Monday, May 17, 2010

Southern California Long-range Surf Forecast – 5/17/2010

Forecast Overview

We will mostly leftover S-SSW swell on tap for Tuesday. By Wednesday a new pulse of SSW swell (190-210) will filter in along with some building local windswell…these waves will hold into Thursday as conditions clean up. Look for a slow start on Friday but both a new long-period SSW swell and building local windswell will be on the rise through the day. Look for overhead+ SSW swell and head high windswell to peak over the weekend.

Short Range (next 4 days)

Tuesday – (mostly leftovers)
The S swell fades out on Tuesday as the local windswell starts to creep up a bit. Look for the average exposed spots to see surf in the waist-chest range while the top S facing breaks and best combo spots see some shoulder high sets. Overall the surf will have a bit of gutless mushy feel as the swell periods shorten up but a shallow reef or sandbar will help to counter the weaker energy. Winds/Weather: Winds look ok on Tuesday…still sort of unstable thanks to the upper-level low-pressure still in the area but mostly light under 10-knots. It will have a slight eddyish tint to it for the morning but I think the winds will be more variable onshore for most areas. Look for a bit more WSW-SW flow for down in San Diego. W winds build in through the afternoon, pushing in around 10-15 knots for the well exposed areas.

Wednesday – (small bump in SSW swell)
New SSW swell (190-210) moves in on Wednesday and mixes with more on and off NW windswell. Look for most spots to continue to see surf in the waist-chest high range while the standout S-SW facing spots, mostly through OC and SD, see some chest-shoulder high surf. Winds/Weather: The weather starts to warm up on Wednesday and the winds generally stay on the light side. Look for light/variable to variable onshore flow for the morning, mostly below 5-8 knots for the majority of Socal. W winds around 10-14 knots return through the afternoon.

Thursday – (clean with a small, but playful swell mix)
The new SSW swell will hold on Thursday as it mixes with some slowly increasing NW windswell. Most spots continue to see the waist-chest high range but the better breaks will have more consistent chest high surf with a few bigger shoulder high sets mixing in. The standout SW facing breaks and excellent combo spots see some chest-shoulder high surf with a few bigger sets mixing in. Winds/Weather: The winds turn a little more offshore/side-offshore for the morning on Thursday. Look for mostly clean conditions in the morning and then building W-NW winds around 10-15 knots for the afternoon…chance for some 20-knot gusts to mix it in by the evening as another front starts to approach the area.

Friday – (building swell mix…with the bigger S-SSW swell starting to arrive)
Friday will start off with mostly leftover SSW swell and building NW windswell. The average spots will have chest high surf with some shoulder high sets. The standout S-SW spots and good combo breaks will be more consistently in the chest-head high range on the bigger sets. The new S-SSW swell (180-210) starts to arrive with some long-period energy through the early morning but not showing much on the beach until the afternoon…with the peak of the swell hitting over the weekend. Winds/Weather: The winds get a bit sloppy on Friday, another out-of-season cold front will begin to push over the region…setting up some strong winds along the outer waters and spinning up a partial eddy close to the coast…likely letting WNW-NW winds into Santa Barbara and Ventura, lighter W winds into Los Angeles, and W-SW winds into San Diego and Orange County.


North Pacific
The models still like the little funky low-pressure forming up in the Gulf of Alaska later this week…which unfortunately is showing that it won’t set up much fetch in the Socal swell window while it is a ways off the coast…just giving us some sloppy NW winds as it moves into the Pacific NW over the upcoming weekend.

If this forecast comes through…we will see increasing NW windswell and stronger NW winds later this week…likely starting to pulse up later on Thursday and on into Friday/Saturday. The forecast is calling for this swell to build up into the shoulder-head high range for many NW facing spots by Saturday and Sunday…possibly bigger at spots, like Ventura, the South Bay, and South San Diego, that have direct exposure. This is still a few days from actually developing so make sure to check back for updates later this week.

South Pacific
The SPAC continues to fire off swell after swell…which is going to keep us in fairly consistent S-SW energy all the way through the end of May, and pretty large S-SW swell (180-210) that hits this upcoming weekend (May 21-23rd). Plan on leftover S swell and small SSW swell to hold our S facing spots in rideable size surf through the week…and then long-period S-SW energy to arrive throughout Friday (May 21).

If you are interested in how this next Southern Hemi swell is going to hit the travel spots make sure to check out the SW Swell Alert that I posted earlier.

Expect this S-SW swell (180-210) to start driving in new surf later on Friday and then finally peaking on Saturday, holding into Sunday before fading out slowly through the beginning of next week. As this swell peaks (on Saturday) look for average S-SW facing spots to see surf in the shoulder-overhead range with a few bigger waves mixing it in to spots with better-than-average southerly exposure. The standout SSW facing breaks in Orange County and San Diego will have surf running consistently head high to a couple of feet overhead on sets with a few bigger waves going a few feet overhead at times. These sizes will hold into Sunday and the drop to more playful levels on Monday and Tuesday.

Further Out…we have more SPAC storm action following this big swell so it looks like more S-SW swell heading our way for around the 26-27th...this won’t be as big as the swell in front of it…but it should still be good for some playful head high+ surf at the well exposed breaks. This well will stick around for a couple of days and will likely be followed by yet another pulse of SSW-SW swell that is lining up for the end of May and into early June.

No tropical storms are expected to form over the next couple of days.

the Next Long-range forecast will be posted on Thursday, May 20th, 2010.

Adam Wright
Surf Forecaster


Anonymous said...

The past 10 months has been straight weekend warrior madness... lovin it.

Anonymous said...

Feels like im living in norway....

Anonymous said...

finally, somebody else besides me acknowledges the fact that most of the killer sessions in the last year have been on weekends!