Thursday, January 31, 2008

Friday’s Surf - Watch the wind

Friday looks like another surf day…at least for part of SoCal.

Forecasts are calling for a new cold-front to start pushing through the outer waters before dawn on Friday and starting to hit land around sun-up. Unfortunately it looks like W-NW winds will be blowing through Santa Barbara, Ventura, and LA counties as we hit the dawn patrol. OC and San Diego will be cleaner…there may be some bump early but not as bad as the northern spots. OC/SD can expect those winds to pick up pretty fast as we move through mid morning.

Here is a shot of the winds at sun-up….12 Zulu time is about 4am our time.

This is just a forecast though so there may be some wriggle-room as to when the winds will actually push into the area. If you were planning on surfing in SB, VEN, LA areas you may want to wait and check the cameras before heading to the beach.

SD and OC areas will likely be more surfable but don’t expect completely glassy conditions either.

Wavewise we will still have some fun waves in the water thanks to a mix of SW and WNW swell. Most spots will hold around the waist-chest high range with some inconsistent bigger…near shoulder high+ sets at the standout combo spots. Again the biggest and most consistent surf will likely be in San Diego but OC, the South Bay, and some spots in Ventura will have some decent sets as well.

Personally I am going to check the cameras in the morning…and if looks like the wind is going to hold off I will go down and check it in person. The tide will be a little high as well so I am going to make sure to look at the better sandbars.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Thursday – Yeah a Surf Day!

Thursday looks like a surf day…a fun surf day.

We have a lot of things going for us tomorrow. We have a decent mix of W windswell, new WNW swell (290-300) and a fun-sized SW swell (190-210). We are also expecting light-offshore winds and cleaner conditions through the morning. Then to top it off water quality is finally starting to improve.

Surfwise, thanks to the swell mix, most spots will hold in the waist-shoulder range. Good combo spots and the swell-magnet standout breaks will have some bigger head high sets. Biggest surf will likely be at the standouts in San Diego, and a few in OC, the South Bay, and Southern Ventura. Other areas will be smaller but should have fun waves as well.

If you got time to get some waves tomorrow I think that morning through about lunchtime will be your best bet. Winds are expected to shift a little more onshore in the afternoon. I think there is enough swell in the water that you don’t have to drive very far to get waves...your local combo spot should be plenty fun. You could still check the cams in the morning to be safe but personally I am going to head down to the beach after finishing the morning reports.

Surf Break Maps: Seal Beach, Orange County, California

Seal Beach is the northernmost beach in Orange County…the last OC beach before you move north into Long Beach and LA County.

Seal Beach is bracketed by 2 large jetties. To the north you have the breakwater separating the outflow of the San Gabriel Rivermouth from Alamitos Bay. To the south you have a large jetty that separates Seal Beach from the Naval Special Weapons station.

The length, shape and orientation of these jetties actually play a large role in the size and shape of the surf throughout the beach. There are also 2 small jetties that help influence the beach…one is the south breakwater of the San Gabriel river, (which is considerable shorter than the north breakwater), and a short barrier wall that extends part of the length of the Seal Beach Pier.

There are 4 distinct surf areas throughout Seal Beach:

San Gabriel River Mouth (aka Ray Bay)
The San Gabriel river mouth is one of those spots that when it turns on it can be great, but most of the time it doesn’t really work all that well. Add in the fact that you have high levels of pollution and bacteria (and probably the occasional dead body) moving out of the river and you can see why it doesn’t get much press. If that wasn’t enough there are also a shitload of stingrays that hang out in the sand underneath the sections of the wave that break in the river-outflow…they like the warmer than usual water and the other nastiness that floats down the river.

That being said there are times when the river can become magical. S swells, particularly shorter-period S swells like the ones produced by hurricanes, can connect waves from the sandbar way up along the north jetty and line up a long right section through to the inside. On the right swell it is one of the longest waves in North OC.

Before you get to excited realize that this wave is pretty fickle, tide & wind sensitive, and if the sand is wrong it won’t connect all that well. A good rule of thumb for getting waves at this spot is to check it when the S swell is too big to ride at other spots.

Spot details:
Best swell direction:
SE-S (160-190 degrees)
Best Wind: N-NE-E, light-moderate Santa Ana winds are the best.
Sea Floor: Sand…and a ton of stingrays.
Best Season: Late summer through Fall
Crowds: On the right swell they come out of the woodwork.

Seal Beach Pier: North Side
North of the pier is sort of an average spot. Most of the year the surf near the pier is on the small side which keeps a lot of longboards in the lineup, and makes it a decent beginner spot. As you start to get a bit more swell in the water you start to see a couple of shifty peaks develop just to the north of the pier…these sort of die out as you move further north (and closer to the river).

Generally the best swell mix for this side of the pier is a west swell with a little something extra to cross it up (either some windswell or a bit of S swell). It takes a lot of swell to get this place really pumping which makes it a decent fallback spot if the swell is getting to big in some of the other areas.

Spot details:
Best swell direction: W (260-280 degrees)
Best Wind: N-NE-E, light-moderate Santa Ana winds are the best.
Sea Floor: Sand
Best Season: Late Fall through early Spring
Crowds: Average most of the time…gets heavy when other spots are too big.

Seal Beach Pier: South Side
Most times the south side is a bodyboard spot…but occasionally it turns into dumpy hollow shorebreak wave that, when it is really working, will occasionally toss up a rideable section to trick someone into paddling out on a surfboard.

The spot works best on large W swells. When it starts working you have some pretty decent looking peaks that set up close to the pier and break almost on the sand on the inside. A lot of this is due to the shape of the seafloor and thanks to swell reflection off of the breakwall under the pier (and the bigger jetty to the south). These little wedgers can throw some solid barrels on the right tides.

Since it takes a lot of swell it doesn’t really break all that often but when it does expect a large crowd in the water. The location next to the jetty helps to block out a lot of the wind and it can stay rideable even in stormy conditions. Again this is a much better wave for a skilled bodyboarder…but it can be surfable under the right scenario.

Spot details:
Best swell direction:
W (260-280 degrees)
Best Wind: N-NE-E, light-moderate Santa Ana winds are the best.
Sea Floor: Sand
Best Season: Late Fall through early Spring
Crowds: Average when working…and then gets really heavy as the swell gets bigger.

Seal Beach Cloudbreak
One of the few “big wave” spots in Orange County...though calling it a big wave spot is sort of a misnomer. It can get very big on the right swell but you never really see the hyper-critical section that you would normally associate with a “big wave” spot like Jaws, Mavericks, or Todos. Cloudbreak is sort of like a big wave that has had its teeth removed.

Now don’t get me wrong there is a lot of water moving around out there and it is very easy to get into surf that is well past most people’s comfort zone. It doesn’t really start breaking until the wave is already double-overhead+ and it doesn’t get good until it is much bigger than that. Before attempting to surf it you want to make sure you have a high surf skill level, great paddling/swimming endurance, the right equipment, and a buddy or two to watch your back in the lineup.

The wave itself is a large peak generated in part by long-period swell refracting in from deep water and a bit of reflection off the south jetty. As you can see in the picture the wave sets up a loooong ways from shore…so you can expect a long paddle from the beach and to be sitting in some deep water once you get outside. The spot needs a large, long-period WNW-W swell, and a very low tide to really start to work. Winds need to be almost nonexistent or light-moderate offshore…it gets blown out really fast because it is so exposed. Occasionally you can see some guys towing-in with jet skies when it is really big, but the lifeguards shut it down pretty quick if there are paddle-in surfers in the lineup.

Spot details:
Best swell direction: LARGE, long-period, WNW-W swell (270-280 degrees)
Best Wind: N-NE-E, light-moderate Santa Ana winds are the best.
Sea Floor: Sand…but you are really screwed if you find the bottom.
Best Season: Late Fall through Winter
Crowds: Can be crowded when it works…naturally it gets smaller as the waves get bigger.

Finally here is some video footage that is found on youtube...(sorry if the music sucks)

Surf Breaks Maps

Hey Gang,

I am going to start throwing together some surf break content and maps over the next few months. These break maps will have detailed information on what makes particular spots work…and helpful tips on what to look for in the forecast.

Don’t worry…even though there will be spot specific information in these new posts I still won’t be naming breaks in my forecasts (I like uncrowded surf too!). It will be up to you to put 2-and-2 together…but if you study hard and spend some quality time doing field work I think they will help you score better surf more often.

My first one will be Seal Beach in OC (I have no idea why…it was just the first that came to mind)…but I am open to jumping around, geographically, in which order I create the upcoming ones. If you have any requests for the next Surf Break Map join our Google Group ( and shoot me an email…



Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Wednesday’s Waves – More wind…but expect cleaner conditions later this week!

NW winds are expected to pick up on Wednesday. Conditions are forecast to be pretty blown out most of the day. This being said sometimes, if it gets really cold overnight, we can see the winds stall a little bit before developing. This is expected to happen tonight so there may be a little surfable pocket for the dawn patrol.

Surfwise it will be about waist-chest high at the average spots while the best W facing breaks and a few of the better combo spots in all regions see some shoulder high sets. Wave shape won’t be great…it will definitely feel very windswelly…but there may be a few fun dumpy corners on some of the better sandbars.

Again I would check the cameras in the morning…if the wind is blowing then just stay home and click on the google ads at your favorite blog site. (Psst…they are over on the right hand side…hahahaha…sorry couldn’t resist). If your spots look clean then it will probably be worth a check…don’t drive very far though. San Diego will be the biggest overall but each region will have spots with similar sizes.

Thursday is looking much cleaner at this point…good chance at a small combo swell mix to go with the improvement in weather as well. Check back tomorrow I will give you a better update.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Tuesday’s Surf – A small break in the weather

Tuesday looks surfable…if you don’t mind getting some sort of flesh eating bacteria or bitten by a rattlesnake that has gotten flushed down a storm drain.

Our surf, a mix of local windswell and some WNW/SW background energy, will continue to send in waist-shoulder high surf. Standout breaks will have some bigger sets at times through the morning.

Winds are expected to lighten up…OC and San Diego will have light onshore flow around 10 knots out of the W-NW. LA and Ventura areas will have light/variable winds through the morning. Expect all areas to have onshore NW winds around 10-15 knots by the afternoon.

Water quality will continue to be poor/hazardous despite the improving shape.

Your best bet for surf will be during the dawn patrol through about mid-morning. It isn’t going to be totally glassy but the winds should be the lightest through the morning. I would definitely look to breaks that work better on the shorter period W swells. Some of the point breaks throughout SoCal, (SB all the way through SD), seem to like them…and you will have a better chance at getting a more protected section.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Monday’s stormy mess – Mc Sloppiness

Yeah Monday isn’t expected to see any real improvements over what we had over the weekend.

W-WNW winds are expected to be blowing right through the dawn patrol and then strengthen up into the 15-25 knot range by the afternoon. Our surf is mostly SW windswell and water quality is definitely poor…particularly near river mouths, storm drains, and harbors.

Basically even if winds lay waaaay down tonight it will still have a bit of a fugly bump to it tomorrow just due to the nature of the swell. Your best bet is to stay in bed, or go to the gym, or stare at the wall. Though if you have to surf for some reason…definitely check the cams in the morning, and try to focus on spots that will have some protection from the wind.

Unfortunately it looks like conditions will stay a little sloppy through at least Wednesday…but there is a chance at some clean-up (and a new longer-period swell mix) later this week.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Friday’s Surf – Yeah more storminess!

Sorry gang I wish I had better news…but it looks like Friday is going to be another sloppy day. In fact it looks a little worse than Thursday, which had a couple of semi-clean spots in the morning.

Friday the mix of windswell and WNW/SW energy will continue to rise but shape looks poor thanks to the continued storm S-SW winds. Winds will range around 10-25 knots with some stronger gusts mixing in. There is a chance for San Diego and parts of OC to see some SE winds early in the morning but expect those to turn more onshore by mid-morning.

High tide continues to slam us through mid-morning as well. Personally I may go look at the surf if I am sick of being inside but I won’t be bringing my gear…poor water quality and poor conditions are pretty much a deal breaker for me.

Further Out…Saturday is looking about as bad as Friday, winds will slowly shift more SW-W and blow most of the day. Windswell will be up but shape will continue to be poor. Sunday the winds will back slowly down but the whole region will be unstable and we can expect consistent onshore flow for most of the day.

I won’t be updating tomorrow…my little brother is getting married and I have some serious partying to do!

I will probably shoot out another update on Sunday afternoon…check back then.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Thursday’s Surf – More stupid storm

Thursday isn’t looking very good…probably worse than Wednesday (which had a little pocket of surfiness in the morning).

Thursday wave heights will be on the way up thanks to a mix of increasing W storm swell and some background SW energy. Most spots will see waist-chest high+ surf but with poor shape thanks to increasing onshore winds out of the S-SW. Standout breaks will have some bigger sets but be plagued with similar issues. Rain is supposed to be heavy at times tonight so watch out for deteriorating water quality along all of our beaches.

Things are not expected to improve as we move into Friday or Saturday.

Personally I will be avoiding the surf…getting the “ass flu” from poor water quality just isn’t that appealing…and there won’t be that many spots that can avoid the increasing winds. If you have to surf look for spots that face more NW or are at least protected from the S-SE winds that push through in the morning. Areas like some of the Ventura beach breaks, the South Bay, spots around Dana Point in OC, and around La Jolla in San Diego all have some degree of protection from these winds…also remember the more SE they are the cleaner it will be.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Waves for Wednesday – Don’t hold your breath

Wednesday is looking pretty sloppy…conditions will be very similar to Tuesday but with more wind and rain. Sounds fun doesn’t it?

Wavewise there will be a continued small mix of local windswell and some background WNW/SW energy. Wave heights will continue to be on the small side…mostly waist high and below during the morning high tide (and not much better as the tide drops in the afternoon).

Wind is forecast to be out of the SE around 10-15 knots in the morning. Not the worst direction for some select breaks but not particularly great for the majority. If you have to surf try and find spots that face a little more WNW…they should be cleaner than other breaks.

Don’t expect to see me out there…I have an important appointment with my pillow that I am planning on keeping.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Tuesday’s Surf - Big high tide

Tuesday is looking rideable but the combo of generally weak swell and nearly 6’+ high tide in the morning is going to shut down the dawn patrol.

In the water we will have a mix of fading NW windswell and a touch of WNW and SW background energy. Most breaks (once the tide drops) will have surf in the knee-waist high range while the standout windswell breaks will have some chest high sets.

Conditions will be clean early with mostly E winds around 10 knots. SW winds around 10+ build in through the afternoon.

Personally I don’t think it will be much of a surf day for me…with the dawn patrol shut down by the tide I think shape will fall apart (as the wind builds) before the tide can get low enough to let my local spots work. If you have to surf, don’t drive very far for it…just hunt around for a good sandbar close by…those will likely be your best bet.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Monday’s waves – Not looking very surfable.

Well the storm didn’t quite live up to Friday’s forecast, as many of you could probably tell when you woke up to clear skies and light winds on Sunday morning. (Natuarlly I woke up and swore...seriously I think forecasters may be the only people who get mad when the weather is nice)

Looks like the models have pushed the storm back a little further into the week…but the models are changing almost every run at this point so I guess we will have to wait and see.

On to the surf…

Monday’s waves are not looking all that great. We will have a bit of local windswell, a small NW swell, and some weak SW energy. Most breaks will hold around ankle-waist high when the 6’+ high tide isn’t totally shutting it down.

Winds are supposed to be on it pretty early. We may have a short window of cleanliness right at sun-up but that is right about when the tide peaks as well. Expect SW-W winds blowing around 10-15 knots for most of the rest of the day.

Personally I am not very interested in surfing sub-par slop so I will probably do chores or something. If you have to surf bring something that works well with small waves, expect wind on it, and expect the tide to give it a good working over at times as well.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Weekend waves – Sloppy Conditions possible

Looks like we are going to get the 50/50 mix over the weekend. Saturday looks like we will have decent, rideable surf. Sunday on the other hand is looking sloppy.

Saturday expect mostly small and slow surf for most areas. There will be a slowly building WNW swell in the water but it may not actually amount to that much after it gets worked over by the big tide swing. In general expect mostly knee-waist high longboard waves for the average spots. Standout breaks, mostly in San Diego, will have some bigger sets on the lower tides. Winds are expected to be clean in the morning but turn more onshore in the afternoon.

Sunday a funky little storm drops down the coast and sends in building NW windswell to mix with the increasing WNW swell. W winds (actually a swirling mix of both SW through NW winds) come along with it and we will have onshore sloppy texture for almost everywhere. There will be some bigger waves but I think it is going to be pretty junky and cold…so it might be better to do something else.

Unfortunately Monday is looking pretty similar to Sunday at this point. If that changes for some reason I will drop another update over the weekend.

Get a few fun ones on Saturday if you can!

Have a great weekend everyone.

ANDREW KIDMAN: Book Signing & Exhibition @ The Surf Gallery

Another cool get-together at The Surf Gallery in Laguna Beach.

Will’s shows are always pretty sweet. So if you are into art, particularly art produced by (and generally about) surfers and surfing, you should swing by and check it out.

Here are the details.


Book Release Event for legendary Australian photographer/filmmaker/artist Andrew Kidman.

Exclusive Surf Gallery limited-edition book w/ signed print.

Artist Reception: Saturday, January 19, 2008
Exhibition of Photographs and hand-screened Serigraphs. Free wine tasting.

@ The Surf Gallery in Laguna Beachfrom 6-10 p.m.
911 S. Coast Hwy. Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Friday’s Surf – uh maybe I will stay in bed

Friday looks surfable but I don’t think it is going to be all that great…probably more fun for longboarding.

We will have a mix of fading WNW and SW swell. Wave heights will be in the knee-waist high range while a few of the best combo break standouts in San Diego will have some chest high sets.

Conditions will be great. E winds around 10 knots are expected for the morning (maybe a bit stronger near passes and canyons as you move through the Santa Barbara/LA regions). Looks like light offshore flow continues through most of the day.

I think your best bet is to take it easy through the morning…let it warm up a little bit. Then break out the longboard (or the fish if you weigh less than 125lbs) and have a fun LB session at your favorite sandbar. Or you could do chores or something…but personally I will probably rather longboard.

Expect more waves…and possibly some junky weather as we move through the weekend and into early next week.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Possum Deathmatch!

Sorry about this randomness on the surf blog...but this is a funny enough story I thought I would share.

So this morning Zeke (my 120lb dog) and I proceeded to have a Man (with shovel) vs. Dog vs. Possum deathmatch.

Since I am writing this blog you can assume that Zeke and I won…though it was touch and go for a while.

In round 1

I tried to tackle the possum by myself. I learned a couple of things.

1. Large 25-30lb possums with sharp teeth and claws should not be deathmatched when you are only wearing boardshorts and sandals.

2. Large Possums are not afraid of humans with shovels.

I like to think that round one ended in a tie…I retired to my corner in the house and the possum hid in a bigger plant.

Round 2

I incorrectly assumed that the possum had left the yard. Zeke was quick to point out my mistake. I learned a couple of more things.

1. Large possums are very much afraid of much larger dogs.

2. Large possums, playing dead, will wake up when poked with a shovel despite the presence of a large dog close by.

3. Large possums are capable of moving very fast when awake. (there was a point when a very not-playing dead possum scrambled up my shovel as Zeke tried to bite him).

4. I can still jump pretty far

5. The correct combination of dog and shovel should be used in subduing large possums.

6. Using the shovel to throw a now “playing” dead possum is harder than you would think it would be.

7. The correct amount of tries to get a possum over the high part of the fence is 3

We definitely won the 2nd round…the possum was ejected from the yard and both dog and man were unbitten and unscratched. The next person that encounters that possum will be bummed because I think he is super pissed off.

Thursday’s Surf – Fading but fun combo swell

Thursday will be another fun surf day…wave heights will be backing off slightly but we should still see plenty of waves at the well exposed breaks.

We will have a mix of WNW swell, SW swell, and a little local windswell. Most spots will hold in the waist-chest high range while the standouts, mostly in San Diego, see some shoulder high+ sets through the morning.

Winds look good again…but we may have some fog and fog-texture through the morning, so watch out for morning sickness at the more open breaks.

Personally I think that beach breaks will be the call on Thursday. There is enough swell in the water to break up the shape, you can spread out and find your own peak, and the tide may not be as big of an issue if you can find a good sandbar. Expect the biggest surf at the San Diego combo breaks…but you will find fun waves through most of OC, The South Bay, and Ventura. Northern LA and Santa Barbara will have a few rideable breaks but will be smaller overall.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Question: Bolsa Chica - HB Cliffs swell directions

This is a question I got the other day. I thought I would share...feel free to drop me an email if you have similar questions.


Thanks again

Am I correct in thinking Bolsa is not a west facing beach...seems like the cliffs location is though

Cliffs or bolsa tomorrow?




Hey Bart!

Sorry it is taking me so long to respond...this got caught in my spam filter.

To answer your question...Bolsa is "sort" of a west facing beach...particularly the southward end of the beach near the new jetties. You just basically need the swell direction to be around 270-285 degrees. The more the swell direction moves to a pure W swell the more of the beach that will start to work. Really the best swells for bolsa are going to be a combo of both straight S swell (180-190) and a pure W swell (around 270-280). If you get a good mix of those swells, and good winds, Bolsa will fire.

The cliffs are always going to be bigger than bolsa thanks to some refraction that occurs in deeper water...NW swells, particularly long-period NW swells, have a tendency to focus around The Gap at the cliffs. When it gets bigger it starts to break further out...eventually hitting more at trollycars (some people call it boxcars). The cliffs can pull in the NW swells that are coming in below 295-degrees...anything above that and the refraction starts to shut down. Again the Cliffs, like Bolsa, will be the most fun when we get a little bit of S-SW swell moving in to break it up.

I think tomorrow (Jan 16) will be ok for both areas...not huge but at least head high on the sets (maybe some bigger ones)...there is a little SW swell in the water that is helping cross it up. You probably could get some fun ones at the cliffs on the lower tide.

Hope this helps... Thanks for shooting me an email


Waves for Wednesday – More Combo Swell fun

Wednesday will be another fun surf day.

We will have a new WNW-NW swell (lets call it 285-300) and some smaller but holding SW swell in the background.

The surf will be very like Tuesday with a touch more size. Average breaks will hold in the waist-chest high range while the good standout combo breaks see some shoulder-head high sets. Best spots in San Diego will have some head high and overhead sets at times.

Conditions will be clean with light offshore winds in the morning. There will be some onshore flow later in the afternoon but it should stay rideable for most of the day.

I think that most local beach breaks are going to be fun…NW facing points and reefs should be pretty good too. The low tide comes through around mid-morning so the surf should be fun for the dawn patrol. If you have time to surf I think you can skip the cam check in the morning and just head down to the beach…make sure you pick a spot with decent exposure to the swell mix if you are looking for bigger waves. Like I said above San Diego will likely be the biggest and most consistent region.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Tuesday’s Surf – Looks more playful

Tuesday will be smaller overall but shape should begin to improve at the good combo spots as a small SW swell starts to slip in.

Our weekend WNW swell will be winding down but we start to see a small SW swell (190-210) move into the background. Most spots will drop into the waist-chest high+ range while the standout combo areas see shoulder high sets. Best surf will likely be in the San Diego area, particularly north county breaks. A few spots in the other areas…North OC, Southern Ventura, and the South Bay will have some playful waves as well.

Winds and weather will be nice. Expect sunny skies and light offshore winds in the morning.

I am going to probably wait till lunch to catch a few waves…I am sort of sick of the cold mornings…but I think it will be fun as long as the winds hold. The points and reefs will still likely have the best shape but with this small SW’er sneaking in we could see a few more corners at the beach breaks.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Waves for the Weekend – Solid WNW swell Hits Saturday

Plenty of surf on tap for the weekend!

We have a strong WNW swell (280-300+) that fills in fast on Saturday. It will be showing for the dawn-patrol (and mixing with our current already healthy WNW swell) so we can expect good-sized waves as soon as the sun comes up. You can see the California Buoy (#46059) is already showing the swell 14’ @ 20-seconds with almost no wind, which means it is nearly pure swell.

You can check out the live buoys here

From a surfing standpoint you will be basically be in a pick-n-choose mode. If you are looking for larger surf check out the NW facing standout breaks, particularly in San Diego and Ventura. If you are looking for smaller surf then check the lesser exposed or shadowed breaks. Average W facing breaks will have consistent shoulder-overhead sized surf while those standout areas see sets going overhead to a few feet overhead at times.

There is a high tide that pushes through mid-morning so you may want to work around that but in general there should be enough swell to keep most spots working even as it peaks.

Best shape will likely be at the points and reefs on this swell…there is enough size, and not much to cross up the swell, that beach breaks may be a little walled. Solid sandbars, jetties, and piers will also serve as good backups.

Personally I am just going to get up and go to the beach in the morning…no need to look at the cameras or the buoys…just get up and start checking the surf.

See you guys down there!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Friday’s Surf – More swell on the way

Friday will definitely be a fun surf day at the winter breaks.

The WNW swell that showed on Thursday will hold into Friday…average spots will continue to see chest-shoulder high+ surf while the standout spots (in the usual NW facing areas) see head high+ sets.

Conditions are looking clean with light/variable to light offshore winds in the morning and light onshore flow in the afternoon. There is still a fairly large tide swing so try and time your surf so that you don’t get blasted by the high or the extreme low.

Again if you are looking for the biggest most consistent surf look at spots in San Diego and Ventura. The South Bay and North OC will have some decent size as well but it will be a little smaller with longer waits between sets. Santa Barbara will have some waves as well but expect it to be pretty small as you move northward along the coast.

Saturday new WNW swell arrives and will be bigger and better aimed. Look for all W facing breaks to see head high+ sets and standout areas to see sets going 2-3’ overhead at times.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Thursday’s Surf – New WNW swell

Thursday looks plenty surfable. We will have a decent combo of fading WNW energy and a new WNW swell (290-300) in the water. Winds are expected to be light and variable through the morning and then stay on the light side in the afternoon.

I am expecting most W facing beaches to see surf in the chest-shoulder high+ range while the best exposed breaks of San Diego, Ventura, and the LA South Bay, see consistent head high surf and some overhead sets mixing in at times. This swell will be showing fairly strong for the Ventura and LA areas through the morning, (Santa Barbara sees some of it but stays a bit shadowed due to the swell angle). OC and San Diego will pick up more in the afternoon. All areas will see this swell hold waves into Friday.

I would definitely take a look at the cams in the morning…or if you are close enough drive down to the beach and look at it in person. The swell period is pretty long as the swell starts so expect to wait around between the bigger sets…also expect to see quite a difference in size when you look at breaks that are not well exposed to the swell.

Don’t worry if you can’t surf on Thursday… there will be a bigger and better-aimed WNW swell (280-300) arriving over the weekend.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Surf on Wednesday – Now with a slightly lower chance of brown trout

Wednesday will have plenty of waves. The WNW mix that has been pushing through will continue to send in some surf but it will lose a little steam, at least in the morning. Most exposed breaks will continue to see chest-shoulder high surf while the standout winter areas in SD and Ventura see some head high sets.

Shape will still be a little stacked up…sort of wind-swelly and warbly at times…but it should be fun at spots that like the shorter period swells. Beach breaks with good sandbars, jetties, and piers always seem to be pretty fun on swells like these.

Water quality will still be an issue, particularly in areas that have had a ton of rain…you will probably be all right if you stay away from river mouths and storm drains. If you really want to be safe I would hold off for a couple of days.

I will probably wait one more day to let the water clean up a touch more…but I am stoked on the new WNW swell that hits later this week with cleaner conditions and longer-period swells…I think it will be pretty fun.

New WNW swells arrive later this week (decent conditions too!)

The North Pacific is at it again…except, compared to last week, it looks like we will get the surf without the bad weather.

The forecasts are showing a couple of decent back-to-back WNW swells that begin arriving later this week and hold into the weekend.

The first WNW’er (285-300) begins arriving on Thursday and peaks overnight into Friday (Jan 10-11th). A lot of the energy of this swell is coming in above the 290-degree mark which means that some areas will be shadowed, and quite a bit smaller, than the more exposed areas. On the average most “winter” spots will be around chest-shoulder high+. Standout NW breaks in San Diego, Ventura, and the South Bay will see overhead sets.

The second WNW swell (280-300) arrives on Saturday and will peak through into Sunday. This second round of swell will have a more open swell angle and should have a little more size and consistency for exposed breaks. Look for the average areas to see shoulder-head high sets while the standouts (again in SD, Ventura, and South LA) see sets going a couple of feet overhead.

Conditions are looking good for both swells…winds are expected to be variable through the mornings of the work week and then shift more Northerly (and stay around 10-knots) for the weekend.

It looks like these swells may be worth driving for...particularly if you are looking for bigger waves off the first swell. On swell #1 I would probably head to San Diego Friday morning. The swell will have filled in and most of the breaks from La Jolla southward should have some decent size.

A lot more spots will be open to swell #2...on that swell I don't think you are going to need to go very far to find waves...lots of winter spots will be working. SD, Ventura, and LA South Bay will be the biggest but you should be able to find decent head high+ surf at the top winter spots in the other areas as well.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Tuesday’s Surf – Back in action

Hey gang sorry I left you hanging for a couple of days…I took a trip to Mammoth over the weekend…where is snowed about 8- to 10-feet in about 40 hours. They didn’t open the whole mountain because of the wind and avalanche danger…but even the lower mountain had fresh powder almost every run. The fresh snow was sweet for snowboarding but the storm wiped out the internet connection…anyway on to the surf.

Tuesday looks surfable, at least from a wind and swell standpoint, but water quality is going to be bad everywhere. You definitely take your health into your hands paddling out in the nastiness that runs off after storms like these. We will have a mix of fading WNW storm swell and light winds on tap through the morning. Onshore winds and slightly smaller surf will roll through during the afternoon. Average spots will hold in the waist-shoulder high range while the standouts see some bigger sets through the morning.

Biggest surf will continue to show through San Diego, the South Bay, and Southern Ventura. Other regions will be smaller and less consistent.

Personally I am not going to surf…mostly because I don’t want to have another run-in with the “bird flu” but if you have to get in the water I would check out the beach breaks, particularly if there is a sandbar or jetty (or something) to focus the swell a little bit.

Long Range – we have more, longer-period, WNW swell lining up for the end of the week…looks like top spots could be back in overhead surf by Thursday/Friday. Make sure to check back here for updates (or read my forecast for the heavy details.)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Friday’s Surf – Not looking good.

Surf on Friday is going to be pretty stormy. Lots of S wind and rain are forecast to start moving in through the day…eventually the storm peaks out overnight into Saturday (which pretty much writes off the weekend as well.) W-WNW storm swell will be building but there will be practically no spots clean enough to surf.

On Friday morning there may be a small pocket of surfable conditions in the morning. Winds are expected to start out of the S-SE before coming directly onshore. If winds don’t seem very strong when you wake up in the morning it may be worth checking out a break that is protected from the S winds…like parts of La Jolla, the South Bay, a few breaks in Ventura, and some in Central OC. I don’t think it will be great…or even good…but it may be surfable which will be a lot better than most other spots.

Here is a picture of the new swell filling in today.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Thursday’s update – Some surf before the storm

Thursday we will get some new WNW swell (280-300+) arriving right before the approaching storm front. I don’t think waves will get super big before the winds and weather arrive but we should definitely see a pick-up in wave heights.

At this point the morning is looking fairly clean…winds are forecast to be out of the E-SE around 10+ knots. They will steadily increase through the morning (and shift more Southerly) and should be pretty junky by the afternoon.

The more northern areas of Santa Barbara and Ventura will definitely see an increase in wave heights early in the morning. Those areas will be in the waist-shoulder high range while a few of the standout NW facing spots in Ventura see some head high sets. (maybe even bigger on some of the random sets).

Spots further south (The South Bay down through San Diego) will have new energy showing but it will not have filled in that well yet. Most of those areas will be closer to waist-chest high while a few of the best standouts in the South Bay, San Diego, and North OC, see some inconsistent bigger sets.

I think this will be the last chance to surf before we get rain, crappy winds, and more poo water run-off for the weekend…so if you are close to the exposed breaks it will be worth a check. I would still probably look at the cams in the morning just to make sure the wind hasn’t switched around to the S earlier than the forecast.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Wednesday – Waiting for the storm

Wednesday looks similar to Tuesday but with a little less swell. Overall it looks like another longboard day for most spots...average breaks will be in the knee high range. Top NW facing breaks will be closer to waist-chest high on inconsistent sets.

Conditions will be clean in the morning but winds are expected to shift more S-SE by late in the day.

I am probably going to skip the surf on Wednesday unless I suddenly find myself with a ton of time on my hands. If you have to surf, go to a NW exposed beach break, bring your small wave gear and expect to be sitting around for a while between sets. Santa Barbara and most of Northern LA County will be small to almost flat. Ventura, the South Bay, and San Diego will be the biggest…and a few of the North County beach breaks (like HB) in OC will probably have a few longboard waves as well.

The incoming storm
The storm is still looking pretty strong as we head into the weekend. Looks like bad weather and winds will start pushing through on Thursday and then stick around for most of the weekend. There will be some overhead+ surf from this incoming W storm swell but conditions and water quality will likely be pretty crappy as well. Cross your fingers…there may be a chance that we get at least some WNW swell before the weather hits on Thursday.