Adam Wright
(Thursday) 9.9.10

Better conditions and new S swell lining up for the weekend. Bigger S-SW swell forming out the back.

Finally the small slop is going to take a break…conditions are going to start cleaning up and a new S swell will start to arrive over the weekend. It won’t be much, but it will be an improvement over the last few days (or weeks depending on where you live). After this S swell fades a much stronger S-SW swell (180-210) starts to arrive later next week and it looks like plenty more on tap after it rolls through…maybe now Fall can actually start!

Short Range (next 4 days)

Check out the effects of the swell, wind, and tides, in each of the different Southern California regions…(click on each one to get a sub-regional forecast…and if you click one of the “surf break” links, you can even get spot-specific winds and weather for each break)…Santa Barbara, Ventura, North LA, the South Bay, North Orange County, South Orange County, North San Diego, South San Diego.

Friday – (starting slow but picking up slowly with new S swell)
There is an actual chance for a little new swell occurring on Friday and even the weather starts to improve. New S swell (175-180) starts to arrive on Friday…don’t expect much new size in the early morning since the swell will just be starting to arrive…but the surf will become more consistent and get bigger by later in the day. Overall for the dawn-patrol I would still expect some knee high surf for most spots, but the standouts should be a little more consistent on the waist high sets. By the afternoon I expect the top S facing spots, mostly in Orange County, to see some waist-chest high waves and maybe even a rare bigger wave before sneaking in before sundown. Winds/Weather: Forecasts are calling for the eddy to finally start to break down on Friday…still a touch of the circulation in the morning, but lighter than what we had seen most of the week. Look for W-WNW winds around 10-13 knots for the afternoon.

Saturday – (playful S swell peaks)
The S swell (170-180) continues to fill in over Friday night and starts to peak on Saturday while it mixes with a touch of SW energy and background NW windswell. Most exposed areas will have surf in the knee-waist high range but with a few bigger waves sneaking into spots that like the S swell a little better. Top S facing breaks, mostly in Orange County, will have some waist-chest high surf with some occasional chest-shoulder high sets. Winds/Weather: Winds look clean in the morning with mostly light and variable conditions early and then slightly onshore flow picking up a little before lunch. The W winds move in stronger by the afternoon, eventually topping out in the 10-15 knot range by the afternoon.

Sunday – (still a few S swell lines holding on)
S swell (170-180) holds steady into early Sunday but will start trailing off through the afternoon. Wave heights won’t change much for the morning…still lots of knee-waist high surf at the average S facing spots, especially if the break is exposed a little more to the S-SW and can pick up a bit of the windswell. The standout S facing areas, still mostly in Orange County, will be in the knee-chest high range while a few of the really best breaks see a few rare chest-shoulder high sets on the lower tides. Winds/Weather: Right now the models are looking for a little more onshore texture in the morning but I think they are being a little negative. I would still look for light and variable winds in the morning, but with a few pockets of crumbly shape. Onshore winds do come on stronger in the afternoon…look for W winds around 12-15 knots by the afternoon.

Monday – (Mostly leftovers but still rideable)
Our surf will wind down slow on Monday…with the S swell (170-180) trailing off and with a touch of background SW energy and some local NW windswell holding steady. Most breaks will drop into the ankle-knee high range with some inconsistent waist high sets. Standout breaks see some knee-waist high waves with a few waist high+ sets showing at times during the lower tides. Winds/Weather: The models still aren’t calling for a great looking morning but the COAMPS and the NWS are a little split. I am still expecting fairly light winds in the morning with a touch of texture at the more wind sensitive breaks. Look for winds increasing out of the W-WNW around 10-12 knots around by lunchtime and some gusts hitting near 15 knots by the afternoon.


North Pacific
Still not much happening in the NPAC…but the charts continue to show some increasing activity starting to flourish in about 4-5 days. Check out the charts…

There still isn’t any storm action that would send waves our way, but this jump in activity is still a good sign. It looks like it will continue to erode the high-pressure blocking our storm track, so hopefully following systems will be able to crack the gap open a bit bigger.

South Pacific
As you read in the short-range portion of the forecast there will be a playful S-swell (170-180) that begins filling in on Friday and peaks over the weekend, Saturday and Sunday (Sep 11-12), and even holds some rideable surf into Monday. I don’t think this is going to be a big swell…but the storm was a little closer than most and sat in a good position barely moving for a few days…so there will be some decent surf from it. I am expecting S facing spots to see waist-chest high waves while the standout breaks see some chest-shoulder high sets.

Further Out is what we are waiting for…the storm coming out from under New Zealand has started to really develop…and it is living up to the last few forecast runs which means that the satellites (like the WINDscat and the aSCAT) are seeing some solid winds around 40+ knots or so. The bigger sea state is just starting to develop but if these winds intensify and move the way the short-range (and much more accurate) side of the models are indicating it will likely generate some 30-35’+ seas. This storm is forecast to take a slow tour of the SPAC, while making a pretty good N-NE move right in the middle of the open portion of our swell window.

If that wasn’t enough…there are several systems lining up in the forecast to follow this first storm, and even one makes a little more headway northward, while the bigger anchor low moves to a more southerly spot, which means we would see steady S-SW swell on the heels of the first SSW-SW swell, that would help to keep rideable waves at the exposed spots for at least several days.

Right now I am expecting this new round of SSW-SW swell (190-215) to start hitting with some long-period energy around Wednesday (Sept 15), but with the peak of the swell hitting Thursday-Saturday (Sept 16-18th). At this point I am expecting consistent chest-shoulder high surf at the average SW facing spots and some head high+ sets at the standout SW breaks (mostly in South OC and North SD) for the first part in these series of swells. The activity will shift more to the S (180-210) by the 18th and we should have head high-overhead surf showing at the top spots holding for at least through the 20th. Keep in mind a lot of the super-long-range stuff still has several days from forming…so we will have to wait a few days before it gets locked in…still even the possibility of swell is better than what we have been trudging through.

Still pretty quiet in the tropics…no new tropical activity expected over the next few days.

the Next Long-range forecast will be posted on Thursday, September 9, 2010.

Adam Wright
Surf Forecaster


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  • RB

    Whats the most we can expect from one of those 230 degree Fiji Swells? Do these ever pan out for So. Cal for something sizeable? Whats your exp. with this?

    • http://www.solspot.com adam wright

      Generally I don’t expect much from a storm in that position. There is too much in the way (islands, seamounts, reefs). I am more excited about the storm as it moves into the open part of the South Pacific. Usually these storms will maintain a lot of their intensity, and if it doesn’t get mushed by high-pressure, it could be a swell producer.

      Depending on exactly how a storm develops…I usually knock off 75-80% or more of the swell size if it is coming from such a shadowed location…this of course improves the further eastward the storm moves while still maintaining fetch aimed our direction (naturally). Buy the time it is in the S-SSW swell window…it is getting a cleaner shot at us…which means a lot more consistency as well as size and swell duration.

      I am more excited about its really long-range potential not what that chart is showing.

  • travis

    Is there an RSS Feed that has the long range forecasts in them?

  • travis
  • angie

    finally a light at the end of the tunnel

  • Ronnie

    This site is much improved.. diggin’ it.

    Do you have any info or plan to show swell angle maps for North San Diego?

    There are many times I can’t tell what the actual cut off is in degrees from a swell.

    • solspot


      We are definitely working on some swell enhancements for the next release and will include this in the list. Thx!

      Team SOLSPOT

    • http://www.solspot.com adam wright


      We have some good maps for a few of the areas in North SD…just search surf break maps on Solspot and you will see the whole grip of surf maps we have there.

      Here is a link to get you started.


      scan down the right column and see what we got in there already.

  • http://pushingtide.blogspot.com pushingtide

    Interesting facts about a Fiji swell. And thanks for the feed.

  • jwit

    Is it quite possible that the eddy has died and gone to heaven (actually hell in its case)? Woke up this morning to cool temps and clear blue skies.

  • http://www.solspot.com Adam – Forecaster

    Hahaha…I think the eddy is sort of more of a purgatory than hell. It never really kills the surf, but it doesn’t make it fun either.

    Any yes it was great to have some early sunshine and clean waves for a change. Hopefully Fall has finally started to get its act together.

  • kelly sl8r

    but eddy warms up the water, and if your going to surf knee-waist high waves who cares if its not glassy rather be warm…go ed!

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