Thursday, May 13, 2010

Friday’s Surf – New S swell grinds in

Friday is looking like a surf day…but if you are looking for bigger surf you will need to hit up a S-facing beach (with no islands in the way).

We will see our new S-SSW swell (180-200) filling in fast on Friday…with the peak of the swell starting to hit later in the afternoon and holding overnight into Saturday. Small NW windswell will run in the background but don’t expect it to amount to very much. Check out the swell and how it fills in throughout the day…

Friday Morning

Friday Midday

Friday Afternoon

Sizewise…for the morning I am looking for the average S facing spots to be in the chest-shoulder high range with some head high sets becoming more and more common as we get closer to lunchtime. The standout S facing spots will be in the shoulder-head high+ range pretty consistently through the morning and then will start going overhead to a few feet overhead by the end of the day. Again remember that spots that can focus this long-period energy will have a shot at getting some solid surf showing before sunset.

Winds look good on Friday…mostly light and variable through the morning with a few pockets of light offshore winds near passes and canyons and light onshore winds at a few of the most exposed breaks. Look for winds to shift more onshore around lunchtime…eventually reaching the 10-13 knot range at the more wind-prone spots.

Plenty of S swell showing on Friday, even if the swell isn’t peaking until later in the day…unfortunately for the beach breaks there isn’t much in the background that will be able to break up the Southern Hemi lines…so a lot of spots will get a bit walled as this swell starts to really fill in. Points and reefs will have the best shape, but you might be able to find a manageable shoulder off the various structures out there (piers/jetties/rocks)…if you don’t have a point/reef nearby I would check those sort of spots before hitting the wide open sandbars. Expect some decent current to work against, particularly as the tide fills in.

Here are the tides…hope you get a few.

05/14/2010 Friday
04:28AM LDT -0.9 L
10:48AM LDT 3.5 H
03:31PM LDT 1.9 L
09:40PM LDT 6.0 H


Anonymous said...

The only buoy showing south (all others are NW) is DP and it's still not that big.

The best combo spot in SoCal was basically flat this afternoon.

It will be interesting to see what tomorrow will bring ...

Adam Wright said...

hmmm I am looking at the buoys and all of them...from Harvest on down through Point Loma are showing the long-periods swing around to the south. Looks like about 1.5 feet at 19-22 seconds, which is about what I was expecting.

Remember that we still have to navigate a high tide and the inconsistency of the longer-period energy before the meat of the swell arrives...which is looking like Friday afternoon (and holding into Saturday morning).

To me it looks like we are on track.

Anonymous said...

Adam, I assume we're both referencing the same buoy list:

The better S swell indicators (DP & O) are starting to show the dominant S.

Harvest is still being overwhelmed by the NW wind swell.

Dang, I wonder if we'll get anything or if it's topping out in Mex?

Adam Wright said...

I actually just got back from the little North OC beach break already had some shoulder-head high sets showing through the eddy winds and the building tide. It will be bigger by this this afternoon and on into Saturday. If the eddy can chill the hell out I think we are going to have some fun.

On the doesn't really matter which swell is more dominant...just how much of the energy that is showing in the mix. These buoys don't really account for the shoaling that occurs in the last few hundred yard before the wave hits the beach…so it only is taking into account how the energy is behaving in deep/semi-deep water.

Take the Harvest buoy for is basically outside of the Point Conception swell shadow (meaning that it is exposed to a wider range of NW energy than the beaches of Socal) if there is any local windswell in the water it almost always ends up being the most dominant, which is the case this morning.

So I am looking at the buoy right now…and it is showing 5.4’ @ 7.7 seconds. When you dive deeper into the buoy’s spectral data…

…you can see that there is about 4’ of short-period NW swell @ 4-7 seconds and some fluff wind chop that is piled on top. There is also about 1.8-2’ of S swell at 18-21 seconds. Now without the context of a surf break, the NW energy is the most dominant…but if it was breaking at a beach in most cases it would probably only be good for waist high surf (with a couple of plus sets).

Now the S swell, with the longer-periods, has tendency to translate the energy involved (in having long-periods) into the wave height as it moves into shallow water. Now most average beaches will at minimum take a long-period swell like this and go 1:1 (one to one) in deepwater height to breaking wave heights…usually it is more like 1:1.5 or 1:2 (so 2 feet of deepwater swell would be a waist-chest high+ wave)…but a few of the focal points can go as much as 1:3…and there is one mutant out there that can go 1:4…so there is potential for a 2-foot swell to get up to head high+ under the right conditions. This is exponential as well…so by adding another foot of deepwater wave heights your focal spots could go up a couple of feet on the wave face.

Sorry about the long response…hopefully it makes sense.

I must now return to the weather nerdery.

SC Fool said...

That is interesting stuff about the deepwater swells jacking when they hit the beach. What is that mutant you mentioned? Wedge?

Unfortunately I wasn't seeing it in South OC this morning. (I didn't check Lowers.) Maybe we all should surf Adam's North OC beach break tomorrow. Could you give us driving directions Adam?

Anonymous said...

all i know is i have been loving south san diego. has been consistent like a mofo for quite some time, and looks like it will be for quite some more. :)

Anonymous said...

Surfed on of the top north oc spots for south swells around 9ish this morning, stiff onshore cold water knee to waist high and hundreds of cars
Shoulda went to mex, to tell you truth the waist hi sets were kinda workable
Checked other spots around north and south oc not much getting thru yet, o well its blown out anyways hopefully tomorrows good

Anonymous said...

blown out junk yo adam are there any other good wind forecasting charts? The coamps have been on crack like all spring