Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Why our surf sucks right now

Not that this will change anything or help us get waves anytime soon…but I thought I would put together a post highlighting how lame out North Pacific storm track looks right now.

Just from the lack of waves and the crazy conditions we all can tell that mother nature is giving us a pretty good working over. Usually though these sort of forecast scenarios cycle through pretty quickly…you sort of get a cold-front, followed by some NW winds that build in the vacuum behind the low-pressure, and then conditions clear up as high-pressure rebuilds after the low moves out…and usually there are some waves mixed in at some point.

Right now the storm track is all over the place…we are getting all the funky weather without any of the waves…and the gap between cold fronts has been very short, without much time for high-pressure to help dry us out.

The root problem of our current lackosurf condition lies in the positioning and strength of the Eastern North Pacific High-Pressure…which is a semi-permanent ridge of high-pressure that can be found shifting around between Hawaii, The Gulf of Alaska, and the US West Coast.

It seems weird that the high-pressure would be the one causing the issues when we generally look at storms (or low-pressure) when it comes to swell creation (well it is really the interaction between the high and the low that causes surf…but you usually don’t go “man look at that high-pressure!”…it is usually “wow that storm is going to wipe Hawaii off the map” or something to that effect).

Anyway the EPAC High-pressure is the main cause for the North Pacific storm track to shut down for the summer. During the summer months it sits almost stationary on the edge of the Gulf of Alaska and forces any of the weak systems moving over the Aleutians back up into Alaska and Canada.

During the winter this high is usually compacted back into the mid/low latitudes by the more intense storms…and will spend much of the winter ridging over Southern California and on over to Hawaii.

Now check this out…this is the current Sea Level Pressure chart generated by the GFS weather model…

The EPAC high-pressure has more of its summer shape…worse yet it has a strong buddy blocking a lot of the higher latitude storm action over in the NW Pacific. The ridge is effectively blocking most our of swell window and is forcing what little storm activity we do have up into the Gulf of Alaska.

Weatherwise having the high positioned further out to sea is opening a gap along the west coast that is allowing the cold fronts to slip down from the north and douche us with rain. So basically we get all of the weather but none of the waves that should go with it, which in my book is super-lame.

The next few days of the forecast run don’t look any better. This is Saturday morning…the high is trying to reestablish itself in a more normal position but it is not strong enough to stand up to another incoming cold front.

By Monday we get more bad weather…and the high-pressures continue to screw up our swell window. (A 1040-mb high-pressure is pretty damn strong).

There is one ray of hope way out of the forecast charts…so far in fact that we shouldn’t expect much out of it yet…but it is worth keeping an eye on.

The 168-hour forecast chart (the odds equivalent of doubling down on back to back 14’s in blackjack)…does have a nice storm brewing up in the Gulf on Christmas Eve…who knows we might get a nice present from Santa after all this crappy/small surf.

In the meantime…the local mountains just got about 3 feet of snow, and there is more on the way…at least it is still boardriding


Anonymous said...

168 hour forecast models . . . dude, you are reaching! it's okay; sometimes the waves suck for longer than we want.

Anonymous said...

Dude, who the heck wants to surf everyday except for some newbie grom? Let me assure you (and anyone else who happens to be reading), that surfing is never better than when you're blowing off something that you should be doing.

That's right - living the life of a pro/ho/feral is downright boring. No different than a rocker or idle rich, it's why many turn to drugs out of sheer boredom.

The most stoked you'll ever feel is studying all night for a final in the morning, taking the test, then hitting a low-tide spot somewhere in the afternoon.

The work version is tracking the swell, knowing where it's gonna hit/tide/wind, etc, then calling in sick and scoring.

I've been surfing for a very long term through each of the 3 conditions listed above, and there is simply no comparison to scoring when you haven't been out for a week or so.

d said...

@anonymouse2 - hey man, what is the deal with coming onto a surf forecast blog and bitching?

There most definitely are people out there who are passionate enough about surfing to want to go every day and you should be glad for them. They are the reason why surfing (and surfing gear) progresses every year.

Anonymous said...

you have the right to express your opinion but just remember that your opinion does not equal fact.

Anonymous said...

all i know is this freakin sucks! i have not surfed in 5 days! i'm

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Anal sex on a surfboard??????????

Anonymous said...

GOD OF THE SEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hugh said...

give me some hope, adam. make stuff up, lie to me, if you have to, and tell me it will be offshore and 1 foot overhead tomorrow. i think at this point i need to check into a treatment facility or something; surfaholics anonymous maybe, i don't know. might try the tnt method and just go chuck some explosives into the water and try and ride that. sad thing is, once we do finally get waves, every man, woman, and child is gonna be in the water trying to get some. woe is me!

Danimal said...

Hugh. If you want to hear that it is offshore and overhead, you should probably check wetsand.