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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: December 9, 2008 8:08 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 = 2.5 - 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 12/8 thru Sun 12/14
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   

Small Swell From the Gulf for West Coast
Quirky Dateline Gale Expected for Hawaii


New Swell Classification Guidelines (Winter)

Significant: Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead)
Advanced: Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Intermediate: Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft)
Impulse/Windswell: Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.


On Tuesday (12/9) North/Central California had rideable leftover surf coming from the dateline with waves up to head high and clean conditions. Southern California was still getting minimal swell coming from the dateline in the waist high range. Hawaii's North Shore was still getting swell from the dateline up to head high and clean. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was getting wrap-around energy from the North Shore with waves chest high or slightly better.

For Central California the surf is to continue drifting down through Wednesday, then coming up in size for Thursday as swell from a small short-lived gale that was in the Gulf Monday (12/8) moves in, pushing 2 ft overhead or so. Southern CA to descend into the flat zone for Wednesday into early Thursday, then that same swell that's to hit up north might push it back into the rideable range for Friday and Saturday at exposed breaks. The North Shore of Hawaii is to hold size into Wednesday AM then drifting back down by Thursday. The South Shore of Hawaii is not expecting any surf. The East Shore to maybe see a little windswell on Saturday and Sunday (12/14) thanks to the trades, but nothing more.

Longer term the only hope for surf for the West Coast is from windswell associated with the interaction of low pressure inland falling south on Sat-Sun (12/14) and high pressure in the Gulf generating north winds and maybe 11-12 sec period energy. For Hawaii a strange little gale is forecast to wind up just northwest of Hawaii on Wednesday-Friday (12/12) generating up to 35 ft seas, but all of that is to be aimed due south headed for the South Pacific and mostly bypassing Hawaii other than some spurious sideband energy, with the core of the gale tracking northwest. Beyond virtually no swell producing fetch is suggested, so make the most of what you can get.



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

North Pacific

On Tuesday (12/9) the North Pacific jetstream was looking pretty good with 180 kts winds ridging slightly off Japan then falling into a trough just east of the dateline and offering decent support for gale development. The jet then lifted steadily northeast from that trough and weakened with no support for gale development, pushing into Central Canada. Over the next 72 hours the models suggest that trough is to get steadily steeper and almost pinched off by late Wednesday with only a tiny space in the bottom of the trough just east of the dateline almost as far south as Hawaii (27N 168W) limiting support for gale development. And energy streaming off the Kuril Islands is to be racing east basically causing this trough to get cut-off from the main flow pushing north of it into and over the Aleutian Islands bound for Alaska via the Bering Sea 24 hours later (late Thursday). A backdoor trough is forecast forming just off British Columbia late Friday (12/12) dropping hard south into Sunday (12/14) reaching Monterey Bay with 150 kt winds pushing down it's western flank, possibly offering support for some form of gale development just off the coast there into Monday.

At the surface today high pressure was in control, with one at 1024 mbs pushing into Oregon offering nothing but light winds from Central Canada southward to past Baja. Another high at 1036 mbs was just west of the dateline generating north winds on it's easterly flank targeting the South Pacific, with low pressure almost trying to build ahead of it on the dateline. Over the next 72 hours a cutoff low is forecast forming in the semi-permanent trough on the dateline late Wednesday (12/10) with pressure dropping to 1000 mbs generating 40 kt north winds at 30N 168W aimed towards the South Pacific. By Thursday AM (12/11) pressure to drop to 992 mbs with generating 45+ kt north to northeast winds expected at 31N 170W mostly aimed a targets south and west of Hawaii. Winds to fade from 40-45 kts in the evening mostly aimed well west of Hawaii though a tiny bit of this fetch is forecast to wrap around the southern quadrant of this gale then through Friday AM (12/12) at 27N 167W at 35-40 kts aimed down the 285 degree path to Oahu, but only holding for 12-18 hrs before the whole system fades and lifts north. Maybe 20-25 ft seas to result 600 nmiles northwest of Hawaii Friday AM at 27N 168W tracking down the 298 degree path with seas to 35 ft at 29N 170W (800 nmiles out but aimed south). By Friday evening this system is to be gone. The west shore of Kauai seems best suited to catch whatever swell results starting Mid-Friday into Saturday (12/13) from 295-302 degrees. Size estimates are almost impossible to make but we'll guess at 5.5 ft @ 13-14 secs (10 ft faces).


Gulf Gale
On Sunday AM (12/7) a small gale tried to get wound up 1200 nmiles north of Hawaii and tracking hard northeast, getting shunted that direction by the high off the US West Coast. another high was behind it just west of the dateline at 1028 mbs. That gale got decently organized late Sunday (12/7) with pressure 964 mbs with 45-50 kt west winds in it's south quadrant at 46N 162W aimed towards the Pacific Northwest down into Central CA, then fading to 40-45 kts Monday AM at 47N 156W and down to 35 kts Monday evening at 50N 152W while lifting gently north eliminating any fetch aimed towards Hawaii. Up to 25 ft seas were modeled starting Monday AM at 46N 157W, building to 26 ft at 47N 152 in the evening then dropping to 25 ft Tuesday AM at 48N 148W. Follow-on 30 kt west winds persisted in this area Tuesday AM with 20-22 ft seas forecast through evening. UP to 32 ft seas were generated from this one Mid-Monday at 50N 152W but all aimed towards North Canada. The Jason-1 satellite made a pass over the tail end of this fetch Monday PM (00z Tues) and confirmed sea at 27 ft, about right for that area and consistent with the models.This will be good for some utility class swell with period in the 14 sec range for the Pacific Northwest late Wednesday pushing into North CA (San Francisco) Thurs AM (12/11) with swell 6.6 ft @ 15 secs (10 ft faces) and shadowed coming from 301-307 degrees.


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


California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (12/9) high pressure at 1026 mbs was pushing into the Oregon coast headed for the Great Basin with an offshore flow starting and expected to continue into Wednesday. A new high at 1032 mbs is to be building off Oregon/Washington Thursday (12/11) setting up a weak pressure gradient off Cape Mendocino generating 20-25 kt north winds there, but still reasonably calm south of there. Friday that gradient is to sink south with north winds at 15 kts expected over all of Central CA down to Pt Conception while a new gradient builds over the Pacific Northwest and sinking south, setting up more north wind at 20-25 kts for the entire West Coast other then protected breaks in Southern CA Saturday dropping to 20 kts Sunday. Ugh. More of the same is forecast Monday too (12/15) as another gradient sinks south. Only a thin margin of hope is forecast Tuesday (12/16) but still a mess is likely even into Southern CA.

No tropical activity of interest was occurring.


South Pacific

At the oceans surface no swell producing fetch was occurring aimed at US targets. Over the next 72 hours no change 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 starting Friday (12/12) a fetch of 30 kt north winds is expected from the interaction of weak low pressure inland of Vancouver Island and building high pressure at 1042 mbs in the Gulf of Alaska. The fetch to sink south through Saturday evening (12/13) generating up to 45 kt north winds just off North Oregon with up to 25 ft seas forecast at 45N 129W outside the CA swell window but 30-35 kt winds and 23 ft seas at 43N 130W in the window (319 degrees). Windswell possible for exposed breaks north of Pt Conception in the 11-12 sec range late Saturday peaking early Sunday if this comes to pass.

And a secondary fetch of 30-35 kt north winds is forecast falling further south and a bit more off the Oregon/CA coast Sun/Mon (12/15) with 23 ft seas forecast at 40N 130W 300 nmiles west of Pt Arena (Mon PM) offering more windswell for late night Monday into Tuesday AM (12/16). Very junky regardless due to it being generated so close to the coast.

After that virtually no swell producing fetch is forecast for the North Pacific relative to either Hawaii or California.


MJO/ENSO Update (reference): As of Tuesday (12/9) the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) was in the tail end of the Active Phase. The Daily SOI index jumped to 15.41, up from a few negative readings. The 30 day average was down again at 14.64 and the 90 day average was 13.35. This remains symptomatic of La Nina, but it getting slightly eroded by this active phase of the MJO. Winds anomalies at the surface and the 850 mb level (approx 1000 ft up) indicated no east winds with west winds associated with the end of the Active Phase fading fast from Java east to the Philippines. These winds area expected continue fading into Dec 13 with an absolutely neutral pattern taking hold after that and in control through 12/28. No support or hindrance to the storm pattern is suggested meaning we're moving into an MJO neutral phase (or likely the Inactive Phase).


South Pacific

No swell producing fetch forecast for the next 7 days.

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

Add a STORMSURF Buoy Forecast to your Google Homepage. Click Here: Add to Google
Then open your Google homepage, hit 'edit' button (top right near graph), and select your location


Local Interest

Ride-On: See the new Curt Myers/Eric Nelson Big Wave surf movie Thursday 12/11 at 460 Capistrano Road, Princeton by the Sea.

Surfrider General Public Meeting: Thursday, December 11, 2008 7:00 PM. Join everyone for an evening with big wave surfer and local legend Dr. Mark Renneker. He will speak on Ocean Beach changes and answer your questions. Pedro Point Fire House (Map/Address)
1227 Danmann Ave, Pacifica 

Swell #2 Mavericks Videos from Powerlines Productions: Check out the action on both Saturday and Sunday (11/30) from that massive swell of 12-13 ft @ 25 secs. Filmed by Curt Myers and Eric Nelson. Really thick! See this and more.cgius the movie Ride-On 12/11 at the Old Princeton Landing or the Red Vic Moviehouse in San Francisco 12/19-23. &

Stormsurf Video: Just for fun - here's a clip about Stormsurf that ran on Bay Area TV a while back. Thought you might enjoy it:

Help Out a Fellow Mavericks Surfer: Our friend Christy Davis is going through some tough times. His 14 year old daughter was recently diagnosed with leukemia and she is currently undergoing chemotherapy. The prognosis is good but we'd all like to help him out with medical expenses not covered by insurance and a new Mav's gun. Randy Cone has offered to provide the board, we just need to get the funds together. If you would like to donate, send an email to us here or talk to Randy directly.

Pictures from Swell #1 - The first real significant class swell of the season produced a bit of action at Mavericks. See pictures here

Big Surf Up North - the First swell of the Fall 2008/2009 season brought a few large raw waves to the North CA Coast. Check out the details here:

The Kelly Slater Project - A group of dedicated surfers from Cocoa Beach are working to construct a statue of the the home town legend and set it up for all to enjoy near the break where Kelly grew up surfing. Take a look at the statue and read all about it here:

STORMSURF Local Wave Models Upgraded - We significantly upgraded the local waves models on Sunday (6/8). All now utilize our newly developed high-resolution 3D shaded relief topography for mapping landmasses. Coastlines are now accurate down to the individual pixel providing near photographic realism. Mountains and hills are all shaded and accurate to within the same single pixel specification. Cities are overlaid as before, but now we've added major highways and rivers too (for many locations). Some good exa.cgies of this new technology can be viewed here:
- View the reefs north of Tahiti and notice their contribution to the 'Swell Shadow' relative to California - Tahiti
- Notice the detail of the coast in and around Vancouver Islands and Washington State - Pacific Northwest
- See the details of inland waterways of the US Northeast Coast - Virginia
- Details of the Mentawai Island and Nias

And all the local models can be found either on our homepage or from the wavemodel page (bottom half of the page).

Time Zone Converter By popular demand we've built and easy to use time convert that transposes GMT time to whatever time zone you are located. It's ion left hand column on every page on the site near the link to the swell calculator.

Mavericks Contest 2008: View all the action from the 2008 Maverick Surf Contest from Powelines Productions here:

Need Chiropractic Help? Visit our friends at Darrow Chiropractic. Not only will Dr. Darrow fix you up, he might give you some big wave surfing tips too! See more 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

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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