sized gale tracked east off Kamchatka Tues-Wed (11/5) with 25 ft seas and pushed into the Western Gulf Fri AM (11/7) still with seas fading from 22 ft. Swell is to arrive in Hawaii later Saturday (11/80 and then push in to the US West Coast. The remnants of Super Typhoon Nuri have turned extratropical on the intersection of the dateline and the Aleutians on Fri-Sat (11/8) generating 44 ft seas aimed mainly at the Aleutians.Stll, some sideband swell to result for all main locations. Secondary fetch to generating more 25 ft seas into Tues (11/11). The models are undecided on what's to follow though some fetch is likely to follow in the Gulf.      

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

North Pacific

Jetstream - On Saturday (11/8) the jet was pushing east off North Japan on the 40N latitude line at 150 kts forming a weak trough on the dateline then ridging slightly in the Western Gulf before falling into a steep trough north of Hawaii falling to within 600 nmiles of the Islands then ridging hard north and pushing into Central Canada. Limited support for gale development in the steep trough and better support in the broad trough in the West Pacific. Over the next 72 hours the trough north of Hawaii is to totally pinch off and dissipate on Sunday (11/9) while back to the west a new patch of 170 kt winds develop just east of the Kurils pushing flat east then carving out a bit of a broad trough in the Western Gulf into Tues AM (11/11). Beyond 72 hours this trough is to start pinching off north of Hawaii on Wednesday (11/12) with the jet .cgiitting some east of the pushing up into Alaska. Another pocket of 140 kts winds to be building late Thursday (11/13) from Japan to the dateline pushing east-southeast setting up yet perhaps one more trough in the Gulf then ridging hard north mid-way between Hawaii and the California coast, protecting the mainland and driving the storm track up into North Canada if not Alaska.  

Surface Analysis  - On Saturday (11/8) swell from a gale that pushed off the Kamchatka Peninsula on Tues-Thurs (11/6) and was tracking east, expected pushing into Hawaii today and the US West Coast Monday (11/9) and beyond (see Kamchatka Gale below). Also extrratropical Storm Nuri was evolving on the intersection of the dateline and the Aleutians (see Extratropical Storm Nuri below).

Over the next 72 hours no other swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast.

Kamchatka Gale
A gale in the North China Sea started easing east with fetch reaching the open Northwest Pacific Tues PM (11/4) with west winds 35 kts and seas building to 25 ft at 46N 161E (315 degs HI, 305 degs NCal). Winds held at 35 kts easing somewhat east off the Kamchatka Peninsula Wed AM (11/5) with 25 ft seas over a solid area at 49N 167E (324 degs HI, 307 degs NCal). Fetch was pushing east and positioned just south of the Central Aleutians at 30-35 kt in the evening extending east to the Gulf with 23 ft seas at 48N 176E (330 degs HI, 305 degs NCal). This fetch held on the dateline while feeding in to a new gale in the Northern Gulf on Thurs AM (11/6) forming a decent fetch of 30-35 kt northwest winds targeting Hawaii and California well. Seas were modeled at 23 ft at 46N 177W (331 degs HI, 300 degs NCal). 30 kt northwest winds to persist in the Western Gulf falling southeast in the evening with 23 ft seas at 44N 170W (339 degs HI, 295 degs NCal). Fetch to fall below 30 kts Fri AM (11/7) with seas fading from 21 ft at 42N 165W (345 degs HI degs, 292 degs NCal). If all this comes to pass some solid sized 14 secs period swell could result for Hawaii mid-weekend with solid utility class swell for California early next week.

Hawaii: Swell arrival expected near sunset Sat (11/8) with swell 4.5 ft @ 15-16 secs (7 ft) and building. Swell to peak overnight and still be solid Sun AM (11/9) at 9 ft @ 14 secs (12.5 ft Hawaiian). Period and size dropping later. Swell fading on Mon AM (11/10) from 6 ft @ 12-13 secs (7.5 ft). Swell Direction: 320-345 degrees with most energy 330-335 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival late Sun night (11/9) with period 13-14 secs and size building. Swell to be 4.3 ft @ 13 secs (5.5 ft) early Mon (11/10) and building with a bit longer period building underneath, pushing 4.5 ft @ 15 secs mid-day (6.5 ft) and mostly shadowed in the SF Bay area. Swell fading Tues AM (11/11) from 4 ft @ 14 secs (5.5 ft). Swell Direction: 292-305 degrees with most energy from 297 degrees 

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival overnight on Monday (11/10) peaking near sunrise Tues (11/11) at 2.2 ft @ 15 secs (3.0-3.5 ft) holding through the day. Residuals on Wed AM (11/12) fading from 1.7 ft @ 13-14 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 295-311 degrees with most energy from 301 degrees   


Extratropical Storm Nuri
A strong and broad storm started forming just south of the Aleutians and west of the dateline on Friday AM (11/7) in association with the developing extratropical remnants of Super Typhoon Nuri, with winds to 50 kts from the west and seas on the increase. West winds built to 55 kts over a small area embedded in a large area of 50 kt west winds a bit west of the dateline and just south of the Aleutians with seas 39 ft at 51N 170E (329 degs HI, 307 degs NCal) and building quickly, peaking at 06Z at 44 ft at 52N 173E and impacting the Western Aleutians. 43 ft seas to be pushing barely clear of the Aleutians east up the great circle tracks to the US West Coast. Limited sideband energy targeting Hawaii. By Sat AM (11/8) west winds were fading from 45-50 kts south of the Aleutians with the core of the storm moving north of the Aleutians in the Bering Sea and shadowed to the North Pacific. Fetch was aimed mainly at the US West Coast with sideband energy at Hawaii producing 42 ft seas at 52N 173E (332 degs HI, 308 degs NCal). 45-50 kt west-northwest winds to hold in the evening just south of the Aleutians and just west of the dateline generating 40 ft seas at 51N 175E (333 degs HI, 308 degs NCal). Sun AM (11/9) 40-45 kt westerly residual fetch to hold just south of the Central Aleutians with the core of the gale well up in the Bering Sea and shadowed by the Aleutians. Seas fading from barely 36 ft at 51N 180W (333 degs HI, 308 degs NCal). In the evening 35 kt west wind are to be holding just west of the dateline and south of the Western Aleutians. Seas fading from 28 ft generated mainly from previous fetch. 35 kt northwest fetch is to be holding just west of the dateline Mon AM (11/10) with seas building some from 25 ft at 49N 177W (335 degs HI, 305 degs NCal).  That fetch is to be fading in coverage and falling southeast in the evening with seas 25 ft over a smaller area at 46N 180W (331 degs HI, 301 degs NCal). That fetch to push over the dateline Tues AM (11/11) barely at 30 kts with seas fading from 20 ft at 44N 173W (336 degs HI, 296 degs NCal). This system is to be gone after that.

This storm has not lived up to a the hype generated by early runs of the models, and is a prime exa.cgie of why not to believe anything but the 00hr hindcasts from any model. Still, it is decent and producing seas in excess of 40 ft, which is worth noting. Swell is being generated but nothing historical. Just your average run-of-the-mill early season swell. Something to monitor.


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

Tropical Update
No tropical storms of interest were being monitored.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Saturday AM (11/8) high pressure at 1024 mbs was ridging into the Pacific Northwest generating north winds at 15 kts in patches over North and Central CA at exposed points, but generally less. Northwest winds to die back to 10 kts or less Sunday south of Point reyes but up to 20 kts for Cape Mendocino. Another low is to be building off the coast lifting north fast on Monday with a light wind regime forecast for the Central coast but north to 25 kts for Cape Mendocino fading to dead calm everywhere Tuesday as low pressure gains traction off the coast and continuing into Wednesday. A weak front to push into Oregon on Thursday with weak high pressure and northwest winds at 5-10 kts forecast for North and Central CA. High pressure to build a little Friday with north winds 15 kts for the entire north and Central Coasts Friday. But those winds to fade Saturday as low pressure again make a pus towards the coast. None of these lows are to be strong enough though to break the high pressure barrier dug in over the mainland and extending 600 nmiles out.      

South Pacific

Surface Analysis  - No swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.

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 secondary energy from what was Extratropcial Storm Nuri to possible try and regroup weakly in the Southern Gulf of Alaska on Mon PM (11/10) generating a small fetch of 35-40 kt northwest winds for 12 hours producing 24 ft seas near 35N 150W pushing east and targeting the US West Coast. Maybe some small swell to result. Another gale is also forecast developing over the Kuril Islands on Fri (11/140 with 35-40 kt west winds and seas building to 28 ft Sat AM (11/15). Something to monitor.

Note: The Madden Julian Oscillation is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equatorial Pacific it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slack if not an outright reversal of trade winds and enhanced precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the.cgianet. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to .cgiit resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for MJO activity (which directly relate to the potential for swell production).

Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) On Saturday (11/8) the daily SOI was up slightly at -21.89. The 30 day average was dropping at -12.31 and the 90 day average was down to -8.60. The near term trend based on the 30 day average was indicative of a steady weak Active Phase of the MJO. The longer term pattern was indicative of a steady-state Active Phase of the MJO. A weak low pressure trough was tracking east from a point south of Tahiti and is forecast slowly giving up ground into Mon (11/10) with 30 day average SOI numbers expected to move less negative. A bit of a rise is to follow with weak high pressure taking control of Tahiti. 

Current equatorial surface wind analysis indicated westerly anomalies still unexpectedly holding over a small area over the Maritime Continent turning neutral on the dateline. Modest west anomalies were indicated south of Hawaii fading to neutral while tracking into the Galapagos. A week from now (11/16) modest east anomalies are forecast over the Maritime Continent continuing over the dateline then turning to modest westerly anomalies south of Hawaii continuing east and over the Galapagos. Down at the surface the TOA array indicated neutral anomalies over the entire equatorial Pacific.  

Looking at the trend over the past few months there has not been a extended period of enhanced trades so far this year, and we're over 304 days into the year.  The trend is clearly towards westerly anomalies (suppressed trades) which suggests a bias towards El Nino. Big westerly wind bursts occurred Jan-April, followed by a neutral period May into early June. The TOA array surface sensors (the ground truth) indicated moderate westerly anomalies re-developed west of the dateline 6/25-7/6, then again 7/11-7/20, building into a WWB and holding through 8/10. Light westerly anomalies developed again 8/20-8/22, 8/29-9/2, 9/10-9/17, and stronger 9/20-10/8 (a WWB) west of the dateline with another 10/12-10/31 (WWB) on the dateline. Neutral anomalies filled the gaps. A modest Kelvin Wave is impacting the Galapagos associated with westerly anomalies during June, July into mid-August. And another Kelvin Wave is developing under the dateline region being fed by westerly anomalies in late October there. That's two WWBs over a 30 day window. Compared to La Nina where enhanced trades (20+ kts) would be blowing non-stop, we're in great shape and have been all year. No easterly anomalies of interest have occurred all year. It would be hard to make a case stating some flavor of weak El Nino was not in.cgiay at this point. 

See our new Kelvin Wave Generation Area monitoring model here .

The longer range Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR) models (dynamic and statistical) run on 11/7 are in opposition. They both suggest a dead neutral MJO pattern over the far West Pacific with a neutral pattern in the Indian Ocean too. The Statistic model depicts the neutral pattern holding from the next 15 days. The Dynamic model has an Inactive Phase rebuilding 5 days out and holding over the West Pacific 10-15 day out. The ultra long range upper level model run on 11/8 depicts a weak Active pulse exiting over the East Pacific through 11/18. A weak Inactive Phase is to follow tracking west to east 11/18 through 12/8 then another weak Active Phase to follow 12/3 through 12/18.  Recent experience this year suggests this model overhypes any projected Inactive Phases. The models are calibrated assuming a neutral global weather pattern, and typically either overcall weather events during La Nina and undercall then during El Nino in the Pacific Basin. This suggests that warming water in the equatorial East Pacific is starting to have some gentle guiding impact on the atmosphere above. The upper level model tends to be a leading indicator, with surface level anomalies lagging behind 1 week or more.    

Surface Water Temps: The more warm water in the equatorial East Pacific means more storm production in the North Pacific during winter months (roughly speaking). Cold water in that area has a dampening effect. Regardless of what the atmospheric models and surface winds suggest, actual water temperatures are a ground-truth indicator of what is occurring in the ocean.  As of the most recent low res imagery (11/6) a moderately warm water regime remains in control of the equatorial East Pacific, up some since early Sept and still building slowly. Warm pockets are moderating while tracking east between 90W to 160W, likely the result of the first of a pair of Kelvin Waves impacting the Galapagos region (as expected). TAO data suggests 0.5-1.0 deg C anomalies present from the Galapagos to 140W with a core holding at +2.0 C, fading to just below 0.5 degs west of there over a small area to the dateline. +1.0-2.0 deg C anomalies are present west of the dateline. Hi res data suggests a string of pockets of +1.0-2.0 deg anomalies from the Galapagos to the dateline (the new Kelvin Wave erupting there). It now appears warm water is building on the surface in the NINO 3.4 region based on TAO and hi res imagery. 

Elsewhere, the entire North Pacific Ocean is full of warmer than normal water. There are virtually no signs of high pressure induced upwelling streaming southwest off California. And serious warm water is entrenched along the California coast and building in coverage, the exact opposite of the trend of the past 3+ years.This is significant in that is suggests the Gulf of Alaska High pressure system is much weakened relative to normal years, with north winds and upwelling much suppressed. The South Pacific is mostly normal/neutral except for one small cool pocket well off Chile, not reaching even north to 10S This pocket continues in rapid decline and being r.cgiaced with normal if not slightly warmer than normal water. Given this situation, it suggests a warm regime is getting the upper hand over the entire Pacific Basin, rather than isolated only to the North Pacific as it has been most of this year. Overall the total amount of warmer than normal water in the North Pacific remains most impressive, while the South Pacific is starting to trend in the same direction.  

Subsurface Waters Temps on the equator continue solidly warm.  As of 11/8 a +1.0 C anomaly flow was filling the equatorial Pacific from 150 meters up and east of 150E with one embedded pocket of +4 deg anomalies at 155W pushing east embedded in with a steady stream of +2.0 deg anomalies pushing east from there into the Galapagos. This is good news in that it indicates the pipe is open and at least one if not two Kelvin Waves are in flight. The leading edge of the first Kelvin Wave is near fully erupted over the Galapagos. Satellite data from 11/40 depicts a broad area of +5 cm anomalies are covering the entire equatorial Pacific from New Guinea to the Galapagos, indicative of mult.cgie Kelvin Waves in flight pushing east.  Other models collaborate the presumption of Kelvin Wave genesis. The latest chart of upper Ocean Heat Content (11/4) indicates the first of a pair of recent modest Kelvin Waves has erupted off the Galapagos near 100W on 10/1. A bit of a cooling followed (the presumable upwelling phase) and a new Kelvin wave started building back at 145E-160W in Sept and is now pushing east reaching to 120W (11/4). It is assumed steady light westerly anomalies and 2 recent WWBs events in October have fed more warm water into the pipe. At this time we believe a weak warm event is underway. When the second Kelvin Wave pushes east (about 3 months from now or Jan 20) then we are set. Of course what is good enough to feed storm develop and what constitutes an official El Nino are two different things.  We are focused on the former. The quandary now is whether this will be a one year event, or something longer.    

Pacific Counter Current data as of 11/6 is vastly improved. The current is pushing west to east over the entire Pacific north of the equator focused on the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) reaching into Central America. If anything it's moving into the moderate to strong category over the entire area from the West Pacific to a point southeast of Hawaii. On and just south of the equator the current was generally pushing west to east except east to west east of Hawaii. Anomaly wise - west anomalies were just north of the equator over the width of the equatorial Pacific strongest near 170W.This data suggests a improved picture is developing with light westerly anomalies over the bulk of the equatorial Pacific to about 120W, very similar to the subsurface flow and supportive of warm water transport to the east.

Projections from the monthly CFSv2 model run 11/8 are stable. It suggests water temps are +0.75 deg C and are to hold between there through April 2015. But the real interesting part is that water temps are to start building from +0.8 degs in May 2015, pushing +1.5 degs C by July. This suggests that perhaps we are moving towards a multi-year warm event. A consensus of other models are not as optimistic. See the chart based version here - link.

Analysis: A downwelling Kelvin Wave was generated and pushed east starting in Aug 2013, followed by a stronger one in Oct-Nov, and a massive one in Jan-April 2014. A weaker one followed in July with yet a modestly stronger one building under the dateline in October. The only interruptions have been when the upwelling phase of the Kelvin Wave cycle took over. Water temps in the Galapagos-Ecuador-Peru triangle have held remarkably consistent from May-June 2014 onward, even during upwelling phases. Continued suppressed trades with embedded weak westerly anomalies developed in the West Pacific in July and have held through present time producing the latest Kelvin Wave with +3 degs C in flight now. Water temps have held in the Galapagos triangle in the +1.5 degree range for several months now. Certainly there is nor has been any signs of easterly anomalies or a shut down of the Kelvin Wave pipe for better than a year now. This is a huge step forward.

Assuming westerly anomalies continue in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (west of the dateline), more warm water will migrate east. This seems reasonable seeing how there has been virtually no easterly anomalies this year. A 'normal' development life cycle favors the alternating 'downwelling/upwelling' Kelvin Wave cycle, which is what the Pacific seems to be favoring. See currently Upper Oceanic Heat Content chart here

At this point a teleconnection or feedback loop between the ocean and the atmosphere seems to be in.cgiay.  Evidence includes a total breakdown of the Gulf of Alaska high pressure system this summer, resulting in very high water temps off California. Also the early season recurving of mult.cgie tropical low pressure systems tracking northeast off Japan bound for the dateline.  And the pulse of tropical activity near Hawaii on the week of 8/4 and those systems continued evolution in the West Pacific is most telling. And then the near record pulse of tropical activity off Mexico (8/18-9/20) resulting in Lowell, Super Hurricane Marie, followed by Odile and Polo (though these last 2 produced no swell) and finally Rachel. And then even a few inches of snow in the Sierra on Sept 27 and again on Oct 15 and again in late Oct. The last time any of this happened was during the '97 and '83 El Ninos. And mult.cgie recurving tropical systems pushed off Japan reaching the Gulf of Alaska in October (Fengshen and Vongfong). And then one more recurving tropical system in November (Super Typhoon Nuri). The only argument against the feedback loop now is a weak west moving Pacific Counter Current (rather than flowing east).

About 3 months of undisturbed heating is required for the atmosphere to start responding on a global level where the point of 'no return' could be achieved from our perspective. The warm pool starting forming in earnest on 5/1, and so the atmosphere would not trip over the 'no-return' point till 8/1. We have passed that threshold. As of 9/2, all the arguments against a feedback loop being in.cgiace were gone except the Pacific Counter Current. 

Note that what we consider 'teleconnected' and what NOAA considers threshold El Nino conditions are two different things and serve different purposes. We are focused on monitoring weather events that contribute to the production of open ocean storms mainly in the Pacific Basin that may or may not have the same impacts as a full blown El Nino. So our criteria is certainly less than the threshold of NOAAs. That said, considering the size and duration of the westerly wind bursts in Jan-April, and the Kelvin Wave that preceded it, it seem hard to believe that at least some Pacific Basin wide 'change' was not already well entrenched even early this year, and had been developing since perhaps as early and Aug of 2013 (when the first Kelvin Wave of the series started taking shape). Monitoring the number, location and track of tropical systems in the North Pacific over October will help to put the final nail in coffin, though given the current track record, it is only a formality at this time. We will continue monitoring westerly wind anomalies and warm subsurface water buildup in and under the Kelvin Wave Generation area. Also monitoring of the NPac jetstream (which has already been productive) and Atlantic hurricane activity (which is nonexistent) are key. But at this time odds continue stacking up in favor that a global teleconnection is now established. If that's true, the focus then becomes estimating how deep the ENSO cycle will become, or whether it will stay shallow but transition into a multi-year event. At this time we're predisposed to the multiyear, Midoki scenario. And that is actually the better of all options.    

We are well past recharge mode, with cold water from the multiyear 2010-2013 La Nina cycle dispersed and temperatures on the rise. Officially we are still in a neutral ENSO atmospheric pattern, with no El Nino in.cgiay. But given all current signs, from a winter storm and swell production perspective, atmospheric transition is well underway.  Even if we never reach official El Nino status  this is a far better.cgiace than previous years (2010-2011, 2011-2012 and 2012-2013) under the direct influence of La Nina. 

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool and more details in the  El Nino Update Updated 12/4/13 


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast. 

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

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