Saturday, October 30, 2010

big swell update

WARNING: this is an extremely boring forecast post.

Here's what Pat Caldwell posted on Friday afternoon:

Models are showing the jet stream amplifying a trough between the longitudes of the dateline to Hawaii this weekend. A weak low pressure from the subtropics near Japan is tracking rapidly toward the dateline on Friday. This tropical moisture will be a critical parameter in the forecast of radically dropping central low pressure values, which are expected to reach to 940 mb late Saturday. Hurricane-force winds are expected near the center, to 75 knots. The brunt of this modelled swell is aimed at targets NE of Hawaii. Over a wider area severe gale to storm-force winds are modelled to stretch from near Kamchatka to well east of the dateline, covering a fetch over 1000 nm long. Models show a long duration to the fetch. These aspects are the essential ingredients for creating exceptionally high long period swell. The nose of gales with seas to 30 feet is expected to reach to 1000 nm of Hawaii by late Sunday. Proximity of high seas is one of the important sources for winter-caliber surf in Hawaii. More explicit expectations can be provided after the pattern unfolds and estimates of surface level winds and seas are available. In any regards, consistency among models and model runs over the past 72 hours give credence to this event.

The local surf is expected to ramp up rapidly around sundown on Monday from 320-350 degrees. The episode is expected to peak mid day on Tuesday in the extra-large to marginally giant category, meaning significant breakers on outer reefs.

Well, I went to check the models on Saturday morning and honestly it seems that yes, a very big swell is about to be generated, but it will heavily miss Hawaii to the NE.
We'll get the angular spreading and that's always tough to forecast. Anyway, if all the models are forecasting big waves (16 feet, 16 seconds from 350 by sundown Tuesday on Surfline), I guess we'll receive big waves.

Warning for all the pro windsurfers that are in Maui and are thinking about changing their tickets to Cabo Verde to have the opportunity of sailing Jaws: don't do that!
It's pretty clear by now that there will be no wind to sail on Tuesday anywhere on the NORTH SHORE. Thursday should be windy (although from an initially onshorish direction) and there will still be waves around, but no wind on Tuesday.
Repeat: no wind on Tuesday. So don't change your tickets and get the hell out of here! :)

I'm just kidding. Like everything, the presence of all the pros has good and bad aspects. Good: incredible show and picture opportunities; bad: crowded as hell.

The good news is that after the big one, I can see two more storms lined up. They all will have fetches oriented towards the mainland west coast, but that's good news for the windsurfers, since that means that there will be a trade wind generating high pressure above us. In other words, after Thursday there should be wind and waves for a while.

Sorry about this dreadful post with no pictures. Let me make it even worse, by typing my frustration for yesterday's missed session.
Got to Hookipa at 3 and looked like heaven. Light wind and big peaky waves up to logo high. By the time I rigged, the wind dropped to almost nothing. Waited a bit and then decided to check Kanaha. Lowers was smaller than I expected, and I thought to wait for the evening glass off for a SUP sesh. By 5 it was clear that the light wind was not going to die and, so I rigged and sailed out to catch two waves.
Not big enough, not quite enough wind. Went back in, paddled out on the SUP around 6.15, caught one wave and paddled back in almost at dark.
I should have just taken a day of rest, but after seeing those awesome conditions at Hookipa, I was so ocean aroused that I had to get in anyway... some of you will understand.

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