Thursday, January 7, 2010

Southern California Long-range Surf Forecast – 1/07/2010

Forecast Overview

It will be a surf weekend, and it will be a surfy early next week, with more surfiness later next week, and an extra helping of surf the following weekend. Really there is just going to be a lot of waves from overlapping WNW swells that last “at least” through the middle of the month.

Short Range (next 4 days)

It looks like our swell is lagging a little bit right now…so I am expecting new waves to show on Friday but just start a little slower than it looked like they did in the last forecast. New W-WNW swell (275-300) moves in early in the morning and builds throughout the day mixing with some WNW-NW energy from earlier in the week as well as some weak S-SW pulses. Look for a decent jump in size for most of the exposed spots with the biggest waves arriving late in the afternoon and holding overnight into Saturday. Average breaks will be running in the chest-head high range on the sets. Better WNW facing breaks will see shoulder-head high surf with some overhead sets mixing in. Top WNW-NW facing breaks, like those in Ventura, the South Bay, and San Diego, will see shoulder-overhead surf with sets going a couple of feet+ overhead at the best spots. Winds/Weather: Look for light and variable to light offshore winds in the morning, variable winds for midday, and slightly onshore flow later in the afternoon. Again the winds are going to be light enough that we will probably see a bit of evening clean-up as the sun sets…look for the cleanest conditions at spots that have more protection from the wind (things like kelp and/or high-cliffs).

The W-WNW swell (275-300) will hold on Saturday…probably even getting a little more consistent as the ass of the swell (which is the 14-15 second period energy) gets a bit more established. Expect wave heights to remain pretty much the same. Average spots hold around shoulder-head high with some rare head high+ sets. Better winter spots see some shoulder-overhead surf and the standouts stay around head high to overhead+ with sets going a few feet overhead at times. Again look for the biggest waves in the regions with direct exposure to the swell. Winds/Weather: Another good wind day…light offshore to light and variable in the morning and only mild onshore flow below 10 knots on tap for the afternoon.

More W-WNW swell (270-290) arrives and jumps on the back of the swell that hit Fri-Sat, which means the size cranks up a couple more notches…the more westerly swell direction helps a lot too, basically pushing energy into spots that were a little more shadowed on the first part of the swell. Look for the average W facing breaks to be running consistently shoulder-high to overhead on sets. WNW breaks will build into the head high to a couple of feet overhead range…while the standouts see consistent overhead waves and sets going several feet overhead…maybe bigger at spots that can really focus the energy. Winds/Weather: Still freaking clean! Light and variable winds in the morning for most areas with some moderate offshore winds near the passes and canyons…and when you get done with your 3rd session of the day you can ride home on the unicorn that has been patiently waiting for you on the beach.

Uh yeah, that swell that pushed up on Sunday…it is going to hold into Monday. Basically read the paragraph above, replace “Sunday” with “Monday” and you are set. Winds/Weather: It is going to be good, again. Clean in the morning, slightly bumpy in the afternoon. Just go surfing will you.


North Pacific
Really what is there to say…lots of WNW swell on tap through the weekend and it looks like even more on tap next week. Conditions look great too. At this point it isn’t really about if there is surf or not…it is more about what sort of wave do you want to surf? Which is a pretty nice problem to have.

To go into the details a little bit more…The NPAC storm track is blowing up…storm after storm is cycling through the mid-latitudes and every time one moves out of our window a new one forms out the back. Again this goes back to that complex low that has been owning the central North Pacific for what seems like forever. Looking at it on the Visible Satellite image from GOES…it seems like the same storm churning and churning just to the NNE of the Hawaiian islands, stretching up toward the Aleutians…

From a pressure/front standpoint it is a large area of low-pressure that has hiccups of intense energy pushing through the mid-latitude part of its circulation, that are the by-products of warm/wet air mass being sucked into colder high-latitude low. Check out what this looks like on the sea-level pressure charts with the isobars…

If you look back through the last few analysis charts they all look the same…so much so that I had to go and double-check everything…I thought they were broken. Craziness.

Anyway weather-nerd stuff aside…all of these storms are just stacking up W-WNW swell for us to enjoy. We have overlapping W-WNW swells that hit Friday and into this weekend, setting up lots of overhead waves for the top spots. The surf will drop slightly by Monday afternoon but then another large, likely well overhead, WNW swell hits again on Tuesday (Jan 12th) in the afternoon and peaks into Wednesday (Jan 13th). That shot of energy is expected to hold decent size through the second half of the week, and possibly get another reinforcement of WNW-NW energy around the 15-16th. Man I can feel my noodle-arms already…having this much surf is going to be awesome.

South Pacific
I think the NPAC is sucking the life out of the SPAC…cause it is pretty dismal down that way again. Looks like weak S-SW pulses will move up over the next week or so…but they are just going to mangled by the much larger W-WNW swells. Expect small, almost unrideable sizes at S facing spots with no W-WNW exposure.

Next Long-range forecast will be posted on Monday, January 11th, 2010

Adam Wright
Surf Forecaster


Anonymous said...

I think I feel the flu coming on and it will probably last all next week.

Adam Wright said...

That is too bad...I have scheduled you an appointment for Dr. Davy Jones. I am sure that after a few visits you should feel a lot better.

DM said...

Yeah, my arms are going to be toast, too. I may have to keep my sessions short, so I have something to paddle with later next week.

Anonymous said...

Adam Noddlearms, was the whole forecast just a fairytale or only the part about a unicorn with a parking ticket stuck through its horn?

Anonymous said...

just another 09/10 winter let down?or finally some real el nino surf showin up to play.
adam your the only surf forecaster who usually gets the wave heights right, unlike surfline who has to over hype any and everything ''el nino winter''
so thanks you do a wonderful job

Anonymous said...

Under the "South Pacific" forecast you should just put "who cares?"

B. Pezman said...

The train kept a rollin all night long...

I love me some El Nino

Must..not..overhype... next Wed/Thurs... gahhhhhhhhh!