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Austin Gendron
(Monday) 3.14.11

‘Welcome to the Rock’/week of really big surf

Looks like we are stalled out on this forecast…next update will be coming through on Monday…in the meantime enjoy the large stormy surf and craptacular amount of rain :)


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The best way I can describe the upcoming week is Nicholas Cage.  You hate him or think he’s the greatest action hero to ever live… His movies are full on over the top for the most part, similar to the swells we’re going to be seeing this week.  Big, aggressive, lots of power and explosiveness; a select few of you are going to be geared up with your testosterone flaring.  This is probably only a few of you though.  The rest of us mere mortals probably think that’s a little too much, and are happy to not participate, or fast forward to the parts we can stand.  Whatever your take is on it… be safe, and don’t watch the movie if you don’t feel comfortable with its blockbuster status.

Short Range (next 4 days)

Tuesday – (Strong WNW swell should peak early, with lighter south winds for the most part)

San Francisco Monterey Central Coast

The new WNW (280-295) groundswell that started filling in on Monday is looking pretty powerful, and could jack up the surf quite a bit.  Most likely there will be a mix of though of some shorter period energy and the new 15-second swell, which could mean some exposed spots could be a bit mixed up.  Conditions wise though, its looking surfable especially at some of the more sheltered breaks.  Winds/Weather: The winds are looking lighter out of the south in the morning, but as a new front approaches there could be an increase for the Bay Area.  Farther to the south it looks like there will be a shift with lighter NW gradients in the morning, picking up through the afternoon.  Weather wise, we could see some rain as far south as Monterey, but the rest of the coast should sunny with maybe some scattered clouds.

Wednesday – (Swell could drop a bit, but still an ample amount of size)

San Francisco Monterey Central Coast

WNW (270-300) combo swell continues to pummel the coast with large surf some breaks seeing DOH to TOH.  Conditions are looking similar if not a little better than Tuesday which is a plus.  It even looks like there could be a bit of a boost later in the day. Winds/Weather: lighter onshore winds are expected to take over through the north, although it looks like south of Monterey could get some stronger NW winds in the afternoon and evening.  Weather wise, the rain could trickle down into SLO county, but for the most part just cloudiness.

Thursday – (‘Watch that first step… its a doozy’)

San Francisco Monterey Central Coast

What do you know… its like groundhogs day, only a month and a half late.  As one WNW (280-300) swell backs off another fills in.  This time though we’re looking at 16 to 17 second periods, which could mean good things for those special places at the ends of those special underwater canyons.  The combo swell should peak early in the morning but conditions could be a bit a bit on the iffy side.  Winds/Weather: NW winds along the Central Coast could jump up to around 15 to 25mph, which could add some unwanted texture to exposed locations.  As far as the weather goes, you can expect mostly clouds, with possibly some showers through the day.

Friday – (the final burst before the cool down lap)

San Francisco Monterey Central Coast

After a week of solid swell, I’m sure the last thing you want is another pulse of WNW (270-300) mixing in possibly jacking the surf up into the DOH to TOH range at stand out exposures again.  Then again what do I know?  Conditions could be a bit shifty again as southerly winds increase to the north with the next front due to pass through the day. Winds/Weather: Winds through the northern part of the region are looking to shift south, and could be a bit breezy thanks to a strong low circulating off the Oregon and Washington coasts.  The system is expected to move inland through the day which means a switch to more onshore gradients.


North Pacific

We have got quite the week ahead of us as you can probably tell already.  The series of WNW (270-300) swells that are expected to pummel the coast are a result of a storm track that is the mother of all water balloon launchers.  Storm after Storm has been aimed at the West Coast, with plenty of wind driving circulation and kicking up fetches.

So this is the set up for the week so far with out looking out towards anything else that is to pop up over the next couple of days.  Monday and Tuesday’s swell should be in full effect peaking overnight and into the morning, with plenty of size.  Then Wednesday’s swell although smaller could mix in and add a pulse through the day.  Finally Thursday is the long-period groundswell from around 280-290 degrees with 16 to 17-second periods.  It looks like it could even show some forerunners late Wednesday night.

The only problem I can foresee with all this swell headed our way, is going to the systems that produced them causing fronts and S to SW winds picking up through the week.  As you can see here the front due for Wednesday could channel in some moderate gradients ahead of the front as it moves down the coast.  Behind the front lighter northwest winds are going to take over.

Looking a bit farther out, that same frontal system that could bring more winds for Friday should also shoot another healthy dose of 14-second swell down the coast for Friday and Saturday.  Conditions are looking a bit questionable, and the swell is super close to the coast so you might have to seek out those more sheltered locations if you want to score.

As you can see we’ve also got another decent sized swell brewing off the Aleutian coast to top everything off.  The fetch is looking pretty hefty and could possibly generate seas in the 40 foot+ range if everything goes as planned.  I do want to point out the not so ideal angular spreading decay factor on this one though, which should knock down the surf size when the swell finally does arrive on Monday.  Either way you’re looking at some fun long-period (18-19 seconds) surf around the 21st.

Beyond that we could see another round of heavy frontage rolling through next Tuesday, but it’s much too early to tell.

The Next Long-range forecast will be posted on Thursday, March 17, 2011.

Gill Fish
Surf Forecaster

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