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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: December 28, 2008 2:54 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 & 3.0 - 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 12/29 thru Sun 1/4
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   

Mult.cgie Local Gulf Gales Forecast
Japan Swell for Hawaii Too


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.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
We wish to extend our warmest thanks for your support. We hope you've had a great year and caught alot of surf.
We're looking forward to another year of forecasts, improved wave and weather models.cgius anything else we can dream up.

Forecasts will be updated as time permits over the next 10 days. In parallel we're working to upgrade all our wave model using version 3.0 of the Wavewatch wave model, which has a much higher resolution than the previous version (2.22). Models may not work for short periods of time during this installation. Thanks for your patience but the upgrade will be well worth it.

On Sunday (12/23) North/Central California had some chest to head high windswell surf coming from the Gulf and still a little warbled but better than days past with offshore winds in effect. Southern California was essentially flat and clean with none of the northerly windswell wrapping in. Hawaii's North Shore was flat to waist high with minimal northeast windswell trying to wrap in and and textured with sideshore northeast winds. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was getting trade induced east windswell at head high or better.

For Central California the lumpy stormy pattern has dissipated with a light offshore flow in effect and expected to hold for the next 5 days. Swell from a moderate gale in the Northern Gulf of Alaska is expected in after sunset on Tuesday providing surf for Wednesday (12/31), with another smaller gale forecast off the Pacific Northwest on Tuesday providing windswell for early Thursday (1/1). Southern California to stay in the flat zone until Wednesday when that same small swell from the Gulf arrives and starts wrapping into exposed breaks (12/31), fading out on Thursday. The second pulse up north is likely to be too north to have any impact in Southern CA. The North Shore of Hawaii is to remain nearly flat through Tuesday (12/30), then swell originating off Japan is to start building in on Wednesday (12/31) and provide rideable surf on through the weekend. The South Shore of Hawaii is not expecting any surf. The East Shore has peaked out, and is to be slowly settling down Monday and Tuesday on through Thursday but still in the chest high range.

Longer term things are theoretically to pick up for California with a stronger gale forecast off the Pacific Northwest Thursday/Friday (1/2) generating 40-45 kt west winds and a tiny area of 26-28 ft seas down the 292 degree track to Central CA and 300 degree tracks to SCal. Possible surf for the weekend if this comes to pass. And believe it or not a southern hemi storm formed Fri PM/.Sat AM (12/27) generating 40-45 kt winds and up to 38 ft seas aimed decently at Southern CA. Swell possible by Sunday (1/4). Also a broad gale developed over Japan Friday (12/26) and has become stuck there, generating 30-32 ft seas pushing well to the east on through Saturday and another pulse of 28 ft seas are forecast later today. West swell expected into the Hawaiian Islands by Wednesday (12/31) and continuing well into the weekend, with more possibly forecast behind that.



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

North Pacific

On Sunday (12/28) the North Pacific jetstream was a real mess. The one ray of light was a solid consolidated flow of 160 kt winds pushing off Japan reaching almost to the dateline and offering good support for surface level gale development off the Kurils. But the flow completely .cgiit on the dateline with the northern branch getting sucked northeast back to Siberia and then looping all the way around back to the Gulf of Alaska the into the Pacific Northwest. Some support for gale development in the Gulf, but nothing much. The southern branch .cgiit off from the main flow on the dateline and tracked southeast below Hawaii then continue east along the equator. This is the same horrible pattern that set up the worst winter in memory in Jan/Feb 2007. Over the next 72 hours this same basic pattern is to hold, with the exception of that weird loop over Siberia. Instead the flow is to track right off Japan then ridge northern tracking right through the Gulf of Alaska and on into the Pacific Northwest. Still the major .cgiit east of the dateline is to continue. Best odds for gale development to be off Japan and then in the Northeastern Gulf. Beyond 72 hours (starting Wednesday 12/31) the Japan flow is to get stronger pushing near 190 kt and holding well into the weekend (Sun 1/4) then .cgiitting on the dateline and ridging hard up into the Gulf then pushing down the US West Coast. Virtually no support for gale development indicated anywhere east of the dateline by late Saturday (1/3). The southern branch to continue dropping solidly towards the equator. Best odds for gale development to be isolated to the far West Pacific off Japan.

At the surface today a broad gale continued circulating off Japan as it has since Friday (12/26). On Friday a consistent fetch of 40 kt west-northwest winds were indicated with seas confirmed at 31.7 ft in the AM per the Jason-1 satellite building to 32 ft in the evening at 36N 153E then fading out late Saturday with seas dropping from 28 ft at the same location. Sunday AM (12/28) a brief resurgence of 40 kt winds is forecast possibly pushing seas to 28 ft again at 37N 153E, then the whole thing is to dissipate. Swell from this system is expected to reach Hawaii on Wednesday AM (12/31) pushing 5.2 ft @ 15 secs (8-9 ft faces) from 298 degrees holding Thursday (1/1) 5.5 ft @ 14 secs then settling down slowly Friday and Saturday (1/3).

Also a gale was in the Northern Gulf of Alaska originating there on Saturday evening (12/27) with pressure 984 mbs and producing 35 kt winds. It's expected to hold into Sunday PM. 24 ft seas were modeled at 50N 150W Sunday AM pushing 25 ft at 49N 148W in the evening then fading from 23 ft Monday AM at 47N 142W. This should be good for another healthy dose of raw swell pushing into the Pacific Northwest late Monday into Tuesday and into Central CA starting late Tuesday (12/30) peaking at 7 ft @ 15 secs (10-11 ft faces) then heading down through daylight hours from 302 degrees. Some of this energy is expected into only the most exposed breaks in Southern CA Wednesday morning with swell 2.8-3.0 ft @ 15 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces) from 308 degree.

Over the next 72 hours another tiny little gale is to wrap up off southern Oregon on Monday evening (12/29) generating 30-35 kt west winds at 41N 152W (290 relative to CCal) pushing east-northeast and ramming into the Pacific Northwest late Tuesday building right before landfall but outside the CA swell window. The models suggest 20 ft seas Tuesday AM at 41N 142W (292 degrees CCal) pushing to just off the Pacific Northwest coast Wednesday AM (12/31) with up to 24 ft seas at 45N 132W (319 degrees relative to CCal). Possible swell arriving in Central CA at 10 PM Wednesday-1 AM Thursday (1/1) at 6-7 ft @ 13-14 secs from 292-296 degrees with rideable surf for Friday AM.


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


California Nearshore Forecast
On Sunday (12/28) a broad gale was in the Northern Gulf of Alaska with a front pushing into Cape Mendocino but reaching no further south. A light wind flow was over the bulk of California. The front from the gale is to hold over Cape Mendo with south winds reaching maybe Pt Reyes on Monday (12/29), but weak high pressure is to be right behind bringing in north winds by Tuesday mainly confined to the Pt Conception area and fading fast. Anther stronger gale is forecast building off the coast Tuesday (12/30) too hitting the Pacific Northwest late with south winds down to Pt Reyes again. By Wednesday high pressure to be moving in with north winds at 15 kts limited to Pt Conception, and a lighter north flow over most of Central CA. More of the same forecast on Thursday (1/1) with high pressure pushing into Central CA and a new storm building off Oregon with south winds into Pt Reyes or maybe a bit further south on Friday but shifting light north late as more high pressure takes control. Some degree of north winds to be in control centered on Pt Conception Sat/Sun (1/4).

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.

Interesting but a storm developed in the deep South Pacific on Friday (12/26) with up to 45-50 kt southwest winds over a small area in the evening producing 32 ft seas at 55S 150W aimed well up the 195 degree path to California. Saturday AM (12/27) more 45-50 kts winds were indicated with up to 38 ft seas modeled at 55S 145W aimed like before. This system faded out in the evening with seas dropping from 37 ft at 57S 141W. Expected swell pushing into Southern California of 2.0-2.5 ft @ 18-19 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces) on Sunday (1/4) with swell to near 2.8 ft @ 17 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces) on Monday (1/5).


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 another broad gale is forecast to build off Japan starting Wednesday and continuing through Friday (1/2). This one is to be diffuse through generating a fragmented area of mostly 35 kt west winds Wednesday AM (1/31) near 37N 158E lifting northeast and building to 45 kts at 43N 165E on Thursday Am before settling down. 26-30 ft seas forecast with some energy eventually pushing into the Hawaiian Islands in the intermediate class category.

Also a small storm is to wind up off Oregon on Thursday (1/1) with 50-55 kt west winds generating 26 ft seas before pushing into the coast on Friday AM. Possible larger raw swell for the North and Central CA coast with limited energy wrapping into exposed breaks in Southern CA.

After that a big downturn in swell production is likely for the Eastern Pacific.


MJO/ENSO Update (reference): As of Sunday (12/28) the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) was moving into the Inactive Phase. The Daily SOI index was up to 28.75 and looking stronger again. The 30 day average was down to 10.44 and the 90 day average was up some to 14.06. This remains symptomatic of La Nina and is making no significant headway either up or down. Winds anomalies at the surface and the 850 mb level (approx 1000 ft up) indicated a renewed area of west winds covering Indonesia to the northeast coast of Australia, up much from the last report. These were associated with the end of the Active Phase of the MJO. These winds are expected to fade out through Jan 15 with the inactive phase building in the Indian Ocean all the while. Again, there is still support for development of storms from purely an MJO perspective, but the jetstream pattern remains horrible and doesn't seem to give any hints that it will be changing.


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

Help Out a Fellow Mavericks Surfer: Our friend Christy Davis is going through some tough times. His 14 year old daughter has been 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. If you would like to donate, send an email to us here or send it to Christy directly at: Chris Davis PO Box 628 Moss Beach, CA 94038

Also there is a fundraising party for those that know Christy this Sunday 12/21 at 3 PM in Ocean Beach. There is very limited space so were trying to keep it small. If you know Christy, write us for directions.

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:

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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