Sunday, February 14, 2016

1 14 16 morning call

The waves came down all day yesterday.

Morning surf was fun, but kinda ruined by high tide and windswell sub-peaks. Looks like Morgan found a clean one later on while windsurfing. Photo by Jimmie Hepp.

One more photo from the last Jaws sessions, I promise.
I just can't help not being mesmerized by the beauty of that beast. The noise of the landing of that lip must be deafening. Photo by Rick Leeks.

New WNW swell on the rise today, generated by that fetch we saw on the maps for the last 4-5 days. Refresh your memory by scrolling down all the way to February 9th. That was the first day it appeared on the maps, just offshore Japan. That means that the related swell will start from a westerly direction and that is what the buoys are starting to report.
Buoy's discussion is my favorite part of the call and since I woke up very early today, I'm gonna dig into it. I put together NW, Hanalei and Pauwela's graphs. Click on the photo if you can't read it.

As highlighted by the red arrows, the NW buoy went from 2 to 6 feet from 6pm to midnight yesterday. That's not a particularly steep rise, as you would expect for such a remotely generated swell (or start of the swell I should say). Notice also how the direction started at almost pure west and quickly went towards the actual reading of 300.
At that period and from that direction, it would be roughly 12 hours for the same energy to get to Maui (so 6am to noon), but things are slightly more complicated because of the presence of Kauai, Oahu and Molokai. Their shadowing will greatly reduce it.

At 4am Hanalei is reading 1.9ft @ 18s from 304° (WNW). Pauwela doesn't have any "readings" yet (or better, the Surfline software that analyzes the raw data provided by the NOAA buoy decided that the long period westerly energy was not big enough to deserve a reading), but fortunately the graph tells us more.
It's like the graph is our touch, while the readings are our sight. The former being much more sensitive when analyzing the surface of something.

Our lovely local buoy shows some fine swell detecting skills by feeling 20s energy (less than half a foot) since mid day yesterday. Needless to say, absolutely no sign of it at the "traditional" NOAA page  table where most surfers I know used to check the buoys before other websites (like Surfline) decided to dig into the energy spectrum and retrieve more complete information there.
If you click on the plot of energy vs period link, you'll get to this graph and the arrow I put indicates the long period energy that the buoy is detecting.

But where is exactly the Pauwela buoy? Below is the answer, thanks to google Earth: 6 miles offshore of Hookipa.
As you can see, the Molokai shadow for the buoy is 299. Hookipa's is 305. It's not a huge difference, but it is a difference. That means that every time there is a swell that is more west than 300, the buoy will show more energy than the one that will eventually hit Hookipa. Let alone the rest of the coastline towards Kahului.
Peahi's line instead sits at 298, so what the buoy reads is what is going to get there. Quite convenient, I'd say.

All this said, I'm gonna call for very small morning conditions (almost flat at times because of the high tide), mostly windswell waves. Picking up later in the morning and throughout the day, but with the classic inconsistency that characterizes westerly refracted swells. How big is it gonna get? Very, very difficult to guess.
I'll throw myself on the line and call for head high at noon and well overhead at sunset. But please DO NOT base your plans on this, because this is a total crap shoot game.

Wind map shows no ground swell waves generation, only a NE windswell fetch. That's a consequence of the big high pressure NW of us starting to take control over the Pacific. It will do so throughout all week. The result will be strong trades coming from directions around 60 degrees which is a pretty bad one for my spoiled tastes. 75-80 is my favorite with a strength of 15 knots, please.
"Fortunately" I can't even windsurf these days, since I'm resting a stubborn trigger finger. When you're over 50, windsurfing only happens between healing injuries.

Anyway, a week of 60 degrees strong trades will make the north shore look like Europe (no offense) and it looks like a good week to rest tired paddling muscles. We're gonna need them again soon. After that, in fact, the jet stream will do what it is supposed to do in an El Nino winter again, and even though I hate overhyping swells so much in advance, I do have to point out a Surfline forecast of 23f 18s from 325 at 8am next Monday morning thanks to a captured fetch that will move NW to SE towards us all the way from the Aleutian Islands.
Unfortunately it's not gonna stop/veer in time and the head of the fetch will hit the islands with strong NW wind. But it's a week ahead and I'm wasting my time writing this (and your time while reading it).

They forgot to put the coins in the MC2km machine which is still stuck at Wednesady, so we'll stick to the Windity closeup to illustrate the wind direction that will be once again a little offshore on the north shore. Hopefully not too strong at dawn... I got a new longboard to try!

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Thanks everyone for reading.

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