Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Thursday’s Sur in Baja Sur – Get some

Thursday will be a pretty darn good surf day.

New SW swell will be arriving steadily through the morning and mixing with the S-SW leftovers and local NW windswell.

Most spots will have surf consistently in the chest-shoulder high range while the standout breaks, mostly on the Pacific side, see head high+ sets on the better parts of the tide swing.

Cabo and the Tip will be a touch smaller and less consistent through the morning but the building SW’er will fill in more through the afternoon. Look for fairly decent surf through San Jose Del Cabo and out on the East Cape as well. There may be some long-waits for sets but they will become more consistent as the swell fills in.

NW winds will continue to blow through the Baja Sur region on Thursday. Look for NW flow around 5-10+ knots through the morning and gusts closer to 15+ by the afternoons.

Really you get to pick your poison on Thursday…but if you aren’t already close to the spot you want to surf you have sort of blown it…you will miss a lot of waves driving there tomorrow. I think that the points and reefs will offer up the best shape…particularly the ones that have some protection from the wind. Good luck, have fun and send me some pictures if you score!

Official Forecast Update: 6.0 Lowers Pro and Oakley Pro Junior

Hey guys here is a new forecast that I put together for the 6.0 Lowers Pro. This one is for Thursday...conditions look a lot better. If you can't make it down to the beach it may be sort of fun to watch on the live stream...

Here is the link

Here is the actual forecast...effective for Thursday May 1.

Thursday both the surf and the conditions will turn around and start to improve.
We will have a mix of S-SW swell, local NW windswell, and a new SW swell (200-220) that will be filling in with long swell-periods and inconsistent sets.

Wave heights will continue to hold in the waist-chest high range on the average sets and there will be some shoulder high+ sets sneaking through at times...particularly as the new SW swell builds in more during the afternoon.

The winds/conditions will make the biggest improvement compared to the last couple of days. Look for mostly light and variable to light ESE winds all below 5 knots through the morning. Winds will shift light onshore around lunchtime, and then will pick up out of the W-WNW around 10-15 knots by the afternoon.

We will also have sunny skies after the morning marine layer burns off...should be a pretty nice day for competition.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Shark Attack! – Ixtapa, Mainland Mexico

Please don’t take this the wrong way…first and foremost my heart goes out to this surfers family and friends. I am a father, brother, and family man first and foremost so this is not me being flippant…

…but seriously you have to be f-ing kidding me!...two fatal shark attacks within a week! This is a freaking nightmare.

If you are reading this for the first time here are the details…according to news reports another surfer, Adrian Ruiz from San Francisco, died from wounds suffered during a shark attack. The attack occurred along the coast of Mainland Mexico…close to the Ixtapa area…specifically 45 minutes west at an area called Troncones beach.

Here are links to the stories if you need more details…

This is part of the story on MSNBC

Here is the link to the story on Surfline

Wednesday in Baja Sur - Get ready for the weekend

Wednesday will be a surf day…well at least if you are already in position for the bigger SW swell (for the weekend)…if you aren’t then get on the road!

On Wednesday we will see a mix of SW swell, some building local NW windswell, and some new long-period SW swell that starts showing late in the afternoon.

Most spots will continue to see waist-chest high surf.

Standout breaks, mostly the great Pacific Side combo spots, will have some chest-shoulder high+ sets sneaking through.

Shape will be ok…particularly for the morning…but it will be a bit inconsistent and have some wind problems by the afternoon as stronger NW flow moves down the coast.

Breaks around Cabo will be cleaner with winds out of the N-NW around 10 knots.

Look for more SW swell later this week…hitting more on Thursday and eventually peaking Friday before fading on Saturday.

Official Forecast for the 6.0 Lowers Pro - Wednesday's Contest Forecast

Official Forecast for the 6.0 Lowers Pro - Wednesday's Contest Forecast

So I was sitting checking out the 6.0 Lowers Pro Contest on the live stream (3:30pm) and it still looks sort of surfable down there...not clean...or even very good...but surfable in that "I would paddle out if I lived up the street from this wave" sort of way. That was more of an observation...I wasn't really going any where with that. Anyway here is the forecast is focused on the conditions for Wednesday.

Forecast For Wednesday: Wednesday will be another challenging surf day...the mix of onshore winds and bumpy conditions will continue as strong gusts in the outer waters keep the coastal eddy spinning over the inner waters.

Surfwise it will be a mix of WNW windswell and leftover S-SW swell through most of the morning. Expect waist-chest high surf on most of the average waves while the standout sets see some shoulder high+ sets.

Conditions will start out a bit sloppier than Tuesday. Look for S winds around 10 knots through the morning. Those winds shift SW and increase to 10-15 knots by lunchtime and eventually top out around 15-20 knots by the afternoon.

There is one piece of good forecast news though...New long-period SW swell (200-220) starts to arrive late in the day, showing mostly on the buoys at first, and then will start to fill in more on Thursday...eventually peaking Friday and into Saturday, (right as the conditions start to improve.)

Official Forecast Update: 6.0 Lowers Pro and Oakley Pro Junior

Hey Gang...I put together a forecast update for the Lowers contests that start today. I thought I would post it up on the blog so you can check it isn't much different than my normal forecast but it is quite a bit more specific for the Trestles area.

I always dig watching these contests live for a few minutes (while I should be working) if you get some free time you should check it out. is the forecast update...I will post another one later today (for tomorrow).

Surf conditions and shape start off OK (fair) in the morning but begin to fall apart around midday and continue to junk up as we move into the afternoon.

Swellwise we will have a mix of new but small S-SW swell (195-205) from the Southern Hemisphere and some steadily building NW windswell moving in from local waters.

Look for surf to hold around knee-waist high+ for most of the morning with a rare chest high set sneaking in inconsistently. Waist-chest high surf will become more consistent by the afternoon as the windswell gets going but shape will begin to deteriorate as onshore bump moves in as well.

Expect light S-SW winds, maybe even light and variable, through the dawn patrol. SW winds around 5-10 knots move in through mid-morning and then stronger W winds capping out near 10-15 knots fill in through the afternoon. Shape and conditions will likely be a struggle through the second part of the day.

Random FYI…Wednesday looks just as bad if not worse…but conditions will clean up and new swell fills in as we head to the weekend. If competitors can make it through the first rounds of competition they will have a lot of fun with the better winds and building SW swell. The finals are looking pretty fun...with the potential for head high+ surf from the new SW'er.

Here are the links to the websites to watch it live today

Monday, April 28, 2008

Tuesday's Surf in Baja Sur - Waiting for SW swell

Tuesday will be surfable but expect small, mostly inconsistent waves...even at the good breaks.

The mix of S-SW swell and local WNW energy will continue on Tuesday with a slight reinforcement of southern hemi energy helping to prop up the wave heights and the consistency.

Most breaks will continue to hover around knee-waist high with some chest high sets on the better tides. Look for top spots, on the Pacific Side, to see surf in the chest high+ range on the best sets.

Conditions will be ok...mostly NW winds around 10-15 knots for most of the day (but lightest in the morning). Looks a little cleaner, but with smaller surf, around Cabo and the tip.

Look for better surf to slowly build in more later this week...if you need to drive to get to a better SW swell break...Tuesday and Wednesday will be the days to do it.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Monday’s Surf in Baja Sur – This isn’t where I parked my car

Monday will have mostly leftovers from the weekend being propped up by a new (but small) S-SW swell.

Average areas will hold around knee-waist high while the standout breaks see some inconsistent chest high sets.

Conditions should be ok through the morning with winds out of the NW but staying light for the first part of the day. Look for NW winds 10-15+20 knots to build in through the afternoon (winds wills stay lighter through Cabo and the Tip).

Monday won’t be much of a surf day but there will be some rideable waves at the top spots. It probably won’t be worth sticking around and baking in the desert at most breaks…you could probably try and surf something close and then plan on a siesta for the second part of the day.

Personally I would be using Monday and Tuesday to get into position for the new SW swell that arrives later this week. You should have time to get a good plan, some more supplies, and hit the road. Hopefully you would be in place to surf by Wednesday morning and then plan on surfing through the end of the upcoming weekend.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Weekend Surf for Baja Sur - A little more size

The surf won't be very big this weekend but it will be better than the last couple of days.

New S-SW energy and some local NW windswell move in over the weekend to add a little bit of size to the better exposed breaks.

Most spots will continue to see surf in the knee-waist high range. Standout S-SW facing spots with good healthy exposure as well as the decent combo breaks, will have some chest high sets. It will be a bit inconsistent at times but the sets should be fun when they show.

Winds look ok as well...maybe a bit breezy at the more exposed breaks in the afternoons...but surfable through the mornings at least. Expect consistent NW flow around 10-20 knots at the exposed areas.

Again it won't be worth driving very far to look for surf...just not enough swell in the water to justify it...but it should be fun if you only have to head down the road for a few minutes.

Better swell comes in next week...make sure to read that alert that I sent out this morning.

Another Shark Attack - Swimmer Killed off Solana Beach

Seriously I am so sick of talking about sharks...but it is hard to ignore a story when someone is hurt or killed by one.

From the initial news reports a man, in his 60's, was swimming with a group of other swimmers in the ocean while they trained for a triathlon. They were a ways offshore when according to witnesses a large "grey" shark attacked the man, who eventually died from his wounds.

Here are some links to the News Stories that I found online...

Terry Rodgers' report from the San Diego UNION-TRIBUNE is probably one of the better ones...

Here are a couple of others...,1,2305377.story

Here is some video...

Think that this is going to become a more of a trend or is it still just another case of bad luck? Drop me some comments on the blog and tell me what you think

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Another SW swell Alert: Another good shot of SW swell on the way

Yep that is right…another round of SW swell is being kicked out from the Southern Hemi. It will be sending another pulse of overhead to well-overhead surf to Central America and Mainland Mexico.

Baja Sur will have a smaller but still very fun pulse of SW energy.

Southern California, on the other hand, will once again get the shaft by the South Pacific Island shadow. Sure we will get a few waves but it will be quite a bit weaker and less consistent than other areas.

I was checkout out this storm today trying to get a read on the wave heights and noticed that at first glance it had a lot of characteristics of the last Southern Hemi storm that kicked out a big SW swell. (You can see how well that swell hit Mainland Mexico, and Hawaii)

Looking closer there are some pretty big differences…here check it out

These next 2 QUIKSCAT images are from the current storm…

While this next series is from the last one…

First off you note that the new storm is not nearly as strong as the last one…it is still healthy but it doesn’t have that “eye of mordor” black hole in the core of the storm…(its core is more like an angry purple). Just because it is lacking wind speeds doesn’t mean that it will be too much smaller surfwise. It does have a few other things that the first storm didn’t.

It has a longer, more established fetch…in fact it is moving over an area that had what we call “an established sea state” which happens to be already pointed in a good general direction…so the storm doesn’t have to waste energy trying to produce the sea-state needed to generate swell…it just hops on the work another cold-front and starts kicking out waves tag-team style. The fetch is also a bit wider which only adds to the energy it will impart to the swell

Finally this storm looks like it has a better movement track…particularly for Mainland Mex and Central America…it is moving more towards those areas than slightly “against the grain” like the last system did.

What does all this mean? Well basically I think that even though the storm wasn’t as strong as the first one it did have enough other positive factors to produce a swell very close to what we saw with the last swell.

So on to the Surf…

Mainland Mexico and Central America will see this swell start to arrive on the 29th…with the peak of the swell hitting late on the 30th and then holding strong through May 1-3rd. Look for surf consistently in the head-high to well overhead range for the average exposed breaks. Standout deepwater spots, particularly those in Mainland Mexico (Like Puerto Escondido) will have sets hitting around the double-overhead range.

Baja Sur sees less of the swell but still plenty of playful waves. Look for this swell to arrive more on the 30th but peak May 1-3. As the swell peaks most spots will hold around shoulder-high+ on the sets while the standout spots see overhead sets.

Southern California and Baja Norte will see shadowing by the South Pacific Islands along with some potential wind problems as strong NW flow moves into the area the same time as the swell. Look for the swell to start showing late on the 30th, fill in slowly on May 1st and then peak May 2-3. Look for mostly waist-chest high waves for the exposed areas and some shoulder high+ waves at the standouts, which will be mostly in Northern San Diego and Southern Orange County.

That is about all I got for this swell…I wish it had a better swell-angle for SoCal but you can’t win them all. There are a couple of decent storms way under Australia right now…so it will be interesting to see what they do once they reach the South Pacific…I am sure I will be filling you in on them later.

Friday's Surf in Baja Sur: Slowly picking up

The surf will get a little more rideable on Friday as new S-SW swells start to slowly pulse in.

Wave heights at the exposed breaks will slowly build into the knee-waist high range through the morning with a rare chest high set sneaking through on the tide push.

The standout breaks on the Pacific side will have surf in the knee-chest high range with a few bigger waves on the sets.

Winds look decent as well...mostly N-NW 5-10 knots through the morning and then gusts hitting around 15+ knots by the afternoon. The protected areas should stay clean enough to surf all day.

Try and stick to the "wave magnet" spots know, those areas that always seem bigger even on the small swells. The better exposure will mean more consistency, and more size. Don't drive too far to get to one won't be worth your time...better to surf smaller waves than to hustle around for an extra half a foot of size.

Playful wave alert - Don't bury the North's not dead yet.

I was about ready to put up the "closed for the season" sign for the North Pacific Storm Track but as usual Mother Nature has different plans.

Over the past 24+ hours a decent little storm spun up into a holding position NNE of Hawaii, just off the edge of the Gulf of Alaska.

Now before you get all excited...this is definitely not a big isn't even a large or strong has just enough energy to make me want to mention it in the blog.

The good news is that it will be kicking out a string of playful sized swell for Northern California and as a bonus it will send out a small pulse of WNW energy for Southern California as well.

Here is are a few pics of the system

This is the QUIKSCAT Satellite

This is the wavewatchIII wave model

And here is the FNMOC - EFS Gale Warning ensemble (which basically tells you where strong winds are forecast to develop)

Yes I know..."lots of pretty pictures...thanks for about some surf?"

Whatever are the forecasts for this system

Northern California will see W-WNW swell (280-300) arriving throughout the day on Saturday and eventually peaking overnight into Sunday. As the swell peaks look for W facing breaks to have surf in the waist-shoulder high+ range while the standout spots see some overhead sets mixing in at times. Winds should be only OK for this period...NW flow around 10-15 knots will keep some of the more exposed breaks fairly bumpy...but the better westerly angle of this swell means that more energy will be able to wrap into the more protected spots. Essentially we will have some decent size surf at the sheltered areas of Santa Cruz and the Central Coast along with some protection from the wind. (also worth noting that this storm is expected to jump in the Gulf over the next 48-72 hours and in the process set up a steeper NW swell for early next week).

Southern California (and Baja Norte) will see this swell arrive slowly on Sunday...then peak Sunday afternoon into Monday. It won't be breaks will be around knee-waist high with some chest high sets...but it will help to cross up some small SW swell at the combo breaks adding a little size, more consistency, and better shape at the top spots.

Anyway like I said nothing to get super fired up about but since the NPAC is about to close up shop I thought it would be worth mentioning.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Official Surf Forecast for the 6.0 Lowers Pro

Hey gang!

Since I am the official forecaster for the (Nike) 6.0 Lowers Pro this year…and I have this cool blog that lets me post all kinds of random poop…I thought I would throw out the official forecast that I sent on to the contest guys today. I normally don’t post a lot of commercialized stuff but since I am involved this year I thought it would be ok. (well that and the fact that I am still working on getting my own special contest heat where I get to surf Lowers with 3 other guys)

Anyways check out the forecast…(I did the layout wife is going to let me hang it on the fridge!)

I dig the contest posters/images as well…

Here are a couple of those.

And here is the website, for some reason it is really hard to find using google…bad SEO juju…

Random SW swell Alert: RECAP

Hey gang...I got a great email yesterday from a guy that shot down to Mainland Mexico for a surgical strike on that last SW swell

Not only did the guy freaking score he also managed to shoot some sick photos and kept his head enough to take notes on the swell activity. (Always make sure to take notes can reverse engineer the forecast so that you can score the same place again!)

First check out these photos

And here is the breakdown of his trip...I wish I had been there (not staring at this stupid computer).

Thursday evening – fun 90 minute session at Manzanillo Bay with sets going a foot or two OH

Friday a.m. – Boat to the Ranch (same captain we had – Ramon)… sets going 3+ feet OH and super clean…. Manageable crowd. Also surfed for 2 hours solo at “A-frames”, a spot just 5 minutes past the Ranch. 4 hour session.

Friday p.m. – Arrive at Nexpa to find the Mexican National Surf Championships in progress. Make the call to drive another 2-1/2 hours to Ticla. Surf huge sketchy reef on way up.

Saturday – Mind blowing Ticla. Clean all day. Sets going DOH. No crowd. 250+ yard rippable lefts…. Just an insane wave.

Sunday – See above with slightly smaller sets.

Monday – 5 hour session at the Ranch and A-frames. Sets still a couple feet OH.

...the lucky dog.

If you are interested in checking out the original forecast post here it is...

Thursday in Baja Sur: Gone Fishing

Thursday will be a good day to go fishing.

Not much swell showing in the water today…just leftover SW energy and a bit of WNW windswell from the local waters. Most spots will be flat to about knee high+ on the sets. Standout combo beach breaks may have a rare chest high set but shape will leave a lot to be desired.

Don’t waste your time hunting around…it won’t really be that surfable anywhere.

Long-range is showing some better SW swell lining up for the end of the month…I will have some more details on that before too long.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Wednesday in Baja Sur: Break out the Longboards

Wednesday will be surfable but it will be getting pretty small.

Plan on riding a big board on Wednesday. Our SW swell will have dropped to mostly leftover energy while it mixes with a touch of steep NW windswell.

Most breaks will be around knee-waist high...with a rare chest high set sneaking into the really open beach breaks. Most of the surf will be showing on the Pacific side...East Cape/Cabo areas will be smaller with mostly ankle-waist high waves at the better breaks.

Winds won't be too bad will be a nice day...NW flow around 5 knots for the morning and 10-15 knots for the afternoon.

There just enough surf pushing through here for the next couple of days...plan on going sailing, fishing, golfing, or just plain drinking (which is always spells "good time" in Cabo).

Long-range is starting to look better...expect more S-SW swell to start pushing in as we get closer to the end of the month. Check back I will have some more updates...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Tuesday’s Surf in Baja Sur – Fading but fun

We will still have a few fun waves on Tuesday but the SW swells will be dropping as we move throughout the day.

Swellwise the SW’er will be fading out, will a steeper NW windswell tries to build along the coast. Most spots will continue to see that leftover SW energy sending in waist-chest high surf. A few of the standout beach breaks on the Pacific Side, will have some rare chest-shoulder high sets…particularly if the break can combo in a bit of the windswell.

Conditions are about the same as the weekend. Mostly NW winds, 10 knots in the morning with gusts hitting 10-20 knots in the afternoon.

Not much advice to give on this forecast. If you are still seeing a few fun waves at the spots you are surfing just stay there. It isn’t really worth hunting around unless your break has gone totally flat. Looks like it will be a touch smaller by the middle of the week so try and milk it for at least one more day.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Monday’s Surf in Baja Sur – The hits just keep on coming

Monday the weekend’s run of surf will continue.

The SW swell mix will be losing a little steam but there will still be plenty of waves coming through at the exposed areas.

Look for most Pacific side spots to hold in the waist-chest high+ range while the standout breaks, mostly combo beach breaks, see some head high sets.

Breaks around the tip will be smaller, but generally cleaner, with waves in the waist-shoulder high range at the standout breaks.

NW winds are expected to hold in the 10-20 knot range throughout the day.

About the only tip you need for this forecast is this…if you have been surfing good waves over the weekend, then stay where you are. Don’t leave until the swell finally fades.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The weekend in Baja Sur – You lucky bastards

If you are down in Baja Sur this weekend you are going to have a good time.

We have SW swell moving in today that will peak on Saturday and Sunday before slowly fading on Monday.
Most breaks, both on the Pacific Side and around the Tip, will have chest-shoulder high surf.

Standout spots in both regions, but really more on the Pacific side, will have shoulder-overhead sets. Waves will be a little inconsistent but fun when they come through.

I hope you are at a SW facing point or reef…I wish I was there with you…you lucky dogs!

Oh and winds will be out of the N-NW around 10-15 knots in the afternoon’s but they should stay light and manageable through the mornings.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Friday’s Surf in Baja Surf – SW swell fun!

New SW swell fills in more on Friday and it looks like it will be pretty fun for the exposed breaks throughout the day.

The SW’er (215-220) will be showing the strongest through the afternoon but it will have fun waves starting to roll through during the dawn patrol.

Most exposed breaks will be in the waist-shoulder high range while the standout spots, mostly the combo beach breaks, will have head high sets…and maybe a few bigger ones before sundown.

Breaks around Cabo and the East Cape will be a bit more protected from the full energy of the swell. Look for those spots to see surf in the knee-chest high range with a few bigger sets lurking around the best breaks.

Sets for all areas will be a bit inconsistent but worth the wait.

Winds look on the light side…staying out of the NW around 10-15 knots through the afternoon and lighter through the morning.

I think the points/reefs will be the best call on Friday. They will be smaller but cleaner…the beach breaks will be ok but come on, you really come to Baja to surf a point/reef.

This is a good day to get some driving under your belt to get into position for the incoming swell since it is just going to get bigger as we head into the weekend. You should be able to see where the swell is hitting/filling in through the morning, find a spot that looks good and get ready to get some surf.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Thursday in Baja Sur – A little small and a bit breezy

Not much surf in the region on Thursday…maybe a few longboard waves at the protected spots and that is about it.

We will have a fading mix of S-SW swell, some building local windswell, and some long-period SW energy that starts showing late in the evening but won’t send in much surf (until Friday and the weekend).

Wave heights will be right around knee high for most areas while the standouts see waist-chest high sets at times…I would look for the surf to almost disappear when the high tide peaks.

Winds look breezy as well NW 20-30 knots at some of the more exposed areas. Look for lighter winds in the morning…but expect it to get gusty by the afternoon.

If you want to surf I would try to get on it early…and break out the longboard if you want to have any fun. Definitely don’t drive anywhere…not worth the time or the effort.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Wednesday in Baja Sur – Some small surf…mostly leftovers

Wednesday is looking a bit soft. There will be waves but they will hang in the mostly longboard size range and the higher tide will do a good job shutting them down.

We will have a mix of fading S-SW swells and a bit of local NW windswell. Most breaks will be around knee-waist high while the standout S-SW facing spots and excellent combo areas will have some chest high sets.

Winds will be a bit stronger as well…mostly NW around 15-20 knots.

There is not much to this post…the swell looks small and a little windy. Definitely don’t spend a ton of time/gas/money hunting for waves that you won’t find. If you have a decent little longboard peak nearby plan on spending your time there. Again I would save time and money to try and get some of the bigger SW swells that start arriving later this week.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Tuesday’s Surf in Baja Sur

Tuesday will be a decent but small day in Baja Sur.
We will have a mix of S-SW swell and some local WNW windswell. Most spots will hold around waist-chest high on the tide push. Standout Pacific side breaks will have some inconsistent shoulder high+ sets. Expect long waits between some of those bigger sets as well.

Winds and weather should be nice with mostly N-NW winds around 10-15 knots through the morning and 10-20 knot winds through the afternoon.

Points and Reefs with protection from the NW winds will be the best call on Tuesday. There is just a bit too much wind developing along the coast to keep the other spots in cleaner surfable conditions. You will be giving up a little bit of size by hitting the points but I think that the cleaner conditions will make up for it.
Again don’t drive too far for surf…it ain’t worth it. Save your gas and your money and try and pick off some of the new SW swell that starts filling in a few days.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Monday in Baja Sur – More S-SW fun

Monday will be a fun surf day in Baja Sur.

We will have a mix of S-SW swell (180-210) and a touch of local windswell.

Most spots, both on the Pacific Side and the Tip, will be around waist-chest high with some occasionally bigger sets. Standout Pacific side spots will be seeing some inconsistent shoulder-head high sets.

Conditions should be good throughout the region. Winds will start off light in the morning and then increase out of the WNW around 10-15 knots by the afternoon. It should stay light enough throughout the day to be surfable at most of the exposed points…particularly on the inside sections.

Again I don’t think that it will be worth a ton of driving on Monday, but if you are close to a decent spot I would definitely take the time to check it…(you just don’t want to be spending 2+ hours getting to a break for the same chest high surf that you just left.)
I think your best bet is to find a well-exposed point/reef, aim for the dawn-patrol or wait until the tide-push. You should probably sneak your small wave board into the quiver as well…just so you can make the most of the semi-inconsistent sets and maybe pick off a couple of the smaller waves too.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Random SW Swell Alert – The South Pacific is heating up!

We have a new storm setting up an overhead+ SW swell for Baja, Mainland Mexico, and Northern Central America. (After it smacks Tahiti along the way naturally). The same storm will be sending a smaller, but still healthy, version of the SW swell to Hawaii and California.

(if you just want the swell details…skip this next part…seriously if you don’t you will just get pissed at my rambling)

After a couple week hiatus it looks like the South Pacific is finally starting to get its act together. It has been a slow couple of weeks so it will be nice to have some more juice showing out in the line-up. This last gap between storms (translation total lack of significant Southern Hemi swell) that we have just had is actually fairly normal for the SPAC.

When you look at the big picture you start to see that most of the storm/wind/wave energy in the Southern Ocean (the band of ocean that circulates around Antarctica) moves in a west-to-east pattern…forecasters generally refer to this a “zonal flow”. Unfortunately we need a storm that breaks out of the zonal pattern, trying to change its latitude, and in the process sets up fetch that is aimed toward our regions. This happens quite a bit but not always in a location that is ideal for sending us surf (like on the other side of Australia, or up next to South America).

A sort of dumb analogy for the process is to picture the South Pacific as a pot of boiling water with the storms being the bubbles that boil to the surface…but only way cooler because when a bubble forms in the right spot it sends us a good swell.

Anyway there are a couple of triggers that cause these “bubble” storms to form…and they almost always involve some sort of energy transfer from a warm-weather area to a cold-weather area. A particularly violent example of this is when you get warm tropical moisture that moves into the cooler upper-latitudes. This process is generally called a tropical based storm (or air-mass) going “extra-tropical”. I could totally bore you with the physics behind latent-heat energy in water…but then my brain would hurt all weekend…so just trust me when I say that there is a lot of energy in tropical moisture…and as the air-mass carrying it cools that energy needs to go somewhere. And it does…usually in the form of strong winds in a bad-ass storm.

I can already hear you out there…”gee Adam that is great but tell us about the swell already weather-nerd!”

Hahaha…jerks. I actually wanted to bring the process to your attention because it is just this “extra-tropical” process that is setting up this next swell.

Here I made a cool chart!

On the chart you can actually see two low-pressures. One is a tropical system and the other a colder mid-latitude low. If you follow the numbers you see the tropical system take a slow dive towards Antarctica…and in the process it expels a ton of energy as it cools. This energy tries to spread out but instead is gathered in by the following storm system.

By slide #5 the cold storm, which is moving in a great direction for all of our surf spots, has jumped in intensity, likely it would have had about 30-40 knots of wind in the core but now, thanks to being jumpstarted by the extra-tropical system, it is seeing winds closer to 60-65 knots (which is the lower end of the wind speeds in the CAT1 Hurricane category). Basically the storm has jumped from being an average to below average swell maker to a good-swell producer.

To cap it off the cold storm continues to push the good area of fetch into the lower latitudes and sort of seals the deal on the swell energy heading towards Mainland Mexico. Anyway…just thought I would share some of the mechanics behind this next swell.

OK Finally the swell details (the hungover may continue reading now)

Mainland Mexico and Northern Central America – There is actually plenty of smaller swells sending in surf to this region right now. So if you are down there or planning on going down there you will have some fun-sized overhead surf while you are waiting for the bigger SW’er to arrive. This swell that I was just talking about will actually start to arrive with long-period energy on the 19th and then peak on the 20-21st. Most breaks will build into the shoulder-overhead+ range with sets going 2-3’ overhead+ at times. Deepwater breaks will be closer to double-overhead on the big sets.

Baja Sur Mexico – The SW swell (210-220) is actually pretty westerly in swell angle so it hits Baja Sur about the same time it moves into Mainland Mex. Most pacific side spots will see this swell start to hit later on the 19th…but it really fills in more on the 20th and eventually peaks into the 21st. Look for lots of shoulder-head high waves at the well exposed areas. Standout spots will have some bigger sets...but expect some inconsistency at times.

Southern California – The SW swell moves in on the 20th, actually following a small playful one that hits around the 17-18th. This new bigger SW’er (200-220) ends up peaking on the 21st and into the 22nd. Due to a little shadowing from the South Pacific it won’t be as big or consistent as the other regions. We can still expect the average breaks to be around waist-shoulder high. Standout spots, mostly in North San Diego and Southern Orange County, will have some bigger head high+ sets at times.

Hawaii – There is a good portion of fetch heading toward the islands…so we will actually see decent sized S swell arrive on the South Shores around the 16th…and eventually peaking on the 17-18th. This one looks good for shoulder-overhead faces with sets going 1-2’+ overhead as the swell peaks at the top breaks.

As usual I will give some updates on this swell as it gets closer…particularly if size or timing needs adjusting…so check back for more details.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Weekend in Baja Sur – New S-SW swell and cleaner conditions

We should have some small, but playful, surf this weekend.

New S-SW swell (185-210) will be moving in more on Saturday, peak in the afternoon and hold into Sunday.
Average breaks throughout the region, both on the pacific side and the tip, will have surf in the knee-waist high+ range. Standout areas, mostly the well exposed combo breaks on the pacific side, will see chest-shoulder high+ sets…maybe even a few bigger inconsistent sets on the tide push.

Look for the biggest surf at the beach break areas…particularly spots that can pull in a bit of the windswell. The points and reefs will be a little smaller and softer thanks to limited exposure…and just the nature of those breaks to soften swells.

Winds and weather are looking good…mostly light N-NW winds around 10-15 knots in the afternoons and lighter, more offshore, winds for the dawn patrols.

I don’t think it will be worth a ton of driving around…so if you find a fun looking wave paddle out…it isn’t going to be a ton better at the next point (never drive away from fun surf!)

Have a great weekend! But make sure to check back…there is a decent looking storm in the South Pacific that is brewing up right now…I will put together a post on it over the next day or so.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Friday in Baja Sur – A slow fade into the weekend

Friday will be surfable but overall it won’t be all that good…or that consistent.

We will have a mix of local NW windswell (which is coming in too steep for most spots), some background SW energy, and just a touch of WNW swell from the NPAC.

Pacific side spots will be the biggest with surf holding in the knee-waist high range at the average breaks. The standout Pacific Side combo spots will be slightly bigger pulling in some inconsistent chest high+ sets.

Breaks along the tip will be smaller due to the lack of exposure to the WNW swell…look for mostly knee-waist high surf through that area.

Tides will be an issue for most spots…there is a negative low tide that hits around mid-morning and drains out a lot of the water. Spots are looking a little fugly when this happens but they usually recover as the tide comes back in. Try and plan your session accordingly.

Winds will be pretty consistent tomorrow as well. Pacific side areas will have NW winds around 10-20+ knots while The Tip sees lighter winds out of the N around 10-15 knots.

More shark attack stuff…(man can’t we all just get along?)

So my friend over at the OCRegister emailed me this story this morning…and no it is not another HB shark attack…it actually happened out in Fiji.

Basically a local Fijian fisherman was attacked by three sharks as he was fishing near a more obscure surf spot (IE Not Tavaraua). According to the article and the photos the sharks tore up his arm pretty badly and he was in danger of bleeding out before he could get medical help.

Fortunately for the fisherman there was a surfer, Tom Rolfes, who happened to be a dentist, visiting the island with his family. The Doc sacked up, broke out his emergency kit, and managed to sew the fisherman back together enough to save his life.

I thought I would give a shout out to the Doctor and his family for pulling off some high-pressure heroics.

Here is a picture of the Dr. Rolfes in action.

And here is a link to the story…make sure to check it out (Laylan does a much better job of telling it than I can).

I am just stoked that the Dr. was able to save the guy’s life, MacGyver style….and still managed to sneak a surf photo into the OCreg’s slide show. Classic.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Thursday in Baja Sur – Still a bit windy

Thursday will have some surf but it will also have some solid wind rolling through in a few places as well.

We will have a mix of SW swell (190-210), local NW windswell, and some background long-period WNW energy.

Most spots on the Pacific side will be in the waist-chest high range once the tide starts filling in. Standout areas, mostly the well exposed beach breaks and very open points/reefs, will see some inconsistent shoulder high sets.

Cabo spots miss out on all of the windswell/WNW energy…they will be smaller, mostly knee-chest high and will stay on the inconsistent side.

Like I said winds will be a bit heavy. NW flow 10-20 knots is expected throughout the day while the more exposed areas see gusts around 25 knots at times. Cabo will have lighter winds out of the N-NNW around 10-15 knots as they pick up in the afternoon.

I would try and stick to the spots that have a little protection…they won’t be as big as the other breaks but they will be cleaner and will still have a few small playful waves showing at times.