The Long Range Socal Forecast is calling for our surf to fade while conditions slowly clean up.

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Adam Wright
(Thursday) 6.14.12

Surf Forecast Overview

While conditions are forecast to slowly shift around over the next few days we will still see some eddy texture, NW windswell, and a peaking (but inconsistent) SW swell on Friday. We will see the mix of windswell and SW energy fade as we head into the weekend but there should still be enough swell in the water that the better exposed spots will pull in a few small/playful sets. Unfortunately both the NW and SW swells have some shadowing issues from our local islands, so picking the right break and bringing the correct gear is going to make a huge impact on how much fun you will have in the water. Long-Range charts are starting to look more active but it will take a few days before the forecasted storms manage to put swell in the water. On the tropical front we have newly formed Tropical Storm Carlotta, who is far from our swell window, but may become a hurricane over the weekend, right before hitting Mainland Mexico. (Someone needs to remind the tropical systems they are supposed to track out west.)

Long-Range Surf and Swell Forecast

North Pacific Swell Forecast

The NPAC continues to be its boring “late-spring” self…setting up some periods of strong winds along the West Coast thanks to the gap the NE Pacific High pressure left behind as it migrated over the open ocean to the NE of Hawaii.


As you can see on the chart the NW windswell is forecast to hold in our outer waters through Friday, but more interesting is the low-pressure that is cycling through the mid-latitudes just to the NW of the Hawaiian Islands. There is a little sparkle of hope that we get some swell from this system, it won’t be big, but the fetch aimed our direction is showing some 30-35 knot winds spread across a decent sized area so there is a chance something will get pushed out. If these winds hold for at least another 24-36 hours we would see a WNW-NW swell (285-300) coming in with some waist-high+ lines (in the 12-14 second swell-period range) at the top spots…arriving around June 20, and then sticking around in the background for a day or two afterward.

About the only other area of interest is Typhoon Guchol over by the Philippines that is about to recurve back into Japan over the next few days. I don’t think Socal will get much from it, but the Southern Islands of Japan has the potential to get some solid surf, and then get blasted by weather shortly afterward. It is worth keeping an eye on the system just because these storms are the ones that usually turn into a more active frontal system as it tropical energy pushes further north into the upper latitudes.

South Pacific Swell Forecast

After that gap in storm production it looks like the SPAC is starting to cycle back to life. Over the next few days we are going to see some long-period SW swell from the big storms around New Zealand that lit up Tavarua…but this energy will have decayed quite a bit and got chewed up by the SPAC islands as it passed through on the way here. It will have some spikes on the buoys, which always like these swells, but because of the inconsistency it doesn’t translate all that well into rideable waves. (Weird I know).

Ok the new activity that I was talking is just starting to form…you can see on the swell-height chart above the two systems, one North of NZ and the other in the colder water to the SE of the South Island. Forecast models have these systems mixing together, letting the warmer energy of the sub-tropical storm power up the deeper colder low-pressure.

The funny thing is that as these storms collide the wind flow that is pushing them both around seems to force them to cross past each other, with the momentum of the storms carrying them along their forecasted path after they meet. I am not sure how realistic that is…generally if storms come into that close contact they get ground together, turning into a wholly new system.


It does seem like the storms finally do combine farther out in the charts, but it seems like they have lost energy rather than gained it. Again this isn’t something that you normally see…so odds are that the model is undercalling the storm strength at the end of the forecast run.

Surfwise it is hard to put numbers on something that is so funky looking…but staying conservative it looks like we will have some smaller waist-chest high pulses from both of these storms as they first move into our swell window, so the energy would arrive around June 22…then get another stronger shot of shoulder-head high (maybe bigger) SSW-SW swell hitting around June 24-25. Obviously this storm has a lot of development to do so we will have to keep an eye on it over the weekend, and cross our fingers that it comes in stronger than the current forecast.

Tropical Forecast Outlook

Tropical Storm Carlotta formed early Thursday morning, but she is so close to Mainland Mexico that forecasts have her becoming a hurricane and curving back into land before even getting close to our swell window. Check out the National Hurricane Center 5-day forecast track…

Other than Carlotta there are no other tropical systems expected to form over the next few days.

The next Long-range forecast will be posted on Monday, June 18, 2012.

Adam Wright
Surf Forecaster