Live High Definition Surf Cameras
Live High Definition Surf Cameras
Monday, June 30, 2008
Swellwise we are going to have a mix of fading SW swell, local NW windswell, and some tropical S-SE swell from the combination of TS Boris and to a lesser degree TS Cristina.
Expect the average S facing spots and combo spots to have surf in the chest-shoulder high range. Standout S facing breaks, like North Orange County, and good combo spots will have more consistently chest-head high surf with a few select spots seeing some bigger waves.
Unfortunately shape is going to look pretty poor…winds are expected to stay onshore most of the night and then pick up again early tomorrow morning. There may not be a ton of wind for the dawn patrol but the leftover bump will still be tweaking things pretty hard so shape isn’t going to get a chance to recover all that much. Look for W winds 10-15 knots to get on it by midmorning and then top out at nearly 20-knots by late in the afternoon.
This is what the COAMP wind analysis looks like from Monday…Tuesday is going to be pretty similar, which if you don’t mind the pun…really f-ing blows.
Because there is going to be some size tomorrow I would at least get up and do a camera check in the morning (or if you live close enough make a quick drive-by)…we might get lucky with a smaller semi-surfable window in the morning…I am not holding my breath but there is always a chance. It doesn’t look like this wind pattern is going to change a whole bunch over the next couple of days so we are going to have to scrape out our surf sessions when we can.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Our SW swell will fill in more overnight and peak into Saturday before slowly fading out on Sunday. Local NW windswell will hold in the background for most of the weekend as well.
Most spots with SW exposure will continue to see waist-chest high surf while the standout South OC and North San Diego SW facing surf spots see shoulder-head high+ sets. It will be a bit inconsistent on the bigger sets but we should have some playful sizes as we move through the tide push.
Sunday will be a touch smaller with more waist than chest high surf at the average spots and smaller sets (mostly shoulder high) at the top SW facing spots.
Winds look ok…well at least the eddy is supposed to back off over the weekend. Generally expect light/variable winds on Saturday morning and touch more variable onshore texture on Sunday. Both afternoons will have onshore winds around 10-15+ knots so try and surf early rather than later if you can.
Now about the tropical swell…there are 2 tropical systems spinning in the SoCal swell window…the better looking one is TS Boris whose storm core has just barely moved into the extreme SE portion of our swell window. TD-3E is the other system it is about 1200 miles due south of us…and while it doesn’t have the wind speeds Boris does it is showing some spin on the satellite loop which means that there is a chance at getting some minor swell from it.
At this point I wouldn’t expect much, if any energy to really show over the weekend, if some does it will be very short-period S swell from TS-3E, which would arrive later on Sunday. Overall it won’t add any size but it may help to increase the consistency of our surf.
Boris on the other hand is moving into our window and is expected to strengthen as he does. His storm track (WNW at 8-knots) isn’t the greatest but he is showing good rotation and some halfway decent wind speeds. Right now I am expecting to see at least a waist-chest high SE swell from Boris that starts to fill in on Monday and will eventually peak Monday night into Tuesday of next week. A lot depends on how he actually behaves over the next 24-30 hours or so…but like I said at this point I am expecting surf from him.
Here check out some of the charts on Boris...
Thursday, June 26, 2008
We are going to have a mix of fading SW energy, new long-period SW swell, and some local windswell…all of which will team up with cleaner conditions (especially compared to what we have seen over the last couple of mornings).
Sizewise look for a lot of spots to hold in the waist-chest high range…the better combo breaks will have some chest high+ sets particularly as the new long-period SW’er starts to arrive. (really this new swell looks better for Saturday but the leftover SW energy should help to fill in the gaps).
Standout SW facing breaks in Northern San Diego and South Orange County will have surf in the waist-shoulder high range with some inconsistent head high (maybe even bigger) sets coming through on the tide push.
Winds are forecast to be light and variable in the morning…maybe even light offshore for some of LA and Ventura areas. Look for onshore winds out of the W around the usual 10-12+ knots during the afternoon.
I think Friday should be pretty fun at almost all of the combo spots in SoCal (just make sure they have good SW exposure). It won’t be huge or anything but the mix of swells, the cleaner conditions, and the fact that the water is warming back up make for a pretty good argument for surfboard riding. If you are looking for bigger and more consistent surf I would head to SD and South OC…they will be the most exposed to the swell mix. Other areas will be smaller but will still be rideable so don’t worry if you can’t afford the $8.50 per gallon that we are going to see at the pumps tomorrow.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
In the water we will have a mix of holding SW swell and the ever-present local W windswell. Most spots will continue to see waist-high surf with some inconsistent chest high sets.
Standout SW facing breaks, mostly through South Orange County and San Diego, will have some chest-shoulder high waves sneaking through on the better tides.
Winds will be variable and slightly onshore for most areas tomorrow. The eddy is forecast to center over Palos Verdes/Long Beach tomorrow…which means that I am planning on seeing some light S winds for Orange County and San Diego and some light NW winds for Santa Barbara and Ventura. LA County, particularly the South Bay, will have variable winds…and likely slightly cleaner conditions.
I am not really seeing a “best” bet tomorrow…some spots will be better than others but nothing is really standing out comparatively. The bigger more consistent surf will show through San Diego and South OC but most of the best exposed breaks will likely have some of the eddy bump to it. The cleanest surf in those areas will be at spots that are protected from the S winds so I would probably check those first but even there I wouldn’t expect a whole lot from them. (man I am a downer). I guess where I am going with this is that there will be surf tomorrow…it won’t be great but it will be rideable. If you go with the right expectations you might be able to find a couple of decent ones.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
In the water we will have a mix of new SW energy (210-220) and more local NW windswell. Wave heights will continue to hold in the waist-chest high range for most of the average exposed breaks. Standout combo spots, mostly in San Diego, will have some chest-shoulder high faces sneaking through on the morning tide push. Here is a shot of the Tuesday afternoon CDIP model...Wednesday will be very similar but with a little more SW energy filling in.
Morning winds are expected to continue the weak eddy that we have seen over the last couple of mornings. Look for mostly light/variable winds with some onshore NW texture for the northern areas (like Santa Barbara and Ventura) and W-SW texture for Orange County and San Diego. LA County will be marginally cleaner in the morning, well at least it will have better winds, the surf will only have slightly better shape than the other areas. Afternoon winds come onshore out of the W-NW around 10-15 knots (the usual). Check out the NWS/NOAA graphic forecast for Wednesday morning (8am). As you can see I am back to drawing ugly arrows in photoshop.
It will be rideable tomorrow but I don't think that it will be all that fun. The mix of swells is still a bit fugly...too much of the actual wave heights will be powered by the short-period windswell (4-6 second swell periods which really suck for surf). The SW'er will send in some occasionally decent sets to the exposed breaks but I think it is going to be inconsistent enough to make surfing the rest of the crap pretty frustrating. Your best bet will be to hit up a really shallow sandbar that can pull in the combo swell... I would try and get on it in the morning so the winds are lighter...if you wait too long and it will be pretty sloppy.
Monday, June 23, 2008
In the water we are going to see a mix of leftover SW energy from the weekend and a decent sized dose (at least for this time of year) of WNW windswell. Most of the average breaks will see surf in the waist-chest high range. Standout WNW windswell spots and good combo breaks that can still pull in some of the flagging SW energy will have surf in the chest to inconsistent shoulder high range.
Winds are forecast to be light and variable in the morning but expect a little bit of morning sickness and light onshore bump for the more exposed breaks (yeah at the breaks that will have the most size). W winds build in pretty strong in the afternoon and will top out around 15+ knots with plenty of whitecaps.
I think it will be a fun surf day tomorrow but thanks to the conditions and nature of the swell I also think you are going to need to approach it with an open mind. Most of our surf is going to come from the W-WNW windswell...notoriously these swells don't have a lot of push behind them, they are usually pretty stacked up, break close to shore, and are sort of all over the place.
You are going to want to hit up spots that are either really fun on windswells or can pull in a little of the leftover SW energy to break it up. The biggest waves will be through San Diego but it won't be worth driving that far to try and get surf...it would be a better choice to hit up your local combo break, particularly the good sandbars at the exposed beach breaks, as the tide is filling in during the morning...that way you can make the most of the mixed bag of swell before the onshore winds get too bad of a a jump on it.
Monday looks like a surf day but you are going to want to find some breaks that can pull in the combo of swells.
We are seeing a mix of fading, but still fun SW swell and some local NW windswell. Spots with just the windswell showing, like Santa Barbara, most of Ventura, and most of the South Bay, are seeing waist high waves with some inconsistent chest high sets.
The SW facing areas, like Orange County and San Diego are pulling in more of the swell combo…so wave heights in those areas are closer to chest high at the average spots and chest-shoulder high+ at the standouts. Shape and consistency will be best on the morning tide push.
Right now it is definitely looking on the soft side for most spots…and sort of warbly lumpy for the better exposed breaks that are focusing the swell a little better. I think your best bet is to hit one of the combo beach breaks in North San Diego or Orange County…they seem to have a bit more workable shape and faster corners.
Winds are light and variable this morning but there is some onshore funk to the more exposed breaks and San Diego is seeing some big patches of fog and onshore texture hiding underneath it. Look for W-NW winds 10-15 knots building in this afternoon.
Check back…forecasts will start up again this afternoon.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
So I am posting a longer-range surf forecast for Southern California for the next few days...If my liver is still working at the end of this weekend I should be back and have an update for Monday's forecast. See you then!
Here is the forecast...there are not a lot of changes over the next few days...just plenty of SW swell (and local windswell)
Thursday - SW swell continues to hold and mix with some local WNW windswell. Most spots will see chest-shoulder high surf while the standout breaks in South Orange County and North San Diego see shoulder-head high+ sizes with some occasional overhead sets on the lower tides during the morning. Winds look ok in the morning, mostly variable but with a bit of that leftover windswell warble at the more open combo breaks. Afternoon winds build out of the W around 10-15 knots.
Friday - The morning will start off with holding SW swell and steady WNW windswell. New SW swell (200-220) begins filling in through midday with more long-period energy and will add some size and consistency to the top SW facing spots. Wave heights won't change all that much...still plenty of chest-shoulder high+ surf for the average SW facing breaks and decent combo spots. Standouts see more shoulder-high to overhead surf throughout the day. Conditions look clean again with light and variable winds in the morning and building onshore breeze by the afternoon.
Saturday - The SW'er from Friday will continue to hold throughout the day while it mixes with the leftovers from earlier in the week and the consistent but small local windswell. Wave heights again hold in the chest-shoulder high+ range for the average SW spots. Standouts see overhead sets through the morning tide push...but will become less consistent as the tide fills in and the swell slowly drops in the afternoon.
Sunday - The mix of SW swells finally starts to dip down a bit. There will still be some playful surf but most of the larger sets will have started to drop off. Look for mostly waist-chest high waves at the average exposed SW spots (and combo breaks). Standout spots, again in San Diego and Orange County, will have bigger chest-shoulder high waves through the morning with smaller and less consistent surf on tap through the afternoon.
Anyway hope this gets you through the next few days...have a great weekend! (Ha I am on Vacation!)
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Look for yet another SW swell (200-220) to move in and peak on Wednesday combining its energy with the SW swell from the weekend and the small local WNW windswell.
Most of the average SW facing spots will see more chest-shoulder high surf with some shoulder-high+ sets sneaking through on the better tides. The standout SW facing breaks…mostly the South Orange County and Northern San Diego top surf spots…will continue to see shoulder-overhead sets with some bigger waves mixing in inconsistently. The strictly NW facing breaks will have a mix of weak windswell with some knee-waist high+ sets.
Here is the latest CDIP model…tomorrow will look a lot like this. One thing that you need to remember on a chart like this is that the model is showing what I generally call deepwater swell (even though the water isn’t that deep)…basically this is energy that hasn’t moved into the final phases of shoaling. So even though the chart is showing 2-3’+ of SW swell (with the long 17-18 second periods) that energy, at top spots that can focus the swell, will double in size (and sometimes go even bigger). So 2-3’ of deepwater swell at the 17-18 second period range can potentially be a 6-7’ wave-face at those focal breaks.
Winds are forecast to start out light and variable through the morning…I would still expect a little bit of funkiness to the really open breaks but in general it will be cleaner than the last couple of days. W winds will get a jump on it by midmorning and will eventually top out near 10-15 knots by the afternoon.
I think that the points and reefs of San Diego and OC will be the best call on Wednesday…they will have the most size, the most consistency, and since the winds are forecast to back off they should have a bit cleaner conditions than early this week. I think that it may be worth driving a little further than you usually do to try and score a few bigger sets but I still wouldn’t waste a ton of gas…there will still be plenty of playful surf at the SW facing standouts in the other areas as well (just not as big). Beach breaks will still be a bit walled up…and the ones that have some cross up swell to break up the bigger SW lines may have a bit too much water moving around (that isn’t explaining it very well…just think of being a little too jumbled up but without a lot of wind on it).
Monday, June 16, 2008
Tuesday will be another surf day but it will have issues with early winds and the general funkiness similar to the last couple of days.
Our SW swell will dip down slightly but overall it will continue to push in chest-shoulder high surf for the average exposed SW facing breaks. Standout SW facing surf spots in San Diego and Orange County will have shoulder-head high waves with some bigger sets continuing to mix in on the lower tides. There will also be some WNW windswell hanging in the background that will add a few creases to the more dominant SW energy, maybe even open up some short right-handers at the exposed beach breaks, and it should send in a few rideable waist-high+ waves to the more protected winter breaks.
Winds will start off light and variable but will have some light texture/warble showing at the more exposed areas. W winds in the 10-15 knot range will fill in through midday and into the afternoon.
Water temperatures also took a dive...I paddled out in HB today and the water had dropped from the mid-60s late last week to the upper-50s. Definitely back to the fullsuit in my area...not sure how it is in SD but I don't think that spots North of the OC are any warmer.
I think you are going to want to hit it early tomorrow...the winds are going to pick up pretty early. Don't expect it to be completely clean either no matter how early you get on it...it looks like the onshore bump will stay on it most of the night and will keep the more exposed beaches on the fugly side through the morning. Really your best bet is to head to a spot that has good exposure to the SW swell and a little bit of protection from the W-NW winds...something like a point/reef that has a little kelp/high-cliffs/pier/jetty to take the edge off. I probably wouldn't drive very far for surf just because of the winds but keep in mind that you are going to see the biggest waves through North San Diego and South Orange County...other areas will be a little smaller and less consistent.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Monday will be a surf day but it is going to suffer under the same set of slightly sub-par conditions that we had over the weekend. Namely increasing onshore winds that get an early jump and keeps things pretty sloppy through most of the day.
In the water our new SW swell (that arrived on Sunday from 200-220) will continue to push through and mix with some local very-short-period WNW windswell. Most spots will continue to see waist-chest high+ surf while the standout SW facing spots like those in Orange County and San Diego see some shoulder-overhead sets.
Winds are forecast to come onshore out of the NW fairly early…exactly how early is the question. There is always a chance at a small pocket of cleanliness forming for the first couple of hours in the morning…you get sort of a dead wind period as the temperature change between the earth and the ocean equalizes for a short time. It isn’t always clean but it at least has the potential to be. Check it early if the wind isn’t blowing get on it because it will onshore 10-15 knots by the afternoon.
San Diego and OC points and reefs will be the call again on Monday. There will be some fun waves at the point/reefs in the other areas (well except Santa Barbara)…but they will be smaller, less consistent, and lacking the punch you will see in the southern areas. I don’t think that it will be worth a ton of driving for surf through…the winds, and the fact that you will have to load up on an already crowded spot to get decent waves sort of lets the air out of driving too far. Personally I am going to check the cameras in the morning and see if there is enough windswell to break up the lovely walled section that has been down the beach in HB for the last week. (I am not holding my breath).
Oh on a completely random note and as a warning...I got to see Kung-Fu Panda for father’s day (well my 3-year old son and I got to see Kung-Fu Panda)…and I have to say…it was a pretty good flick, especially if you used to dig Saturday Night Kung-Fu Theater like I used to as a kid. I will probably be using obscure kung-fuisms and typing in broken english for the next several posts. (not that my written english isn't anything that I don't normally break).
Saturday, June 14, 2008
The official boundaries of San Onofre State Beach cover a very large area of the coastline, which includes a whole host of different surf spots. From a surfer's perspective the San-O region is usually broken into 4 areas, which are Trestles, Church, Old Man's, and Trails.
Generally when someone says they are surfing San Onofre they are referring to either Old Man's or Trails, which make up the two southern areas in San Onofre State Park. (This Surf Break Map will cover both of those areas...Click Here if you are looking for information on Trestles). San Onofre is located to the south of the City of San Clemente, (just south of San Mateo Point), and north of the Camp Pendleton Marine Base.
The two surf areas, Old Man's and Trails, actually bracket the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (yes I am talking about the giant boobs that you can see from the freeway). Old Man's is located on the north side (and sort of in front of) of the power plant. Trails is located to the south of the station.
Getting to San-O is pretty easy. You either drive north on the 5 from San Diego...or south on the 5 freeway from everywhere else. From there you exit on Basilone Road and head toward the water...the road hooks around and becomes Old Pacific Coast Highway. You can either follow that road straight and it will take you all the way down to the Trails entrance and campground, or you can jump off at the lovely hairpin exit that is just before the power station and head down to Old Mans. (There are signs all over the place so it is pretty hard to get lost).
All of the parking spots at both Old Man's and Trails are inside of the State Park...so you will either need to have a State Parks Annual Day Use Pass, paid for an overnight camping spot, or you will have to pony up the 10-bucks to buy a daily parking pass. (Personally I think that, if you are committed to surfing, you should save up a little cash and buy the annual pass...yeah they are a little pricey but if you go and surf or park in any California State Park more and 12-13 times in the year then they have paid for themselves, anything after that is just gravy!).
The parking lot in both of the surf areas can get pretty crowded...on big swells, hot summer days, and on weekends don't be surprised if you can't find a spot. Sometimes on weekends, particularly holiday weekends, there can be a giant line to get into Old Man's before the park even opens.
There is no camping down at Old Man's but Trails has quite a few designated campsites for both tent/car camping and motorhomes. To get a campsite in the summer you should probably make a reservation online through the California State Parks. During the winter you can probably just drive up and pay for one at the gate.
Surfing Close to a Nuclear Generator (or good ways to have your 'nads fall off)
There are some pretty passionate politics, both pro and con, that go into the idea of nuclear power. Personally my opinion is that if they can keep it safe, dispose of the waste in a responsible manner that protects the environment (and the people living in the environment), then sure go ahead and generate some power. On the other hand I do always try and keep in mind that I am surfing next to a nuclear reactor that circulates its non-radiated (so I hope) coolant water back into the ocean. Lets just say that I wouldn't be super surprised to see Blinky the three-eyed fish swimming in the line-up someday.
Sometimes the problem with a surf break that people have been surfing for close to 90 years is that it has like a hundred names. Each generation and clique of surfers has a different name for each spot and sometimes each section of the reef. As you can imagine it gets pretty confusing.
Generally the surf area north of the power plant, where you can actually drive up and park close to the sand, is known as Old Man's.
Old Man's is a pretty large stretch of water with several different peaks that set up and break throughout the line-up. Each of these peaks/areas have their own name. The northernmost peak is known as The Point, the middle area is called Old Man's, and the southern peak is Dog Patch. There is actually another semi-sort of surf area that is further south than Dog Patch...I have heard it referred to by a bunch of different names but it is usually called Horseshoes.
The peaks are actually formed by a rocky cobblestone reef that extends a ways off the beach, which is probably leftover from some historic beachside bluff erosion of the Arroyo San Onofre waaaaay back in the day. The reef is generally flat with smooth rocks covered in a mix of sand and sea grass. The individual peaks are formed by the irregularity of the reefs outer edge...there are fingers of rocks that extend a little further out than the other areas...each one of those fingers forms one of the surf peaks.
The reef itself sits on a bit of a sea-shelf which acts as a buffer for some of the stronger wave energy. Essentially this shelf starts the shoaling process much further out to sea than where the waves actually break...as the waves start to feel the sea floor they begin to lose energy and eventually break with slow and soft lines as they move up the gradual sea-slope and on to the reef.
All three of the main waves at Old Man's have generally the same properties. They are slow, soft, and generally forgiving. The shoulders are on the mushy side and you almost never see the wave form any sort of a barrel except under very extreme conditions. When you get down to the nitty-gritty Old Man's is one of the best waves for beginners and casual surfers. The inside sections and whitewash are slow and steady letting first-timers and little kids get use to their boards and how the ocean is going to push them around. The outside peaks offer up a little more of a challenge (relative to the inside) with slightly steeper takeoffs and an actual wave face to work with.
Here is some video of San-O in action...
Getting the Best Surf
Old Man's (the spot not the peak) has a relatively open swell window with good exposure to the S, SW, W and even a bit of WNW. It will work on pretty much any combination of those swells...but depending on what peak you want to surf, it really likes the medium sized SW swells (with medium to long swell-periods) and the SW/WNW combo swells.
On the pure SW swells you will get a long slow left that sets up off The Point...Old Man's and Dog Patch will have some longer left sections as well but will throw an occasional sectiony right-hander back up against the grain of the swell.
On combo swells all three peaks get uh...peakier (damn public schools)...The Point will still have better lefts but you will have some longer rights setting up off the Old Man's and Dog Patch peaks.
Like most of Southern California the perfect combination of wind and waves is the mix of a good SW swell, or combo swell, with light/moderate Santa Ana winds and the low-to-high tide push.
It is important to understand the Old Man's attitude. Most of the people that consistently surf Old Man's do it because they love the spot...they like having friends in the line-up and they dig the extremely laid back attitude of the place. It is a great beginner-friendly wave because many of the people in the line-up are so welcoming and tolerant. If you aren't a total jerk they will forgive mistakes, share waves, and probably talk story to you in the parking lot until your ear falls off. If you approach surfing Old Man's with the same attitude you will generally have a good time...if you are planning on being a spaz then you should probably surf somewhere else.
Best swell direction: SW swell (185-220) or a SW/W combo
Best Wind: NE-E, light-moderate Santa Ana winds are the best.
Sea Floor: Rock reef, sand, and sea-grass
Best Season: Year round...any old SW swell will do.
Crowds: Yep lots of people, lots of longboards, lots of parking issues. Mostly manageable during the week...but hectic on the weekends (double so when the weather and the surf are good).
If you are looking for a little solitude while you surf in the San Onofre State Park area then Trails is your place. While it isn’t always completely empty it does have plenty of room to spread out thanks to the miles of beach break that stretch from the campground’s entrance to the start of the Camp Pendleton Marine Base.
Trails is the southern section of the San Onofre area…and it is pretty easy to find. If you follow Basilone Road (old coast highway) past the power plant you will run right into the park’s entrance gate.
Trails gets its name from the way the campground is positioned. The campground is actually built along the Old Coast Highway that sits up on the bluffs that tower over the beach. Since you don’t park right next to the beach, and much of plant life in the park is protected, the State Park Service built a series of trails, hence the name, that lead down to the beach from the parking/camping area.
There are six official trails that are actually named Trail 1 through Trail 6, (apparently the California State Park system has trouble coming up with original names for things too). There are a few slight differences in the surf that you find along the beaches that sit in front of each trailhead. Trail 1 actually has some pockets of cobblestones that make for some more defined peaks. Trails 2 through 6 have almost exclusively sand bottoms and the shape and the quality of waves depends on how the sand bars are formed and what sort of swell mix is in the water.
It is quite a long walk down the trails to the beach and you can expect a couple of steep inclines. It isn’t all that much if you are just hiking the trail but when you add a big surfboard, your surf gear, and probably a backpack full of food and water then the distance and elevation start to add up. While the surf is just a gentle as Old Man’s the walk can be a bit of a struggle if you don’t have a ton of upper body strength (or some sort of good sling to carry your longboard).
Trail 7 (you got sunburned where?)
I mentioned that there were 6 official trails…well there is one unofficial trail at the very end of the park past where the official ones end. Out of all the trails it is probably the most famous (or infamous if you look at it that way) since it is known as “clothing optional” once you make it down to the sand. The State Park Service has been directed to start busting (no pun intended) people for going nude…I believe that they are already starting to issue citations…so if you plan on shedding your clothes you might want to keep an eye out for the Rangers. In the past the Park, while not really tolerating the nudity, sort of left it alone, which I am sure led to a lot of interesting sunburns for surfers and beachgoers alike (not to mention getting some wax stuck is some really uncomfortable places).
The waves at Trails are very similar to Old Man’s except since the majority of the beach is wide-open beach break it doesn’t have many peaks that stay in place very long. On most average swells the waves are soft, slow, and sort of roll towards the beach as they start to break. It generally likes the lower tides…the high tide pushes most of the surf up on the beach as shorebreak. On bigger swells, particularly when there is only one swell in the water, the waves have a tendency to wall up and get all sectiony…it is usually better to surf other spots when you have a single large swell pushing through.
The best surf
Trails is best when you have a mix of swells in the water. The best mix is usually a medium sized SW swell crossing up with a small-medium W swell. Like most SoCal spots if you can time the tides right and get lucky with some light/moderate offshore winds then you can have a pretty darn good time. Even when it gets good it never really is that short-boardable, you can do it if you have the right board (like a fishy shape) or have the right body type (skinny and light), but most of the time it is better to bust out the longboard or a really thick funboard.
Best swell direction: SW swell (185-220) or a SW/W combo.
Best Wind: NE-E, light-moderate Santa Ana winds are the best.
Sea Floor: Sand, with some cobblestone piles up around Trail 1
Best Season: Year round but best in the late summer and fall.
Crowds: It can have a few guys on it on busy summer weekends but it never really gets crowded.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Saturday and Sunday will both be surf days.
Saturday is going to see a mix of steady SW swell (190-220) and some background local NW windswell. Most spots will continue to see chest-shoulder high surf while the standouts in Orange County and San Diego see shoulder-head high+ waves.
Sunday there will actually be another SW pulse (200-220) joining the mix, overlapping the existing SW swell, all of which will blend with the background NW windswell. Sunday expect a touch more size as the average exposed breaks build into chest-head high surf and the standout SW facing breaks move back into the consistent head high and overhead ranges.
Weather and winds look very similar to Friday...expect mostly light/variable to light S winds and overcast skies through the mornings and W-NW winds around 10-15 knots (along with sunny skies) during the afternoons. Depending on how strong wind circulation is throughout the day, you may see the wind lay down really late in the afternoon/evening...not enough for a glass-off but worth keeping an eye on if you live close to the beach.
SW facing points and reefs will be the best call this weekend...(if the beach breaks had a chance it was on Friday but the ones in my neck of the woods never really started working all that well...just a lot of lumpy closed out lefts and super short rights through the wind creases). South Orange County and North San Diego will see the biggest sizes...and probably the best shape thanks to all those quality points and reefs they have around those areas. There will be some decent waves at the top SW facing spots in other areas but expect the surf to be smaller and less consistent.
I would try and get on it early...both to avoid the crowd factor and to try and beat the wind that has been screwing up the shape by midday. Spots with a little protection from the southerly winds will probably be a safer call than the wide-open breaks...just so you can avoid the eddy texture if the winds spin up too much overnight.
Have a great weekend and an excellent Father's Day!
(oh and check back I will be posting the San Onofre Break Maps this weekend)
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Our SW swell will have backed down even further on Friday but it will continue to mix with some local WNW windswell energy and should still have enough juice to send in playful waves to the better SW facing spots.
The average SW breaks and average combo spots can expect surf to hold around waist-chest high through most of the day…with maybe a few chest high+ waves on the tide push midmorning.
Standout SW facing spots, again focusing mostly on San Diego and South Orange County, will have chest-shoulder high sets with a few head high peaks on the better tides.
Conditions generally look pretty good with mostly light and variable winds expected through the morning and moderate W winds around 12+ knots coming through during the afternoon.
Personally I think Friday is going to be a pretty fun surf day…there will be plenty of energy in the water, winds will be decent, is supposed to be warmer (weatherwise), and the water has warmed up quite a bit. Points and reefs in OC and SD will continue to see the biggest and generally the best looking surf…but beach breaks will continue to improve in shape thanks to the smaller swell and a little bit more windswell moving in to break it up. I would still expect some current along the open beaches (once water gets moving it sort of follows the path of least resistance until we really run out of swell energy)...but it shouldn’t be as bad as the last few days.
Watch out for ladders, black cats, mirrors, snake-eyes, splitting 10’s, and great white sharks (I hear those are pretty bad luck too).
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
The SW swell that has been peaking over the last couple of days will begin to wind down even faster on Thursday. There will still be plenty of surfable energy and some local WNW windswell to help cross up the combo spots but in general expect the surf to be smaller and more on the playful side.
Average SW facing spots will have surf in the waist-chest high+ range with some shoulder high sets on the tide push. Standout SW facing spots in Orange County and San Diego will still have some chest-shoulder high surf with some head high sets mixing in at times.
Conditions look decent for the morning with mostly light and variable to light southerly winds. W winds come onshore around the usual 10-14 knots through the afternoon.
Looks like we will have a few more surf options on Thursday…the points and reefs will continue to have the best shape but with the smaller wave heights it looks like the beach breaks will start to be a bit more crossed-up and workable, particularly if they are spots that have some exposure to the WNW windswell. I would still expect some decent crowds at the top spots but hopefully we will get a chance to spread out a little more.
It looks cleanest in the morning but there will also be a bit of a high tide that we have to push through. We are sort of back in pattern of waiting for the tide to drop and hoping that the winds don’t get too strong before it gets low enough to help out the shape. If you are surfing early try and aim for spots that can handle a little more water…if you can wait try and paddle out sometime midmorning.
Sets are a little less consistent as the tide drops through midmorning but the top SW facing spots in San Diego and Orange County are still seeing overhead sets. The average exposed breaks through LA and Ventura are seeing slightly smaller shoulder-head high waves.
Conditions are mostly clean with some light S winds at some of the exposed beaches. Shape is definitely better at points and reefs and a couple of the really good dense sandbars. In general the beach breaks are still a little walled out with some strong south-to-north current, and some good size rip currents…so if you surf a beach break this morning plan on having a loooong hike back to your car.
Lastly here is another shot of the CDIP wave model…it isn’t as accurate this morning…it looks like it is missing data from the new SW energy that is reinforcing the existing swell (and they adjusted the wave heights so that the “range” between each color change is larger than normal…pretty much the stupidest thing I have ever heard of).
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
SW swell will hold throughout the day while it mixes with some background NW windswell. In general it may lose just a touch of size but overall I expect it to be a bit more consistent on the sets.
Average SW breaks will continue to see surf in the chest-shoulder high range with the occasional head high set. The bigger waves will be more frequent on the tide push…at least compared to the dropping tide we see through the dawn patrol.
Standout SW facing spots, like those in San Diego and Orange County, will continue to pull in shoulder-head high+ surf fairly consistently throughout the day. There will be some bigger overhead+ sets mixing in as well…particularly through the midmorning tide push.
Conditions will be very similar to Tuesday…we will have a weak/moderate coastal eddy with some southerly winds showing at the more exposed beaches (San Diego and OC mostly). Other areas will have variable onshore winds. W winds around 10-15 knots fill in through the afternoon.
Overall conditions, size, and shape are all going to be similar to Tuesday with just a little less size on the big sets. The biggest waves will continue to show in San Diego and Orange County but there will be plenty of rideable and playful surf showing at the exposed breaks in the other regions as well. Points and reefs will still have the best shape while beach breaks stay on the wally side.
About the only thing that I would watch out for is the slight S winds in the morning…they could spin up a little too strongly overnight and make shape a bit funky at the more open spots. I think to hedge your bet I would aim for a spot that can handle a little S wind…but still has some good exposure to the SW energy.
And Finally here is a picture of the buoy summary list…you have got to love to see all those 17-second swell periods!
Here is a link to the live buoys (it is posted over on the right as well)
Monday, June 9, 2008
I got a lot of feedback from all over SoCal, but particularly from surfers in the OC and San Diego, that there were some good-sized overhead+ sets coming through. North LA was a bit smaller but had some decent shape (if you didn't mind the 4 trillion people sitting on the shoulder and burning you). I even saw a few lefts grinding back up The Point at C-Street in Ventura. If anyone got some pictures...send them over I will post 'em up.
Here is a shot of the CDIP model from Monday afternoon. (Actually look really close at the Santa Barbara area...how sad is that tiny blue dot that is right next to Santa Barbara Harbor...oh well they get good waves in the winter)
Anyway on to the forecast.
Tuesday will be a surf day...with lots of surf at the SW facing breaks.
Surfwise we are going to see the second part of this SW swell start to arrive and peak throughout the day. This new pulse of energy will actually combine right in with the existing SW swell and the mix of WNW windswell that we have holding in the background.
Average breaks with SW exposure will see surf in the chest-shoulder high+ range...with some head high sets on the tide push that comes through after the tide bottoms out midmorning.
Standout SW facing spots in San Diego and Orange County will have consistent surf in the shoulder-head high range with sets going a couple of feet overhead (and bigger) sneaking through inconsistently.
Winds will be ok...there will be some pockets of southerly flow from a weak coastal eddy but in general winds are forecast to be light and variable in the morning. W winds around 10-12 knots build in through the afternoon.
There is enough swell in the water that it is going to be worth spending a little of the gas money to find waves tomorrow. The biggest surf is definitely going to be showing in OC and San Diego. I would look for the best shape at the points and reefs...beach breaks are going to be a bit lined up/closed out and you can expect a pretty strong current (along with dangerous riptides) at the more exposed beaches. Plan on a lot of paddling tomorrow.
If you can't surf Tuesday don't sweat it...there will be plenty of waves from this swell hitting all week.
Have fun and be safe...sorry to sound like your dad...unless of course your dad rips.
Since they are surfers, and I am always down to help support surfer labor, I thought I would throw up a post and link to their site as thanks for the new duds.
They have some great shirts for sale over at their website...their sense of humor is pretty classic.
This is one of my favorites that they sent me (it is pretty wrong but yet so true)
And this one is probably a bit more appropriate for me...
They have a ton more...so swing by their site when you get a chance.
Thanks again to the gang over at VintageCotton!
The new SW swell is already showing some decent size and it will continue to build through the day (and other similar-larger size chunk of SW swell arrives over the next couple of days).
Winds are light and variable…most spots are clean (with a few pockets of southerly texture at the more exposed ones).
The points and reefs are seeing the best shape…particularly those in South OC, North San Diego, and if you like a smaller wave…in North LA County.
Wave Heights are generally in the chest-high+ range while the standout areas are seeing shoulder-high to overhead sets. It is a bit inconsistent (probably thanks to the morning tide drain)…but look for the consistency and the tide to build as we move throughout the day. If you can try and paddle out around 9am when the tide will start to switch around.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Surfwise we will have a mix of building SW swell (that was already showing some new energy on Sunday…check out the Oceanside buoy is has a nice bump of SW energy in the 18-20 second period band (hellooooo SW swell.)
Along with the SW swell we will continue to have some background WNW windswell energy.
The average spots will see surf in the waist-chest high range with some shoulder high sets. Standout breaks, mostly in South Orange County, Northern San Diego and at a few other spots in the other regions, will have surf consistently in the shoulder-head high range with overhead+ sets coming through at times. The tides will still tweak size a bit…the dropping tide will drain out the size and consistency while the building tide will send more larger sets before it starts to mush it out as it peaks.
Winds will be the biggest issue. I was a bit bummed on how strong the eddy spun up on Saturday…it was down-right lame in a few spots for the morning…Sunday was better but it still had the june-gloom eddy creeping around the edges at times. Monday will be pretty similar…the forecast models are actually showing a bit more S wind than Sunday so I think that if you plan accordingly you will be able to find a few decent spots.
Your best bet is going to be areas that can combo up the mix of stronger SW swell, the smaller WNW windswell, but still have enough protection to manage the S winds. Parts of the South Bay, Parts of Central Ventura, Central Orange County (Dana Point/Laguna), and La Jolla (down in San Diego)…all do better in these kinds of conditions. I would generally start your search in those areas. Personally I might still make a cam and wind check in the morning (my wind check is looking at the trees outside my house…not that I am that close to the beach…but it at least gives me the general feel of the day…I know, I know…aren’t I scientific?)
Friday, June 6, 2008
We will have a mix of SW swell and some local WNW windswell. Wave heights will hold around waist-chest high for most areas. Standout SW facing spots and good combo breaks will have some shoulder-head high waves on the best sets.
Tides will be a bit of an issue early in the mornings both Saturday and Sunday. We have a negative -1.1' low (at 7am) on Saturday and a -0.8' Low (at 8am) on Sunday. These extreme low tides have a tendency to drain out a lot of the surf, especially the consistency of the sets, it also causes a lot of the beach breaks to get sectiony and walled up.
Fortunately the tides fill in through mid-morning so we get the benefit of a little more water under the surf and the extra little kick that the tide push gives to it.
Winds look OK for both days as well...there will be a slight eddy helping to keep some morning clouds and light and variable S-SE on tap for the first part of the day. W winds around 10-12 knots build in through the afternoons. These are also the kind of days that can potentially clean up around sunset...so if you live close to the beach (or will be hanging out all day) there is a chance that you might see some cleaner waves around sundown.
Your best bet for waves will be at the combo beach breaks that can handle the tide swing. The biggest surf will be showing through Northern San Diego and South Orange County...but there will be a few decent sized combo spots in other areas as well. I would plan on trying to hit it around mid-morning as the tide comes up and the wind is still light. I would also try and take an open mind because it is going to be crowded...probably really crowded. Personally I am going to check some (probably crappy) wide open beach break to see if I can find a peak with a manageable crowd.
Note on water temps...the water is getting pretty warm in a few areas (at least in North OC). Granted I am sort of built like some sort of a mix between a viking and rugby player but I surfed twice on Friday (in the morning and at lunch) and I trunked it with just a wetsuit top both times. I think most people would be pretty comfortable in a springsuit. (I haven't heard about SB or Ventura water temps...if any of you guys surf up that way drop me an email on how warm/cold the water is).
Have a great weekend...hope you have time to get a couple of waves!
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Again it won't be "all-time" or anything but Friday's surf is looking pretty fun for combo spots and breaks with good SW swell exposure.
Surfwise we will have a mix of fading WNW windswell and a slowly building SW swell. Most spots will hold around waist-chest high. Standout SW facing spots and the good combo breaks will see shoulder high+ sets on the morning tide push.
Winds will start off light and variable for most areas during the morning before turning onshore out of the W around 10-15 knots through the afternoon.
Try not to hit it too early...there is a negative low tide (-1.4 foot low) that drains out everything about 6:20am. That doesn't leave a lot of water for most spots...a few might be breaking but expect to see a lot of sand and rock...I can almost hear the ankles snapping right now.
Mid-morning looks like it will have the best shape...we actually have the combo of wind/tides working for us rather than against us. We will have the tide-push, light winds, and a building swell mix.
Oh and to top it off...water temps feel like the are warming up in at least few areas...cross your fingers that they continue to heat up (I would like to shed my wetsuit at somepoint this summer!)
I think a lot of spots will have some playful waves tomorrow morning. There will be plenty of swell in the water...both SW and WNW...so most spots will have at least a few waves showing. The biggest, and likely the most consistent, surf will be at the combo spots in San Diego and South Orange County. The NW facing breaks will be a bit on the mushy side since they are pulling in predominately windswell. Your best bet will be to start early (but not too early...have some coffee or something)...try and time it to take advantage of both the tide push and the light winds.
Winds are light and variable and we have a lot of WNW windswell leftover from last night.
Here check out this chart…you can see where the windswell is leaking around point conception (the SE swell direction is wrong through…there is actually about 1.3-1.5 of SW swell showing at about 16-17 seconds…so the map should have a touch more light blue showing in some areas).
Anyway just thought I would drop a note since the surf had been so craptacular over the last couple of days. Hope you get a chance to ride a few.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Swellwise we are going to see a mix of WNW windswell and some slowly building SW swell (190-210). Look for mostly waist high+ surf at the average spots. Standout combo breaks, mostly in San Diego, Southern Ventura County, parts of the South Bay, and South Orange County, see some chest-shoulder high sets on the lower tides.
Winds are forecast to improve...starting off light and variable in the morning and then turning onshore out of the NW around 10-15 knots by the afternoon. I would still plan on a little onshore texture in the morning but in general the wind will be light enough to surf for most spots.
I think that the combo beach breaks (in the areas I mentioned above) will be the best call for surf on Thursday. It won't be great...but it won't be as sucky as Wednesday either...probably somewhere in-between. The mix of swell isn't all that great of a combo...the windswell will be dropping and gutless and the SW swell will be inconsistent and a bit finicky as to what beaches will have decent exposure. I would still plan on making a cam check in the morning...and if it looks halfway decent bringing a board/gear that can make the most of smaller (and sort of mushy) surf.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
If you tried to surf this morning in OC or San Diego (hell in the other areas as well) you probably saw that winds in the outer waters spun up pretty fast last night and had the eddy going pretty good by sun-up. Well I got bad news…looks like this eddy is going to strengthen even more as we move overnight into Wednesday.
Surfwise wave heights will be on the rise…new WNW windswell will build (thanks to the stronger winds in the outer waters) while the S-SW swell mix holds in the background.
Average exposed areas (that have swell windows exposed to a mix of both WNW and S-SW energy) will see surf in the waist-chest high range.
Standout NW facing spots and the top combo spots will have chest-shoulder high surf…maybe even a few bigger ones on the low tide.
Winds unfortunately are going to suck. Expect S flow 10-15 knots for the morning and SW winds 10-15+ knots by the afternoon.
This is a snapshot of this afternoon’s winds…expect something like this…only worse.
If you have to surf your best bet is going to be the breaks that are protected from the S winds. Shape won’t be great even in those areas because most of the surf will be that ugly short-period windswell…so even if the wind is OK you are still going to see a lot of close-to-shore, stacked up, and drifty lines…most of it will be pretty mushy and gutless to boot.
I wish I could paint a “nicer” picture of what the surf will be doing tomorrow but personally I think it going to be quite lame. I am going to stick with a quick look at the cameras and then probably some pillow surfing once I actually see the nasty bump that I am expecting.
Monday, June 2, 2008
We will have a mix of S-SW energy and building local windswell. Most spots will hold around waist-high+ or so. The standout areas, which will be the combo beach breaks, will see some chest-shoulder high sets...and maybe even a couple of bigger waves on the lower tides.
Conditions look pretty clean in the morning...winds will be light and variable to light-offshore with the cleanest conditions showing from LA down through San Diego. It actually looks like winds will hold off a little longer on Tuesday so we may get more of a surf window through the morning. Look for onshore W winds around 10-12 knots to build in through the late afternoon.
Like I said above it looks like a surf day tomorrow but you are going to need to work around the tide in the morning...if you hit it wrong the surf is going to be pretty boggy/mushy, and feel quite a bit smaller than it will on the lower tides.
Biggest surf will be showing through San Diego, Southern Ventura, and the South Bay (all the areas that pull in the WNW windswell)...but you may find some better shape at breaks that mix in a little bit of the Southern Hemi energy.
Check out NOAA's new graphical weather interface...it is pretty slick. I am not sure about the color scheme though...the low wind speeds make you think a giant fog bank is moving into the area. The legend is in knots.
Here is the link to check out the live version of the interface (this is zoomed in on California but they cover all of the US).
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Surfwise we are looking a mix of slowly fading S swell, some inconsistent background SW energy, and some local windswell (that has been doing the workhorse workload most of the weekend).
Most spots will continue to see surf in the knee-waist high range while the standouts, mostly in Orange County and parts of San Diego see chest-shoulder high sets.
Winds are still a bit iffy…just watching/feeling the wind this evening you can tell that it isn’t really ready to settle down. I expect that we will have mostly clean conditions in the morning with light/variable winds but a few of the more open beaches will have some light onshore texture. Expect onshore winds to build in around mid-morning and then continue to strengthen up to 10-15 knots by the afternoon.
Tide will sort of slop it up in the morning as well…there is a 3.7’ high that hits about 9:30am…so expect the dawn patrol to be on the boggy side.
Naturally we will be back into the frustrating race of the tide getting low enough, fast enough, in order to get the surf in better shape before the winds pick up and start to tear it up.
I think that your best bet is just going to be hitting up the local combo break…if you are close enough to North OC or North SD then it might be worth a check…but don’t waste your gas driving all over. Bring a board that can handle some semi-mushy shape…that way you might be able to pick off a few more clean ones while you are waiting for the tide to drop.