Friday, January 16, 2009

Swell Update – Looking at the buoys

I was just going over the buoys (about 2pm on Friday)...and things mostly look like they are on track...but much like I initially thought...I am not super impressed with the numbers that I am seeing on the outer buoys.

Oh there is still going to be swell tomorrow but don’t get your expectations too high for “large” surf.

If you haven’t read the “waves for the weekend” post that I put together last night, go back and check it out.

http://socalforecast.blogspot.com/2009/01/swell-alert-update-waves-for-weekend.html

After looking at the buoys...I almost want to revise the wave heights from that forecast down just a touch...maybe not in overall size but at least in consistency...and I want to push back the arrival of the peak of the swell.

If you are into the geeky forecast stuff here are some of the details that I have been watching...if this stuff makes your head hurt go ahead and skip ahead to the surf stuff below.

Weather-Nerd warning!

This image of the California Buoy (NOAA Buoy #46059) is what is concerning me...as well as a general lack of swell hitting Northern and Central California this afternoon.



You can see that the wave heights are currently running about 10-12’ @ 17 seconds...the swell period was up to about 20-seconds this morning but it has already backed down (which isn’t good).

10-12’ of swell on a buoy that is about 700 miles out is not all that “big”...especially when you are going to see the swell decay quite a bit as it travels. At bare minimum it is going to lose about 50% of its energy...if not more, which doesn’t translate to much on the beach...about 3-4’+ of deeper-water energy...which still has to make it through the Nearshore Islands and survive being refracted all over the place.

Based on what I am seeing today I think the peak of the swell is actually going to be around 15-16 seconds and will be running about half-a-day behind these longer periods.

Surf Stuff starts here!

Basically when you get down to it...we are going to have waves tomorrow...it may not be all that big through the morning but it will get bigger through the afternoon and should hold nicely into Sunday.

I still think that the wave heights will be near what I was calling for in the previous update...but I am expecting some inconsistency on the bigger sets, even at top spots.

I wouldn’t be too picky about the surf on Saturday morning...if you find a fun looking, and relatively uncrowded spot, get out there and get a few...save the hunting around more for Sunday/Monday as the swell is more consistent.

Have a good one gang...hope you get some fun ones.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

this update does not help "finding an uncrowded spot".

Anonymous said...

agreed!

Adam Wright said...

think about it this way...

If a spot is normally crowded on a WNW swell then it is going to be even more crowded this weekend.

If you are looking for an uncrowded spot don't go to those.

Ta-dah!

:)

pushingtide said...

Git in where you fit in.

kaser_one said...

hhhmmmm...interesting update.

ralphie said...

well said Push!

Anonymous said...

as of 10 a.m. flat everywhere from newport to Bolsa.... checked it all out. this is BULL SHIT I NEED WAVES NO DAMNIT!!

Anonymous said...

again update from newps to cliffs - still sucks ass where the fuck are the fucking wavezs???? i just read surfline saying shoulder on some sets today where the fuck is it shoulder high?

Adam Wright said...

I surfed in HB state beach about 11-noon today and it was mostly chest high...with a couple of shoulder, almost shoulder high+ sets. It wasn't that good, or consistent but the swell was out there.

Looked at the cliffs this morning and the gap had some chest-head sets. Again super inconsistent but the waves were there.

Looks better for tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

sunset cliffs looked pretty good today. beach breaks to the north were close out city

cheerupcheerio said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

whoa wait i checked the gap... around 7... was maybe belly high...... slow and weak pretty gay....

Anonymous said...

Ha ha, traveled and scored.

Never, ever forget: OC has the worst winter surf in California.

Hanging in OC during a winter swell makes as much sense as hanging in SD during a summer swell.

Forget swell forecasts, etc - all you need is CDIP.

Anonymous said...

i like surfing!

Anonymous said...

actually the gap was firing this morning.... FINALLY..............

Anonymous said...

I like surfing, too.