Tuesday, March 31, 2015

No wind and clean,  but small and weak. Wind line is out there pretty close.

31 3 15 morning call

To be someone that writes a blog claiming to know where and when to go, I've been doing a lot of miles for nothing lately...

Yesterday I thought that Hookipa would suck (and I was right at least on that!), so I drove south in the dark. Lahaina was small (maybe good for longboard or sup but I'm testing shortboards), so I kept driving to the bay where I saw ONE shoulder high wave at the cave and nothing else for the next 20 minutes, drove all the way back and surfed a horrible head and a half Middles. The windswell lumps coming sideways where pretty significant and the next section was closing out on you automatically.
I managed to stand up 5 times without doing a single turn and I consider that a standout performance.

Oh well, I tried. When the waves aren't good, they aren't good. But then at noon I had a very fun session at a spot right in the neighborhood. Sometimes you don't have to look that far away to find what you're looking for. Sometimes it might be just right were you are. That is the one problem when you leave in the dark: can't check the local waves, can't check the webcams for the remote waves.

Instead, this is Keanu Nakamura who obviously had the right board (and skills) to enjoy the small waves in lahaina yesterday. Photographer Jason Hall has come up with a long pole mount for his gopro and we're seeing some new angles here.

This morning there's a nice break in the wind and Hookipa might actually be not too bad. Expect a photo report soon.
Let's see what's at the buoys:
Pauwela went down a lot, but that's better than nothing.
6.4ft @ 9s from 86° (E)           
2.5ft @ 12s from 335° (NNW)
2.2ft @ 14s from 323° (NW)           
1.4ft @ 4s from 86° (E)
Lanai shows still some sign of life for the south shore
2.4ft @ 13s from 213° (SW)
2.1ft @ 7s from 168° (SSE)
1ft @ 9s from 181° (S)
0.8ft @ 5s from 165° (SSE)
Later on the wind will pick up and it will be sailable again. This is the NON updated (it seems that they wait for me to be done with my post to update it!!), at 1pm which seems to be the windiest one. Notice the original sideoff direction. That means gusty.
Even if not updated, I still prefer this map to the windguru-like charts, because it shows the wind in the rest of the island. Some people look for the wind, some other try to escape it. Plus you learn how the wind hugs the mountains and what every single wind direction does.
Wind map still pretty lame with a couple of tiny fetches NW of us that won't do much.
Let me borrow a couple of uncle Pat's classic sentences:
"This pattern should give way to a spring minimum of north Pacific surf. "
"A smidgen of swell is possible locally mid to late Saturday making for low-end conditions."
That sums it up and yes, you can call me a grumpy haole bitching for no surf these days...

Monday, March 30, 2015

30 15 morning call

Not much action for me yesterday, but that's my fault.

I taught a lesson in Kihei and seen the high Barbers point reading with some east, I went east.
It was breaking, but too close to the rocks. There were some proper ones, but every 20-30 minutes or so.

So I jumped in the water and caught one of those little guys instead. It was fun, but I had to wait 20 minutes for it, so I left.

You better catch something brah!

Lahaina side had better waves (like most of the times on a small to medium swell), but I drove back home because I wanted to catch some kind of sunset session on the rising NW swell.
Instead the wind blew hard till 6 (and with more than 40 sailors out at Hookipa) and I just watched.
That makes the total of waves ridden yesterday for me equal to 1.
That is absolutely unacceptable, and I'm gonna fix it today.

The NW buoy yesterday went up to 7f 14s from around 310. We get shadowed by the upstream island on that direction, in fact Pauwela at 5am is only reading 3.8ft @ 15s from 323° (NW) (plus 4.6ft @ 9s from 83° (E) of windswell), but that'll still be well overhead.

The wind will be on it all day though as the two models at the bottom of the windguru page show.
I love that momentary lack of wind that the NAM one shows for tomorrow morning... I really hope it's true.

No lack of wind today instead, at least on the north shore, so guess what I'm gonna do?
Let me help you with the readings of Lanai 2.7ft @ 14s from 241° (WSW) and Barbers 4.5ft @ 14s from 188° (S).
I'm completely confused about the directions, so I went back in the weather maps archive and pulled the March 21 one. I drew a couple of lines to show how I think the angular spreading of that fetch worked. We must be getting something from the very deep of the fetch to justify such a long delay in arrival. How's that little Maui I drew to show where we are? Not easy to do with a touchpad mouse.


Well, I'm not sure where they're coming from, but as long as there's something, I don't particularly care.
This is the NON updated MC2km map of 7am and I'll be in the blue. Probably no report from Hookipa, if I manage to leave in the dark.

Weather map is totally depressing. Wind and virtually no waves generated for us other than the windswell.

Yeah, a tiny little fetch off Japan, but that's not doing much. Better down south.

Last but not least, my 6.6 Black Beauty is up for grabs at $350 with EA fins that look like brand new.. Here's the link to the ad with all the details.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

3 29 15 morning call

Full day of work for me yesterday (pretty much 6.30am to 5pm), but I managed to squeeze a sunset session at Hookipa on a longboard and that was fun.

The SUP lesson was a success. The SUP lessons always are. It's amazing the amount of mistakes I see people doing out there... sometimes I got to stop myself from paddling over and pointing them out!

Got another early lesson this morning, so don't expect a photo report from Hookipa. But with a Pauwela reading of 4.3ft @ 8s from 84° you don't need a photo report, do you?
It's small, pure windswell. Can be fun anyway.

Just as it can be fun to figure out the other buoy readings. Today there's all kind of stuff going on (or not).

Let's take the NW and Waimea buoy graphs for example. For Oahu, this morning NOAA says:"Surf along north facing shores will be rising to 10 to 14 feet with occasional higher sets in the afternoon".
It doesn't really say when it will be rising, but if they mention occasional higher sets in the afternoon, you would think that it will pick up during the morning.

Well, I'm gonna guess that is more like a late morning.
In fact, the new swell only picked up during the night at the NW buoy (I circled the part of the graph) and it's now finally reading 5ft @ 15s from 314° at 5am.

Nothing yet at the Waimea buoy of that swell, but notice that less than a foot readings of 20 and 18seconds that have been recorded for the last 24h. Nothing to do with the new swell, that must be what arrived from that fetch off Japan 3-4 days ago. You guys can scroll down and check it out on the wind map in the previous days posts, if you care.

That also mean that for Maui it's gonna be a late afternoon deal.

But there's plenty more interesting stuff at the buoys today.
Lanai is still reading 1.7ft @ 13s from 177°, which means that I'm gonna have perfect south shore waves for my students again.
But the interesting one is from Barbers Point: 3ft @ 16s from 154° (SSE)
Remember cyclone Pam? It first caused some serious damage in the island of Vanuatu, then it moved just east of New Zealand and generated that beautiful south swell of last Tuesday. And then it aimed it strong winds more towards south America and below is my friend Moolar enjoying the swell in Pacasmayo (Peru).
I think that could be the angular spreading of that. Now, where is it gonna hit in Maui and why the Lanai buoy doesn't register it, I haven't a clue. But sure I'll look for waves. Which is what I do anyway, but it's nice to know that there is something to possibly score out there.

The wind map is a bit depressing with no fetches directed straight to Hawaii in the north pacific. Those two Highs are going to merge, we're gonna have a windy week (very easterly and gusty) and only windswell.
Fortunately, there's a nice little fetch down under, so hopefully the south shore will save our souls.
I see the change in the season happening and I don't like it.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

3 28 15 morning call

 Yesterday I checked Hookipa first, didn't like it, drove south, didn't like it (onshore and small), went to Honolua, was flat, went back to Hookipa and surfed very windy green trees and pavils.
That just to tell you that sometimes I waste time and money too, searching for waves.

The one decision I'm happy with was to surf instead of windsurf. As I said, I think I'm done with strong wind. My body doesn't like it, my soul neither. Plus it was very crowded with all the pros (and non) photoshooting crazy jumps. Plus I had a new board to try (rack is full, gonna sell a 6.6 Merrick Black Beauty, stay tuned for the photo tomorrow).

I also enjoyed very much watching the crazy windsurfing jumps from the water. This one from Kevin Pritchard is a good example. Photo by Jimmie Hepp.

This is from where I had my lunch before going to work and it shows the crowd, the strong wind and the good jumping conditions.

Not much to expect today. The waves on the north shore are down to the pure windswell. Pauwela is in fact reading 6.3ft @ 8s from 80° (E) at 5am.

Lanai is still reading 1.7ft @ 13s from 186° (S) and that's good news for my 6.30am SUP lesson students, we're gonna have perfect beginner waves. No report from Hookipa today, but here's my guess. Not much wind in the morning (easterly wind gets stronger later on) and could be fun small weak windswell waves. Bring a longboard.

The wind is finally going to be a little lighter than it has been the past couple of days. This is the MC2km map at 1pm.

The wind map shows a couple of NW fetches and still a small fetch down under.

Tomorrow a new NW swell will pickup. Pat Caldwell is calling it at 7f 16s, but that's Oahu and he actually put the direction at WNW. No signs of it at the NW buoy yet, I don't think it's gonna be here in the early morning, but we'll see in tomorrow's call.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Head high +, wind and windswell infested, but surfable.

3 27 morning call

Horrible windsurfing session for me yesterday.

The (not so) funny part is that I heard many sailors commentating on the beach "best session in a long time!".
It's great how we all are different, thank god. That might have been my last windsurfing session with more than 20 knots in my life, btw.

What made it even worse, was the photo that my friend Kazuma posted on his facebook.
I said the south shore was gonna be the only chance for a decent surf. I was wrong.

Well the Pauwela buoy is reading 6.2ft @ 7s from 54° (ENE), 4.1ft @ 11s from 325° (NW) so not all is lost.
Lanai instead is down quite a bit at 1.6ft @ 13s from 198° (SSW), but there's still waves on the webcam.

Wind map shows the NW fetch now shooting pretty much straight east (we'll still get the angular spreading), so the Monday swell is not going to be super long lasting.
And a small fetch down under that will keep the south shore not completely flat also next week.
The high pressure did move east, so the trades direction should be less onshorish today.

Kinda straight east, actually. Below is the MC2km map at noon. Plenty wind on the north shore.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

3 26 15 morning call

Good surfing on the south shore yesterday, not quite as good as the first day. I'll examine the reasons for that later on in this post when I'll talk about wave period.
Still, three one hour sessions that all ranked around 6 is not a bad day.

This morning's conditions are pictured in the report I already did from Hookipa and they are perfect for a much deserved rest. If you read this blog, you knew since long that there were no expectations to be set for this NW swell because of the proximity of the fetch and the active wind on it.
Knowing the forecast helps mostly two things:
- scoring good sessions
- planning the rest of your activities around good sessions.

Someone might think that's excessive, but in my life surfing is priority one. There's a piece of wooden wall that I cut from one my previous studios (that had to be demolished) that says:"everything revolves around surfing", but that's too long of a story.
Also because, despite the fact that I have more time than usual, I'd to talk about more interesting things.

So let's quickly get rid of today's call.
Buoys readings at
8ft @ 8s from 3° (N)           
1.7ft @ 4s from 38° (NE)
1.5ft @ 12s from 339° (NNW)

1.9ft @ 14s from 195° (SSW)

which means that the south swell is still here (just saw a shoulder high set on the cam in lahaina).
And that is the only chance for decent surf you have today.
As the MC2km map at noon shows, in fact, there's always a little area that is shadowed enough from the wind on the west side. Most days it will have an onshore breeze starting at around 10am. In particularly windy days like today, I noticed that the onshore gets stronger.

Definitely sailable on the north shore for the wind sport obsessed people (no judgement, I'm a wave obsessed guy), but with stormy, choppy, cold and relatively dangerous (at least at Hookipa) conditions.


Below is the wind map of the north Pacific that shows:
- the high that is generating this round of trade winds. Fortunately it's modeled to move east a bit and that will at least make the direction more easterly (sideoff winds ruin the waves less than sideon winds like today). In summertime, there's a semi permanent high north of Hawaii that generates very consistent trade winds and blocks the storms that generates the ground swells from the northerly quadrants. That's when the blog author gets the hell out of here.
- the low that is generating a swell that will arrive Monday night and that surfline is calling at 6f 14s. I circled the fetch and it looks pretty nice, actually.

And now let me copy and paste a sentence from Oahu master meteorologist Pat Caldwell on his last piece of art (link 9 on the right).

Looking back at the pacioos/cdip american samoa buoy from 3/20-21, the dominant periods were 14-16 seconds. As waves travel, the dominant period increases, which gave the longer periods locally. The longer the period, the greater the amplification when the swell shoals and refracts into breakers.

That is something I always questioned (I question everything by default). I believed the period is something that is related exclusively to the amount of energy that the wind transfers to the ocean surface when it blow over it.
Here's a fact: the stronger the wind, the longer it blows, the winder the area where it blows (that's the fetch), the bigger the waves it generates. If it's a captured fetch that moves in the same direction of the swell it's generating, than the waves grow even bigger because there's still wind pushing on them.

But once the waves leave the fetch, I believed that that was it. Instead, as uncle Pat illuminates us, the more they travel, the more the period grows. And with that, also the speed at which they travel.
By applying a basic energy conservation principle, there is no doubt that that happens at the expense of the height of the open ocean waves.

Imagine you have two balls of dough to make pizzas. Same exact size. One you spread it thin and wide, the other you spread it less, leave it thicker and get a smaller diameter pizza.
But if you put them back into a shape of the ball, there's still the same amount of dough.
Different is the case of two pizzas (yet to be put in the oven!) that are the same exact thickness and different diameter. When you put them back together into a ball shape, the bigger diameter one will generate a bigger ball, right?
That's the case of two swells of the same exact open ocean height but different period: a 2f 18s swell, will generate wave MUCH bigger than a 2f 10s one when they come to the shore and break. That's because the 2f 18s swell the day before was probably a 4f 16s one and the day before that was probably a 6f 14s one and the day that was probably a 8f 12s one and the day before that was probably a 10f 10s one!
Those numbers I used are totally random, I have no idea of how exactly the size and period changes while travelling, but one goes down and the other goes up.

Now, take swell A of 2f 18s and swell B of 10f 10s. IMAGINING (this is just a theoretical example) that I was super lucky with the numbers in the example above and that swell A is what swell B will become after travelling the right amount of time, the legitimate question I hear you guys asking is the following:
are those swells going to generate the same kind of waves once they hit the reef?

The answer is: not even remotely.
Don't forget that longer period waves travel faster, they gain speed during their journey (that's why they're the first ones that reach the shores when a swell starts to hit).
What happens to a wave when it starts feeling the bottom is something that would require more time and graphic illustration, but work time is approaching for me, so I'm gonna try to make it simple.
When a wave start feeling the floor of the ocean, the bottom of the wave slows down while the top keeps travelling at the same original speed. It's like the wave stumbles on an obstacle and falls forward. The sharpest the obstacle (which means the quicker the ocean floor goes from deep to shallow), the harder the wave stumbles. The faster the wave is travelling, the harder it stumbles again.
So long period waves hitting shallow reef with deep ocean in front means... heavy barrels!
Shore period waves hitting slopy sandy bottoms means mushy beach breaks.

Work time is hitting, I have no time to review what I wrote, I hope you guys appreciate the effort anyway.

Long periods rock. (well, that depends on the spot actually...).

Cold, windy, stormy, i'm not even getting out of the car. Epic resting conditions.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

3 25 15 morning call

Phenomenal day on the south shore yesterday.

With some variations on size and crowd, pretty much every spot was firing.
I'll celebrate that with a artsy photo that photographer Jason Hall took yesterday.


The Lanai buoy went up a lot and this morning at 4am is reading 3.9ft @ 14s from 194° (SSW). 
If you remember my rule yesterday, that's still not enough to get excited. But that's gonna be hard for me, if I think at those perfect walls I still have in my eyes from yesterday.

Now, the distance between two of my favorite south swell spots is 35 miles. The question at 5am is which one will I be heading to. I don't mind the drive so much, but one of the many reasons why I prefer winters (BY FAR), is that you have to get up a lot earlier for the dawn patrol. Not only you have to drive, but the days are way longer and there's less time to sleep. You got to get up at 4 and I can do that only if I go to sleep at 8. Social life killer, that's for sure. Oh well, in this day and age, with so many sheepeople around, social life is overrated anyway...

But I digress. Let's have a look at the satellite photo that shows a front approaching and reaching Kauai right now.

After the passage of it, the wind will turn north, as shown in the wind map below.
The NW swell behind that will bring the waves back to the north shore (which today is going to be COMPLETELY flat), it is hence going be stormy and choppy. Gonna be a bit of a shocker after such perfection yesterday (and hopefully today too).

MC2km did not update his map, so the 2pm one below is far from reliable, but I still fell like posting it, because it contains some crucial information. All I can say is that I'm putting the windsurf board back in the car.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

As predicted, small, clean and pretty empty. Everybody must be on the south shore.

3 14 15 morning call

Yesterday I surfed: Hookipa early morning, Honolua mid morning, Lahaina mid afternoon.

Honolua was waist high and gorgeous. You could see the reef from the cliff and all its little channels. Unfortunately it doesn't really show in this photo below, but I drew a line to mark it and you can see how the waves peel across it (specially at the cave) when its big.
The reason I did that is that during the Hookipa session I had a feeling of how gusty and offshore the wind would have been and I didn't want to have anything to do with it.

The session in Lahaina was by byself in waist high waves. The south swell was showing 1f 18s and without the surfline buoys I would have probably never known about it. This morning's Lanai buoy graph is below. It's reading 2.6ft @ 17s from 191° (SSW), so it should be a really good day on the south shore.
Nonetheless, let me share my rule about south swells. Unless it's 4f and more than 15s, never ever under any circumstances get excited about a south swell. Maui has too many limiting factors (the main one being the shadowing of Kahoolawe).
If you're curious to see the fetch that generated this swell, check the last Tuesday post and the ones after that.

Wind map shows the two fetches we saw yesterday, the closer of which got stronger and it's the one that will send us a moderate NW swell on Thursday. In the meantime, the north shore it's going to be extremely small (probably flat tomorrow), and that's because of the trade wind generating high pressure that has blocked the NW swell producing storms for the past couple of days.
One more reason not to get too excited about the wind.
The Pauwela buoy is reading
3ft @ 9s from 41° (NE)
2.2ft @ 11s from 347° (NNW)
2ft @ 5s from 70° (ENE)
so it's not quite dead yet.
Notice also the lovely lack of wind around the islands that will last till tomorrow afternoon, before the onshore wind will come in after the passage of the front. I don't think the Thursday is going to be clean at all because of that.

That's what I had in the car: didn't get to use the SUP, but I used three different surfboards and two gallons of water for the showers. I know, I'm overly proud of the board rack I installed in my car by removing the back seats.

Have fun on the south shore, 'cause that's where you want to be today (and tomorrow).

Monday, March 23, 2015

3 23 15 morning call

Surfing and windsurfing on the north shore were both mediocre for me yesterday. Still better than nothing.

Below a pic from Jimmie Hepp that shows a nice windsurfing wipeout.

This early morning I surfed Hookipa (photo report below this post) and it was the usual mediocre wind and windswell induced conditions.
Buoy readings of the Pauwela buoy at 8am:
3.7ft @ 8s from 67° (ENE)
3.2ft @ 11s from 333° (NNW)
2.5ft @ 13s from 323° (NW)
2ft @ 7s from 63° (ENE)

Waves are down, but there were still occasional overhead sets. I'm off all day and that rhymes with the bay.
Also because the Barbers Point buoy has a reading at 7am that says: 0.8ft @ 20s from 191° (SSW).
That't the first sign of the south swell that should hit tomorrow. Nothing yet at the Lanai buoy (Barbers is usually more sensitive) and not much at the Lahaina webcam, but there might be long period small lines later on in the day. I'll stuff my car with all sorts of surfboards.
The high pressure moved east a bit and that makes for slightly more offshore trades. The MC2km map at noon shows the wind hugging the whole north shore, so it should be windsurfing again.
Probably gusty because of the original offshore direction (check the direction on the map in Hana).

The wind map of the North Pacific shows a couple of fetches and that means serene sleep for me.
One of them will send us a medium NW swell on Thursday.
Before that, Tuesday and Wednesday will be pretty small on the north shore, but with a lovely timing mother nature will compensate with the south swell. Love when that happens. Love even more when there's waves on both sides, so the people spreads out.

Buys went down,  but there's still head high sets. The usual fair amount of wind on it.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Well overhead, bit windy, not clean, no thanks.

3 22 15 morning call

Yesterday's surf session was ok, but windsurfing later in the day was more fun. That tells you it's spring.
The waves at Hookipa did get to advisory level in the afternoon and here's a couple of shots from Jimmie Hepp.

First one is Graham Ezzy in a beautiful carving 360. Which gives me the opportunity to state that I can't believe how underscored the ones that Kelly Slater does in competitions are.

Second one is Antoine Martin, which I like to call the Filipe Toledo of windsurfing.

My session was at Kanaha instead and this video I did a few years ago is dedicated to Jimmie Hepp.
He's not a windsurfer, he's never been one and even though he gets to see the best ones do their crazy moves at Hookipa, I'm guessing he has no idea of how riding a long wave with multiple turns must feel.
This was my biggest effort to create something similar to the recording helmet and playback disks featured in the movie Strange Days.
Kinda lame compared to that and to the gopro footage you see these days, but at the time it was quite "visionary"...

Here's how the buoys look like today. I failed to notice that increase in the period at the NW buoy yesterday and that's what made the waves pick up in the afternoon. I circled the first 13s reading on all three buoys and the moment in which it really hit in Maui.
Pauwela still rising, more big waves today. 6am reading is: 6.3ft @ 13s from 341° (NNW)

Wind map still pretty bad with the high pressure that is generating this trades episode and only a tiny almost insignificant fetch up north. Fortunately that should change soon.
Another windy day, enjoy it as you may.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Bigger than yesterday, but not advisory level. That set was overhead and the conditions are poor. No one out yet. I'm out if here too.

3 21 15 morning call

Pretty mediocre day yesterday.
The wind and windswell were on the waves even at 6.30 (which, let's not forget it, it's kind of normal for Maui... we just got spoiled by the winter), so surfing wasn't too exciting.

Windsurfing for me was ok for the first half hour. Two reasons for that:
- it was light and sideshore (while later it turned a bit more onshore)
- it was just me and Anne Marie who has joined the Hot Sails Maui team and was sporting a beautiful orange KS3, as you can admire below in this shot by Jimmie Hepp.
The sail you guys, the sail.

Then I had to go to work and I don't know how the rest of the afternoon went, but I know that when drove back home at 6pm, it was pouring down on the whole north shore.
Trades bring rain.

The NOAA has issued a high surf advisory. Pat Caldwell has called for 8f 13s from NNW, but I don't see anything like that at the buoys. Have a look yourself in the three graphs combo below.
And if you're on your phone and can't click on it, here's the Pauwela readings at 5am:
4.8ft @ 7s from 33° (NE)
4.5ft @ 11s from 332° (NNW)
3.7ft @ 9s from 336° (NNW)
1.2ft @ 4s from 55° (ENE)

See how many swells of different period and direction? Well, guess what that means... unclean surf.
Also because it's already blowing 11mph at 5.30am while I write this...

The trades are generated by a high pressure that sits north of the islands. Just like the one that is pictured in the wind map below. Well, guess what's the other consequence of it?
Can you spot any fetch generating waves toward us? Good luck... there's none.
Sometimes there can be lows in the corners that can coexists with the trades' high, but not in this case. And even if there is a low with a fetch pointed our way, the high usually keep it far away and limits the amount of energy that reaches the islands.
In other words, high pressure north of Hawaii, good for the wind, not for the waves. So
yes, it should be windy today.

PS. When I say mediocre day, I mean for me and for Maui. Fortunately both standards are quite high. It would have been an epic day in most windsurfing places in the rest of the world.