West Coast And Hawaii Weekend Surf Forecast

The forecast “broken record” continues to play the same song again this weekend… say it with me… “after a short break the North Pacific is once again ramping up activity… in fact new swell is already showing over in Hawaii and it will be pushing into the West Coast as we move into the weekend.

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Yep that’s right ladies and gentlemen there is going to be another long run of waves pushing into both Hawaii and the West Coast thanks to the seemingly endless string of storms parading through the NPAC storm track. This weekend it looks like the storm track will push a little closer to the Mainland… similar to what it did during the second half of January… which means that the nice weather that we had the last few days is going to go bye-bye. At this point it looks like rain will start to push over the West Coast on Friday and hold through the weekend.

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Long-range charts are showing another couple of storms pushing into California on Monday and again on Wednesday of next week… possibly a 4th front arriving by the following weekend. Basically we can expect cooler, unstable weather, including periods of rain and wind, for most of next week. Timing on these storms is very “up in the air” (lame) since each front affects how the next storm following will behave… and as the storms stack up the margin for error gets pretty large. Basically we can just expect a bunch of rainy, cloudy, windy days hitting next week but we’ll have to wait till we get closer until we can see the actual arrival times of each front.

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One positive by-product of all these storms is that there will be all sorts of swell heading toward California… SW windswells, WSW-WNW storms swells, long-period NW swells, really we will get to take our pick. I’m expecting steady well-overhead with sometimes extremely large/stormy surf days for all of the exposed spots north of Point Conception and still healthy (but smaller and more organized) energy showing through SoCal.

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Since we can count on “swell” being in the water almost every day next week it is really going to come down to conditions. Fortunately the West Coast does have a few pockets that can filter out the crap that comes along with storm fronts. I think your best bet is going to be focusing on those breaks that can handle the shifting winds and shorter swell periods… and generally just keeping a “weather eye” on conditions so that you can pick off a session or two as the winds switch around as each front passes. It takes some work, but hey that separates us from roller-bladers (well that and about a billion other things).

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Here are the regional details for the weekend…

Hawaii
The islands are actually seeing a pretty solid dose of WNW-NW swell right now… this is going to back down slightly on Friday and Saturday… but it won’t drop very far… still plenty of double-overhead+ faces for the exposed breaks. By Saturday night a new long-period WNW-NW swell starts to arrive and this will build through the night, eventually peak on Sunday afternoon and hold into Monday before fading. This one looks good for 10-12’ of deepwater energy at 15-17 seconds so wave heights will be right back into the double-triple overhead range.

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Winds stay out of the E-NE for most of the weekend and into early next week…just the usual scattered showers expected for the next few days.

Northern California
The storm hitting the West Coast moves in fast for Northern/Central California on Friday… and the stormy SW-WNW swell mix will hitting about the same time. We can expect the surf to build into the well-overhead range by the afternoon with some of the top breaks seeing double-overhead sizes by the end of the day. S-SE winds will be on tap for most areas early…along with rain and other fun things like thunderstorms. The winds switch more to the W-WNW by Saturday and the swell continues to build. Look for most of the average breaks to see well-overhead to double-overhead sizes with some of the standout breaks going double-triple overhead and bigger as the swell peaks through the evening. These waves and funky winds continue into Sunday… though the winds will switch more to the S-SW in anticipation of a new cold front that pushes through late Sunday evening. Look for similar, but smaller sized, surf on Monday as the swell mix backs down a bit. More storms and more healthy WNW-NW swell continues on and off throughout next week.

Southern California
Friday will be pretty small… and we will start to get a little choppy-chop from slowly increasing S winds. By the afternoon a new mix of WSW-NW storm swell will start to arrive, building up wave heights at the well exposed breaks, mostly out toward Santa Barbara and Ventura (since they are a bit more westerly than the other counties). Look for those areas to see some head high sets by the end of the day. Winds shift more SW by the afternoon and the rain becomes heavy in many areas. The mix of swell will peak on Saturday and Sunday… and winds stay pretty westerly and junky for both days. Look for the average spots to see surf in the shoulder-overhead range while the standout W facing breaks see sets going a few feet overhead… and possibly a little bigger by Sunday morning. Sunday afternoon and into Monday morning we might get a small surf window as winds shift more S-SE right before another storm moves in. This pattern will continue through most of the following week… though the surf looks smaller for Monday/Tuesday but it does build up again as we head toward the following weekend.

Adam Wright
Surf Forecaster
www.socalsurf.com