Saturday, May 29, 2010

Tropical Update – Tropical Storm Agatha

“Our first Catch of the Season”

Well it is official…the first Tropical Storm of the 2010 Hurricane Season has finally formed. Unfortunately it is not going to be a wave maker for a Socal or Baja Sur.

TS Agatha has been a nasty band of thunderstorms hanging just of Central America for the last few days. At first she had little or no organization, but over the last few hours has managed to kick off the circulation that it needs to build and sustain the minimum 35-knot threshold that is required to be called a “tropical storm”.

The current forecast run isn’t very promising…the storm is pretty poorly positioned just off the coast of Guatemala, (basically ON the coast as far as anyone on the Pacific side of Guatemala is concerned), and the hurricane model is showing the storm drift back to the NE, which takes it overland, and weakening without doing much more than drop an insane amount of rain.

With no room to generate swell, tucked up in the Gulf of Tehuantepec with Mainland Mex blocking swell window, and path that takes it overland…all basically equal no surf for us. Still it is nice to see some signs of life in the tropics…hopefully the next one will develop in a better position.

Here is the “official” forecast advisory right from the National Hurricane Center...if you are traveling to Southern Mex or Central America in the next couple of days

2100 UTC SAT MAY 29 2010



Friday, May 28, 2010

Waves for the Weekend – Swells fades Saturday, fills in a touch on Sunday, and then bigger by Monday

All three weekend days will be surfable…but it looks like Sunday and Monday will be a bit cleaner (Sunday) and have more size (Monday) thanks to another round of S-SW swell pushing out of the Southern Hemisphere.

Saturday will start off with a bit of leftover fading S-SW swell and some slowly backing down NW windswell.

The average S facing spots and good combo breaks will be in the waist-high range with some rare bigger sets showing at times. The standout S facing breaks and excellent combo spots will be in the waist-chest high range with a few shoulder high sets as the morning tide pushes up.

Look for light winds through Saturday morning…a little onshore flow for Santa Barbara/Ventura…but lighter more variable winds for the LA on down through Orange County, and possibly a touch of Southerly texture in parts of San Diego.

Sunday will start off with mostly leftovers in the morning…backing off S-SW swell and some slowly increasing background NW windswell.

Most spots will be in the knee-waist high range with some waist high+ sets showing on the tide push. The top S facing breaks and the best combo spots will be more in the waist-chest high range with a few rare chest-shoulder high sets showing on that morning tide push.

By the afternoon a new long-period SSW-SW swell (190-210) will start to arrive…the initial energy isn’t very strong so I am not expecting a bunch of bigger waves arriving before sundown, but this new swell should help to get our surf a bit more consistent as it starts to fill in.

Winds look much better on Sunday…light and variable to light offshore for the morning for almost all areas. Look for these winds to hold on the light side up until midday and then turn around and build out of the W-NW around 10-14 knots for the afternoon.

Monday the new SSW-SW swell (190-210) will start to peak and will hold through the day. NW windswell will also be coming up a little bit…along with a touch of medium period NW energy from a storm that moves through the Gulf of Alaska this weekend.

Most spots will start to pulse up a bit…building into the waist-chest high range if they have some decent exposure to the SSW-SW swell…or can combo in the windswell. The standout SSW-SW facing spots, mostly through South OC and a few select areas in San Diego, will have chest-shoulder high surf with a few head high sets mixing in by the end of the day.

Winds, at this point, look ok for Monday…sort of variable to offshore and below 5 knots for the morning…but possibly a little funky NW flow spinning up around Santa Barbara. Looks like winds will stay light but add a touch of texture as the onshore flow builds in around midday. Stronger WSW-W-WNW winds (depending on where you are) will fill in around 10-15 knots for the afternoon.

Overall this weekend won’t be anything “spectacular” but it does look decent enough to go out and ride a few. To top it off the weather is going to finally break…warming way up compared to the last couple of days…hitting mid-upper 70s at the beaches (maybe warmer) and 90s inland.

I’m burning!

With that being said keep in mind that it is a holiday weekend and with the Inland Empire becoming a blast furnace everyone and their cousin/grandma/dog/cat/cactus/meth-lab (just kidding) is going to come to the beach. I am sure that it will be pretty crowded, blackball will go up pretty fast, and parking will probably be a nightmare.

Looking at it from that angle I think your best bet is going to be hitting the beach as early as possible…trying to take advantage of the the cleaner conditions and low tides. Expect the largest surf hitting the most exposed spots in Orange County and San Diego, with some scattered breaks doing ok in the other counties. Santa Barbara is going to stay on the small side…and North LA will also be a bit weaker thanks to interference from the nearshore islands and seamounts, so plan on weaker and less consistent surf for those areas.

Have a great weekend and a good Holiday. (A huge thank-you to all of the men and women in the Armed Services, past and present…stay safe and come home soon!)

Here are the tides…

05/29/2010 Saturday
05:17AM LDT -1.0 L
11:47AM LDT 3.6 H
04:17PM LDT 2.2 L
10:23PM LDT 5.7 H

05/30/2010 Sunday
05:58AM LDT -0.8 L
12:34PM LDT 3.5 H
04:58PM LDT 2.4 L
11:01PM LDT 5.4 H

05/31/2010 Monday (Memorial Day)
06:40AM LDT -0.4 L
01:24PM LDT 3.4 H
05:43PM LDT 2.6 L
11:40PM LDT 4.9 H

Transworld SURF Forecast update – Alana Blanchard is distracting

I was just over on the Transworld SURF website checking out my latest Pacific Forecast…and while I saw it was posted I didn’t even read it, just skipped on past it…uh I mean I did read it and it was super awesome, like really super awesome, better than unicorns and rainbows in my opinion, you should go there and read (ignore) it too…and then click over to the Alana photoshoot. (Come on Transworld SURF you guys are killing me…really how is weather nerdery ever going to compete with that!?!)

My Transworld SURF West Coast and Hawaii Forecast

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Friday’s Surf – S-SSW swell holds with some onshore bump building early

Friday looks surfable for a few regions in the morning…but it looks like onshore flow will pick up early so the surf window won’t be all that big.

The S-SSW swell (180-210) will hold into early Friday and then start a slow drop later in the day. NW windswell will be increasing (along with the wind) so expect wave heights at the combo spots and the NW facing windswell breaks to come up a couple of notches at the end of the day.

The average S facing spots and good combo breaks will be in the waist-chest high range with some rare bigger sets showing at times. The standout S facing breaks and excellent combo spots will be in the chest-shoulder high range with a few head high waves sneaking through on the lower tides.

Earlier today I was actually a little more negative about the wind than I am now…the 12z weather model is showing a little cleaner conditions for the morning…not great, or completely without texture, but clean enough that if you have something to block the wind or knock down the bump (like a structure or cliff or a big patch of kelp) then it should be pretty manageable. Winds will be light/variable to variable onshore for the morning with the cleanest conditions showing around LA and Orange Counties…and a touch more onshore texture for Ventura, Santa Barbara, and the exposed areas of San Diego. 10-15+ W-NW winds return in the afternoon. I would keep an eye on conditions around sundown…the winds are supposed to switch around to offshore for Saturday and we might see some of that bleed over into Friday evening.

Here are all the wind models.

So if winds behave tomorrow it looks like there will be a few playful waves on tap for the morning. Nothing great…but fun enough that it will be worth a cam/buoy/conditions check if you have to drive a ways to the beach, and a quick drive-by check if you are close to the coast. The dawn patrol is probably going to be your best bet…we will be coming off a negative low tide and the winds will be lighter (and the S-SSW swell will be a bit stronger)…so try to hit it early if you can...but not too early because shape is going to be pretty drained out.

Here are the tides…

05/28/2010 Friday
04:37AM LDT -1.2 L (crap!)
11:01AM LDT 3.6 H
03:39PM LDT 2.0 L
09:46PM LDT 6.0 H (swampthing!)

Southern California Long-range Surf Forecast – 5/27/2010

Southern California Long-range Surf Forecast – 5/27/2010

Forecast Overview
Friday will see some rideable but likely wind textured surf as a mix of S-SW swell combos up with some increasing local NW windswell. Conditions clean up a lot on Saturday as the winds shift offshore and beach temps start to rise…the surf will drop slightly but we should continue to have playful leftovers. Good conditions and small but rideable waves hold on Sunday. New S-SW swell hits on Memorial Day along with more nice weather/winds. Further out we will have more Southern Hemi swell pulsing in for most of next week. And finally it looks like our first tropical storm may form as we head into this weekend. Damn that was a long overview.

Short Range (next 4 days)

Friday – (S swell + windswell+ winds = funky but rideable)
The overlapping mix of S-SW swell (180-220) will continue on Friday while new NW windswell starts to pulse up in the background. Look for the average spots to be back into the chest-head high range while the standout S facing breaks and good combo spots see some overhead sets. Biggest size will show through San Diego and Orange County but expect surf for most other areas as well. Winds/Weather: Winds continue to look a bit will be light/variable to light onshore for the morning with winds generally staying below 5-6 knots. Look for W-NW winds around 10-18 knots for the afternoon.

Saturday – (Offshore winds and playful leftovers)
Saturday will have a mix of slowly fading S-SW swell (180-210) and some steady NW windswell. Most spots will be in the chest high range while the standout S facing breaks and the excellent combo spots see some shoulder-head high sets on the lower tides. Expect some inconsistency to the bigger sets, even at the standout breaks, but with warmer air conditions and decent winds it shouldn’t be much of a chore to wait around…now we just need the water to warm up. Winds/Weather: Weather and winds improve dramatically on Saturday. Winds go light offshore for the morning and stay sort of light and variable through the middle of the day. Expect a bit of onshore flow around 10-12 knots out of the W-NW for the afternoon. Beach temps will be in the mid-70’s…the water is still pretty freaking cold though so bring a wetsuit.

Sunday – (Slow start, but clean conditions keep things fun)
Sunday will start off a bit on the small side with mostly leftover S-SW swell (180-210) and some backing off NW windswell. Most spots will be in waist high range with some inconsistent chest high sets. The standout S facing spots and the best combo breaks will continue to be in the shoulder high range. Look for a new SSW-SW swell (195-220) to move in with some long-period forerunners through the afternoon (filling in more after sundown). Winds/Weather: Offshore flow continues on Sunday…looks strongest through the morning near the usual wind-prone passes and canyons with lighter variable offshore flow at the more protected spots. Conditions stay clean through midday and then onshore afternoon flow builds out of the W around 10-14 knots.

Monday – (Memorial Day Holiday)
New SSW-SW swell (190-210) moves in and starts to peak on Monday…mostly in the afternoon. NW windswell will stay small in the background. Most spots will be in the waist-chest high range with a few plus sets showing on the tide push. Look for chest-shoulder high surf at the standouts with a few inconsistent head high sets showing at times in the afternoon. Look for the new SSW-SW swell to hold overnight into Tuesday. Winds/Weather: Weather continues to look good on Monday…mostly light and variable to light offshore for the morning and then mild-moderate onshore flow for the afternoon. Beach temps hold in the mid-upper 70’s while inland tops out in the 90’s…yeah we can expect a lot of extra people on the beach for the holiday.


North Pacific
Still some funky storm action showing in the NPAC…nothing that is super strong and totally in our window, but the storms are strong enough to make a me regret saying that the NPAC was shutting down for summer. For the weekend we are going to see some more NW windswell that comes up late on Friday, holding into Saturday, and the dropping off on Sunday/Monday.

Further out things get a little more interesting…check out the satellite image from Thursday afternoon.

See that storm up under the Aleutians? (Good. I hate to think I am talking to myself.) While this storm’s winds aren’t super intense (mostly in the 35-knot range) it is showing some pretty good rotation and it is manages to drop some fetch into the NW part of our swell window, which means we will see some rideable chest high+ WNW-NW swell from this system showing around Tuesday June 1 and then holding for a couple of days after.

Further out there is some more, better looking, activity showing on the long-range charts. The forecasts are showing a decent looking storm forming in about 6 days…likely settling a bit lower in latitude, which would put more of its core winds inside our swell window.

The charts are also showing this system getting its start as a dose of “extra-tropical” energy pushes NE of Japan and merging with a cold front flowing off of Siberia (well the Kamchatka Peninsula if you want to get all technical…*cough* jerk *cough*). I think that this guy bears watching as it develops…the models are notoriously bad at out of season mid-latitude systems, particularly when you drop in extra-tropical energy. If it does ramp up we would see swell from this one hitting around the 6-7th…possibly on the 5th if the periods are longer.

South Pacific
The latest shot of S-SW swell hit on Thursday and will hold into Friday before slowly fading over the weekend. The next pulse of Southern Hemi energy moves in late on Sunday and will peak Monday/Tuesday next week. We can expect the first really surfable waves from this S-SSW swell (180-210) arriving around May 31st and then holding for a few days into June as a closely following swell hits right after the initial pulse. This round of Southern Hemi swell isn’t huge, but it should be good for consistent shoulder-head high surf at the average spots and some inconsistent overhead sets at the standouts.

Further out the storm track is still looking pretty active on the long-range charts…so it looks like we will have some sort of Southern Hemi energy holding for the first week of June…with the first swell hitting early in the week and then a second reinforcement arriving on Saturday June 5th and holding for a couple of days afterward. The really long-range charts are showing more S-SW energy lining up for at least the first half of June… remind me to send a thank-you note to El Nino for helping to supercharge the SPAC.

A big ass band of thunderstorms has formed down just off the coast of Central America that is showing some increasing signs of organization this afternoon. In fact you can see the lower level clouds starting to flow into the classic “spin” that you see with tropical storms.

The NHC hasn’t quite pulled the trigger on calling this a full tropical storm but to me it looks like it has probably reached the tropical depression level...I wouldn’t be surprised to see TD-01e get dropped on this one in the next few hours. From the tone of the National Hurricane Forecast it sounds like they are getting ready to do just that. Check it out…


You might want to keep in mind the heavy flooding that may occur in the travel areas even if it doesn’t reach full “storm” strength.

the Next Long-range forecast will be posted on Tuesday, June 1st, 2010.

Adam Wright
Surf Forecaster

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Thursday’s Surf – Surf in the morning…gusty winds possible by the afternoon

Thursday looks like it will be rideable…but questionable morning winds and a bit of a fat mid-morning high tide will keep it from being all that good. Overall I don’t think it will be a real “surf” day…but you will be able to find a couple of playful corners at the protected spots.

Swellwise we are going to see a mix of holding/peaking S-SSW swell (180-210) and some steady NW windswell. Neither swell is all that strong…so don’t expect them to be able to push through the tide all that well…you will probably want to hit up spots that can handle the extra water.

The average S facing spots and good combo breaks will be in the waist-chest high range with some rare bigger sets showing at times. The standout S facing breaks and excellent combo spots will be in the chest-shoulder high range with a few head high waves sneaking through on the lower tides. Expect some inconsistency on the sets…but since the new S-SSW swell will have a little more energy showing it should be a little more active than what we saw on Wednesday.

The wind forecast for Thursday is looking better than it did earlier this week but it still has a bit of onshore funk showing in the model. The morning looks ok…sort of S-SW’erly but below 5 knots for most areas (just a touch more SW flow LA and OC). Basically I would plan on a little texture crumble to it for the morning and then if we get lucky the winds may come in more light/variable, particularly at spots that have a little protection from the wind. The models agree that onshore picks up around lunch…coming in around 12-15 knots from the W-NW for the afternoon.

The springy conditions continue on Thursday…which means that we see sort of marginal winds with some little pockets of cleanliness spinning up from time to time. It never gets for-sure clean or totally trashed (at least until the afternoon) so you have to stay flexible, watch the wind, and hopefully get lucky when you have some time to surf. I wouldn’t drive too far for this sort of surf…but if you live close, have some time in the morning to kill, and don’t mind a little texture…you should throw your board in the car.

Here are the tides…

05/27/2010 Thursday
03:56AM LDT -1.2 L
10:15AM LDT 3.6 H
03:00PM LDT 1.9 L
09:09PM LDT 6.1 H

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Wednesday’s Waves – holding S-SW swell and possibly some funky chicken

Wednesday might be rideable for a few spots in the morning but building onshore winds and weird weather may keep it from being much of a surf day.

We are going to have a mix of new S-SSW swell (180-200) filling in with some long-period energy while the bigger pulse of S swell continues to fade out. NW windswell will start off with mostly leftovers but we can expect it to start to pulse up again by the end of the day.

Sizewise it looks like most spots will feel a little smaller through Wednesday morning as the second swell starts off with some 19-20 second period energy (but very small swell heights)…which basically means our surf will be mostly leftover energy from the S and NW. Average spots are going to be in the chest high range with a few inconsistent shoulder high sets showing at the better exposed combo spots. The standout S facing breaks and excellent combo breaks will be in the chest-head high range…possibly a little bigger on the lower tides…not all that consistent on the bigger sets though.

Winds look pretty marginal on Wednesday. Santa Barbara on through LA county will see light W-NW winds around 8-10 knots for the morning…possibly stronger the closer you get to Point Conception. Orange County and San Diego will have more variable flow on tap for the morning…the COAMPS is showing a weak front moving through around that time…so pessimist in me thinks that the variable direction will mostly be onshore. I would definitely give the winds or cams a check before committing too much time to hunting down surf. 10-15 knot W-NW winds will return for most areas by the afternoon.

So like I said…not that great…but at least some potential for manageable/rideable conditions to show through the morning. The early morning high tide isn’t going to help things…fortunately it isn’t a full on swampthing. Plan on surfing early…looks like the cleanest conditions will be on tap for the morning.

Here are the tides…

05/26/2010 Wednesday
03:13AM LDT -1.0 L
09:26AM LDT 3.6 H
02:21PM LDT 1.7 L
08:33PM LDT 6.2 H

Surf Photos – A few from the mid-morning session

If only we were 2" tall...then it would be easy to build an artificial pointbreak.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Tuesday’s Surf – Fading but playful through the morning

Compared to the last several days Tuesday looks like a semi-surf day. (yes I know there have been a few clean spots if you knew where to look…but for most breaks it has been pretty sloppy).

Tuesday is looking pretty manageable through the morning…enough swell to still push in some solid surf and finally a bit of clean up with the early winds. Right now it looks best through early to mid-morning…then the W-NW winds return in the afternoon.

The S-SSW swell will be slowly fading on Tuesday but it should still have plenty of energy showing. NW windswell will hold in the background but may lose a little steam as the local winds back off a bit.

Average S facing spots and the good NW breaks will be in the chest-head high range with a few bigger waves mixing in during the lower tides. The standout S facing spots in Orange County, and the best NW combo spots (mostly in SD) will see some shoulder-head+ surf with sets still going a couple of feet overhead.

Winds will be mostly light and variable in the morning…with a touch of NNW flow for Santa Barbara and Ventura, along with a bit of southerly texture showing down in San Diego. It looks like winds are going to lay down late Monday night so there may be some leftover funky chicken on the ocean surface even with the light winds. Look for W-NW winds to return by the afternoon topping out around 10-18 knots by late in the day.

Overall Tuesday is looking like one of the best surf days this week…the onshore wind is likely to return on Wednesday, and then stay funky through the end of the work week (stupid wind). It looks like the dawn patrol through the first few hours of daylight will be the cleanest…then onshore winds pick up around lunchtime. S facing spots, like those in OC, will have the biggest size…but the other S spots throughout Socal should stay pretty playful as well.

Here are the tides… Happy Birthday Jack (my son is turning 5) and Scott (a good friend of mine who acts like he is 5)!

05/25/2010 Tuesday
02:29AM LDT -0.6 L
08:33AM LDT 3.6 H
01:41PM LDT 1.4 L
07:56PM LDT 6.1 H