Monday, August 17, 2009

Swell Alert – Strong Southern Hemi setting up for next week

A solid looking storm has been trying to chew off parts of Antarctica in the South Pacific over the last couple of days while moving through our swell window. The storm is continuing to intensify and in the process it has kicked out a series of S-SW swells that will begin arriving late this week and then peaking next week.

This storm has been in the process of building our S-SW swell mix for the last few days. It initially formed up over by New Zealand…and while the fetch looked a bit zonal on a flat chart it was lining up some decent 40-50 knot winds towards Southern California, Baja, Mainland Mexico, and Central America.

Over the last 4 or so days it continued to track across the South Pacific to the east…while managing to maintain some fetch aimed our direction…it also swung some more energetic fronts through that fetch that helped to keep the wind speeds in the 35-40+ knot range. Now that the storm has moved deeper into our swell window it is starting to intensify on top of the swell that it has already built. Think of running your hand through a bathtub...the longer and faster you move your hand the same direction the more that water piles up in front of it…that is what the storm’s winds are doing.

Current forecasts are showing the most intense part of this storm developing over the next couple of days…You can already see the winds starting to spike up on the quikscat.

Same chart close up...

I expect the little 50-knot triangles to spread out and cover a larger area as we head towards midweek, which is a “good thing”…if you are going to be technical about it.

Ok enough storm-nerd geekiness…lets get on to the waves.

Mainland Mexico and Central America are going to get the lion’s share of this swell (like usual). There are actually two distinct portions of the swell…an initial SW swell (210-220+) that starts to arrive on the 20th and peaks the 21-22nd…and a more Southerly SSW swell (190-210) that moves in late on the 22nd and peaks the 23-27th. The first few days of the swell will have consistent overhead surf at the top spots with overhead+ sets mixing in at the top spots. Once the second part of the swell really hits its stride we can expect exposed areas to see surf going consistently several feet overhead while the standouts see double-overhead sizes. The best deepwater breaks like Puerto Escondido will have waves going double-overhead+…and probably bigger at times.

Baja Sur will see the same mix of overlapping S-SW swells (200-220 at first…then shifting more 180-200) but will be a touch smaller than the Mainland spots. Still we can expect the long-period energy from the first swell to fill in slowly on the 20th, showing more on the 21st and then peaking the 22-23rd. The bigger S swell arrives through the day on the 23rd and starts to peak later in evening, holding solid from the 24-27th. Most S-SW exposed spots will see some shoulder-overhead sizes through the first days of the swell but will peak with consistent overhead sizes by next week. Look for the top S facing breaks to have consistent overhead surf with sets going 2-3’+ and possibly bigger sneaking through at times as the second swell peaks.

Southern California and Baja Norte will see new long-period SW swell (210-220) arriving on the 21st…slow at first, but filling in slowly through the day. The SW’er will peak through Saturday and Sunday (Aug 22-23rd) with consistent chest-head high surf at the better exposed breaks. Standout SW facing spots will have some shoulder-overhead sets. The second S-SSW swell (180-200) moves in late on the 23rd but fills in more on the 24th…peaking late on the 24th holding strong through the 27th. As the second swell peaks we can expect consistent shoulder-overhead surf at the average S-SSW facing breaks. Standout S facing spots will have head high to overhead surf more consistently and will have some sets going 2-3’ overhead at times. The super S-swell-focusing spots will have some bigger sizes at times when the second swell peaks.

Overall I think this is going to be another solid run of Southern Hemi swell …but at this point I don’t think it will be as big as that swell in July, mostly because that storm was quite a bit closer than this one. I do think that this incoming swell will last longer, with more days seeing quality surf, than the one huge pulse. Anyways…that is what I have for now…I will keep you guys posted as the storm moves through the last phases of strengthening.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I heart swell alerts

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

bring it!

Anonymous said...

we are all cued up and ready to go! lol My brain hurts when theres no surf hehe

blizake said...

WHY ALWAYS ON THE WEEKENDS!??!!?! damn crowds.

Adam Wright said...

That first swell, the one that peaks on the weekend, will be fun but not as big or as consistent as the second one that moves in during the work week.

I expect the first swell to be a bit more finiky particularly as it fills in slowly on Friday.

Basically, if you are looking for the bigger waves, plan on surfing the 24th through the 27th.

Anonymous said...

You are in the Rick! The Main Event!