Pacific Ocean Weekend Surf Forecast

There isn't a lot of change from the forecast that I wrote earlier this week…but in this case since there is swell coming in from all over that is a good thing. Hawaii is going to get an early season WNW-NW swell as well as the Pacific NW. Then, just to top things off…we have a decent sized S-SW swell (180-220) hitting all over the West Coast, hitting hardest along Central America and Mainland Mexico but still making a good showing up in Baja and Southern California as well. Well enough teasing…let's get to the details.

North Pacific


The NPAC is really starting to see some new life…the funnel of tropical energy from the South China Sea up into the North Pacific high-latitudes is starting to really speed up. The current storm, generated by a similar system, is pulling together nicely just to the North of Hawaii…which will send a new NW swell (310-330) moving into the exposed areas of the North Shore later Saturday afternoon (Sept 18) and then peaking with overhead+ surf on Sunday morning (Sept 19).


The West Coast, mostly the Pacific NW on down through Central California would see some head high+ surf hitting on Monday (Sept 20) and Socal would get a much smaller, shadowed version on Tuesday (Sept 21). For Socal I would expect waist high and below, at least at this point…but if the wind manages to be stronger in the lower latitudes of this storm we might be able to add some surf size as we get closer.

East Pacific Tropics
The EPAC tropics is about the only place in the Pacific that is still sucking. No new tropical storms, but there is a little area of disturbed weather forming just down South of Cabo San Lucas. It doesn't have much going on with it at this point… but the NHC is giving the storm a 20% chance of becoming some sort of named storm in the next day or so. Don't hold your breath at this point.


The South Pacific
For the West Coast…basically SoCal down through Central America…the next significant swell will be coming from the South Pacific.


We have a series of S-SW swells heading our direction…in fact…a leading storm already pushed in some semi-playful S swell for the last weekend and is currently fading out, as it mixes with some background SW energy. Fortunately this storm was just an appetizer…its swell was fun…but it did its best work down in the storm track where it knocked open the ridge of high-pressure that had been blocking our swell window.

With an opening finally cracking in the ridge a strong storm, fueled by some warm tropical energy, set up a long string of fetch aimed at the West Coast and then funneled a series of fronts right down the barrel. The swell is already on the way and will be arriving as early as mid-week for Central America and Mainland Mexico with Baja and Socal just a day or so behind.


This new S-SW swell (180-220) will start to arrive for many areas on Wednesday (Sept 15th)…with SoCal and Northern Baja just getting some long-period energy on the buoys (but not much on the beach. The meat of the swell will arrive on Thursday through Saturday…with the initial portion of the swell coming in a bit inconsistent and smaller as it starts more SW'erly in its swell angle…but then gaining strength as the swell turns more S.

Central America and Mainland Mexico spots can expect steady overhead surf for most of the exposed areas (slightly smaller, at least at first in Costa Rica and Southern Nicaragua thanks to shadowing). The top spots will easily hit the double-overhead mark as this swell peaks as we head into the weekend.

Southern California will get this swell showing long-period (20-22nd second periods) late on Wednesday…but will see new size move in on Thursday, getting most areas into the chest-shoulder high range with some head high sets on tap by the end of the day. Look for the peak of the swell to hit Friday/Saturday (along with the best weather) with chest-shoulder-head high surf at the average S facing spots and some overhead sets at the standout breaks.

Since this storm had some legs (duration to it) I expect the energy to stick around for a few days after the swell peaks…so expect some rideable, but slowly dropping, surf as we head into early next week with the end of the swell finally trailing off around next Wednesday.

Random South Pacific Swell
Okay, one last thing that I wanted to call out…check out this storm set to move out from under Australia. It basically tries to shave a chunk off Tasmania…the weather will probably be crap…but It would be rad to see how a spot like Shipsterns would handle a system like this.


Naturally a storm like this is going to send surf all throughout the Tasman Sea…hitting Western New Zealand pretty hard, and even driving some solid swell back up against the grain into the exposed areas of Australia. All of these areas are going to have a great chance at getting some big swell, but they are bit close to the weather part of this storm, so conditions may not be the best.

If I had to pick a location to try and score off this ridiculously strong system I would actually head up to the tropics…Fiji is actually in a great position to get a bunch of the energy without any of the weather. Check out the Magicseaweed wave model forecast for Fiji…


Looks like Cloudbreak could be scary big by the weekend…I know I would be in at Restaurants…or maybe just playing ping-pong onshore waiting for the swell to drop to less super-human sizes.

Anyway that is all I have for this update…these are much more fun to write when we have swell, and decent conditions on the way. Hope you all get a chance to pick off a few waves as the next round of swell hits. Socal guys/girls start working on your excuse for calling in sick on Friday…if you have a S facing spot it looks like you might want to find a way to snag a few.

The Next Long-range forecast will be posted on Monday, September 20, 2010…though I may be surfing so expect the post to be a little late.

Adam Wright
Surf Forecaster