Thursday, September 4, 2008

Swell Alert - The South Pacific is coming back online

After what seemed like f-ing forever (but was in reality about 2-1/2 weeks) the South Pacific finally started getting its shit back together.

This S swell we have had over the last couple of days was the first real pulse of energy that we had seen in a while. Fortunately it is not a one-hit-wonder...in fact it eroded the blocking high-pressure that had been kicking our swell-window "right in the junk" and helped open up a gap, which allowed a couple of following storms to set up some decent fetch for SoCal, Baja, Mainland Mexico and Central America.

These storms were positioned a bit more on the SW side of the swell window, which means that the swell they kicked out will arrive in SoCal about the same time they hit Mex and Central America. I will get into the surf details in a bit...

OK there are actually 2 swells currently heading our way with a 3rd potentially brewing out the back. (I am not holding my breath on that one though).

Swell #1

The first swell arriving in this new batch will be a SW'er (210-220)...it has some decent energy but there are a couple of things I don't like about it for SoCal. First off is the swell angle...it has a lot of west in it, which means it had to pass through the SPAC island shadow and probably had a lot of the consistency chewed out of it. Secondly the more westerly angle also means that the Nearshore Islands (like the Channel Islands, Catalina, and San Clemente Island) will also get into the mix at shadowing this swell.

Check out the shadowing on the WavewatchIII swell-period model



That being said...it still has some OK energy making it through the gaps...I am expecting this swell to hit in SoCal late on the 6th...and then peak on Sunday/Monday (Sept 7-8th). Sizewise it looks good for chest-shoulder high surf for the average spots. Standout surf breaks, basically in San Diego and South Orange County, will have shoulder-head high+ sets. Unfortunately there is a surf contest at what would probably be the best spot for this swell. (you can probably figure it out).

Travel spots like Baja, Mainland Mex, and Central America, will be less shadowed and more consistent. Look for most of the "average spots" to be around shoulder-high to overhead on sizes while the deepwater breaks of Mainland Mexico and Northern Central America see sets going a few feet overhead and even a little bigger at times.

Swell #2

The second swell is a little more of a SSW’er (190-205) and it was both a little more intense and it made it a touch closer to our region than the first storm. With the better direction, less shadowing, and more intensity I think this will end up being the better of the swells. Here check out the Quikscat from this storm…



This one will arrive on Sept 9th late in the evening and then peak the 10-11th before slowly fading out. I am expecting surf at the S facing spots to be in the shoulder-head high range while the standout breaks, mostly in Orange County and San Diego, see sets going a couple of feet overhead as the swell peaks.

The travel spots will also see decent size ff this swell…it will actually arrive a bit earlier for most of those areas, filling in on the 8-9th for most of Central America/Mainland Mexico, and more of the 9-10th for Southern Baja. Sizewise those areas can expect surf running shoulder-overhead at the better breaks while the top spots go a several feet overhead…probably 8’+ faces (and sometimes bigger) at the standout deepwater breaks.

So all in all it should be a decent run of swells…I wish it could be a little better aimed for SoCal (or at least that we could get a combo swell to help cross it up) but it is better than the flat spell we just waded through.

2 comments:

er said...

Hell yEaH!!!

The stage is set for a great show next week.. the ASP is going to light up "Lowers"!

Alex said...

Adam,
How much does the contest affect one's ability to surf in the region? Does the attention it brings saturate all surf breaks in the area with more crowds, or does it free some space up at other breaks if more eyes are focused on Trestles? What crowd patterns have you noticed over time?
Thanks,
-Alex-