Thursday, January 28, 2010

Southern California Long-range Surf Forecast – 1/28/2010

Forecast Overview

Look for mostly rideable leftovers on Friday (after the FAT morning tide drops off). New WNW-NW swell fills in through Friday afternoon and peaks with overhead surf at the top spots over the weekend. More WNW-NW swell heading for next week and better morning tides as well...stupid tides.

Short Range (next 4 days)

Expect a sloooooooow morning…that stupid morning high tide will continue to steamroll most of our surf. Buried somewhere under the tide we will have a mix of leftover WNW-NW swell (280-300) and some smaller S-SSW swell (180-200). Once we have the extra water drain out…most spots will have knee-waist high waves with some chest high sets. The standout NW breaks and the good combo spots will have some shoulder high sets. A new WNW-NW swell (280-300) starts to move in with long-period energy throughout the 2nd half of the day…possibly getting some new waves into Ventura (and Santa Barbara but not as much thanks to the longer-periods)…I wouldn’t be surprised to see some head high and overhead sets coming through in those areas before sundown. Winds/Weather: Look for light and variable morning winds, even a little offshore at some of the better positioned breaks. Expect W-NW winds 10-15 knots coming onshore through mid-afternoon.

The new WNW-NW swell (280-300) will peak while the S-SSW swell fades, there will be a lot more rideable waves…but we still have to get through another fat 6.6’ high morning tide (peaks around 8:30am) to see the biggest and most consistent surf. Once the tide has balanced out we can expect the average WNW facing spots and better combo breaks to see some chest-head high surf. Standout WNW-NW spots in Ventura, the South Bay, and Southern San Diego, will have shoulder-overhead surf with some sets going a couple of feet overhead, and probably a few bigger waves mixing it up now and then. Winds/Weather: Winds look light on Saturday but they have a little more onshore flavor to them. Look for mostly light and variable to lightly onshore textured in the AM…and then more WNW-NW 10-15+ knots by the afternoon.

The WNW-NW swell (280-300) will hold plenty of energy into Sunday but the S-SSW pulse will be on its last legs. Again that stupid tide will screw up the morning conditions/shape, but there will be some spots that can muscle through the 6’+ high…not many, but a few. By the time the tide drops we will be back into chest-head high surf at most WNW facing spots. Standout NW breaks…again in the usual good winter areas…will have consistent shoulder-head high+ surf with sets still going a couple of feet overhead at the best breaks. Winds/Weather: Winds improve again as the little front that passed over on Saturday moves out. Look for light offshore flow for most areas with some moderate offshore flow for the areas with passes and canyons. Winds go onshore out of the WNW around 10 knots for the afternoon but will slow down again near sundown.

The mix of WNW-NW swell drops off on Monday but we will still have rideable surf at most spots…there is even another little shot of S-SSW swell that fills in through the background. More tide problems early…but the peak of the high is around 10am…so there might be a little more of an early morning window for the dawn-patrol guys. Look for more chest-shoulder high surf at the average WNW spots. Standout breaks see some head high sets…maybe a few bigger sets showing at the best spots that like the shorter periods in the tail end of the swell.


North Pacific
This has definitely been a good winter so far (well other than having Mother Nature try to wash away Socal)…and this weekend will continue the streak of swell action. New WNW-NW swell (280-300) moves in later on Friday and peaks with overhead+ surf at the standout breaks over the weekend…check out the wavewatchIII model for this storm as it sets up the swell.

The storm isn’t crazy huge but it has had a good track across the mid-latitudes, and the fetch has been pretty steady with 35-40+ knots of wind…even some gusts around 50-knots, which helps put a little more pep into the swell. Overall this looks like another pretty fun looking swell…the angle is a little steeper than the last couple of swells we had so if you are looking for bigger waves you are going to want to stick to the NW facing standouts.

Further Out the storm track stays pretty active in the forecast run…we actually have a new storm that is already forming to the north of Hawaii and it is forecast to push toward the West Coast setting up another round of WNW-NW swell that starts arriving late on Tuesday (Feb 2) and peaks more through Wednesday/Thursday (Feb 3-4). This one looks good for more chest-head high surf at most spots…and a little overhead at the standouts.

Even Further out the weather/wind models are calling for another storm to form up just off the California coast…possibly sending in another stormy W-WNW swell for Friday/Saturday Feb 5-6th. This one is a long ways from forming but it will be worth keeping an eye on.

South Pacific
Still some minor activity down in the South Pacific…just some weak pulses of S-SSW swell that arrive on Monday Feb 1 and then sort of waffle on and off as following pulses try to sneak in after it. Overall none of it looks much bigger than knee-waist high at the top breaks…hopefully there will be enough energy to cross up the WNW-NW energy at the good combo spots.

Further out I am starting to see some better signs of life in the SPAC storm-track in the long-range forecast. The most notable is a strong tropical/sub-tropical system that makes a fast jump into the colder latitudes just south of Tahiti in about 5 days…this is the sort of mixing that helps spark up bigger storms…and even though the best part of this storm is forecast to move away from up it looks like it might set up a better SSW swell for around the 10-11th of Feb…stay tuned.

Next Long-range forecast will be posted on Monday, February 1st, 2010.

Adam Wright
Surf Forecaster

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