Friday, October 10, 2008

Waves for the Weekend - Tropical SE swell and Santa Ana Winds

Let me start off this forecast by saying...Saturday is probably going to suck. I know the title of the post says "Tropical SE swell and Santa Ana Winds" but the winds don't get good till Sunday or Sunday afternoon.

Sorry to be a Debbie-Downer but I wanted to stop you guys from tearing down to the beach with your demented imaginations conjuring up surf porn featuring 100-yard tropical swell barrels getting blown open by toasty warm offshore winds. (I do the same thing).

Yes, the tropical SE swell hits on Saturday, but so does a buttload of W-NW winds. NWS is issuing Gale Warnings for waters out in the Nearshore islands tonight and they expect a good chunk of those onshore winds to hit our beaches on least 15-20+ knots in some areas. Also, just to jump on the dead-horse and beat it some more, the SE'er is going to be very select in what spots will pull in the full shot of energy. So the combo of onshore winds and a limited swell angle sort of poop on Saturday's waves.

Surfwise I am expecting a waist-chest high+ combo of SSW-SW and local NW swell for the average exposed spots on Saturday. The SE swell will be moving in steadily through the morning and should begin peaking in the afternoon. Those average SE facing breaks will eventually start hitting the shoulder-head high+ range, while the SE standouts see some sets going several feet overhead before sundown.

(Check it out...some of the Norbert swell is starting to hit the SoCal Buoys this afternoon.)

Sunday the winds for the morning are still a little iffy (it depends on how fast Saturday's junk blows through), but by midday and into the afternoon it looks like winds shift to the N-NE around 10-15+ knots and set up Santa Ana conditions. This will continue through the evening and into Monday.

Check out this Sea-Level-Pressure map from the University of Hawaii.

now that is surf porn!

This one is actually for Monday can see the position of the high-pressure over the Pacific Northwest, and the interior low down by the Sea of Cortez. Most importantly is the way the pressure gradient (the red lines) sets up over SoCal. You want to see that funky little dogleg that almost makes the lines look like they come up from the SE (my red arrows are sitting right on top of it).

Anyway surfwise on Sunday we can basically expect the same thing as Saturday afternoon. Most spots see average waves in the waist-chest high+ range. Top spots will be around shoulder high on sets. The SE facing spots will be running shoulder-overhead for areas with ok exposure. Standout SE facing breaks in N.OC and a few other areas will be running consistently overhead with sets going several feet overhead at times.

Surfing this weekend will probably take a little patience, and if you can spare it, I would probably spend a little time on the computer checking the cams/winds/buoys just to see how everything is coming together. I know it is can be a drag but it will definitely help you from getting burned by this mix of funky weather and swells. Obviously if I only had one day to surf I would pick Sunday hands down, the swell mix will be peaking and the winds look better. Remember to pick a SE facing spot if you want the bigger waves.

Here are the tides for the weekend.

01:33AM 0.4' Low
07:48AM 4.8' High
01:47PM 1.4' Low
07:34PM 5.0' High

02:00AM 0.5' Low
08:07AM 5.2' High
02:24PM 0.8' Low
08:16PM 5.0' High

Have a great one!


Anonymous said...

So where are you surfing, cause I know you have a spot in mind that will be good??

Anonymous said...

Well looks like that SE swell just went away and will never see it ever. O well looks like a big W is on it's way! WOOOOOO.