Friday, February 27, 2009

Waves for the Weekend – some surf, some wind, a little rain

There will be some waves this weekend. Nothing great overall, but it will be surfable if you keep an open mind.

Weather is going to remain a little unstable...there some sort of upper-level disturbance that moves through the area over the next couple of days, potentially setting up some rain on Sunday/Monday but “not effecting the wind that much” according to some forecasts. Usually when this happens it means sort of fluky winds, sometimes onshore, sometimes swirly, sometimes just sort of depends on how you catch it and how exposed your surf spot is. I think it is going to be another couple of days of needing to sacrifice your swell exposure for wind protection (which is a crap deal if I ever heard of one) keep that in mind.

Swellwise we are going to see the mix of leftover WNW energy, some long-period, but shadowed NW swell, and some new/inconsistent SW swell (205-220 which means it gets shadowing from both the SPAC islands and the nearshore ones). The WNW-NW energy will be bigger on Saturday and the SW energy will be bigger on Sunday.

We are going to continue to see the average surf spots hold waves in the waist to occasionally chest high range. Standout combo spots, mostly through South OC and San Diego, see some chest-chest high+ sets...maybe even a couple of shoulder high waves on the lower tides.

Winds, like I mentioned will be swirly...I would look for lighter more variable wind through the morning and mostly W winds around 10-12 knots through the afternoon. The chance of some patchy fog on Saturday and some light showers on Sunday. I would try and stick with the spots that can pull in some of the swell but still have a little shelter from the potential bump.

Here are the tides...

04:59AM LST 0.6 L
10:46AM LST 3.7 H
04:38PM LST 1.0 L
10:57PM LST 5.0 H

05:54AM LST 0.6 L
11:41AM LST 3.1 H
05:02PM LST 1.4 L
11:36PM LST 5.0 H

Is it just me or has this winter been particularly sucky? Just going over my notes and looking at the posts I have throw together...and I feel like this winter has sucked so far. Has it sucked for you guys too?

I keep seeing photo slideshows on other websites that try and make it sound like there has been great surf in SoCal for the last couple of months, we just needed to have no jobs and sit at the beach all day long to score a perfect 15 minute (of good lighting) session. I personally have had a couple of fun sessions but they seem to pale compare to winters-past. Am I just getting old and bitter? Do you guys have any thoughts on the state of the winter?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Surf for Friday – leftovers and steep NW swell

Friday is looking more like a surf day.

We are going to have a few tide issues in the morning but there should be some rideable, but leftover WNW energy, local windswell, some background SW swell, and a new (but really steep) NW swell (290-300...really 295-300+). Here is a closer look at the current CDIP model...these are the local images (they are actually generated using a different set of buoys compared to the “full socal” version of this model)...I thought I would throw them up to break up the scenery a little.

For all that different swell activity it isn’t going to be all that big. We can expect more surf in the waist-chest high range at the average WNW facing spots and the better combo breaks.

The top combo spots and the really exposed NW winter spots can expect surf more consistently in the chest-high+ range with some inconsistent shoulder high+ sets pushing through at times.

Winds and weather should be better on Friday. The high-pressure is building back in tonight and winds are expected to go light and variable for tomorrow morning...staying below 5 knots for the morning. Winds do come onshore more in the afternoon but generally stay out of the WNW-NW around 10-12 knots. The one exception is up around Santa Barbara and Northern Ventura...looks like moderate NW winds hold most of the day...even through the morning.

Friday looks like we will get a few fun waves for most spots...nothing huge, or even that good shape, just sort of fun. The tide will be a bit of an issue in the morning so stick with spots that can handle a little water.

Also if you are looking for more size you are going to want to check out the more exposed winter breaks...even though that NW swell is sort of out of our swell window it has a little energy that will wrap around the corner and mix into our other swell... so if you are in SD or Ventura it might be worth hunting around the really exposed winter spots. It won’t be worth driving very far but if it only adds a couple of minutes to the search you might get lucky.

Here are the tides...

04:13AM LST 0.6 L
10:03AM LST 4.3 H
04:15PM LST 0.5 L
10:26PM LST 4.9 H

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Thursday’s Surf – Marginal but with a little more energy

Thursday isn’t looking like much of a surf day...

We will have a little more swell in the water from a couple of different sources but local winds are still pretty unstable. The winds didn’t do a very good job cleaning up this morning...there were a couple of rideable pockets but for the most part it was pretty sloppy. The current forecast has these winds continuing overnight, slowing down a touch in the morning, and then increasing again by Thursday afternoon, which needless to say is pretty lame.

Swellwise we are going to see a touch more energy in the water...local WNW-NW windswell is going to come up a couple of notches, we are going to have some longer-period NW energy (290-300 so it will be on the shadowed side), and there will be some slightly stronger SW swell (205-220) that pulses up in the background. The CDIP is showing a bit of the energy...but most of it is chop from the winds this afternoon so don’t get too excited.

For all of that activity it still looks like most of the average spots are going to hold around knee-waist high with some less consistent chest high sets sneaking through as the swells mix together. The standout combo spots and good NW facing breaks will have surf in the chest-high range fairly consistently and some bigger sets pushing through on the lower tides.

Winds are forecast to stay onshore overnight...but lighten up slightly for the morning. Right now it looks like we can expect WNW flow around 5-10 knots for the morning, lighter in some pockets around LA. It should have enough leftover chop that shape stays pretty funky into the dawn patrol. NW winds get back on the horse and come onshore around 10-15 knots by the afternoon.

With the winds, and the local windswell, holding into tomorrow I think that shape is going to be a bit ugly, particularly at the more open/exposed beaches. Even though there will be more size I expect to see those scattered, sort of sloppy, stacked up lines that you normally get with the shorter period swells. Personally I wouldn’t spend a lot of time checking it...maybe a cam check during the dawn patrol to see if the winds possibly laid down more than the forecast is calling for...but if it looks bumpy early don’t expect much of a clean up through the day.

Winds do look a little better by Friday and even cleaner by the weekend...there should be a little bit of swell still pushing through as it looks a bit more surfable over the next couple of days.

Here are the tides for Thursday...

03:34AM LST 0.8 L
09:25AM LST 4.8 H
03:52PM LST 0.1 L
09:59PM LST 4.8 H

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Waves for Wednesday – A few small ones

Wednesday will have a few small will be rideable but not very energetic.

We are going to see a mix of leftover WNW energy, some background SW swell, and a touch of building local windswell.

Most spots will be in the knee-waist high range while the standout WNW facing combo spots see some inconsistent chest high sets. Shape looks like it will be mostly soft with some occasionally faster sections.

Winds look a little better...check out the COAMPS for tomorrow...this is for around 7-8 am.

You can see that there is a little bit of circulation over Catalina...sort of like a mini-eddy. Based on this model winds look the best in The South Bay, Southern Ventura, and San Diego...Santa Barbara looks ok...but OC looks like it will have some southerly flow in the morning which is a bummer.

Overall I think it is going to be a lot like Tuesday but with a touch less size in the morning. It will be more fun if you bring your small wave gear...longboards and fish...and you can expect to sit a little bit between sets. I still wouldn’t drive very far unless you are absolutely jonesing to paddle out...just don’t expect a lot from a size/shape standpoint. The biggest, and I use the term loosely, surf will be around San Diego and Southern Ventura, but there should be a few playful waves in the other areas as well.

Here are the tides...

02:57AM LST 1.0 L
08:51AM LST 5.1 H
03:29PM LST -0.3 L
09:34PM LST 4.6 H

Monday, February 23, 2009

Tuesday’s Surf – getting funky

Tuesday isn’t going to be much of a surf day.

There will be some fading leftover WNW energy and some background SW swell but overall wave heights will be dropping and we can expect some increasing onshore winds.

Wave heights are going to hold around waist-high for most of the average exposed areas while the top NW facing spots and the good combo breaks see some chest high sets...maybe even a rare chest high+ set at the standout spots.

Winds are what I am more concerned about...forecasts are showing some onshore flow for the looks more variable onshore below 10 knots for the early morning but it starts to strengthen by midday and increases throughout the afternoon. Check out the COAMPS for the morning...

Really with the lack of swell and less than great winds I don’t think I would plan on too much surf tomorrow. Maybe a quick session in the morning if winds hold off and you don’t have to commit a lot of time to get to the beach...but if you are driving a lot you might want to save your gas money for another day.

Here are the tides...

02:23AM LST 1.2 L
08:18AM LST 5.3 H
03:07PM LST -0.5 L
09:12PM LST 4.3 H

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Random Travel Update – Mexico and Central America

I don’t know about you but I am pretty over the cold water and this mostly dismal winter. Yeah there have been a couple of swells here and there, but nothing that has been particularly noteworthy.

I have been starting to keep my eye on the South Pacific, which generally starts to get a more energetic over the next couple of months. I haven’t seen anything lining up for Socal (besides a couple of weak pulses of swell)…but I have been watching some fetch that has a bigger shot of SW swell heading toward Mainland Mexico and Northern Central America.

Now this isn’t the best swell in the world…it really isn’t that big at all…but the water will be warm, winds will be pretty decent, and it certainly will beat the hell out of surfing chilly waist-chest high stormy slop like we have been seeing.

You can actually see the storm right now on the QuikSCAT…

This is actually the second portion of the storm…there was a stronger front that rolled through setting up some nice sea-state for this fetch to work with. Like I said it isn’t super strong…most of the winds hold around 30-35 knots...but the fetch is pretty wide, it moves along the great-circle patch (so it is moving towards the region), and the pre-existing sea-state helps out as well.

This is the swell on the WWIII model…

At this point it looks like the SW swell (205-225) will start to arrive with some longer-period, 18 second, energy late on Feb 27th…and then peak late on the 28th and into March 1st before it fades out through the remainder of next week. There are a couple more storms forecast to run around down there, nothing great, but enough to keep wave heights from dropping too fast after this pulse starts to back down

This incoming swell looks like it will be a consistent chest-head high swell for most of the decent SW facing spots through the Southern Mainland Mexico and Northern Central America region. A few of the deepwater spots may see some overhead sets as it peaks.

Like I said…not huge…but it does sound a lot more fun than what we have around here. Hope some of you guys can sneak away…if anyone does get down there make sure to send me a couple of pics so that I can curl up into a ball of hypothermic jealousy.

Surf for Monday – Leftovers and some little storm

Monday isn’t looking like much of a surf day.

We are going to see a mix of leftover WNW energy, some local windswell, and some inconsistent and slightly shadowed SW swell.

On average most spots will be in the knee-waist high range…with a bit of burger shape as we hit the morning high tide. The top combo spots…really just Northern San Diego and South OC…will have some chest and maybe even shoulder high waves. Sets will be pretty inconsistent and the tide swampiness is going to affect it as well.

Winds and weather don’t look stellar either (Debbie Downer!)…we have a bit of a cold front moving through the area and while it isn’t expected to blow things out it probably won’t make it super clean either. Basically I am expecting some variable winds, cleanest in the early morning. The variable turns onshore and increases to about 10-12 knots for the afternoon. There will be a chance at showers throughout the day as well.

I think that if you haven’t gotten waves for a few days that it might be worth at least checking the cams in the morning…if conditions have held together, and your local spot isn’t having too many swell direction or tide issues…then try and grab a few (it is never good to leave a peak unridden if you don’t have too). I wouldn’t expect much from it but at least you might be able to snag a section or two.

Here are the tides.

01:51AM LST 1.5 L
07:47AM LST 5.4 H
02:44PM LST -0.6 L
08:52PM LST 4.1 H

Friday, February 20, 2009

Waves for the weekend – more surf...but watch the tide

Saturday and Sunday will both be surf days...but we are going to have to watch the morning high tide.

We are going to see a mix of WNW energy (280-300) that will actually peak tonight and will hold into Saturday before slowly backing off on Sunday. At the same time we are going to have some background SW swell running through Saturday and then a slightly stronger pulse of SW energy arriving on Sunday and holding into Monday.

Overall it looks like the winter spots on Saturday are going to be the biggest...but the combo spots should have a few fun waves as well. On average the WNW facing spots and the combo breaks will have surf in the waist-chest high range with a few bigger sets sneaking through on the lower tides.

Standout breaks, again in San Diego and Ventura (and a couple of other areas), will have more consistent surf in the shoulder-head high range on the sets and some slightly bigger sets at the best spots on the lower tides.

Winds look good for both days...mostly light and variable through the early morning and then light onshore for the midday and moderately onshore (10-14 knots) by the afternoons.

If you are looking for bigger more consistent surf you are going to have to stick to the winter areas...if you are trying squeeze a lot out of the combo spots you are going to be a bit will be inconsistent and tide sensitive, so there will be some long waits between waves. I think that all types of breaks will be pretty similar over the weekend but if you have a spot that really pulls in swell that is going to be the best call.

Make sure to plan around the high is going to pretty swampy through the dawn patrols...make sure the spot you pick is working on the higher tide before spending a lot of time driving.

Here are the tides...have a good weekend!

12:47AM LST 2.1 L
06:41AM LST 5.1 H
01:57PM LST -0.5 L
08:16PM LST 3.6 H

01:20AM LST 1.8 L
07:15AM LST 5.3 H
02:21PM LST -0.6 L
08:33PM LST 3.8 H

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Surf for Friday – less work more surfing

Friday is looking pretty surfable.

We have some swell in the water, winds will be light in the morning, and, if things hold together long enough for the tide to drop, we should have some fun zippy shape.

I even got a session in on Thursday...a few little dumpy peaks on the lunchtime low tide. (I even dared my immune system by surfing close to a rivermouth...but now a feel a bit funkier than normal). Anyway it was fun, and sort of racy, and the water was brown and cold, which is what I expected.

On Friday we can expect a mix of WNW energy (275-300) from all over the place...some is from over the dateline, some is from storms just under the Aleutians, and some is from the nice little storm we just had form up off the coast. There is also some SW southern hemi swell in the background that is helping to round out the swell mix.

Surfwise we can expect some building sizes won’t be huge but it will be bigger than Thursday. Look for the average WNW facing breaks and decent combo spots to see surf in the chest-shoulder high range tomorrow...maybe even a few bigger sets when the swells mix right.

Standout NW facing spots and top combo breaks, which have the most exposure to the swell, will be in the shoulder-head high range fairly consistently on the sets...and then some bigger, potentially head high+ surf, on the lower tides in the afternoon.

Winds and weather look good...mostly light and variable to light offshore for the morning. NW winds around 10-12+ knots for the afternoon.

Size and consistency are going to depend on the spot tomorrow...breaks in San Diego, Ventura, and a few of the really well exposed spots in the other areas, are going to see the most size tomorrow. The winter spots in those regions will be the most consistent but you should have fun at the combo spots as well. Points/Reefs/Beach Breaks should all be working tomorrow but I think the points/reefs will have slightly better shape...the beach breaks may get walled up on the lower tides. The wind may start to get to it a little before lunch so try and weigh the “tide shape” vs the wind bump and see if you can some middle ground.

Here are the tides...

12:09AM LST 2.5 L
06:02AM LST 4.8 H
01:30PM LST -0.3 L
08:00PM LST 3.5 H

On a personal note I want to give a big Congrats to my good friend Scott, who reads the forecasts and just had a baby girl (but since he is flying a Blackhawk in Iraq hasn’t had a chance to see her in person yet). Congratulations Scott! Welcome to fatherhood man!

Thursday’s Surf – Random morning surf report

So since I was trapped on a plane again on Wednesday I missed the forecast…but I did get a lot of text messages from my friends telling me that the surf was finally good on Wednesday (well not “good” but better than the mess we had over the last few days). So I was properly tortured.

Anyway, I was looking at the cams and the beach this morning and it looks like we have some fun, if a bit high-tide swampy, surf out there this morning.

Our swell is a mix of new WNW energy, some background SW swell, and a touch of leftover windswell. We also have a new storm that is holding off the coast about 800 miles that will be slowly leaking in some W-WNW swell throughout the day and should start to peak later tonight and into Friday.

On average the WNW breaks and the good combo spots are seeing chest-shoulder high surf. It is soft thanks to the tide but clean in the SD, OC, and LA areas, and a little funky up around Ventura/SB (the winds are little more side shore lumpy for the few spots I could see around there).

I think that as the tide drops (and if the winds hold together) we should start to see some bigger head high and head high+ sets at the standout NW facing spots by the afternoon.

Here are the tides…I will be back to the normal update schedule by this afternoon

05:14AM LST 4.5 H
12:59PM LST -0.1 L
07:45PM LST 3.3 H

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Waves for Wednesday – Better winds...water is still a bit poopy

Looks like Wednesday is going to be a surf day.

Water quality will still be poor but winds and waves will be much better organized. Overall the surf is going to be smaller as the storm swell fades out but there should be enough energy leftover to pull in a few fun ones at the more exposed spots.

On average the W facing breaks will be in the chest to about shoulder high range. The top NW facing spots see some shoulder-head high sets...biggest through the morning. I want to stay conservative on this call because so much is riding on the windswell which is going to fade pretty expect sort of playful sizes through the morning but be on the lookout for some bigger sets if the wind/storm swell manages to hang on a bit longer. You can see on the buoy that it is already on the way out...(add in the fact that the swell periods are so short and you can expect a lot of swell decay over a short time period).

Weather on the other hand looks nice. Winds go light and variable to light offshore through the morning and stay variable below 10-12 knots through the afternoon. There may still be a bit of warble to the shape but it will be leftover bump rather than new wind chop. Expect some scattered clouds but rain should be done for now.

The NW facing spots are going to be the best on Wednesday...San Diego and Ventura will be the biggest and the most consistent...but enough of the winter spots in other regions will be fun size as well. Shape is going to be the dumpy, close to shore, windswelly peaks with some occasionally punchier waves from a mix of long-period WNW energy holding in the background. Beach breaks will likely have the best shape, with the windswell-liking points coming in a close second place. Watch the high tide in the may be a little boggy until it drops.

04:08AM LST 4.3 H
12:20PM LST 0.3 L
07:33PM LST 3.1 H
11:13PM LST 2.8 L

Monday, February 16, 2009

Tuesday’s Surf – Don’t drink the brown water

So Tuesday is sort of actually looking a little surfable.

It won’t be super clean…and shape won’t be all that great…and the water quality is going to be unhealthy…but it does look like winds are going to lay down tonight and there should be plenty of swell leftover.

We are going to have a mix of W-NW wind/storm/short-period energy (270-300) and some longer-period WNW swell (290+) on Tuesday. Most W facing spots will be in the chest-shoulder high range tomorrow morning while the standout spots see some head high and potentially bigger sets through the morning (but a lot is going to depend on how much windswell holds overnight).

Right now it looks like winds are going to back off. The storm is passing through and a nice solid lump of cold air is moving over socal. It looks like that temp drop is going to help to push off the trailing portion of this storm and set up light/variable to even light offshore winds for most areas tomorrow morning. NW winds will get back on the horse pretty quickly through midday but there should at least be a window of better winds through the morning.

I would stick to the standout winter spots, like those in SD or Ventura, if you are looking for big waves tomorrow. The WNW’er is going to be driving a lot of the excess size but it is coming in from a bit of a steeper angle which means not every spots is going to be exposed. Stick with the top winter breaks and you should see plenty of size. Other lesser exposed breaks will be more windswelly, and tide/wind sensitive…but should still be playful despite the smaller sizes. As usual with as much rain as we had the water is going to be poo-tacular so if you get the bird-flu easy or have kids at home you might want to skip the turd lineup for a couple of days.

Here are the tides…I should be back on a more normal update schedule by tomorrow afternoon. Oh and we have just a single low and high tomorrow. Plan on the tide being high through the evening.

02:42AM LST 4.2 H
11:24AM LST 0.7 L

Monday’s Junk – Looking a bit nasty out there

So the storm that was supposed to arrive over the weekend just got here…and it is pretty ugly out there for most spots. (Naturally I was traveling all weekend and didn’t get a chance to update the forecast when the storm stalled…sounds like there were some fun waves while the winds held down. anyway…).

I was actually looking at the METOC/COAMPS wind analysis and noticed a couple of funky spots out there right now…that are sort of showing winds that aren’t totally blowing conditions out…so I looked a few of the surf cams and there are a couple of areas with semi-legit conditions. Granted the weather is pretty lame…but shape isn’t totally torn to shreds and there is a bit more size thanks to the building windswell.

Check out the map…

You can see that the South Bay, parts of Ventura, and possibly parts of central San Diego (La Jolla in particular)…may be semi manageable. Out of all the cams the conditions in the South Bay look the best, but the surf shape isn’t anything stellar…just the usual lumpy, bumpy peaks that you get with storm swell.

Anyway I just wanted to throw that out there…if you like storm swell, don’t mind the rain and the likelihood of toxic-waste, shopping carts, and raw sewage in the lineup you might be able to pick off a few if you are in the right area. Naturally don’t waste a lot of time driving to these spots but if you are close by it might be worth a look.

I will be back with the forecast for Tuesday later tonight.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Waves for the weekend – Not looking very good

I think the title sort of sums up our chances at legit surf this weekend.

Yeah there will be some size as the NW windswell fills in along with the storm, but conditions, water quality, and surf shape are all going to be in the toilet.

We can expect a mix of NW windswell, and some more westerly storm swell pushing in as we head through Saturday and Sunday (with a bigger bump hitting on Monday). For the most part the average spots are going to hover around chest high…with a few bigger sets.

The standout NW facing breaks, again the usual suspects in San Diego and Ventura, are going to have some shoulder high+ surf and some bigger waves at times.

Shape for all areas is looking pretty poor at this time. We have a new storm front that is moving into the SoCal area later tonight that is expected to continue to tweak winds and weather through Saturday. There is a second front that moves through later on Sunday that will also screw with both winds and weather through the end of the weekend and into Monday. Basically we can expect a mix of SW-W-NW winds (all onshore) blowing in the 10-15 knot range for both days…probably some stronger gusts mixing in as well. Looks like rain and more poo-water runoff expected through the weekend as well.

I don’t think there is much chance at rideable surf at least based on today’s forecast. We can hope that the storm doesn’t bring as much wind as the weather model is indicating, but it is sort of like wishing that we will all get to ride a unicorn. Entertaining but not super realistic.

Now there may be a few pockets of semi-surfable conditions now and then…it really depends on how intense and fast these new cold fronts move…but you do get some transition winds as things move around. If you live close to the beach (and again don’t mind the water quality) you might be able to find a little peaky nugget at the top windswell spots. I wouldn’t commit a lot of time to trying to find something like that but I thought I would mention for the diehards.

Anyway…have a good one! (and happy hallmark card…uh…I mean happy Valentines day to all of you!)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Surf on Friday – Approaching Storm

Overall Friday is not going to be much of a surf day but again we are going to see a small window of cleaner conditions through the morning.

Swellwise we are going to continue to have a mix of WNW-NW windswell with short sort of ugly swell periods…there will be a bit of longer-period WNW energy holding in the background but it is mostly going to get lost in the junkiness.

Wave heights we are going to see more of the chest-shoulder high range at the average NW facing spots. The standouts, again mostly in SD (and maybe Southern Ventura) will have some shoulder-head high sets but with relatively poor shape.

Weatherwise the new storm front is moving down the coast but forecasts have been slowly edging its arrival further and further back…at this point it is calling for S-SW winds building through the morning and then turning WSW 10-20+25 knots by midday/afternoon as the main chunk of weather starts to arrive.

Again it looks like there may be a little window of lighter winds in the morning…check out the COAMPS for tomorrow morning.

I haven’t be totally stoked on the COAMPS accuracy but it is showing a little bubble of light blue (winds under 5 knots) for the morning…even a couple of spots with sort of SE flow like Long Beach and the South Bay. It doesn’t last long but it may mean that there is a chance for rideable surf (rideable being a relative term) in the morning.

Really I wouldn’t plan on getting a lot of surf tomorrow…and I wouldn’t spend a lot of time driving around to get the slim shot at waves in the morning. It is more of a “hey I live sort of close to the beach…maybe I should look at a cam in the morning and see if it is already blown out sort of thing”. Nothing exciting…hopefully this lame part of the winter will end soon and we can get back to some cleaner conditions (and maybe a little combo swell).

Here are the tides…

05:40AM LST 0.8 L
11:22AM LST 3.9 H
05:26PM LST 0.8 L
11:52PM LST 4.8 H

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Thursday’s Surf – oh look more wind...that is just great

Thursday is looking sloppy...but there may be a slim chance at something rideable in the morning.

NW winds are supposed to build later tonight as a new cold front (can it get colder?) moves through the area. You can see the lovely little bugger on the GOES doesn’t look particularly wet, but it does look windy. (oh and you can see the next wet storm that moves in on Friday/Saturday).

Naturally these winds will increase local NW windswell and add to overall size as it mixes with some longer-period WNW energy and some background SW swell. Unfortunately it also means that conditions will generally be poop.

Expect most spots to build back into the chest high+ range on Thursday. Top NW facing spots, mostly through San Diego and Northern Baja, will have shoulder-head high surf but with super short swell periods (around 5-6 seconds). Basically I am expecting some more lumpy size but with poor shape.

Now a lot depends on how this low actually behaves tonight...forecasts are calling for W-NW winds increasing to 10-20 knots tonight with gusts nearing 25 knots after midnight. These winds are supposed to stick around all day on Thursday and generally trash conditions. We may want to keep a close eye on the winds tonight though...

What sometimes happens is that the super-dense cold air, like what we have right now, won’t erode out as fast as the weather model sometimes anticipates, and it will actually slow down a front or slide it away from the coast forcing it inland over Central California. If this occurs we can sometimes get a little window of surfyness, particularly through a colder morning.

If you are an insomniac (and you live a reasonable distance from the ocean) you might want to keep an eye on the winds late tonight...if they aren’t super strong, or they stay variable, there may be a shot to get some of the new building swell mix before the winds get to it (particularly at the more protected spots). Of course if the front steamrolls us like it is forecasted to...then we will all just want to stay in bed. I recommend a surf cam check before committing to any serious driving tomorrow (by serious I mean anything over 15 minutes).

Here are the tides...

04:47AM LST 0.7 L
10:34AM LST 4.7 H
04:58PM LST 0.1 L
11:15PM LST 4.9 H

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Wednesday – a shot at some waves

Wednesday could be a surf just depends on your tolerance for high-tide burgers and hepatitis A through F.

We will still have plenty fading but still fun-sized WNW-NW energy in the water...mostly short-period storm-swell leftovers but still rideable at the right spots. Size will be gradually dropping throughout the day but I think that overall shape will actually improve (and the surf seem bigger) as the tide drops through midday/afternoon...the winds may get to it before it has much of a chance to improve though.

Sizewise we can expect some waist-chest high+ surf at the average W facing breaks. Top spots, mostly at the better NW facing breaks in Ventura and San Diego, will have shoulder head high sets, which will get a little less consistent through the afternoon.

Winds look OK...some of the forecasts are calling for SE-ESE winds through the morning...but honestly thanks to that huge shot of cold-ass air that nearly froze my teats off this morning I think that morning winds will be more light/variable than anything. (That is actually what ended up happening on Tuesday...the cold air steamrolled the leftover wind gradient setting up variable to almost offshore winds for some areas through the morning. As a forecaster there is nothing like calling for wind and then having Mother Nature step up and hose you down overnight...anyway enough about my problems). I do expect some moderate onshore breeze through the afternoon.

Personally I am probably going to skip the surf tomorrow...I get enough germs from my kids I don’t need to give myself an extra-shot of the poo-water bird flu...but that is just me. I think that there will be a bunch of mushy, scattered peaks at the standouts beach breaks, probably some nice sideways current too thanks to all the stacked up shape. The points/reefs may be a bit funky but if you can find a spot that likes the shorter-period swell it could still be pretty fun.

Here are the tides...

03:57AM LST 0.7 L
09:49AM LST 5.5 H
04:27PM LST -0.6 L
10:40PM LST 4.9 H

Monday, February 9, 2009

Tuesday’s Surf – More windy poopy mess

There will be plenty of energy in the water on Tuesday, unfortunately most of it will be NW windswell and the winds will be coming right along with it.

Most exposed spots can expect chest-shoulder high W-NW swell with poor shape and consistent onshore winds. Top spots will be head high and bigger but again with poor shape thanks to those winds.

Right now forecasts are calling for W-NW winds around 10-20 knots for most of the morning backing off to 10-15 knots for the afternoon. The rain is supposed to trail off tonight but there may still be some scattered clouds sneaking throughout the day.

Really Tuesday isn’t going to be very surfable (if at all) for most of SoCal. The W-WNW winds stay pretty strong tonight and are planning on leaving a large lump of chop/windswell hitting the better exposed spots make matters worse the wind isn’t forecast to let up through the early part of the just keeps on blowing through the day which means our surf shape keeps on blowing too.

There is one little ray of hope for the early morning. There are a few spots in Santa Barbara that look like the winds may be a bit more manageable in the morning...more of N-NW flow early that is a little more offshore/side offshore for a few of the points and reefs up that way. Unfortunately those same SB spots that can handle the wind will also miss out on most of the you get a little cleaner conditions but less surf to go along with it. The little window of cleaner winds closes pretty fast and even those spots are expected to be sloppy by the afternoon. It won’t be worth driving any sort of distance to even check those spots...even walking a couple of blocks sounds like a big time investment for the surf/water/weather quality I am talking about...but I thought I would point it...anyway.

Looks like there will be a little cleaner conditions by Wednesday...nothing great but less wind than Tuesday, which like my grandpa likes to say is better than being poked with a sharp stick.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Monday’s mess – Looking nasty

Monday is going to be pretty tore up thanks to another cold front moving in.

Local NW windswell will be on the rise…as well as some WNW energy coming off a different part of this storm but for the most part it looks like the winds from the front are going to give any shape we held onto over the weekend a good working over.

We can expect more surf in the chest-shoulder high range while the standouts see some bigger sets. Overall shape is going to be poor to very poor…there may be a couple of really protected spots that will be “slightly better than poor” but I don’t think they are going to have much surf.

Check out the forecast winds for tomorrow…

These look pretty nasty and even the NWS is getting in on the act…calling for SW winds 10-20 knots for most areas and gusts nearing 30 knots as the storm really starts to push through.

Personally when I start seeing numbers and conditions like these (on top of the “sprayed yoohoo” water quality we have got going on) it makes me want to stay in bed. I will probably give the cams a once over in the morning but I am definitely not expecting much. Not much point the tides tomorrow…it will be high in the morning so if the front holds off we can expect pretty boggy shape early in the day.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Waves for the Weekend – A few shots at surf and good dose of poo water

I don’t think this is going to be a “surf” weekend but...and it is a big but...if you keep your eyes on the weather and wind, you might get a few rideable waves sneaking through at the more wind-protected spots.

Overall I think it is going to be pretty junky with on and off S winds, rain, and some nasty leftover chop. Add in that the water quality is going to be totally shot to hell...and it doesn’t make for great sessions. (I usually mention this...but most Health Officials recommend avoiding ocean water contact for a period of at least 72 hours after a heavy rain has stopped). There will be enough instability in the local weather that there may be periods where winds lay down or even shift more E-ESE as portions of the storm pass...not anything we can count on...but worth watching if you don’t mind the water quality.

Swellwise we will have a mix of W energy (260-300) and SW windswell from the storm and a couple of other longer-range storms. Wave heights will stay consistently around chest-shoulder high for most W facing breaks. Standout W-NW facing spots will be in the shoulder-overhead range.

Winds and weather will be pretty shot for most of the really exposed beaches...particularly the open beach breaks...and it will be on and off clouds, periods of rain, and a couple of pockets of broken up sunshine throughout the weekend.

Check out the latest COAMPS for Saturday and Sunday morning. As you can see the winds are sort of all over the place...and while these look OK right now I expect the model to completely change as the next run is computed (that almost sounds dirty...I just computed in that port-o-potty...anyway I obviously need an alcoholic beverage at this point in the afternoon ).

Saturday morning

Sunday morning

I wish I had some better advice than “keep an eye on it” but really with these types of swells/storms that is sort of what you have to do to get good waves. I think you can maximize your chances by sticking with spots that are both exposed to the WNW and protected from the S winds (which will be the more dominant direction throughout the day). If you can’t pony up the white-blood cells to wade through all of the extra poo...well there is always snowboarding (plenty of new snow on the mountain).

Here are the tides...have a good one and stay safe, especially when driving around this weekend.

12:41AM LST 1.8 L
06:46AM LST 6.3 H
02:08PM LST -1.5 L
08:28PM LST 4.0 H

01:33AM LST 1.4 L
07:35AM LST 6.5 H
02:46PM LST -1.6 L
09:00PM LST 4.3 H

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Surf on Friday – Looking messy with some possible pockets

So we have swell in the water...and the winds aren’t horrible everywhere right now (as I write this a whole lot of San Diego is surfable, the South Bay is clean, and whole areas protected from the S-SE winds in Ventura are mostly offshore) isn’t great surf but it is bigger than earlier this week, so we finally have something to ride.

That W-WNW swell will keep building tonight and peak sometime after midnight.

It looks good for easy chest-shoulder high surf at most W facing breaks. A few of the standout W-NW facing spots, the usual good winter breaks, will have some head high and overhead sets mixing it. I don’t think it is going to come in much bigger than that since the swell periods are already starting to shorten up to around 13-14 seconds. Check out the CDIPer to see how it is hitting this afternoon.

Winds and weather will be the issue again tomorrow. Forecasts are calling for consistent S-SW winds around 10-15 knots for most areas and stronger gusts through the morning. The winds aren’t that strong but they will have a lot of time on the water tonight so I am expecting some decent chop by tomorrow morning and holding through most of the day.

Now if you don’t mind the questionable water quality and you are relatively close to the beach I think you should probably plan on keeping a “weather eye” on conditions. With the storm moving directly over us there is going to be a fair amount of shifting around windwise at times...if things line up for local area, or you have some great protection from the S winds, I think there are going to be some surfable windows tomorrow. It won’t be great surf...but it will be fairly consistent, have some decent size, and be a lot better than the total flatness we just powered through. Personally I am going to keep my gear in the truck just in case things pull together around my neck of the woods.

Here are the tides...

05:52AM LST 6.0 H
01:29PM LST -1.2 L
07:56PM LST 3.6 H

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Thursday’s Surf – A chance at some building W swell

Overall Thursday isn’t going to be a great surf day BUT there is a chance for us to pick off some of the building W swell in the morning before the wind and the weather get to it.

We are going to see a mix of building W-WNW energy (270-300) filling throughout the day…it is going to be a funky mix of longer-period energy from a storm that brushed the edge of the Gulf of Alaska, and some medium/short-period energy coming in from a storm just off the coast.

Check out the GOES Satellite photo of this storm…

You can see the little spinner just off the coast…(it is also the one that will be sending us the weather for the next several days). Storms like this are sort of a pain in the ass from a forecasting standpoint. They are a bit fluky…sometimes coming on strong and then sometimes only showing circulation in the upper levels without “wind on the water” that we need for swell. They also are low enough in latitude that swell they produce misses the outer buoys and comes directly into the coast…hitting everywhere about the same time…with little warning or readings before they arrive.

Anyway this one seems like it has pretty good circulation on the surface, and so I have a tendency to agree with the wave-model, and expect new W swell arriving tomorrow, peaking tomorrow night, and holding solid into Friday.

Check out the CDIP sideways forecast…lots of swell…(but a lot of the stuff showing Friday/Sat is going to be wind chop layering in on top of the actual swell).

Sizewise I am expecting most of the W facing beaches to see surf in the chest-shoulder high range through the morning. The top spots will have some bigger sets mixing in…probably close to head high through the morning. Eventually this swell will peak in the afternoon (into Friday) with surf running consistently in the chest-head high+ range for most W facing breaks. Top spots, mostly in San Diego, The South Bay, and Ventura, will have overhead surf with sets going a couple of feet overhead at times.

Weather is going to be the issue…the front from this system is coming in right after the swell starts to arrive. I am crossing my fingers that it will stall a little bit and give us a chance at getting some fun waves before it falls apart.

The COAMPS wind model is showing morning winds to be running ESE-SE through the morning around sunrise…but shifting straight to the S by midmorning. Forecasts are calling for scattered showers through the morning and more rain by the afternoon.

Check out the difference between 1200 zulu (4am)

and 1500 zulu (8am)

As for getting waves tomorrow…we are going to have swell…but we need to work around the wind. I think the best call is going to be W facing spots that are sheltered from the S winds. Yeah it won’t be really southy winds right at first…but I am thinking about longer sessions…if you pick a spot with some protection it will stay cleaner longer as the winds start to switch, giving you a better shot at bigger surf as the W-WNW swell fills in. (There are quite a few spots along the coast that have this sort of set up…take a closer look at the COAMPS and you should be able to find a few spots).

Anyway here are the tides…lets get some surf tomorrow.

04:51AM LST 5.6 H
12:45PM LST -0.9 L
07:24PM LST 3.3 H
11:40PM LST 2.2 L

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Waves for Wednesday – Doctor I feel a pulse!

Wednesday isn’t going to be a great surf day but it is going to be a little more rideable than the last couple of days.

We are going to see a small pulse of inconsistent SW swell (200-220) and a slow increase in WNW energy (285-300) in the background. You can see on the CDIPper that there is a little of the mix showing in the model this evening...should be a touch more of both by tomorrow.

Overall we are not going to see a huge jump in the surf...the average exposed breaks will move into a more consistent knee high range. The better standout combo breaks will be more in the inconsistent waist high range...and a few of the top spots, mostly in San Diego and Orange County, will have a few scattered chest high sets by later in the afternoon.

Winds look good too...mostly offshore through the morning...sort of an E-ESE bend to it. Check out the COAMPS for tomorrow morning. (I don’t think it will be as intense as this is calling for but I think it has the general idea).

Afternoon winds will be fairly calm as well...mostly variable around 10-12 knots.

So while we are going to see some slightly better waves tomorrow it isn’t going to be stellar...I would still recommend your small wave gear, probably longboards, for most spots. The morning is going to be pretty inconsistent but we should see a general increase in consistency as we head toward the end of the day. Don’t spend a lot of time driving for waves...but if you close enough for a driveby I would give it a look (or spend a little quality time checking the cameras).

As for Thursday...conditions are still looking a bit nasty...but there is a chance at S-SE winds through the morning dawn-patrol that may help us see a few pockets of cleaner conditions. Forecasts are not showing this little window lasting long so it may even be gone before the sun comes up...but at least we have a chance (1 in a 1000? More like 1 in a million Lloyd) of getting some of the increasing W-WNW swell before the winds and the rain turn it to poo.

Here are the tides for Wednesday...

03:40AM LST 5.2 H
11:54AM LST -0.2 L
06:48PM LST 2.9 H
10:19PM LST 2.5 L

Monday, February 2, 2009

Surf for Tuesday – more of the same

Tuesday won’t be much of a surf day either.

The minimal mix of swell will continue to leak through on Tuesday. Yeah there are a couple of longboard peaks here and there but for the most part it is pretty f-ing small. We are basically just working off a mix of weak background swell energy and some small windswell.

Surfwise we can expect wave heights to hold in the ankle-knee high range at most of the average spots on Tuesday…and knee high might be generous at times. The top NW facing spots, mostly in San Diego, will have more consistent knee high sets with a couple of soft knee high+ peaks sneaking though at times.

Winds look good…mostly light and variable to light offshore for the morning. NW winds around 10-12 knots with some stronger gusts move in through the afternoon. Mostly sunny skies again as well.

It will be another day for the small wave gear…longboards are the best call if you weigh over 100lbs. Expect cold water, mostly clean conditions, and small to almost flat surf at most spots. The top NW spots will be marginally better but won’t be worth driving any sort of distance to surf…in fact unless you are just jonesing for paddle I wouldn’t drive more than a few miles to get to the beach…but that might just be my small-surf frustration poking through…anyways at least there will be some bigger waves arriving later this week.

Oh I came up with a good plan for SoCal to get a lot more surf…check it out…

…all I need is a whole lot of dynamite, some bulldozers, and just a few dredges and we should be able to pull it off. (Sorry Santa Barbara…I did leave Rincon, which should make you feel better)

Anyway enough of my particular crazy…here are the tides

02:24AM LST 4.9 H
10:47AM LST 0.5 L
05:48PM LST 2.5 H
08:20PM LST 2.4 L

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Monday’s Surf – Still small…but swell on the way

Monday won’t be much of a surf day.

There still isn’t much swell out there…just some weak marginal leftover energy from both the NW and SW.

Basically we can expect ankle-knee high surf at most of the average spots and some more consistent knee high sets at the top spots. There is a little more windswell in the water right now but I am expecting it to fade fast through the morning as winds slacken up overnight.

Weather looks fine…basically light/variable/offshore for the morning, some fog as well. Winds turn onshore but stay below 12-15 knots for the afternoon.

There really isn’t a good call tomorrow, unless you count staying in bed or getting some chores done. If you have to paddle around stick to a top spot and bring your longboard…that way you can pick off a couple of mushy soft ones if a peak sneaks through now and then.

Since I don’t have a lot of surf to talk about for Monday I did take a look at the long-range forecast…The surf is going to get bigger later this week but the weather is going to go poop too…it is basically going to be a race to see if some new W-WNW swell can fill in before the storm front pushes over the region.

This new little low, and some other fetch currently just to the north of Hawaii, are going to be setting up some new W-WNW swell (260-300) that will start to arrive late on the 4th and will peak into the 5-6th. I don’t think there is going to be much showing on the 4th itself…most of the energy will be arriving after sundown…but there will be a small/weak pulse of SSW energy filling in that day that could help add a touch more size than we are seeing right now.

At this point it looks like we are going to lose the weather race…the wind models as well as the NWS are calling for S winds and rain on Thursday the 5th…and more on Friday. But sometimes these fronts will stall out leaving us with some building swell without the weather…hopefully this will be the case this time. Check back…I will have some more updates as we get a little closer.