West Coast And Hawaii Weekend Surf Forecast

West Coast And Hawaii Weekend Surf Forecast

I can tell that the seasons are really starting to switch around… because all of a sudden I get to talk a lot about getting high. High-pressure that is (and yes I know that I am lame). Yep… our lovely active North Pacific storm track has finally started to shut down and a big-ass high pressure is starting to smother the few remaining low-pressures that have managed to drift off Siberia and the Bering Sea.

There is one storm still up in the Gulf of Alaska… but I am not expecting much out of this one for any place but the Pacific NW (uh and maybe some spots up in Canada). It will push some double-overhead NW swell into Northern/Central California… but it will be a pretty steep swell even for those areas… and parts of the storm setting up the swell will be passing over the West Coast so even those areas get waves, they also get some onshore wind and rain. Socal will get some windswell from the front itself… but it will be much smaller than up North… most of the short/medium period energy will be above the 300-degree swell angle that cuts off swell for Southern California.

In the long-range part of the forecast… high-pressure is set to build in across most of the Central North Pacific… and this isn’t some run of the mill ridge of pressure. This is one of the bad boys that can shut down swell production across whole sections of the Pacific. The models are calling for the core of this super-high to hit 1040-millibars, which is about the atmospheric equivalent of concrete reinforced with some rebar. This is the sort of high that is generally associated with spring and summer… a massive column of dense air that extends from the ocean surface to the upper levels of the atmosphere. Once one of these things gets set there is very little that can push or erode it out of the way, particularly if the high has upper level support.


There is a little bit of a silver lining with this ridge of pressure forming… it is still close enough to the West Coast that it helps set up some offshore flow for Central and Southern California… look for conditions to warm up, and clean up, as we head into the middle/end of next week.

The South Pacific
Fortunately for us the SPAC is getting ready to take up some of the swell-production that we are losing in the North Pacific. There have been a couple of decent pulses from the S-SW already this year but they have usually come through as a combo with some bigger WNW-NW energy… so unless you were in the water at a combo/summer break you probably didn’t notice them that much. With the switch of seasons these storms should become more stronger and more consistent, hopefully they will have a Southern Hemi “winter” like the one we just had!

For the time being we have a couple of swells on the way from the Southern Hemi… one of these is already “in the water”, which means that the storm has developed, created the swell, and has moved out of the window… it takes about 7-10 days (that is the average) for a swell from down around Antarctica to get to most spots in the Northern Hemisphere. The “in the water” swell is already arriving in Mexico/Central America and will be filling in the summer spots along the West Coast over the weekend and into early next week. It doesn’t look particularly big, but should be fun for the well-exposed areas.


The Southern hemi energy backs down bit after that but should be back up again later next week. There is a pretty good-sized storm forming right now that has some 40-50 knot winds and nearly 35-40’ seas with a large amount of fetch aimed our way. I expect this swell to hit California pretty well, Hawaii will get a little, but the majority of the energy is going to hit Mexico and Central America… because of the way the storm moved and developed this swell will hit most of the West Coast down through Central America on April 8th… and will peak on 9-10th. It looks good for head high surf for most of the exposed spots and some well overhead at the deepwater standouts.


After that storm pulses up it looks like a smaller system forms a little closer to Chile…but still in the Mex/CentralAM window… and even a little in SoCal SE swell window… this would tack on some energy to the end of the April 8-10th swell… not a ton, but enough to keep things going for a few days after the first swell has backed off.

Long-range shows a more zonal pattern which isn’t great for swell production, but it still has a lot of red in it… so there is always a shot that we will have more swell heading our way for the second half of April.

Check out the details on swell sizes and arrival times in the regional forecasts…

A much smaller, WNW swell (320-340) will arrive on Friday (April 2nd) and will keep the exposed spots in easy shoulder-overhead surf with a few sets still going a couple of feet overhead at the standouts. South Shores will see a S swell (180-195) arrive early Saturday morning peaking overnight into Sunday with some shoulder-head high surf at the well exposed spots. NW swell trails off fast early next week and there isn’t much on tap to replace it.

Northern/Central California
Sloppy WNW-to mostly-NW swell pushes in along with a new storm front over the weekend. Overhead, mostly blown out conditions will be on tap for most spots while the NW standouts see some double-overhead stuff and maybe even a bit bigger. More NW swell and more weather move in on Monday with surf holding about the same size. This activity backs down later in the week, and conditions start to improve, just in time for the SW swell (190-220) to start to arrive and push in some shoulder-head high waves for the really exposed summer spots. Look for the SW’er to start arriving on Thursday but peaking more Friday-Sunday (April 9-11th).

Southern California
Cleaner conditions set up on Friday as we see a mix of fading WNW-NW swell and building S swell. More winds/weather funk arrive over the weekend and keep the combo swell from getting too fun… so expect semi-sloppy chest-shoulder high surf for Saturday and then smaller, less consistent surf on Sunday. More NW energy and a bit of S-SW swell show up on early next week and help to keep waves around the waist-chest high range for most spots and a few shoulder high+ sets at the standouts but the weather will continue to hamper conditions. By Thursday April 8 it looks like conditions will improve and the new SSW-SW swell (190-220) will start to arrive… expect chest-head high surf at the average summer breaks and some head high+ sets at the standouts as the swell peaks on Friday and holds into the weekend. There should be plenty of waves from this one, (and a couple of following swells that reinforce/replace the bigger one when it starts to trail off) so we will likely see some fun/rideable surf (conditions permitting) almost till the middle of April.

Next forecast will be on Tuesday, check back in for the latest update…

Adam Wright
Surf Forecaster