Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Surf for Thursday – WNW swell continues

Thursday will be a surf day.

Our WNW swell (280-300 but with the main punch of energy coming in around 290-300) will peak overnight into Thursday, mixing with some local short-period WSW-WNW windswell and some very background SW energy.

One main difference between Wednesday and Thursday’s surf is the dropping swell period…

Like a few of you commented…we saw a lot of long-period weirdness on Wednesday. What happens on days like this is that when we have such long swell-periods the swell will feel the sea-floor at much deeper water depths than shorter-periods. Since these swells are hitting parts of the sea-floor that they normally don’t they start to refract and bend into certain areas…and this sometimes will actually pull swell that was supposed to be hitting one section of the beach and double it up in on another spot. It makes finding waves a little tricky…but can be pretty rewarding if you know where to look. Here is the “NOWCAST” analysis from the CDIP group…you can definitely see the “wrap” as the swell refracts through the nearshore islands.

So back on topic…on Thursday the swell period is going to drop…moving from the 18-19 seconds we had on Wednesday into a more standard 15-16 seconds. As this happens the swell-height will actually come up a notch as well. With both of these factors switching around I think that the surf will “feel” bigger and more consistent on Thursday than it did in most places on Wednesday. Here is the “forecast” CDIP that I normally post…this is for 7am Thursday.

Surfwise on Thursday we can expect the average W-WNW facing breaks to see surf in the chest-shoulder high range…with a few bigger sets pushing in at spots with a bit more WNW exposure. The better WNW-NW facing breaks will be running a consistent shoulder-overhead range with some sets going a few feet overhead at times…generally these spots will be in the Ventura, South Bay, and South San Diego regions but there a handful of breaks throughout Socal that will be in those sizes.

Standout NW facing breaks, the real wintertime standouts in the South SD, Ventura, and South Bay areas, will have surf consistently head high to a few feet overhead range with a few sets going several feet overhead to about double-overhead at times through the morning.

Winds look good for the morning…mostly light and variable for LA down through San Diego. Santa Barbara and Ventura will have some easterly flow 10-15 knots in the morning with some stronger 15-20 knot gusts at times. Look for building S-SSE’erly winds and increasing clouds through the day…chance for some rain in the afternoon.

Plenty of waves on tap for tomorrow…and it looks like between the size of the surf, conditions, and the decent tides, that it will be one of those days where it will be worth driving to find some waves. About the only real catch is that most spots are going to be surfable, except for the purely S facing breaks, so you will be able to find waves close to home as well. If you are looking for larger and more consistent surf plan on sticking to those standout areas I mentioned above. Try and get on it earlier in the day too…the winds look like they could get funky by the afternoon.

Have a good one…here are the tides…stay safe!

12/10/2009 Thursday
04:18AM LST 5.2 H
11:17AM LST 1.0 L
04:53PM LST 3.5 H
10:26PM LST 1.3 L


Anonymous said...

Swells are just like women.
I hate dropping periods, now I have to rewax the floor. One moment she 's feeling my seafloor and then she's bending and hitting another spot and doubling over.
What an Assswell!

matthew said...

Hey Adam
Thanks again for the info yesterday; decided to go out today and although the crowd was minimal, the waves came through. I can't believe I almost stayed home this afternoon. If I drink my OJ and get plenty of sunshine and I should be ready for the next call.

As said by many before me, your services are invaluable to surfers and weather watchers alike. I come here for brain-waves even when I know I'll be staying dry.

Anonymous said...


WTF? swell looks to have dropped big time! san pedro is 3.9' @ 14. wasn't the swell size supposed to get bigger while the period drops?

Anonymous said...

CDIP was 5-6 ft last night. This swell has dropped big time. Good thing I got some size yesterday.

Anonymous said...

hey adam, checking the reports this morning it looks like the swell has dropped dramaticly, every surf forcaster out there had thursday as ''the day'' for some solid winter swell, now im packing my smaller wave gear, looking at the charts it doesnt look like there much island blockage, and even in SD the swell has dropped quite a bit, what the heck happend?