Tuesday, March 28, 2017

6.30am hookipa has relatively clean head and a half sets like the one in the photo. Windy but sideoff.
Not an easy day, but 7.5 if you can handle.

Tuesday 3 28 17 morning call

Yesterday I had two surf sessions, the second of which was absolutely delightful. By myself (which is always a huge plus), knee to waist high with occasional belly high bombs, very clean. It might sound weird to some, but I absolutely love those conditions, specially at that spot and specially with my fantastic small wave board for which I also finally found a set of FCS fins that I dig. Small waves, big fins is what I figure out yesterday.

I missed two potentially good sessions at the same spot in the previous days because I got influenced by someone else's ideas, reports and opinions. That taught me something very important: at least in Maui, I always need to follow my intuition and knowledge.

Action packed afternoon at Hookipa as usual, it's getting hard to pick the best photos by Jimmie Hepp, since there's a lot of great ones. Calling a 9 this week a week in advance, was a pretty easy task, honestly. This is the gallery of the day.

This came up as a memory from 5 years ago on Facebook. Front foot strap was great when up and riding, but very uncomfortable while laying down on it. Also made my paddling very unstable. I even caught same waves paddling with a paddle on my side that I would grab as soon as I would stand up. Levi Siver (the guy doing the aerial over the barreling wave above) was cruising with a SUP at Thousand Peaks, saw me and said:"brah, that thing looks sick! What is it?". Yes, put me on a regular (as opposed to SUP) 6.2, with a footstrap and a paddle in my hands and I can manage to impress Levi. Too bad that the whole thing was too uncomfortable and complicated, so I let go of the experiment.

4am significant buoy readings
South shore

3.6ft @ 14s from 260° (W)
2.1ft @ 11s from 260° (W)
1.7ft @ 9s from 196° (SSW)
Lanai still feeling plenty energy from the wrap. How did those waves get to Lahaina is a bit of a mystery. Below there's two pictures that show you how difficult is for them to get there, but straight lines are not a correct representation of reality. Waves refract around not only emerged lands, but also submerged ones too, as long as they are shallow enough (the longer the period, the deeper the waves will feel the bottom), so those angles I calculate are just an indication.
Take this one for example. It seems that there is pretty much only one direction that will possible make it south of Ni'iahu, Oahu and Molokai and north of Lanai: 286, but in reality it's probably a range around that. Once they make it to the channel between Molokai and Lanai, that range is 283 to 290.

Which makes me think that instead, in this particular case, they might have taken the route south of Lanai and refracted around its southern tip. Pretty easy to hit Ukumehame at that point (260 degrees), it requires a much sharper turn to hit Lahaina instead (230).
This is to say that I have no idea of how they got there, but they got there. There also was a 2-3f 9s south swell (of which I couldn't find any fetches in the past days wind maps) to make the guessing even more challenging. But in the end, why guessing if there's webcams that show waves? And that's what I recommend to do also today.
All of the above considerations have been added to the post Buoys to Maui travel times and Maui's shadow lines, which contains this kind of stuff of most Maui spots and swell directions. If I was a school teacher, I'd ask my students to learn everything written in it by heart.
North shore
7.3ft @ 14s from 315° (NW)
5.7ft @ 14s from 321° (NW)
4ft @ 10s from 65° (ENE)
3.5ft @ 14s from 317° (NW)
As soon as I wrote that the windswell is too east to bother Hookipa, here it is a reading from 65 that will definitely bother Hookipa... commentator curse.
Below are the graphs of the three reported buoys. Today should see a slight decrease, but tomorrow a slight bump up.
That is explained by Pat Caldwell with the following words:A long-lived area of surface low pressure near the dateline within 30-55°N latitude that set up 3/23 had a reinforcement low merge from the SW in on 3/25. A long, wide fetch of gales over the 305-325 degree band overtook existing seas, which maintained wave heights above 20 feet. The head of the fetch was about 1400 nm away 3/26. The system nosed to within 1200 nm 3/27 as the winds decreased and the low center shifted north. The winds were not as extreme as the previous system, so the dominant wave periods are expected to be short-lived in the 16-17 second band, but settle soon to the 13-15 second band and hold steady. The longest wave period are due Tuesday near sundown locally from 305-320 degrees. Surf should peak above average on Wednesday from 305-325 degrees. It should remain above average Thursday as it slowly declines. A new event is due Thursday evening.
A repeat pattern of the japan-to-dateline, extratropical-cyclone express is expected 3/27-29 to bring a similar round of extra- large, or surf high enough for outer reefs, later in the week.

Don't forget that the timing of the arrival is for Oahu. Add 4 to 8 hours for Maui.

MC2km maps stuck at Sunday, the HRW model on windguru below shows the usual strong easterly, but fortunately starting with a bit of ESE in the early morning. As a matter of fact, the Hookipa sensor reads 9 (4-17)mph from 108 at 6am and that's not bad at all. Worth waiting for the light to check it out for me. I'll post a beach report around 6.30.

Satellite photo at 4.30am.
Current wind map pretty much only shows the WNW fetch of next swell. Once again, it's gonna be similar to the actual one, but it seems that the low will get closer to us. We'll see in the next few days.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Monday 3 27 17 morning call

If you like chasing waves, yesterday was a great day for you. These are some of the spots I visited.

The WNW swell was wrapping almost everywhere, I heard even Honolua was shoulder high in the morning. In the afternoon the windsurfers hit Hookipa and these are a couple of beautiful bottom turns captured by Jimmie Hepp in this gallery.

4am significant buoy readings
South shore

4.9ft @ 15s from 277° (W)           
2.2ft @ 9s from 170° (S)

Wrap still there (got actually bigger), check the webcams!

North shore
9.5ft @ 14s from 293° (WNW)

7.7ft @ 15s from 311° (NW)

4ft @ 15s from 312° (NW)
3.9ft @ 6s from 84° (E)
3.8ft @ 8s from 88° (E)
1.6ft @ 11s from 326° (NW)

Below is the graph of the three reported buoys. 10, 8 and 4 feet are the steady sizes we will see today with the period now down to 14-15s. The difference in size is due very partially to the loss of energy because of the traveling, and much more significantly because of the shadowing of the upstream islands. Lanai has one foot more than Pauwela, that should tell you how west this swell is. Notice also the directions at the two buoys I just mention: 277 and 312. And that's the same exact swell originally coming from around 290-295 and wrapping/refracting south and north of the Hawaiian islands. Fascinating.

I put a red arrow on the direction graph of the NW101 buoy, to show how that didn't change much either, so more of the same today. Hookipa should still be well overhead but smaller than yesterday, hopefully I'll be able to do a beach report and be more precise.

In lack of the MC2km maps (not updated yet at the time of this call, check them out later), here's the HWR model prediction for today from the Windguru page. Another strong easterly wind day.

4.30am satellite shows mostly sunny again.

Current wind map shows:
1) a newly formed westerly fetch. Just like the fetch that made the swell we have on tap today, this one also starts in front of the Southern half of Japan. So, expect similar direction for the first days of the swell which is forecasted by Surfline to peak at 12f 16s at 8pm on Friday.
2) this is what is leftover of the fetch that made the current swell. Still stirring some waves, now from a NW direction
3) narrow windswell fetch. One good thing about the strong easterly trades we've had and we will keep having, is that at least they don't make as big of a windswell as the usual ENE trades. I mean, they do, but it doesn't hit Hookipa as much. Check Pauwela: 4f 8s from 88 will travel offshore of the recognized world windsurfing Mecca. You can always call it like that, but more so these days, with all those pro's out shredding the waves to pieces in front of the photogs lenses. Fun to watch, that's for sure.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sunday 3 26 17 morning call

Sunrise and sunset surf session logged yesterday, as predicted the new WNW swell showed some inconsistent sets in the late afternoon at Hookipa. They were clearly visible in the middle of the old swell since there was almost 10s difference in the period and often you could see them overlapping and taking over the slower waves due to their higher speed.

The afternoon offered cracking (in all meanings of the word) conditions. This is a photo by Jimmie Hepp from this gallery.

3/4am significant buoy readings
South shore

3.1ft @ 9s from 171° (S)
2.6ft @ 18s from 266° (W)
No idea of where the 3f 9s come from, the 2.6f 18s is the wrap of the WNW swell, so Kihei will have some waves. Not sure about Lahaina, but there's the webcam for that.
North shore
11ft @ 16s from 276° (W)

9.2ft @ 18s from 309° (WNW)

3.7ft @ 6s from 78° (ENE)
3.5ft @ 18s from 311° (NW)
2.6ft @ 9s from 8° (N)
Below is the graph of the three reported buoys. I put an arrow to indicate when the swell seems to have peaked at the first one and another to indicate where it should peak in Maui (early morning). The huge difference between Waimea and Pauwela is due to the westerly direction of the swell. Most of the energy of this swell is unfortunately being blocked by the upstream islands for us. Hookipa will have inconsistent overhead sets, but I would recommend to check the Pipeline cam if you want to see some solid size (probably too big to surf). The problem on the north shore will be the wind, as the Hookipa sensor is already reading 16 (9-24)mph from 78 at 5am.
Not sure I'll be able to post a beach report, as I might leave in the dark seeking for suitable spots.

Below is the collage of the wind maps from March 21 to 25. As you can see, the first two days the fetch was in front of the southern half of Japan and that's why we're not getting much. Only on the 23rd it started moving a bit NE and most likely we're gonna see less blockage and more size in the final stages of this swell.

MC2km maps not updated yet, check them later. This is the windguru 10 days table, today should be another very windy day. Maui not disappointing the windsurfing brands for their photoshoots this year. Next Sunday gonna be very windy as well and liver flush it will be.

Some clouds, but it should be a beautiful day again.

Current wind map shows:
1) the usual NW fetch. This is going to be a common vision for the whole week.
2) tiny ENE fetch

Saturday, March 25, 2017

7am hookipa has waves up to head high, wind is light.

Saturday 3 25 17 morning call

Yesterday morning I contributed to the happiness of a fellow surfer by taking him out for his first time at Hookipa. As the photo below shows, there were some solid head high sets (the word solid denotes mostly head high, but with some occasional bigger ones). The day was perfect for his abilities, the size was definitely pushing his limits, but the low crowd due to light rain, wind and clouds was a key facilitating factor.

I explained him how the current works, how and when to use the channels, and had him catch a wave at each single sub-break, with the exception of Pavillions which of course was too crowded to bother. His last wave was a really steep head and a half bomb at middles, he set up a super low Waimea style stance and stuck the drop. He was overly stoked.

Can you tell?
Here's what he wrote in an email last night:" Thanks again, couldn't stop smiling, had a blast and so stoked finally surfed Ho'okipa!!"
To which I reply: thank YOU brother Justin, your smiles and stoke set me on a high for the rest of the day. I'll see you next time.

Later on the windsurfers hit the water and the conditions were excellent (if you like strong wind).

So good that I had to grab two photos from this gallery by Jimmie Hepp.

5am significant buoy readings
South shore
2.2ft @ 12s from 245° (WSW)           
1.7ft @ 9s from 175° (S)
Lahaina side was waist high yesterday, check the webcams for today's size.
North shore
5.2ft @ 21s from 283° (WNW)
2.9ft @ 9s from 315° (NW)
3.3ft @ 11s from 318° (NW)

3ft @ 12s from 319° (NW)
1.8ft @ 9s from 321° (NW)                      
0.5ft @ 25s from 297° (WNW)
3.1ft @ 12s from 325° (NW)           
2.2ft @ 9s from 348° (NNW)
2.1ft @ 6s from 81° (E)

New massive swell on the rise today, let's dig into the analysis of the buoys. Below is the graph of NW101, Waimea and Pauwela. The first two are the only ones that are feeling the new swell. Hanalei still doesn't report them, but I can guarantee you it's there. Waimea is one of the most sensitive buoys, or at least one of the most protected by other swells, so it's the one that is able to feel low long period energy the best.

The double arrow on the NW101 graph indicated a sharp rise from 1 to 5 feet from 9pm yesterday to 5am this morning. Waimea's steepness is not up yet, but that's because it hasn't even reached one foot yet. Soon it will and soon it should start ramping up similarly. By applying GP's rule of thumb for the travel time from the NW buoys to Maui (16h @ 16s +/-1), at 20s a swell takes 12h to get here and I drew a dotted red line accordingly. But with an original direction of 283, the shadow from the upstream islands will be significant. So guessing the size is a bit of a gamble, but there should be fairly big sets by sunset.
A reader asked in a comment if the swell is going to hit Kihei, Lahaina and Honolua. The answer to the first one is yes, to the second one is maybe (if it squeezes south of Molokai and north of Lanai, and to the last one is probably not, even though I wouldn't be surprised is someone reports inconsistent sets at sunset. Keep an eye on buoys and webcams.

As far as this morning goes, 3f 12s will provide similar size to yesterday morning, so it should still be up head high. Stay tuned for the beach report, which I should post around 7am, but I'm taking it easy this morning.

6.30am reading of the Hookipa wind sensor is 8(4-14)mph from 91, could (and will) be worse.
MC2km map at noon shows strong easterly trades. Should be a cracking day for windsurfing in the late afternoon.

The weather has always been one of the top five things I like about Maui. Today should be no exception.

Current wind map still shows the wide fetch associated with the swell we will receive today. It's gonna be another long lasting one.

And also today there's a massively long fetch down under shooting at central/south America of which we'll get the angular spreading.

PS. Thanks a lot to blog reader Fernando who found another webcam for the Ohukai area in north Kihei. I updated the list.

PPS. Thanks to Jason who pointed me to this awesome video analysis by a guy called Gary Kewley in Oahu. The only thing I don't like is that he often uses the Hawaiian scale, which I consider extremely confusing. Things like "4f 20s at Sunset can be 10 feet" or 11f 16s at Jaws will magnified 2.5 times and so at least 30 feet (faces) which we call 18f Hawaiian. Why introduce another conversion scale is a mistery for me, but the good news is that I will have plenty practice opportunity before leaving for me trip on April 4th. Check it out.