Saturday, February 06, 2016

2 6 16 morning call

Very fun small conditions yesterday at Hookipa. The waves were in the chest to head high range and very clean in the early morning and it was a pleasure to surf such "relaxing" size after a month of giant waves and heavy wipeouts.

The photo below was taken at sunset and shows that it actually got even smaller. This morning might be the smallest day of the winter, but that is not going to last long, as a rough, messy, northerly windswell will pick up on Sunday.
Remember when four days ago I pointed out that there were no fetches generating waves for us? Today we're going to see the direct consequence of that.

That's the reason why I post the wind map every day. You need to look at it, spot the fetches (well, I do that for you) and mentally calculate the travel times of the related swells. I would actually recommend to try to visualize the swells moving across the ocean.

So if one day there's a strong fetch, the day after you should look at the new position of the fetch with having in mind where the waves it generated the day before are and trying to imagine the interaction between the two. For NW swells, you should keep doing this exercise for three to four days and you should have a pretty good idea of what's on tap for the day and of what's coming for the next few days.

For the south swells it's more difficult, since you should keep 7-8 days of weather maps in mind.
That's what Pat Caldwell tries to do with his long wordily explanation on all his posts. Fortunately you guys have the help of this blog, where, in case you don't remember a weather map of a few days ago, you can simply scroll down and check it out.

Buoys graph shows no change in size. At 5am Pauwela reads
3.6ft @ 10s from 37° (NE)
3.5ft @ 11s from 343° (NNW)
and that's what we'll see all day size-wise. Despite that, the conditions will change greatly for the worse as soon as the onshores will start blowing. The best way of gathering this key information is to check the MC2km maps as soon as they get updated, which unfortunately has not happened yet at 6.30am.

So how come we still have 3f at the buoy if there were no waves generated for us a few days ago, someone might wonder.
Even though there might be a whole day without a single wave generated in our direction, that doesn't automatically mean that it's going to be flat for 24 hours. There might be still waves in the ocean that were generated sometimes before or after that day.

Once again, to have a complete picture of the situation, you should have a buffer of 4 days of weather maps in your head. Don't want to bother with that? Save your weather maps (like I do), or just check this blog or just check the buoys or just go to the beach and see what's in the water without having a clue of where it comes from. All approaches are fine, pick the one it fits you the best.

Wind map shows a NNW fetch which, as we all know by now, will get a bit too close to us and bring the awful onshores for a few days. It's also because this fetch is followed by a cell of high pressure, which I'm gonna blame for the imminent deterioration of the conditions. I just don't like highs. I mean, I do, but of other kinds. Amongst which, surfing is my favorite, of course.

I also pointed out another low (which instead I love) that in the next days will intensify, move across the Pacific and send us yet another extra large swell that Surfline predicts to peak around 2am Thursday at 18f 18s. That means that Wednesday we'll have the opportunity again to surf rising waves of 20+ seconds of period. That's always something special for me.
One more thing that is going to appear again on the map is that lovely narrow strip of no/light wind between the big storms and the trade winds and we're gonna be sitting right in the middle of it.

This close up is at 8am this morning and it shows beautifully the switch between the SE wind and the NW one and how that will happen around the island chain.

I know most of you guys will be too lazy to scroll down and check the fetches, so here is the weather map of the south Pacific of 7 days ago, Jan 30. That is a nice fetch SE of New Zealand and even though it's not straight south to north oriented (best for Hawaii), we might get some energy from the angular spreading of that swell. As a matter of fact, yesterday afternoon I saw a 1f 15s from S reading at Barbers. Don't see it today, but nonetheless that means that the occasional knee to waist high set might sporadically fill in and break the otherwise complete flatness on our south shores.

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