Wednesday, March 19, 2008

SW Swell Alert: More SW swell heading to California, Baja, Mainland Mexico, and Central America

The straight dope
There is another large S-SW swell pushing out of the South Pacific and it will be arriving along Californian, Mexican, and Central American surf spots next week.

We have about 7-8 days before the swell hits so you still have time to schedule vacation, by a plane ticket, kiss the wife/kids/dog goodbye, and go and score some surf in warm water.

If you are locked into work, family, or lack of funds, don’t sweat it too much…there will be plenty of swell moving into Southern California. In fact it will be very similar to that run of S swell that we had hit at the end of February and hold into March…so there is a good chance that you will be able to score at home too.

The Nitty Gritty Details
Maybe it is global warming, maybe it is just a good weather cycle for the south pacific, or maybe we have just hit some sort of cosmic jackpot for storm production…whatever the cause we have gotten a couple of heavy storms pushing through the SPAC already this late-winter/early-spring season, and this latest storm is looking pretty good too.

Anyway this storm is already cranking with 50-60 knots of wind and it has a very good movement track. Basically it is heading right towards Mainland Mexico, with areas of decent fetch spilling over to send surf towards Baja, Central America, and California.

Below are some of the numbers that have already been recorded...

And here is the forecasted wave heights from NOAA’s wavewatchIII. It is hard to tell, because NOAA for some reason has all their colors in relaxing tones, but there is nearly 33-35’ waves in the core of the storm. (You have got to love the government nothing like trying make people feel comfortable and mellow about life threatening conditions...way to go guys!)

Wave heights and Arrival Times
The swell is well positioned to send waves to a lot of areas and it mostly arrives around the same time…but there are a few differences in size and arrival times as you move from region to region. So here they are broken out by area….

Central America: Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama
The SW’er (210-225) moves into the region late on the 25th, builds in more on the 26th and peaks the 26th-27th. At the well exposed breaks look for surf consistently going overhead to several feet overhead. Expect bigger sets at the more northern countries (closer to Mexico)…and expect a little big smaller and less consistent surf along southern Costa Rica, and Panama thanks to shadowing by the Galapagos islands and other factors.

Mainland Mexico
The SW swell (205-220) starts hitting on the 26th and peaks on the 27th. The swell is aimed almost directly at this region so expect some pretty large surf for the more exposed areas. Most spots will see surf in the well-overhead range while standouts will hit the double-overhead+ mark. Deepwater breaks like Puerto Escondido and other areas that can focus this type of swell will have sets topping out close to triple overhead (15’ faces).

Southern Baja, (Baja Sur Mexico)
The SW’er looks very strong in this area as well. Expect the SW swell (200-215) to hit on March 26th and then peak on the 27-28th. Waves at exposed breaks will hold around shoulder-high to overhead most of the time while the standout spots see sets going several feet overhead. This looks good for both Pacific side and Tip of Baja spots…so you get to take your pick. The more protected points along the Pacific side will be a little smaller than the more exposed reefs and beach breaks but still expect plenty of fun surf.

Southern California and Northern Baja
The SW swell (185-210+) arrives late on the 26th (as really loooong period energy) and then builds through the 27th, eventually peaking overnight into the 28th. We can expect surf in the shoulder-head high range for most S-facing spots while the standouts, mostly in Orange County and parts of San Diego, see sets going overhead to a couple of feet overhead as the swell peaks. Cross your fingers and maybe we will get some WNW cross up swell too! (Note: Many of the more southern areas of northern Baja will see more of this swell on the 27th).

Northern and Central California
The S-SW swell finally pushes into NorCal on the 27th before it peaks well into the 28th and overnight into the 29th. This swell will still have plenty of energy as it moves into the region so we can expect surf in the chest-shoulder high range at the summer spots while a few of the Santa Cruz and Central Coast standouts see some head high sets.

Good Luck…I hope I gave you enough time to score some waves (particularly with warm water). Send me some pictures…I love to see people ripping (or just really rad waves).

Make sure to check back I will have more updates as we get closer to the swell arriving.


saimin said...

doh! suddenly that end of march snowboard trip doesn't seem like such a great idea. guess i need to tack on a couple days for appetizer and leftover waves

Anonymous said...

Well amongst the various surf forecast
sites you were first with the scoop.
Could be alot like the news business.
I appreciate what you do.
Looked at Wetsand and FNMOC WW3,
looks like some adjusting may be in order.
Surf forecasts have 9 ways of playing
out. I always hope for bigger and earlier than forecast. RCB

Julie said...

just wanted to say i love your site! makes deciding where to surf easier for sure...thanks!!