Monday, January 16, 2017

9am during my session hookipa went from 7 to 3 and now that I'm leaving, the point looks like an 8. All changes by the minute depending on the amount of wind.

7.15am hookipa has inconsistent and relatively clean head high sets. Ese trades blowing light at the moment but can increase any time.

Monday 1 16 17 morning call

Just a short windsurf session for me yesterday, that's my way of giving my paddling muscles a rest...

Everything went as predicted, but the size of the waves at sunset that were a lot smaller than I suggested. Sorry about that, I'll elaborate on that just below.

In the meantime, this picture of Jimmie Hepp from this gallery shows:
1) the size of the waves in the morning. The surfers is on a wave that is barely chest high, but:
   1a) judging from the wave behind, the wave was probably much bigger at the take off
   1b) there's another bump in front that hides the very bottom of it, so it might actually be a few inches bigger than it looks
The one on the back is head high for what we can see, but the same 1b) point applies.
I use these opportunities to clarify my way of judging the size of the waves. There should be no need, since they're quite self-explanatory, but I can see that years of use and abuse of the Hawaiian scale has left a tendency of calling the waves smaller than they are in most surfers.
2) the easterly trades that picked up just exactly how the MC2km maps predicted. It was sunny, so maybe a tad stronger, but with the correct timing. If you want to know the wind for the day and it's after 6am (when they usually get updated), that's the website to go. Link n.17 of GP's meteo websites list on the right column of this blog.

5am significant buoy readings
South shore

2.2ft @ 12s from 269° (W)

3.8ft @ 12s from 301° (WNW)

No direct south readings (even though 8 days ago on Jan 8 there was a small fetch east of New Zealand), the WNW swell is still big enough to "overwhelm" the buoys. Check the webcams, I just added another Kihei Cove webcam link that a reader sent me. The webcams section is just below the GP's meteo website list.

North shore
5.3ft @ 12s from 291° (WNW)
5ft @ 9s from 316° (NW)

5.5ft @ 13s from 309° (WNW)           
4.6ft @ 9s from 345° (NNW)
5.1ft @ 13s from 331° (NNW)

3.9ft @ 9s from 75° (ENE)           
3.4ft @ 6s from 73° (ENE)
2.6ft @ 13s from 320° (NW)
1.8ft @ 11s from 320° (NW)
The buoys this morning give me a wonderful opportunity to elaborate on the behavior of westerly swells.Let's start with the direction. Please notice how it changes from 291 at the NW buoy, to 309 at Hanalei, to 331 at Waimea and back to 320 at Pauwela. Now if the last two numbers were inverted, everything would make more sense, right? The swell wraps around the islands of the chain and loses a bit of west each time. But "nature doesn't like to be put in the cookie cutter" (epic Pat Caldwell sentence) and it leaves us wondering why the hell is it like the way it instead is.

Two possible explanations.
a) the bottom contour of the NW tip of Oahu's north shore is shaped in a way that it really refracts that particular size and period in a way that it then hits the buoy from 331.
b) the buoy readings don't have to be taken too precisely. I sample whatever last reading is on when I do this call. If you guys check them an hour or two later, they might as well be quite different.

But the most important part of this morning's readings is the size, IMO. Check the 13s component at those four buoys: 5, 5, 5, and half of 5 at Pauwela. That tells us that the amount of energy lost for refraction (and extra travel) in Maui is much bigger than the sister upstream islands.
In the NW buoy to Maui travel time and shadowing angles post (accessible through the labels section of this blog) I calculated the "geometrical" shadow line from Pipeline to Kauai as 295. The one from Hookipa to Molokai is 305 instead.
I save the picture below a few days ago from a facebook post. It was a long term forecast of this WNW big swell that just hit. Don't get into the detailed numbers please, just notice how much more Kauai receives, then visually compare it to what hits the north shore of Oahu  and then continue to Maui's north shore. And if you feel depressed at this point, just look at the Big Island and feel better.
I am not a fan of these kind of maps. I used it in this occasion, because it helped me explain the concept, but you should not take them too literally. Big Island's southwest coast got plenty energy from this swell, for example.

Back to us, anything more west than 305 and Hookipa gets robbed of some of the energy. The bigger and longer period the swell is, the less this is true, because those can wrap around better (still losing some energy, though). So what happened yesterday afternoon is that the period went down a couple of seconds and the resulting energy that was hitting Pauwela (and Hookipa) went down accordingly.

Below are the graphs of the four reported buoys. I put an arrow on a very slight bump that happened (and that was predicted from the Surfline forecast) yesterday at the NW101 (the top left) and is propagating through the island chain. Is it going to happen also in Maui? Maybe, but with the period now down to 12-13 seconds, I'm afraid that the proportion of the energy we will get compare to our upstream islands cousins will still be fractional. Stay tuned for the beach update for an indication of the size in the water.

Current wind maps shows:
1) a very strong WNW fetch
2) a hint of a windswell fetch
3) a small/weak southerly fetch

MC2km map at 7 shows strong ESE trades lurking just behind the Pauwela Point corner.

The noon map shows the strongest moment. Very offshore today, it will take some sunshine for the wind/kitesurfing to happen and it will be very gusty if it does.

PS. I made these following slight changes to the blog:
- I introduced a weekly rotation for the paying banners (the rest are old trades). Once a week, I'll move the top one to the bottom and keep the whole thing circling.
- I added a webcam to the list (kihei cove from the side)
- I was requested to add back the "donate" button, but I actually never removed it. It's still there at the very top of the list of banners.

PPS. No time to review this post. Sorry about the possible grammar/spelling mistakes.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

7.30am hookipa has relatively clean head to head and a third sets. The ese trades are starting to blow moderate. Still a 7 at the moment, but it could get worse soon.

Sunday 1 15 17 morning call

I'm having a bit of a magic week, here's the (long) story of how yesterday went. If you don't care and just want to read the call for the day, skip to the "significant buoy readings" section after all the surfing photos. Before the story though, let me open with a lovely sequence of Axel Rosenblad in the very first morning light.

Upon receiving the email with the heat order and learning that the two open longboard (the only category I could sign in for) heats were gonna be the first ones in the water at 7am, yesterday morning I quickly realized that I was never gonna make it to Honolua on time. I thought I was going to be there at 7.30 and thought: "It doesn't matter, I'm gonna go take photos of the groms anyway".
I even took off the car an old 9.2 that I loaded the evening before, just in case my "regular" longboard (an 8.0) was not going to be long enough for the contest's rule book.

Sipping my coffee and with no stress whatsoever, I made my way easily through the light Saturday morning traffic and got to the bay at around 7.10am instead. I quickly found a Napolitan style parking (not really, I didn't block anybody) right by the organizer's tent and inquired about my heat.
"You have 5 minutes before your heat starts! Grab a blue singlet".
"Cool! Would a 8.0 board be long enough?"
"Nope, it needs to be at least 9 feet".
"Oh, too bad then... that's all I have with me"

My Brazilian friend Oscar (father of the two lovely surfer girls I got that sweet photo with a couple of days ago) was right there, overheard the conversation and told me:"hang on, I have a friend's 9.0 in my car. Let me call him and ask him if you can use it". 5 minutes later I was hurrying down the path with a board under my arm that I had never ridden before.

I believe this is Eli Hanneman, another hard charging grom

He came out of that barrel way down the line

Until yesterday, I only had one previous experience of surf contests. It was quite a few years ago at the Ole contest at Launiupoko. There were no priorities, and with only two sets in my heat, all those super competitive guys didn't let me catch a single wave. So I was quite happy to see my friend Kaleo Amadeo's friendly face in the lineup when I paddled out at the Bay, just a couple of minutes after the horn sounded. He's a lifeguard at Hookipa, a realy good surfer and a very nice guy.

As I posted in the beach update, the conditions were nice, but slow. You could either wait for the good ones or scratch for the more frequent insiders. Or a mix of both. I managed to catch two mediocre waves, claimed my priority on one of them, didn't fall, and overall surfed as good as I could and enjoyed being out there with that special 'sun is not out yet' light.
The kid in the next photo below is instead enjoying a bright vision of a beautiful wall.

The heat had 7 competitors (I think it was supposed to be 6, but since I showed up so late, they thought I wasn't coming and let someone else in). With my two mediocre waves I got 5th, while Kaleo only got one good wave and got 6th, which made me mildly proud about my heat strategy and earned me bragging rights and some teasing next time I see him. Needless to say, I couldn't care less about the result. I just wanted to enjoy the experience and I did just that with a big smile on the face the whole time.

After my short 13 minutes of "surfing the Cave with only 6 other guys out" (that was never gonna be my motivation to sign up. I can do better than that without having to pay a contest fee), I found a killer spot on the cliff's rocks and prepared myself for a whole morning of taking photos of the groms that were ripping impressively hard. A tourist was so impressed by how comfortable and stree-free I looked in my nature surrounded setup that took a bunch of photos of me. He will send them to me in a couple of weeks (he forgot the cable to download them at home) and you guys will see. Coffee, breakfast number two, camera and beautiful waves right below me. I was mentally set to spend the whole morning there, before going to work at 2pm.
This could be Valentin Neves (Leonardo's son), but I'm not sure. I like the crystal looking lip

But these days there's just too many opportunities of scoring epic sessions and I just couldn't resist the pull towards another possible score and left after an hour in search of more fun. Looks like I found it.

It was again just me and that visiting friend of mine and there was plenty hooting at each other.
Here's more photos of the Eli grom from this gallery by Jimmie Hepp.
3am significant buoy readings
South shore
South facing local buoys still overwhelmed by the WNW swell, check the webcams.

North shore
5.4ft @ 10s from 283° (WNW)
5.2ft @ 12s from 282° (WNW)

6.1ft @ 13s from 299° (WNW)
5ft @ 13s from 320° (NW)

5.2ft @ 13s from 317° (NW)
Very similar numbers at all the buoys, 5f 13s is one of my favorite combos for one of my favorite spots. Got to just let that very high morning tide come down a bit. Beach report might be a bit late today. NW101 graph is below, the swell will be a lot smaller than yesterday, but it will only eventually loose a foot and a second by sunset, so still plenty energy all day.
Current wind map shows:
1) a strong and wide WNW fetch. Next swell on Wednesday/Thursday will have some similarities to the current one
2) a compact, but intense little north fetch
3) a weak windswell fetch
4) a highly blocked SSW fetch
NAM3km map at 7am shows light ESE trades.
This is the 1pm map and shows chances of sailing on the north shore. Notice the direction, it's gonna be offshore and gusty.



Saturday, January 14, 2017

8am honolua is very inconsistent and head high when the set hits. Contest is on.

Saturday 1 14 17 morning call

Couple of sessions before work yesterday and another beautiful day in Maui was archived. As usual, Hookipa had extremely variable conditions. It looked almost perfect at one point and then a westerly wind sucked in by the relatively strong ESE trades blowing just offshore Pauwela point (you could see the white caps in the distance) introduced a bad chop that brought the score down to barely a 5.

By the time I was leaving, the ESE trades line was getting closer and pushing the westerly wind back, and it was starting to look gorgeous again. That is to reaffirm the concept that no matter what score I give Hookipa in the morning, conditions can change within minutes. I do see that the score is appreciated though, so I'll keep doing it. A reader told me that if he reads a score better than 6, he comes down to surf, otherwise he stays home. Very questionable criteria I objected, for the reasons I just explained, but he added:"still much better and reliable than the Mama's cam!"

The trades must have filled in later on as you can see from the white caps out the back in these pictures by Jimmie Hepp from this gallery.
I've been confusing Cody Young and Tanner Hendrickson a lot lately. Fortunately I have a personal spotter at work that will tell me if I was right or wrong. Hey Tyler, I think this is Cody, am I right? Anyway, whoever he is, that is a beautiful bottom/top turn combo.

4am significant buoy readings
South shore

We're not gonna be able to see any south swell readings at the local south facing buoys for a few days. Two are the reasons for that:
1) the big west is overwhelming the buoys
2) there's not much energy coming from the south after the beautiful, totally under utilized swell of a few days ago.
That doesn't mean that it's not worth a look at the webcams.

North shore
9.6ft @ 15s from 284° (WNW)           

10.2ft @ 15s from 305° (WNW)

8.1ft @ 18s from 304° (WNW)

8.1ft @ 17s from 311° (NW)

Below are the graphs of the four buoys I reported above in clockwise order, with the NW101 at the top left. I put an arrow to indicate the peak on each of them. You can almost visualize the swell marching through the chain of islands by looking at the delay between the peaks. By looking at the upstream buoys, it's easy to predict that the swell will gradually taper down all day today (blue dotted line), but seen the size, that might go almost unnoticed by most people.

Despite the doubts I expressed yesterday, the Surfline forecast was spot on about the timing, but a bit high on the size. Below is the comparison from the 3 days old Surfline forecast (that I posted on the 12) and the Pauwela graph: timing is correct, but the swell only reached 8f, not 11. Thank god I add, because, as you read yesterday, I signed up for the Legend of the Bay contest that should be held this morning (all categories but open Men's) at Honolua. Honestly, I have no idea of how the waves are going to be with 8.1ft @ 17s from 311 in the water. Honolua to Molokai emerged lands' shadow line is 335, so my guess is the following: very inconsistent, but when the set comes, it will be big. Could also be completely flat, I just have never gone there with a swell this west. But I'll be there early and post a report, so we'll find out! For the north shore residents instead, it's evident that those numbers will make Hookipa too big for 99% of the surfers. And the 1% that could surf it, will probably be at Jaws which, if it breaks, will probably be relatively small. Look for alternatives in terms of shadowed/protected spots is my obvious suggestion.

The red arrows indicate the smaller, less westerly swell that hit Thursday and that almost everybody forgot about. Thanks to that, my second session yesterday was a bit of a score, because it was in a spot that, with the big westerly in mind, not many surfers thought about. Here's a little tip for you guys: when there's a big swell that is catching the attention of most surfers, don't forget the smaller stuff in the water (if there's any). I've been scoring uncrowded sessions for years thanks to that.

Current wind map shows:
1) a strong, distant westerly fetch
2) a much closer NW fetch
3) a hint of a windswell fetch
4) a solid Tasman Sea fetch. We never know what we get out of those, but Surfline is calling for 7.5f 16s from 210 for Fiji on Wednesday, if you have money and time to go there...

If you noticed a resemblance between this wind map and one of few days ago, you were correct. Jan 9th weather map looked a lot like today's. As a consequence, we're gonna get another big westerly swell that Surfline predicts at 11f 15s from 308 on Wednesday night for the Maui offshore waters (that is after the refraction upon the upstream islands).

MC2km map at 7am shows ideal wind conditions everywhere

The noon map unfortunately shows the start of an onshore flow at the Bay.

Which is confirmed by the 2pm map. By then, if this happens, the Bay will be total junk.

And as I was done with this call, I received an email from the HSA with the tentative schedule (subject to change) for the day:

7:00 Longboard Semi

7:30 Boys 16-17 Semi

8:10 Boys 14-15 Round 1 (3)

9:10 Longboard Final

9:25 Boys 16-17 Final

9:45 Boys 14-15 Semi

10:25 Boys 12-13 Round 1 (5)

12:05 Boys 14-15 Final

12:25 Boys 12-13 Round 2 (3)

1:25 Girls U14 Semi

1:55 Boys U12 Semi

2:25 Open Women Quarters

3:45 Boys 12-13 Semi

4:25 Girls U14 Final

4:40 Boys U12 Final

4:55 Open Women Semi

5:35 Boys 12-13 Final

5:55 Open Women Final

6:15 Pau