Sunday, March 29, 2015

3 29 15 morning call

Full day of work for me yesterday (pretty much 6.30am to 5pm), but I managed to squeeze a sunset session at Hookipa on a longboard and that was fun.

The SUP lesson was a success. The SUP lessons always are. It's amazing the amount of mistakes I see people doing out there... sometimes I got to stop myself from paddling over and pointing them out!

Got another early lesson this morning, so don't expect a photo report from Hookipa. But with a Pauwela reading of 4.3ft @ 8s from 84° you don't need a photo report, do you?
It's small, pure windswell. Can be fun anyway.

Just as it can be fun to figure out the other buoy readings. Today there's all kind of stuff going on (or not).

Let's take the NW and Waimea buoy graphs for example. For Oahu, this morning NOAA says:"Surf along north facing shores will be rising to 10 to 14 feet with occasional higher sets in the afternoon".
It doesn't really say when it will be rising, but if they mention occasional higher sets in the afternoon, you would think that it will pick up during the morning.

Well, I'm gonna guess that is more like a late morning.
In fact, the new swell only picked up during the night at the NW buoy (I circled the part of the graph) and it's now finally reading 5ft @ 15s from 314° at 5am.

Nothing yet at the Waimea buoy of that swell, but notice that less than a foot readings of 20 and 18seconds that have been recorded for the last 24h. Nothing to do with the new swell, that must be what arrived from that fetch off Japan 3-4 days ago. You guys can scroll down and check it out on the wind map in the previous days posts, if you care.

That also mean that for Maui it's gonna be a late afternoon deal.

But there's plenty more interesting stuff at the buoys today.
Lanai is still reading 1.7ft @ 13s from 177°, which means that I'm gonna have perfect south shore waves for my students again.
But the interesting one is from Barbers Point: 3ft @ 16s from 154° (SSE)
Remember cyclone Pam? It first caused some serious damage in the island of Vanuatu, then it moved just east of New Zealand and generated that beautiful south swell of last Tuesday. And then it aimed it strong winds more towards south America and below is my friend Moolar enjoying the swell in Pacasmayo (Peru).
I think that could be the angular spreading of that. Now, where is it gonna hit in Maui and why the Lanai buoy doesn't register it, I haven't a clue. But sure I'll look for waves. Which is what I do anyway, but it's nice to know that there is something to possibly score out there.

The wind map is a bit depressing with no fetches directed straight to Hawaii in the north pacific. Those two Highs are going to merge, we're gonna have a windy week (very easterly and gusty) and only windswell.
Fortunately, there's a nice little fetch down under, so hopefully the south shore will save our souls.
I see the change in the season happening and I don't like it.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

3 28 15 morning call

 Yesterday I checked Hookipa first, didn't like it, drove south, didn't like it (onshore and small), went to Honolua, was flat, went back to Hookipa and surfed very windy green trees and pavils.
That just to tell you that sometimes I waste time and money too, searching for waves.

The one decision I'm happy with was to surf instead of windsurf. As I said, I think I'm done with strong wind. My body doesn't like it, my soul neither. Plus it was very crowded with all the pros (and non) photoshooting crazy jumps. Plus I had a new board to try (rack is full, gonna sell a 6.6 Merrick Black Beauty, stay tuned for the photo tomorrow).

I also enjoyed very much watching the crazy windsurfing jumps from the water. This one from Kevin Pritchard is a good example. Photo by Jimmie Hepp.

This is from where I had my lunch before going to work and it shows the crowd, the strong wind and the good jumping conditions.

Not much to expect today. The waves on the north shore are down to the pure windswell. Pauwela is in fact reading 6.3ft @ 8s from 80° (E) at 5am.

Lanai is still reading 1.7ft @ 13s from 186° (S) and that's good news for my 6.30am SUP lesson students, we're gonna have perfect beginner waves. No report from Hookipa today, but here's my guess. Not much wind in the morning (easterly wind gets stronger later on) and could be fun small weak windswell waves. Bring a longboard.

The wind is finally going to be a little lighter than it has been the past couple of days. This is the MC2km map at 1pm.

The wind map shows a couple of NW fetches and still a small fetch down under.

Tomorrow a new NW swell will pickup. Pat Caldwell is calling it at 7f 16s, but that's Oahu and he actually put the direction at WNW. No signs of it at the NW buoy yet, I don't think it's gonna be here in the early morning, but we'll see in tomorrow's call.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Head high +, wind and windswell infested, but surfable.

3 27 morning call

Horrible windsurfing session for me yesterday.

The (not so) funny part is that I heard many sailors commentating on the beach "best session in a long time!".
It's great how we all are different, thank god. That might have been my last windsurfing session with more than 20 knots in my life, btw.

What made it even worse, was the photo that my friend Kazuma posted on his facebook.
I said the south shore was gonna be the only chance for a decent surf. I was wrong.

Well the Pauwela buoy is reading 6.2ft @ 7s from 54° (ENE), 4.1ft @ 11s from 325° (NW) so not all is lost.
Lanai instead is down quite a bit at 1.6ft @ 13s from 198° (SSW), but there's still waves on the webcam.

Wind map shows the NW fetch now shooting pretty much straight east (we'll still get the angular spreading), so the Monday swell is not going to be super long lasting.
And a small fetch down under that will keep the south shore not completely flat also next week.
The high pressure did move east, so the trades direction should be less onshorish today.

Kinda straight east, actually. Below is the MC2km map at noon. Plenty wind on the north shore.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

3 26 15 morning call

Good surfing on the south shore yesterday, not quite as good as the first day. I'll examine the reasons for that later on in this post when I'll talk about wave period.
Still, three one hour sessions that all ranked around 6 is not a bad day.

This morning's conditions are pictured in the report I already did from Hookipa and they are perfect for a much deserved rest. If you read this blog, you knew since long that there were no expectations to be set for this NW swell because of the proximity of the fetch and the active wind on it.
Knowing the forecast helps mostly two things:
- scoring good sessions
- planning the rest of your activities around good sessions.

Someone might think that's excessive, but in my life surfing is priority one. There's a piece of wooden wall that I cut from one my previous studios (that had to be demolished) that says:"everything revolves around surfing", but that's too long of a story.
Also because, despite the fact that I have more time than usual, I'd to talk about more interesting things.

So let's quickly get rid of today's call.
Buoys readings at
8ft @ 8s from 3° (N)           
1.7ft @ 4s from 38° (NE)
1.5ft @ 12s from 339° (NNW)

1.9ft @ 14s from 195° (SSW)

which means that the south swell is still here (just saw a shoulder high set on the cam in lahaina).
And that is the only chance for decent surf you have today.
As the MC2km map at noon shows, in fact, there's always a little area that is shadowed enough from the wind on the west side. Most days it will have an onshore breeze starting at around 10am. In particularly windy days like today, I noticed that the onshore gets stronger.

Definitely sailable on the north shore for the wind sport obsessed people (no judgement, I'm a wave obsessed guy), but with stormy, choppy, cold and relatively dangerous (at least at Hookipa) conditions.


Below is the wind map of the north Pacific that shows:
- the high that is generating this round of trade winds. Fortunately it's modeled to move east a bit and that will at least make the direction more easterly (sideoff winds ruin the waves less than sideon winds like today). In summertime, there's a semi permanent high north of Hawaii that generates very consistent trade winds and blocks the storms that generates the ground swells from the northerly quadrants. That's when the blog author gets the hell out of here.
- the low that is generating a swell that will arrive Monday night and that surfline is calling at 6f 14s. I circled the fetch and it looks pretty nice, actually.

And now let me copy and paste a sentence from Oahu master meteorologist Pat Caldwell on his last piece of art (link 9 on the right).

Looking back at the pacioos/cdip american samoa buoy from 3/20-21, the dominant periods were 14-16 seconds. As waves travel, the dominant period increases, which gave the longer periods locally. The longer the period, the greater the amplification when the swell shoals and refracts into breakers.

That is something I always questioned (I question everything by default). I believed the period is something that is related exclusively to the amount of energy that the wind transfers to the ocean surface when it blow over it.
Here's a fact: the stronger the wind, the longer it blows, the winder the area where it blows (that's the fetch), the bigger the waves it generates. If it's a captured fetch that moves in the same direction of the swell it's generating, than the waves grow even bigger because there's still wind pushing on them.

But once the waves leave the fetch, I believed that that was it. Instead, as uncle Pat illuminates us, the more they travel, the more the period grows. And with that, also the speed at which they travel.
By applying a basic energy conservation principle, there is no doubt that that happens at the expense of the height of the open ocean waves.

Imagine you have two balls of dough to make pizzas. Same exact size. One you spread it thin and wide, the other you spread it less, leave it thicker and get a smaller diameter pizza.
But if you put them back into a shape of the ball, there's still the same amount of dough.
Different is the case of two pizzas (yet to be put in the oven!) that are the same exact thickness and different diameter. When you put them back together into a ball shape, the bigger diameter one will generate a bigger ball, right?
That's the case of two swells of the same exact open ocean height but different period: a 2f 18s swell, will generate wave MUCH bigger than a 2f 10s one when they come to the shore and break. That's because the 2f 18s swell the day before was probably a 4f 16s one and the day before that was probably a 6f 14s one and the day that was probably a 8f 12s one and the day before that was probably a 10f 10s one!
Those numbers I used are totally random, I have no idea of how exactly the size and period changes while travelling, but one goes down and the other goes up.

Now, take swell A of 2f 18s and swell B of 10f 10s. IMAGINING (this is just a theoretical example) that I was super lucky with the numbers in the example above and that swell A is what swell B will become after travelling the right amount of time, the legitimate question I hear you guys asking is the following:
are those swells going to generate the same kind of waves once they hit the reef?

The answer is: not even remotely.
Don't forget that longer period waves travel faster, they gain speed during their journey (that's why they're the first ones that reach the shores when a swell starts to hit).
What happens to a wave when it starts feeling the bottom is something that would require more time and graphic illustration, but work time is approaching for me, so I'm gonna try to make it simple.
When a wave start feeling the floor of the ocean, the bottom of the wave slows down while the top keeps travelling at the same original speed. It's like the wave stumbles on an obstacle and falls forward. The sharpest the obstacle (which means the quicker the ocean floor goes from deep to shallow), the harder the wave stumbles. The faster the wave is travelling, the harder it stumbles again.
So long period waves hitting shallow reef with deep ocean in front means... heavy barrels!
Shore period waves hitting slopy sandy bottoms means mushy beach breaks.

Work time is hitting, I have no time to review what I wrote, I hope you guys appreciate the effort anyway.

Long periods rock. (well, that depends on the spot actually...).

Cold, windy, stormy, i'm not even getting out of the car. Epic resting conditions.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

3 25 15 morning call

Phenomenal day on the south shore yesterday.

With some variations on size and crowd, pretty much every spot was firing.
I'll celebrate that with a artsy photo that photographer Jason Hall took yesterday.


The Lanai buoy went up a lot and this morning at 4am is reading 3.9ft @ 14s from 194° (SSW). 
If you remember my rule yesterday, that's still not enough to get excited. But that's gonna be hard for me, if I think at those perfect walls I still have in my eyes from yesterday.

Now, the distance between two of my favorite south swell spots is 35 miles. The question at 5am is which one will I be heading to. I don't mind the drive so much, but one of the many reasons why I prefer winters (BY FAR), is that you have to get up a lot earlier for the dawn patrol. Not only you have to drive, but the days are way longer and there's less time to sleep. You got to get up at 4 and I can do that only if I go to sleep at 8. Social life killer, that's for sure. Oh well, in this day and age, with so many sheepeople around, social life is overrated anyway...

But I digress. Let's have a look at the satellite photo that shows a front approaching and reaching Kauai right now.

After the passage of it, the wind will turn north, as shown in the wind map below.
The NW swell behind that will bring the waves back to the north shore (which today is going to be COMPLETELY flat), it is hence going be stormy and choppy. Gonna be a bit of a shocker after such perfection yesterday (and hopefully today too).

MC2km did not update his map, so the 2pm one below is far from reliable, but I still fell like posting it, because it contains some crucial information. All I can say is that I'm putting the windsurf board back in the car.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

As predicted, small, clean and pretty empty. Everybody must be on the south shore.

3 14 15 morning call

Yesterday I surfed: Hookipa early morning, Honolua mid morning, Lahaina mid afternoon.

Honolua was waist high and gorgeous. You could see the reef from the cliff and all its little channels. Unfortunately it doesn't really show in this photo below, but I drew a line to mark it and you can see how the waves peel across it (specially at the cave) when its big.
The reason I did that is that during the Hookipa session I had a feeling of how gusty and offshore the wind would have been and I didn't want to have anything to do with it.

The session in Lahaina was by byself in waist high waves. The south swell was showing 1f 18s and without the surfline buoys I would have probably never known about it. This morning's Lanai buoy graph is below. It's reading 2.6ft @ 17s from 191° (SSW), so it should be a really good day on the south shore.
Nonetheless, let me share my rule about south swells. Unless it's 4f and more than 15s, never ever under any circumstances get excited about a south swell. Maui has too many limiting factors (the main one being the shadowing of Kahoolawe).
If you're curious to see the fetch that generated this swell, check the last Tuesday post and the ones after that.

Wind map shows the two fetches we saw yesterday, the closer of which got stronger and it's the one that will send us a moderate NW swell on Thursday. In the meantime, the north shore it's going to be extremely small (probably flat tomorrow), and that's because of the trade wind generating high pressure that has blocked the NW swell producing storms for the past couple of days.
One more reason not to get too excited about the wind.
The Pauwela buoy is reading
3ft @ 9s from 41° (NE)
2.2ft @ 11s from 347° (NNW)
2ft @ 5s from 70° (ENE)
so it's not quite dead yet.
Notice also the lovely lack of wind around the islands that will last till tomorrow afternoon, before the onshore wind will come in after the passage of the front. I don't think the Thursday is going to be clean at all because of that.

That's what I had in the car: didn't get to use the SUP, but I used three different surfboards and two gallons of water for the showers. I know, I'm overly proud of the board rack I installed in my car by removing the back seats.

Have fun on the south shore, 'cause that's where you want to be today (and tomorrow).

Monday, March 23, 2015

3 23 15 morning call

Surfing and windsurfing on the north shore were both mediocre for me yesterday. Still better than nothing.

Below a pic from Jimmie Hepp that shows a nice windsurfing wipeout.

This early morning I surfed Hookipa (photo report below this post) and it was the usual mediocre wind and windswell induced conditions.
Buoy readings of the Pauwela buoy at 8am:
3.7ft @ 8s from 67° (ENE)
3.2ft @ 11s from 333° (NNW)
2.5ft @ 13s from 323° (NW)
2ft @ 7s from 63° (ENE)

Waves are down, but there were still occasional overhead sets. I'm off all day and that rhymes with the bay.
Also because the Barbers Point buoy has a reading at 7am that says: 0.8ft @ 20s from 191° (SSW).
That't the first sign of the south swell that should hit tomorrow. Nothing yet at the Lanai buoy (Barbers is usually more sensitive) and not much at the Lahaina webcam, but there might be long period small lines later on in the day. I'll stuff my car with all sorts of surfboards.
The high pressure moved east a bit and that makes for slightly more offshore trades. The MC2km map at noon shows the wind hugging the whole north shore, so it should be windsurfing again.
Probably gusty because of the original offshore direction (check the direction on the map in Hana).

The wind map of the North Pacific shows a couple of fetches and that means serene sleep for me.
One of them will send us a medium NW swell on Thursday.
Before that, Tuesday and Wednesday will be pretty small on the north shore, but with a lovely timing mother nature will compensate with the south swell. Love when that happens. Love even more when there's waves on both sides, so the people spreads out.