Wednesday, February 10, 2016

2 10 16 morning call

Photographer Jimmie Hepp took a trip to the west side yesterday and of course he also took some pics.

Upon leaving work at 2pm, I checked the Pauwela buoy. It said 7.5f 12s from 336. That's how Honolua bay looks like with that: more and longer waves at the point than at the cave, no barrels and really fun.

This is Robby Naish at sunset at Lanes instead. Looks even more fun. I dig Robby's style.

Well it's another extremely rare day of very long period waves and I will have to stay home because of a bad sore throat. That sucks, but at least I have the Eddie to watch... IF they run it!
The numbers of the new swell are running low at the buoys if fact. Not even remotely comparable to the last big one.

Here's the 5am graphs of the NW buoy and Hanalei. NW is already down to 16s in period and the size is 13.6f. Sure, it looks like it's still going up, but last one had readings of 18f 18s, so this one is way smaller.
Hanalei is reading 5f 20s and that's as high as it's gonna get for that period.

Waimea and Pauwela (2.5f 22s at 5am) are just starting to feel the long period energy: no need to go to Jaws early.
Let's not forget the 7.5ft @ 12s from 342° (NNW) still in the water from the previous swell. Fun size both on the north and west shores.
And once again, it should be fairly easy to distinguish between the two swells, since there will be 10s of difference in the period.

Wind map shows a NNW fetch that is the tail of the fetch that generated today's swell and that is now aiming mostly at the Mainland's west coast. As a matter of fact, another big wave contest has been called on on Friday: the Titans of Mavericks. I don't know much of this event other than:
- it's not a WSL big wave tour contest
- you can watch it online only on and you probably have to pay for it.

The new WNW fetch is now fairly large and aiming somewhere SW of us. This one is going to generate a massive swell for the Marshalls. We'll see that better tomorrow.

The day will start with usual light offshores created by the cold air sitting on the land. By noon, the MC2km map shows some 10-15 knots trades nosing around the corner. By that time the waves should be too big to sail with that light wind, with the exception of Jaws actually.
We'll see, don't take this information too strictly, because Maui can always do its magic with the wind.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

7am Hookipa seems doh and cleaner than yesterday, but still not the cleanest

2 9 16 morning call

Beautiful sunny day yesterday with waves on offer both on the north and west shores.
This photo is from Jason Hall from a spot in town.

And this is another town spot photographed by Rise Lively.

The skies stayed clear during the night and so most of the heat that the Earth accumulated during the day was free to migrate back into the space. As a consequence, this is the temperature in Paia this morning. That is 12 Celsius (after 15 years I still struggle with the Fahrenheit) and that's as cold as I ever remember it. My little electric heater is on while I write this.
Notice how steep the increment prediction is. By 10am, it should be back to the usual 75F (24C). Gotta love Hawaii!

Plenty waves on tap also today (but no sign of the XXL swell just yet) as the graphs of the three buoys seems pretty steady. Actually Pauwela has the biggest and "cleanest" reading at 5am: 12.4ft @ 13s from 334° (NNW).
Seen the abundance of secondary swells at the other buoys though, I would still expect the waves to be influenced a bit by the northerly windswell that has populated (or should I say infested) our north shore waters the last couple of days. But the windswell dies down quickly, so hopefully that reading is true and thanks to the early morning's light offshores it's gonna be epic!
BTW, the Eddie will be on tomorrow and you can watch the webcast here.

Wind map shows the intense NW fetch that has already generated the XXL Wednesday's swell (on its way) still in place. Good, we'll have waves till the end of the week. After that, a new WNW swell will hit (Sunday) and that new fetch off Japan is the one that will stir it.
The blue circle indicate the magic narrow strip of ocean with no wind. We are in the middle of it today, but unfortunately things are about to change soon and the trades will start blowing again.

MC2km map at noon shows the lack of wind. Early morning should see offshore land breezes, the afternoon should see onshore sea breezes. When it's like this, this otherwise remarkable model sometimes is not the most accurate. That's totally understandable, since the intensity of the breezes will depend on the amount of clouds covering the mountains and there's no way any model can predict that precisely.

Fortunately when it's like this, it's also when you need a wind prediction the least. You know that at one point an onshore breeze is going to pick up. If that bothers you, surf early. If it doesn't, or you even prefer it since some people will leave the lineup, surf late.

Monday, February 08, 2016

9am Hookipa is doh close period pretty much unrideable

2 8 16 morning call

What a waste of a surperbowl sunday!

I worked till 2, didn't like the numbers at the buoy and the wind direction enough to drive west, checked a couple of spots in town, went to Paia Bay with the intention to at least do a power hour, put the wetsuit on without even checking the conditions, walked all the way down the beach, sat 15 minutes trying to spot a rideable wave, failed the task, walked back to the car.

No worthy action photos whatsoever from yesterday, here's a couple from my friend Gianfranco who has refined his FinShot gopro mount. He also put a new great video on Facebook on the FeatherFlash page, but I don't know how to embed it here. Check it out there and check out also the FeatherFlash website.

Let me bother you guys with this for a second. I just bought a Patagonia big wave padded west, because I wanted to see if it was better than my rib-bra for protecting my lower ribs from touching the board when I lay down and paddle. Of course, it's not made for that and even with some modifications I could do it won't work as well as that little piece of foam I made. But it works great as a overall protection and flotation device, which is what it is made for. The size is S and it fits me perfectly, but I wear M in most wetsuit brands. In other words, it's not a small S. The front looks dirty because of the wax, but I believe that will disappear after a few sessions of not laying down on wax (that is if you use it for tow-in or SUP). I used the vest for a total of 1 hour. I paid $149 + shipping, I'll sell it for $129. Big swell coming Wednesday, hurry up! 280 5687 if you want it.

Confusing graphs at the buoys, I put arrows to indicate the rise of the 11s component on Waimea and Pauwela. Even though it changes color, that is actually the same line, just look at the numbers of the period.
Actually, at 7am Pauwela reads
8.3ft @ 13s from 341° (NNW)
6.4ft @ 9s from 337° (NNW)
and with the north shore still pretty messy with all that onshore wind yesterday, those are good numbers to go west.

Wind map shows a very strong NW fetch, responsible for Wednesday's swell. The Eddie at Waimea got a yellow light.

MC2km map at noon shows light trades, not too many chances for sailing, but the light wind experts or the kiters might make it work.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

2 7 16 morning call

Well, that minimum in the surf size due to the lack of fetches was 2 days ago (specially at sunset), definitely not yesterday!

But more than the size (solid head high, which means occasionally overhead), it was the quality of the waves that was really outstanding. The day started with light offshore and dreamy uncrowded conditions at dawn. That lasted the usual one hour and already by 8 it was packed.
Then around 10 a pre-front band of clouds sent most of the people in with a half an hour of onshores. And then it got good again and it stayed good at least until 1 when I left.

I surfed 4 hours and gave the sessions and the conditions a 9. In between session I briefly took the camera out to document the beauty of the waves. This one's at The Point.

The NW buoy is steadily climbing and reports 11.7ft @ 10s from 340° (NNW) at 3am. Waves of that period take longer than usual to get here (20+ hours).
At 4am Pauwela reads
5.9ft @ 7s from 348° (NNW)
5.4ft @ 9s from 355° (N)
1.1ft @ 18s from 12° (NNE)
At 4,30am, the Hookipa iWindsurf wind sensor reads 20mph (between 14 and 30) of North wind, so you can imagine the victory at sea conditions that all those mixed periods and active wind will create.
Sleep in is my suggestion.

Later in the day the period should climb up to 10 seconds, but the wind will make finding a decent spot where to surf a challenge. That's a bummer, because Superbowl Sunday is usually prime time for uncrowded surf.

Wind map shows a solid NW fetch starting to stir some serious waters for Wednesday's swell, a small north one and the northerly wind that will characterize the conditions today. I'll try to post the MC2km map for a better look at that whenever it is updated.

Last but not least, I just found this video in which Kelly Slater talks about board designs. At one point he briefly talks about fins and he says: "this guy Pio makes these fins in Maui for Kai Lenny and other guys... they feel da kine brah!".
Pio Marasco has owned Maui Fin Company for many years and he's from my home town.
Congratulations brah!

------------------------- 7am update ------------------------
MC2km hasn't updated the maps yet, but it doesn't really matter. It's now blowing 30mph and below is how hookipa and paia bay look in the webcams: like hell!

Saturday, February 06, 2016

7am Hookipa is chest to head high and very clean.

2 6 16 morning call

Very fun small conditions yesterday at Hookipa. The waves were in the chest to head high range and very clean in the early morning and it was a pleasure to surf such "relaxing" size after a month of giant waves and heavy wipeouts.

The photo below was taken at sunset and shows that it actually got even smaller. This morning might be the smallest day of the winter, but that is not going to last long, as a rough, messy, northerly windswell will pick up on Sunday.
Remember when four days ago I pointed out that there were no fetches generating waves for us? Today we're going to see the direct consequence of that.

That's the reason why I post the wind map every day. You need to look at it, spot the fetches (well, I do that for you) and mentally calculate the travel times of the related swells. I would actually recommend to try to visualize the swells moving across the ocean.

So if one day there's a strong fetch, the day after you should look at the new position of the fetch with having in mind where the waves it generated the day before are and trying to imagine the interaction between the two. For NW swells, you should keep doing this exercise for three to four days and you should have a pretty good idea of what's on tap for the day and of what's coming for the next few days.

For the south swells it's more difficult, since you should keep 7-8 days of weather maps in mind.
That's what Pat Caldwell tries to do with his long wordily explanation on all his posts. Fortunately you guys have the help of this blog, where, in case you don't remember a weather map of a few days ago, you can simply scroll down and check it out.

Buoys graph shows no change in size. At 5am Pauwela reads
3.6ft @ 10s from 37° (NE)
3.5ft @ 11s from 343° (NNW)
and that's what we'll see all day size-wise. Despite that, the conditions will change greatly for the worse as soon as the onshores will start blowing. The best way of gathering this key information is to check the MC2km maps as soon as they get updated, which unfortunately has not happened yet at 6.30am.

So how come we still have 3f at the buoy if there were no waves generated for us a few days ago, someone might wonder.
Even though there might be a whole day without a single wave generated in our direction, that doesn't automatically mean that it's going to be flat for 24 hours. There might be still waves in the ocean that were generated sometimes before or after that day.

Once again, to have a complete picture of the situation, you should have a buffer of 4 days of weather maps in your head. Don't want to bother with that? Save your weather maps (like I do), or just check this blog or just check the buoys or just go to the beach and see what's in the water without having a clue of where it comes from. All approaches are fine, pick the one it fits you the best.

Wind map shows a NNW fetch which, as we all know by now, will get a bit too close to us and bring the awful onshores for a few days. It's also because this fetch is followed by a cell of high pressure, which I'm gonna blame for the imminent deterioration of the conditions. I just don't like highs. I mean, I do, but of other kinds. Amongst which, surfing is my favorite, of course.

I also pointed out another low (which instead I love) that in the next days will intensify, move across the Pacific and send us yet another extra large swell that Surfline predicts to peak around 2am Thursday at 18f 18s. That means that Wednesday we'll have the opportunity again to surf rising waves of 20+ seconds of period. That's always something special for me.
One more thing that is going to appear again on the map is that lovely narrow strip of no/light wind between the big storms and the trade winds and we're gonna be sitting right in the middle of it.

This close up is at 8am this morning and it shows beautifully the switch between the SE wind and the NW one and how that will happen around the island chain.

I know most of you guys will be too lazy to scroll down and check the fetches, so here is the weather map of the south Pacific of 7 days ago, Jan 30. That is a nice fetch SE of New Zealand and even though it's not straight south to north oriented (best for Hawaii), we might get some energy from the angular spreading of that swell. As a matter of fact, yesterday afternoon I saw a 1f 15s from S reading at Barbers. Don't see it today, but nonetheless that means that the occasional knee to waist high set might sporadically fill in and break the otherwise complete flatness on our south shores.

Friday, February 05, 2016

9am Hookipa is chest to head high light wind

2 5 16 morning call

Windsurfing afternoon session was way more fun than morning SUP session for me and that was due to the perfect slog and surf conditions at Hookipa.
I hit it kinda late and soon the surfers crowded the lineup, but I had 3-4 really clean waves and when it's like that, windsurfing - for me - is just as fun as surfing. Unfortunately I will have to limit the amount of time I put into that (and SUP) because of course, now that my ribs are getting better, a new trigger finger problem has arisen.

This is Kevin Pritchard in a photo by Jimmie Hepp taken earlier in the day. The waves dropped considerably later in the afternoon, as shown by the Pauwela buoy graph below.

The buoys show smaller numbers that we got used to, even though the NW one shows a slight increase in size that could be reflected locally in the late afternoon. But overall, with a 3am reading of 3.6ft @ 9s from 48° (NE) and 2.9ft @ 12s from 326° (NW) at Pauwela, you can expect a fairly small day. Should be clean though, thanks to light SE winds.

Wind map shows a solid NW fetch that unfortunately will get too close to the islands and bring us onshore wind and rough, messy waves Sunday and Monday.
If you think how many fetches/swells we've had so far, it's remarkable that we get hit by the active wind of them so rarely. Once again, 20.8° N, 156.3° W is the place to be.

The map also shows a fetch down south. Every time I circle a fetch down there, IF we get something out of it, it will be in 7-8 days.

MC2km map at noon shows the SE wind and the non sailable but very surfable conditions.
I also checked tomorrow's forecast and they give the onshores as early as 10am. I'll double check it tomorrow, since it's gonna be a much more reliable forecast.