West Coast Weekly Surf Forecast

Man, I’m sick of surfing gutless windswells…particularly I am sick of surfing gutless windswells trying to power through a morning high tide while I am just waiting for the onshore winds to tear it up…usually I just call that "springtime" but for some reason we got a little case of it over the last week.

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Fortunately that is about to change. The North Pacific has kicked itself back into action, pushed the blocking high-pressure out of the way, and is now feeding a stream of moderate size/intensity storms into the Gulf of Alaska caldron. There is already a nice storm brewing up just of the West Coast that will push in new WNW-NW swell into Northern/Central California by midweek and Southern California by the middle/end of this week. Check it out on the NOAA/GOES satellites…you can really see the torn up clouds that are associated with strong winds.


If that wasn't enough proof…here is nice pass by the QuikSCAT satellite (above) …plenty of 30-40+ knots of winds in the right part of the storm.


Northern And Central California
Waves from this one will be moving into Northern/Central California Wednesday morning (Nov 18th) and then peaking overnight into Thursday. This one looks good for consistent well overhead to double-overhead sizes for the average exposed spots and more triple-overhead+ nonsense for the top spots. Conditions don't look very good though…the storm is going to push a pretty solid cold front through the region so we can expect some junky onshore winds coming along with the swell. Fortunately there will be some pockets of surfable shape at the usual "storm-protected" breaks that are scattered along the coast.

Southern California
Southern California will see a smaller, cleaner, version of this WNW-NW swell (280-300 but most of the energy from 290-300) starting to push in Santa Barbara and Ventura late Wednesday night…but really peaking more Thursday afternoon into early Friday (Nov 19-20th). Down here we can expect surf to be quite a bit smaller…mostly chest-shoulder high sizes at the average exposed breaks, some shoulder-head high+ sets at the better breaks…and then some sets going a couple of feet overhead at the usual winter standouts in Ventura, the South Bay, and parts of San Diego. Keep in mind that steeper swell angle…it will help you find breaks with more exposure…(the more westerly facing beaches are going to be a lot smaller.)

Long-range charts are showing that the NPAC really keeps up the activity over the next 5-7 days. We will see another similar size storm move into the Gulf by mid-week that will set up another round of WNW-NW swell for the weekend.


These waves will hit NorCal on the 20-21st…and SoCal on the 21-22nd. The Weather looks a little spottier on this one thanks to the storm being a bit more intense (and having a lot of the blocking features pushed out of the way by the first storm)…so spots north of Point Conception will have to contend with more rain and wind, while SoCal gets some funkiness as well…not as bad…but enough that we will want to keep an eye on it. Hopefully the weather forecasts will improve as we get closer to the swells arrival.


Even further out than that it looks like a third storm starting to brew up around the Aleutians and the Bering Sea…if this one can move into the Gulf and build on what the first 2 storms managed to set up…then we could see more North Pacific swell arriving throughout the week of Thanksgiving. I don't know about you but I love surfing over Thanksgiving for some reason…let's hope this storm can hold itself together for us.

By Adam Wright
Surf Forecaster