Tuesday, November 24, 2015

11 24 15 morning call

Another epic day of surfing on Maui's north shore thanks to another full day of light kona.

The light kona in Maui does what the trades do to Oahu's north shore... sideoff, just from the other side.
I remember a winter a few years ago (maybe 3?) that saw an incredible number of light kona days and that was sure a rarity. The kona wind, in fact, is usually associated with a passing front and as such tends to intensify when the front gets closer. While it is for windsurfing, strong kona is not good for surfing (any strong wind isn't), so that year we were blessed. Let's hope for more of these days this winter. Possibly after I heal, thanks.

In the meantime, the photographers at Hookipa are enjoying the presence of the pro ladies. Here's the stunning Tatiana Weston-Webb in a photo by Jimmie Hepp. Here's his album from yesterday.

What looks like a sea monster in the wave is clearly a water photog instead and, as a friend of mine commented, I wouldn't mind checking out that shot!

Buoys 5am
5.7ft @ 11s from 356° (N)
3.9ft @ 10s from 8° (N)
2.8ft @ 6s from 336° (NNW)

2.7ft @ 13s from 328° (NW)
2.6ft @ 10s from 338° (NNW)

3.7ft @ 12s from 328° (NW)
3.2ft @ 9s from 60° (ENE)
1.7ft @ 10s from 341° (NNW)

Still a bit shocked at the buoy numbers for this swell. Definitely more action today, despite the period going slightly down. At least before the wind turns onshore, as predicted by both models at the bottom of the windguru page. MC2km page not uploaded yet, check it later if you want to know exactly when that is going to happen.

Both the switch of direction of the wind and the abundant rain in those forecasts are due to the arrival of the front that caused those two magic days of kona. Here's the satellite pic at 5am. It's a weak front, that's why the kona was light.

Wind map shows three fetches:
1) one just off Japan. Too west for Maui at the moment, but it will move east and get into a much better position. This is the fetch that will generate the weekend big swell. Yesterday's NW fetch instead moved north of the Kurils and weakened.
2) a weak but close one NNW of us to keep things rolling
3) a strong NNE one from which we might get some angular spreading, since it's shooting well to the east of us.

Surf early until it's clean, also because tomorrow is going to be stronger onshore and crappy all day.

Monday, November 23, 2015

11 23 15 morning call

A mystery (partially solved in this post) swell and light kona winds made for epic surfing conditions all day at Hookipa.
I took a bunch of shots, let's start from those.
Shot of the day goes to Micah Stevens. He didn't land that, but the shot looks cool.
Chronological order from now on. This guy must have seen the Tom Curren sticker on my car's door before paddling out.

I hope nobody gets annoyed if I point out again the beauty of Carissa's boobs. In this couple of photos her surfing doesn't shine, her boobs do.

She actually landed pretty hard with her butt on her board. Ouch.

 I hope John Gangini is a Jimmy Lewis team rider, because he makes that 7.0 Destroyer look pretty good.

68 years old. Good job.

Much younger, still good job.

Courtney Conlogue was ripping.

Small inside section, but very dynamic action for the title contender Conlogue. Honolua was probably tiny and ruined by the kona wind and most of the WCT girls were at Hookipa.

 Perfect leash position.

Fooling around with the digital zoom, I got this guy's super closeup. Some ladies will appreciate.

This guy got so many barrels.

Courtney tried a few different boards.

This was a very sketchy situation in which she took off not in control and with too many people in front of her. Fortunately she managed to regain control just before running over that guy, but for me that was bad behavior. Doesn't matter who you are, safety always comes first.

 There he goes again.

Another no landing but cool aerial shot.

Here's the guy that is my biggest inspiration in the whole world of surfing: I believe Ilima Kalama is 73-74 and he's always out there. I plan on doing the same. If I ever heal from this very tricky rib injury, that is.

He tried to go back to that lip, but you can tell how late he is. He got annihilated.

Courtney. I like her.

Afternoon session. Conditions were very similar. No sun when I got there, but...


...the sun eventually came out for half an hour or so.

And it was perfect light again.

At least for shooting.
Low sun on the horizon is tricky on the wave, if you're looking into it you're pretty much blind. I broke my foot windsurfing around this time of the day 5 years ago because of that.

Pavils looked good too.

There we go, now we can talk about Carissa's surfing, which is phenomenal.
I love power surfing with tons of spray in the turns and Carissa is the most powerful girl out there, IMO. She surfs like Jordy Smith. And that is a pretty big compliment in my world.
Another favorite female surfers of mine is Leah Dawson (here's a nice video of her if you have a facebook account) who instead says: “My biggest compliment is not that I surf like a man, but that I surf like a woman.”.
All good, the girls on the WCT are judged with the same criteria as the guys, that's why Carissa is the champion, Leah is not and everybody is happy with their own styles and life styles.

After this shot the sun went behind the clouds and that was it for the shoot. Not for the surfing.

"Tiny bit of energy from the north, but in Maui most of the energy still comes from the windswell."
That's what I wrote in my call yesterday and that's why I called it extremely wrong.
It wasn't easy to predict it though seen the 6am buoy readings that were a mere 2.9ft @ 14s at the NW buoy and 1.3ft @ 18s from 331 at the Pauwela (with Waimea similar to it) plus 5.8ft @ 9s from 75 of windswell.

I saw it, but I didn't think the NW swell was gonna get that big. And I still don't quite understand why it got as big as it got, even if I look at the buoy readings from the three main buoys from yesterday!
Check the graphs below.
To the left is the NW one and I had to put red lines to identify the NW swell since its line it's all broken up. Middle is Waimea, right is Pauwela: 2f 16s, that's what those waves were!

Factors that contributed to the incredible amplification on the reef of Hookipa:
1) those 5-6f 9s of windswell were mixing up with the long period NW walls and making their peaks bigger than they would have been been without them. Nonetheless, I saw some sets that had walls that were head and a half + tending to DOH, even without windswell induced extra feet on the peaks.
2) the light offshore wind held the faces up and by the time the wave broke for sure the face was a little bigger than it would have been had it had no wind (or even worse had it been onshore).

Despite all that, that was the biggest 2f 16s I've seen in my life.

But at least I now know where they came from!
Below are the weather maps of Nov 18 and 19. The low right north of us is the one that made the swell for the Haleiwa contest. The one I circled way up in the NW corner instead is the one the made yesterday's (and today's!) swell.
It went under my radar because most of its winds seemed to be behind the Kurils, which in my experience block the energy almost completely. I guess I need to re-evaluate that. Or maybe not, since in the end it was still only 2f 16s at the buoy!
Anyway, at least we found the culprit fetch.

And today we have pretty much the same situation! Here's the wind map in the windity version.
A close much smaller fetch NNW of us and a much stronger one in the NW corner. I use this global world view to point out eventual fetches in the south Pacific like the one the the Tasman Sea (what a week for Fiji... and it's still gonna go on!).


But here's a much better detail of our main storm region in this other version.
The closer fetch is really tiny at the moment. The remote one is way bigger, but only the section with the saw teeth has strong enough winds to generate significant waves for us.
I outlined this fetch first thing in the morning pretty much, before I got into the analysis I just wrote above. As you can see, I followed the contour of the Kurils, because I thought that pretty much no energy generated north of them would pass on the other side.
North of the Kurils energy included or not, this one is going to be much bigger than 2f 16s at the buoy, that's for sure.
Surfline calling for 4f 15s from 325 on Thursday and that could be round 1 for the Honolua contest.
Keep in mind this fetch is NOT the one that will generate the much bigger swell (10f 15s) on Sunday and a similar one on Wednesday next week. Plenty waves.

Today's conditions? The answer is in the buoys and the wind.
Pauwela is 4.5ft @ 9s from 68° (ENE) plus 2.7ft @ 14s from 339° (NNW) at 7am and below is the MC2km map at noon. So, shorter period, but overall kinda similar conditions to yesterday. Go surfing if you can.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Trying to correct an extremely bad call i made this morning.
Hookipa is firing

11 22 15 morning call

Great fun at the 2015 Surf Bash organized by Hi-Tech yesterday at Hookipa.
Great fun if you were in it, I mean. But it was nice for me to step out of the house for a couple of hours and take some pics. Jimmie Hepp got a new lens and he got a pic of my setup (when the sun was out, the heat was brutal). He has a full album of shots on his facebook page.

Here's the shots I took instead.

That's what happens when you start surfing in young age. Your body is more flexible. Every part of it. I started at 39 and my back will never be like that. At least I hope so, since the only way would be by breaking it. That is a great advantage in the mechanics of the paddling stroke. And that's why this kid will always outpaddle me and all the late starters like me.

Savanna Stone surfed good as usual.
Buoys 6am


6.9ft @ 10s from 42° (NE)
2.9ft @ 14s from 345° (NNW)
2.6ft @ 6s from 352° (N)
4.5ft @ 10s from 337° (NNW)
1.4ft @ 18s from 321° (NW)
5.8ft @ 9s from 75° (ENE)           
1.3ft @ 3s from 200° (SSW)
1.3ft @ 18s from 331° (NNW)
2.2ft @ 5s from 177° (S)           
2ft @ 7s from 166° (SSE)
1.6ft @ 12s from 189° (S)
1.5ft @ 9s from 184° (S)
Tiny bit of energy from the north, but in Maui most of the energy still comes from the windswell.
"how come there's still windswell if there's no more trade winds?", someone asked me.
Because the fetch is still there (or it has been there for the last couple of days). Look east of the islands and you'll see it even in today's wind map below.
Not particularly intense today (that green color is only around 15 knots), but still there. Short period waves (let's say under 10s) don't travel as much as long period ones: they dissipate their energy faster. And that's because there's a hell lot more energy stored in a 4f 16s wave than in a 4f 8s one (or even in a 8f 8s one!).
But in this case, we are just outside of the fetch of the trades that are still blowing east of us and so we still get some of the energy.
I put an L to indicate the small low that has disrupted the local trade winds flow.
To the NW of it a much deeper low that has a bit of a fetch oriented towards us. Unfortunately that one is modeled to move NE across the Kuril islands and hence stop producing waves for us.
Here's the pieces of land I would remove to increase waves in Hawaii if I were god:
1) the Kurils
2) New Zealand
3) Australia
Related swell will peak Thursday when the trades are modeled to have a return to the red color strength. Some windsurfers/kiters will enjoy that and maybe even the Honolua contest could get under way to get rid of round 1. Much bigger waves on Sunday, I hope they wait instead. But it could be a bit too big for a good show (the girls won't be catching lots of waves in such conditions... like last years there will be long waits until they manage to paddle out again and lots of waves would go unridden).

Lastly, I circled a now weaker Tasman Sea fetch that won't do much for us, but will keep making the Fiji surfers happy.

MC2km map at noon shows that it's blowing Kona and that, together with the very small numbers at the Barbers buoy, means that the south shore is not the place to go today.
Hookipa will be real clean in the morning instead.
"How big GP? You never say how big it's gonna be!"
That's right, because instead of guessing I prefer to report from the beach.
But since I'm not going to the beach these days, here's my answer for today:

It's gonna be as big as the mix of 5.8ft @ 9s from 75° (ENE) + 1.3ft @ 18s from 331° (NNW). Probably clean shoulder to head high peaks. You can also check the webcam for that... much better than me guessing.
The actual size of the waves for me is not the most important thing in deciding where to go surf.
Things like local wind and crowd are much more important, for example.
So, clean and crowded is my call for Hookipa on this Sunday morning.

But there's plenty other spots where you can surf today.
PS. I'd like to thank Wade Carmichael (and the Haleiwa contest judges) for bringing back power surfing into top level competitions. He won it without even trying a single aerial maneuver.
So refreshing.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

11 21 15 morning call

Photo below is by Fish Bowl Diaries and shows Maui shaper Sean Ordonez doing a move he was famous for (at least in my world).
When I moved to Maui on 2001, it was one of my favorite things to watch (done by him or Robby Naish). It still is.

Buoys 6am
7.4ft @ 9s from 35° (NE)

4ft @ 11s from 347° (NNW)           
3.5ft @ 9s from 8° (N)
1.2ft @ 5s from 44° (NE)

6.1ft @ 10s from 75° (ENE)
3.6ft @ 8s from 76° (ENE)
3.8ft @ 8s from 152° (SSE)
2.2ft @ 6s from 146° (SE)
1.8ft @ 13s from 190° (S)
1.6ft @ 11s from 229° (SW)

The only buoy that still register some energy from the NNW swell is the Waimea one and that's a good thing if they want to finish the contest today. Just like yesterday, the wind will be absolutely ideal for surfing on the north shore, as the MC2km map at noon shows below. Those lefts at Haleiwa looked really fun to me. Everything looks epic when you're injured.

Pauwela only shows windswell, but those 6f 10s will be enough for the Surf Bash contest organized by Hi-Tech that will take place today at Pavillions. Plus, if Waimea reads 4ft @ 11s from 347, do you think there's no evergy at all from that swell? Waimea is a very sensitive buoy, plus it doesn't get hit by the windswell as much as Pauwela and that's why it shows the NNW energy. But sure there's something left also in the Maui waters.

Very minimal energy on the south shore.

Wind map shows a small distant fetch in the NW corner and a big distant one down south. Neither one will do much for Maui. The first one would if it would move towards us, but it's forecasted to move NE up behind the Kuril islands.

Today is the start of the waiting period for the WSL women's contest at Honolua Bay. Not a chance they'll start it today.
They only have to run 27 heats and they have two weeks (till Dec 5th!). First week will see no action, IMO.
Below is the map forecasted to happen on the 26th (big swell around the 30th/1st), for example.

And then there's this other one forecasted for the 29th (swell on the 3rd).
Now we know how unreliable those long term forecasts are, but again the life of this contest's direction is pretty damn easy.

There we go, this is taken from the Honolua contest's live website. Flat as a lake. Forget about it and if you want to watch a live surf contest, go to Hookipa. That's where most of the girls will be practicing anyway.