West Coast And Hawaii Surf Forecast

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Even though a lot of the wild-woolly weather that hammered parts of the West Coast has started to subside there is still plenty of storm action taking place all over the North Pacific and both the West Coast and Hawaii can expect more winter swell this week.

The biggest change over the last few days has been the improvement of Southern California’s local weather and surf conditions…for those of you that don’t live in SoCal, it was raining cats and dogs almost all of last week in what is usually a desert. Dropping several inches of rain on the region is about as disruptive as having space aliens invade. Imagine 10 million pissed off people, flash floods, monster traffic jams, news reporters standing out in the rain talking about how rainy it is, and you will have a pretty good idea what it was like. So yeah that went away…and now the region has finally started to dry out and the bigger storm swell has dropped back into more manageable sizes. Hawaii and Northern California, both of which are both use to this sort of weather, continued pushing through the winter the same as always.

The current forecast is showing the seemingly permanent “complex low-pressure” that has been holding across the mid- and upper-latitudes is still up to its old tricks, which is a good thing from a swell-production standpoint. The anchor-low is still holding position over parts of the Aleutians and across a lot of the Gulf of Alaska. With this anchor in place the charts/satellites are showing three embedded low-pressure systems moving across the mid-latitudes…here check out the visible satellite image of the Northeastern Pacific…


The two lows right up next to California are what set up some new WNW-NW swell that arrives on Tuesday and sticks around through the end of the week. These will bring a little weather to Northern California and maybe even push some rain back down towards SoCal as well (but nothing like we saw last week. This is what those lows look like on the wave-model.


It won’t be massive or anything but there will be plenty of healthy waves on tap for the West Coast pretty much all week.

Further off the coast…over by Hawaii…is another relatively intense storm brewing up. Some of the WINDSAT satellites have recorded some 45-50 knot winds in this system, which is pretty decent in terms of creating swell…it sort of takes the storm from the ho-hum category to something worth watching a little closer. Unfortunately this system is set to push more to the NE over the next couple of days, likely pulling directly into the Gulf of Alaska on into Canada, rather than pushing more toward California, which means that the swell will lose some of the bigger energy/consistency. It is however pretty close to Hawaii so the islands can expect a decent-sized, but likely semi-stormy mix of WNW-NW swell as this storm passes by.


Look for swell from this storm to start hitting the West Coast on Friday the 29th…peaking along Northern and Central California throughout the day…and then down in SoCal more on Saturday. Expect some solid double-triple overhead surf at the standouts North of Point Conception and some smaller but still overhead surf at the best WNW breaks in SoCal.

Further out it looks like more energy is pulling together over in the West Pacific in the next 4-6 days…so I am expecting more WNW-NW energy heading our way for the beginning of February.

Here are the details…

Hawaiian Islands
The islands will see a new round of WNW-NW swell (300-340) moving in late on Tuesday peaking overnight into Wednesday. This one looks good for 12-14 feet of deepwater swell @ about 15-17 seconds…so easy double- to triple-overhead faces at the exposed North Shore breaks throughout the islands. Weather doesn’t look great for this one though…some S winds around 15-knots and some rain will push through as a front associated with this storm moves over the islands. Winds shift more of the N on Wednesday but will return to a more moderate easterly direction by Thursday and into Friday. Long-range Forecasts are showing more WNW swell setting up for Sunday (Jan 31) and into the first couple of days of February.


Northern California
More W-WNW swell arrives late on Monday and will be fading slowly on Tuesday…some stormy S winds as well. Look for exposed areas to see some solid well-overhead surf…with sets going up to around the triple-overhead+ range at the really exposed top breaks. This swell will back down slowly through the week…and the weather will clean up as well. Thursday in particular looks like a fun surf day…still overhead sizewise but with NE-E winds on tap for most of the region, which is generally offshore. The new WNW-NW swell (270-300) arrives on Friday, peaking later in the afternoon with more double-triple overhead surf for the top spots. This second swell will hold into Saturday and then back down late in the weekend. Right now it looks like there may be a little more rain and onshore wind coming along with this second swell, but overall it shouldn’t be completely trashed.

Southern California
SoCal will see a new WNW-NW swell (280-300) that hits on Tuesday, holds into Wednesday and then fades slowly through Thursday and early Friday. At the same time we will have a few small pulses of S-SSW swell (180-210) that push up from the Southern Hemi…peaking mostly Wednesday and Thursday. Surfwise…Tuesday and Wednesday expect most W facing breaks to see surf in the chest-shoulder high range with some of the top spots going a couple of feet overhead at times. Expect some S-SE winds on Tuesday with some more onshore W-WNW winds on Wednesday. The S swells I mentioned before don’t look particularly big, or consistent, but with the WNW-NW energy backing down and the weather improving…Thursday looks like it will be a pretty decent surf day. Long-range charts are showing more WNW-NW energy arriving with long swell-periods (near 18-20 seconds) later on Friday, eventually peaking on Saturday with more overhead surf at the standout NW facing breaks.


Check for another update on Friday!
Adam Wright
Surf Forecaster