Thursday, October 1, 2009

Southern California Long-range Surf Forecast – 10/01/2009

Forecast Overview

We will have plenty of swell over the next few days as a new S-SSW swell (180-210) and more WNW-NW windswell combo up. Unfortunately we may see the weather and winds get all wonky as an upper-level low-pressure slides through the region Saturday and Sunday. There will definitely be potential for fun surf…cross your fingers that conditions hold together.

Short Range (next 4 days)

We will have a mix of fading WNW-NW windswell and some inconsistent, but rideable, S-SW swell (190-210). Average spots are going to hold in the knee-waist high range while the standout S-SW breaks and the good combo spots see some waist-chest high surf…and maybe some rare chest high+ sets on the lower tides. Winds/Weather: Light and variable winds through the morning (along with mostly clear skies) for most areas. A few of the wind-prone spots will see some slight offshore flow for the morning. Look for NW winds 10-12 knots to develop through the afternoon.

New S-SSW swell (180-210) starts to slowly fill in, sending some very small but long-period energy in through the morning. This swell will fill in gradually throughout the day, eventually putting some chest-shoulder high waves into the top S facing spots by the end of the day. At the same time building winds along the California coast will begin pushing in some new WNW-NW windswell by late in the afternoon (bringing onshore winds as well). NW facing spots will build into the waist-chest high range as the windswell strengthens. Winds/Weather: Winds start off ok in the morning…sort of light-variable/onshore…but manageable. W-NW winds are expected to come onshore, particularly through LA/Ventura areas, in the 10-20 knot range by the afternoon. Building clouds and even a chance of rain by late in evening.

The new S-SSW swell (180-200) will peak while the local funky winds continue to build up the WNW-NW windswell. At this point conditions/winds do not look very good, but there is a lot of instability with the forecast so there is a chance we could dodge the wind/funk bullet. Sizewise…the average spots are going to be in the chest-shoulder high range with a few bigger sets on the lower tides. Standout S facing breaks, and the good combo spots, will see more consistent chest-head high sizes with a few head high+ waves sneaking through on the bigger Southerly sets. Winds/Weather: Right now the wind models are calling for strong W-NW winds for Santa Barbara, Ventura, and LA counties…something in the 10-20+ knot range, possibly even some rain. OC and SD will likely see some sort of mutant eddy with variable onshore flow around 5-8 knots for the morning and SW winds around 10-15 knots by midday/afternoon. Keep in mind that a lot of this forecast is being set up by a weird interior low-pressure (sometimes called an “inside slider”) that is forecast to develop in the next 3-days. I am crossing my fingers that this one doesn’t get full developed and that our winds turn out better than the current forecast…I would really hate for another quality swell mix to get ruined by local conditions.

The S-SSW swell (180-200) will continue to hold while the W-NW windswell starts to subside slowly. Shape and conditions look slightly better, particularly down through southerly counties. Surfwise we can expect more surf in the chest-shoulder high range for the average S facing and combo spots. The standout S facing breaks, and the top combo spots, will be in the chest-head high range…but will see less consistency on the bigger sets as the swells lose a little pop. Winds/Weather:


North Pacific
Not seeing much storm action in the NPAC storm track right now...most of our WNW-NW swell that we have on tap for the next few days is coming in as windswell from our outer waters. Looks like we are going to see some stronger onshore winds (and bigger windswell) as we move through the weekend, possibly some funky weather (rain, wind,…that sort of thing). This is being set up by an interior low-pressure that is forecast to slide down from the Pacific NW…you can see it on the pressure chart.

Further out there is nothing definite in the forecast charts but there are a couple of west Pacific Typhoons heading towards Japan that bear watching…we could see some more extra-tropical goodness kick starting new NPAC storms before too long.

South Pacific
The SPAC had a deep low-pressure that held right in the S-SSW swell sweet spot for several days last week…the swell that it kicked out will be arriving over the weekend and will likely hold decent-sized waves at the S facing spots through at least Monday before dropping slowly (but staying surfable) for most of next week. S-SW swell (180-210) that starts to move in with long-period energy on Saturday Oct 3rd…and then likely peaks Sunday/Monday Oct 4-5th. At this point it looks like this new swell will push most the average exposed spots into the chest-shoulder high range while the standout breaks will be shoulder-head high, possibly with some bigger sets mixing in at the best S facing breaks. I expect this swell to stick around for a couple of days after the “peak” hits…likely we will continue to see fun/rideable surf through the 7th before it really starts to drop off.

Further out the SPAC sort of quiets down a bit after the swell that hits this weekend and next week…but the charts are showing some more storm activity possibly forming in next 4-5 days…so we could be looking at another bigger pulse of SW swell arriving around the 17th…it won’t be totally flat between now and then…just nothing that really stands out enough to showcase it at this point.

Northeast Pacific Tropics
TS Olaf formed up this afternoon...and while he is well positioned he isn’t very strong or expected to last all that long before upper level shearing tears him apart (Bad Olaf!). We might see some very background tropical energy hiding in our swell mix this weekend but it will likely get lost in the more dominant S-SSW and WNW’ers.

Next Long-range forecast will be posted on Monday, October 5, 2009

Adam Wright
Surf Forecaster

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