West Coast And Hawaii Weekend Surf Forecast
I have good news if you live (or surf) in Hawaii and Northern California…and bad news if you are in Southern California. In a nutshell the North Pacific has suddenly gotten a bit picky in its swell production right as we ran into a gap between swells coming out of the Southern Hemisphere soooo…SoCal gets to be the redheaded step-child for the next few days.For detailed worldwide surf forecasts and reports go to www.magicseaweed.com
The main culprit for the SoCal swell shutdown is the placement of the Northeast Pacific High-Pressure…this ridge of pressure is a semi-permanent feature over the NPAC that never really breaks down, it just sort of moves around to different positions…sometimes helping surf conditions and screwing them up at other times. Here is where that high is currently stationed…
As you can see, by my lovely artwork and arrows, the high is holding position about 1000 miles off the West Coast but is bridging up across the Pacific NW and is almost reaching Hawaii. This chart is showing us the Sea-Level-Pressure…but I took a look at some of the upper-level pressure charts and this high-pressure is being anchored by a tower of dense/cold air that extends a ways into the upper atmosphere…basically this little sucker isn't going to shift position for a while.
"That is great Adam…you just wasted 10-seconds of my life telling me about pressure-thingies…what does this have to do with surf?" I know that stuff gets pretty dry…heck I almost fall asleep writing it, reading it is even worse…ok without venturing too much further into weather-nerd territory…the easy answer is that this high-pressure is acting like a giant roadblock that is sitting right in the middle of our swell window. Basically the high is forcing storms to drift up into the northerly parts of the Gulf of Alaska rather than letting them develop in the lower latitudes where they could have sent us surf, which sucks for us.
So for the next few days…Friday through early Monday…Southern California can expect a pretty weak swell mix. We will be seeing leftover NW windswell and some very minor SW pulses (200-220) that leaked out of the Southern Hemi. Wave heights are going to average around knee high+ at the "only-ok" exposed combo breaks. The top spots won't be much better, the best NW facing breaks in the region (mostly in Ventura and San Diego), will see more consistent knee-waist high+ waves with an occasional chest-higher sneaking through on the lower tides. Speaking of tides…over the next several days we are going to see 5-6' high-tides peak right in the middle of the dawn patrol. The combo of high-tide and weak swell mix is really going to jack up our morning surfs…you are going to want to plan to surf around the tide-peaks if you can.
There will be a light increase in NW energy starting on Monday (and then peaking on Tuesday) of next week…but the energy has a pretty steep swell angle (295-300) so it will have a lot of shadowing issues and not many spots will be able to pick it up.
Talking about small surf is sort of making me sleepy…lets talk about a couple of places that are going to get waves this weekend…namely Hawaii and the Northern/Central California Coasts.
The Hawaiian Islands
As of Friday, the Hawaiian Islands are already getting a nice pulse of WNW-NW energy from a couple of passing storms. In fact the North Shore is working pretty well right now, seeing some well-overhead surf, light offshore winds, and still a relatively light crowd (since the contest crowd hasn't quite descended on the Country yet).
The islands are going to continue to see plenty of waves over the next several days…a new long-period NW swell (310-330) will start showing on Friday (Oct 30th) and peak on Halloween before slowly fading through the beginning of next week. This swell is being spit out by a strong storm that tried to tear a chunk of the Kamchatka Peninsula over the last couple of days. Check out the QuikSCAT satellite measurements of this storm…the core winds were approaching hurricane strength, but across a much larger fetch…definitely something you wouldn't want to be directly under…
This new NW swell will be good for solid 6-8' foot deepwater energy as it peaks…so the North Shore can expect consistent near double-overhead faces at the average spots and nearly triple-overhead faces at the standout breaks like Sunset Beach.
That isn't the only swell on tap for Hawaii either…the long-range charts are showing a much closer storm pushing down on the islands next week…potentially setting up an even larger, but sloppier N swell for Wed-Thurs (Nov 4-5th).
Northern and Central California
NorCal will be seeing some waves over the weekend as well…not quite as big as Hawaii but with enough energy to have some fun at the exposed breaks.
Look for fading short-period NW swell for Friday, with shoulder-head high+ surf at the average exposed spots and some more consistent stacked up, overhead windswell lines, at the top breaks.
Saturday will have similar shape…but slightly cleaner conditions and a little less size as the local winds lay down and the NW windswell starts to ease back.
By Sunday the new NW swell (290-320) will start to arrive with long-period energy…lots of stuff in the 17-19 second range. It will add both some size and punch to the existing swell mix…and while the first sets won't be that consistent they will do a better job of wrapping into the more "protected" areas thanks to the longer periods.
The NW'er will peak on Monday with most spots holding around shoulder-high to overhead on the sets. The top spots, like those wide open beach breaks, will be more consistently overhead and will have sets going several feet overhead at times.
I have rambled on long enough for this forecast…but just to recap…Hawaii and Nor/Cen California will have some fun, overhead surf (and bigger), while SoCal gets shafted by high-pressure.
Have a good one…hope you score wherever you are!
For more forecasting treats, check out Adam's blog at www.socalsurf.com