Wednesday, January 20, 2016

1 20 morning call

Light offshore in the early morning yesterday made all spots look better than usual.

This is the one I surfed. The surfers are Jason Hall and Andrew McGurn and the photos are by a super nice guy called Tom.
The wind then got onshore around 10am and blew all day, but it glassed off again at sunset.
Double house arrest sweeping session for me, not a bad day.
I feel like quoting a comment I read on Facebook:"some people really need to surf in size within their limits", because it is the most unrespected etiquette rule out there.

Check this 360 video of CJ Hogbood at Teahupoo if you have a facebook account. It only works on Firefox or Chrome, but it's pretty cool.

Also, keep an eye on the Sunset Pro contest that could see a start today. Plenty Maui surfers in it.

The NW buoy graph on the left shows an impressive jump from 5 to 20 feet in something like 8 hours.
Surfline forecasts this swell to peak in Maui at 8pm 14f 15s from 325, but that is based on the WW3 model output, which, as Pat Caldwell points out, has been underestimating the size of these closely generated large episodes: "Seas grew rapidly Monday under severe gale to hurricane-force winds over a wide fetch within the 310-330 degree band. Ascat and rapidscat satellites validated the extreme winds starting Sunday night and into Tuesday morning. The head of severe gales is to within 700 nm and gales to within 500 nm. Proximity leads to large surf."
And with a reading of 20f 17s at 3am at the NW, I bet it will be bigger than the Surfline numbers in Maui. Not that it makes much difference, it's another extra large swell.

More important is when the swell is going to offer surfable time windows. For that, I'd like to remind the latest version of my rule of thumb for travelling time from the NW buoy to Maui for NW swells:
12h at 18s, 15h at 15s, 18h at 12s. According to that, if the swell was already 5f 18s at 8pm at the NW buoy, that energy (minus the decay due to travelling) should be in Maui at 8am this morning. A bit hard to believe considering that there's no sign of it at 4am yet and that Waimea is seeing a slow rise in the 20s range, but I just pointed out how sharply it rose, so keep an eye on the buoys and you'll know.

Keep an eye on the horizon too if you're in the water. Once again there will be an extremely rapidly increase in the wave size, don't surf a spot if it's already at the limit of your capacity, because after an hour or two it might be well beyond your capacity.

Pauwela is reading 4.5ft @ 12s from 332° (NNW) at 4am and that is clearly not the new swell, but still a really fun playful size. Getting onto that at sunrise would be a very good call.

What is going to be even more important than size and arrival time today is the wind. It will go onshore at one point and that'll ruin the shape on the north shore. MC2km maps will be key to read when they will be updated. In the meantime, let's have a look at the wind map that shows the fetch that generated this swell now aiming pretty much exclusively at the mainland's west coast and the next one coming out solid off Japan. I also shows (dotted line) the approach of the onshores.

With the swell comes a front which in this satellite photo is just hitting Oahu at 3.30am. Just by looking at that, I would recommend to surf as early as possible, before the northerly wind behind the front picks up.

 Big waves and onshore winds might force someone to look for waves on the south shore and here's what Pat Caldwell has to say about all those fetches SE of New Zealand and the ones of tropical storm Victor. So you guys don't think that I'm crazy talking about those.

Mid Tuesday on southern shores has breakers from 180-220 degrees higher than the winter average. Similar surf is expected on Wednesday.
A severe gale tracked east along 55°S to the SE of New Zealand 1/9-11. This has made for 1-2 feet, long-period deep water swell from 180-200 degrees locally starting late 1/17. This event should linger into Thursday as the direction favors 180 degrees.
A similar gale SE of New Zealand 1/14-16 should add long period swell locally making for small breakers locally 1/22-24 from 180-200 degrees.
Tropical cyclone Victor tracked slowly to the SSW to the SE of samoa 1/14-19. The quadrant aimed at Hawaii was the lowest. The highest seas were over a short, narrow fetch near the 190 degree line relative to Hawaii. Ww3 does not show any swell locally beyond the New Zealand source. It could add consistency of set arrivals from a similar direction to the New Zealand event for 1/22-24.
Into the long range, small surf on south shores should hold 1/25-26 from 180-200 degrees.

And here is the MC2km map at noon that shows the onshore wind line on Molokai. I wouldn't trust this and I would still try to surf the old swell as early as possible, because I have a feeling conditions might deteriorate earlier than that.

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