January 13, 2009


The Chargers’ loss wouldn’t have been nearly so painful if there had been some decent size surf to cry in. Better late than never we suppose. By the way, the Hot Jugz we got for Christmas has been a lifesaver! Better make sure you’re in gearbefore the next swell arrives on Saturday. Read on for the full report. (Special thanks to our friends at Mutiny Media.)

Saturday the 17th WNW swell will build along the California coast as waves from the Japanese system begin to fill in. This will be from 280° with periods initially coming in at 18-20 seconds. Calculating the ETA and size this morning, it looks like most all west facing breaks will see head high surf around dawn with possibly spotty sets. Note though that rogue waves running 2-4 feet overhead are likely (albeit sporadic in the early AM). As the swell fills in throughout the morning, sets with waves running 2-3 feet overhead will become more likely at west facing breaks. By the afternoon or evening, top spots could see set waves hitting DOH. Since the periods will be exceptionally long, there will no doubt be disparity in size between breaks of varying bathymetry, where slower-sloped breaks see head high size while at the same time standouts with steep-sloped bathymetry see waves running DOH. Also, since this swell is coming in at a relatively low trajectory (~280°), south facing breaks should pick up a decent amount of wrap. The lengthy periodicity also means power, so heavy waves can be expected. Rip currents will also be a major concern, so caution is strongly advised. This swell-making storm still has a couple more days to pass the Hawaiian longitudes, which could change this forecast slightly. I’ll stay on top of it, and will keep you posted. Also, for a more detailed, visual explanation on this WNW swell for the 17th, check out my latest video surf forecasting blog where I break down what’s going on in the Pacific to make this all come together.

Sunday the 18th should be the peak day for this swell. Most west facing breaks would be looking at sets running 1-3 feet overhead with pluses. Standout west facing breaks are looking at DOH sets. Periods should run about 16 seconds.

Monday the 19th should still see plenty of waves from this swell with sets running 1-3 feet overhead with pluses. Standout west facing breaks are still looking at DOH sets at times. Periods should run about 16 seconds.

Tuesday the 20th this swell should wane as the lagging periods arrive (14 seconds). Still, size is still looking to hover in the 1- to 3-foot overhead range; there should just be fewer pluses, and less disparity in size between breaks.

Wednesday the 21st this swell should back down.

Thursday the 22nd or Friday the 23rd we could see more swell come out of the Western Pacific. This is based on the 108h+ models showing a higher latitude storm spinning off Japan. Preliminary numbers are showing head high swell from 290+, but it is just too early to call this one today. I’ll keep an eye on it though and will keep you posted.