Weekly West Coast Surf Forecast

There will still be a few waves on tap this week but most of the longer-period energy will be fading out only to be replaced by sloppy windswell. Don’t get me wrong, windswell definitely has its place in the swell hierarchy…but I generally consider swapping clean long-period juice for a hot-mess of short-period bump a “bad thing”…I guess I’m just silly that way.

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As we head into Tuesday we are going to see high-pressure rebuild across the Pacific NW and down through Central California as an interior low-pressure sort of sits and spins over by Arizona and New Mexico. The interaction between these two features will set up some strong NW winds along the California Coast, likely in the 20-25 knot range with gusts hitting 30-40 knots at times. The National Weather Service is already issuing Small Craft Advisories and Gale Warnings for Tuesday afternoon…so it is looking pretty breezy. surf forecastThis wind does have an upside though—it creates windswell. So even though conditions will be crap on Tuesday wave heights will be on the rise at the NW exposed spots. Really, if this little chunky windswell fetch hadn’t formed we would just be looking at nearly flat leftover energy from the swells that hit over the weekend; so at least this way there is the potential for surf (even it isn’t going to be all that great). Check out the mix of swell and winds for Tuesday…

forecast3forecast2By Wednesday the winds are forecast to back down, or at least shift enough to the N-NE that conditions will start to clean up in a few areas…Southern California in particular will clean up nicely. If the wind shift can occur quickly (say over the course of a few hours) then we could be looking a fun surf day, sort of East Coast style, (where they wait for storms to roll right over their breaks, drive up a bunch of windswell, and then clean up as the storm moves offshore). Once the winds switch they will start to knock down the windswell pretty fast…I expect that we will end up in sort of race between the conditions cleaning up and the swell disappearing. At this point I am expecting some playful waist-chest high+ windswell waves at the average spots and some shoulder-head high sets at the top NW facing spots (Mostly in Ventura and San Diego)…shape won’t be outstanding even with the better winds, but hey we will at least have something to ride.

Thursday and Friday are looking a lot smaller for SoCal as the NW windswell backs off and the winds stay sort of Santa Ana-ish. It will probably stay longboard-able through Thursday but then drop to mostly leftover sizes by Friday. Expect minimal swell activity through the end of the week and into the weekend.

Up in Northern/Central California the story will be a little different…the NW energy stays pretty consistent through the week but with a larger lump of short-period NW windswell hitting Tues/Wed. Surfers along those stretches of California Coasts can expect steady overhead waves at the NW facing beaches throughout the week…with some sloppy well overhead waves peaking Wednesday and then slowly backing down as we head towards the weekend. Conditions don’t look like they will clean up much in these regions but there plenty of pockets where you can find a decent shoulder sneaking through.

forecast41Further out the long-range charts are bit better looking than what we are seeing now. There is an intense extra-tropical storm forming over in the West Pacific that is expected to drive NE over the Aleutians and feed a bunch of energy into the storm track, possibly helping out a better positioned storm just north of Hawaii.

If, these two storms can mix correctly we would see a new, decent-sized WNW-NW swell that would arrive around Nov 1st. I wouldn’t get too fired up on this one just yet…it has several days to develop before it actually sends out swell, but a least we aren’t just hearing crickets chirping in the long-range forecast.

Adam Wright
Surf Forecaster
For more forecasting treats, check out Adam’s blog at www.socalsurf.com