Adam Wright
(Friday) 8.27.10

Waves (and a little wind) hold into the weekend…smaller surf on tap next week

The surf will back down as we head into the weekend but another couple of pulses from the S and SW will keep the surf from dropping too fast. A little more windswell, and a touch of tropical swell from Hurricane Frank (the Tank), will help round things out. Overall expect smaller, but still potentially playful surf (if you bring the right gear, and attitude).

Short Range (next 4 days)

Friday – (More surf!…wow! who would have thought?)
The S swell (180-190) fades on Friday but still conjures up some decent sized surf at the standout breaks. The average spots back more into the waist-chest high range with some shoulder high sets still showing at times. The standout S facing beaches and the top combo spots, still mostly in the OC, see some shoulder-head high surf with some occasionally bigger sets showing at the best breaks on the lower tides. Winds/Weather: Winds are still looking a bit funky for Friday…clean(er) in the morning but unstable with onshore flow coming up pretty early. I wouldn’t wait too long to surf on Friday. It looks like onshore flow starting to push up the sea breeze around 10am…and then stronger onshore flow tapping out around 10-15 knots by late in the afternoon

Check out how the swell, wind, and tides, affects 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.

Saturday – (S swell fades, windswell builds, and Sir Edward starts to plan a visit)
While the S-SW swell mix will still have plenty of energy it will be backing off from what we saw over the week. Average S facing spots will be in the waist-chest high range on the sets while the standout breaks see some shoulder high sets. There may be a bigger wave or two at the top spots, but expect size and consistency to back down through the day. NW facing spots start to see a bump up as local NW windswell increases pushing most spots into the knee-waist high range with a few waist high+ sets sneaking into the best areas. Winds/Weather: Strong outer water winds spin up fast Friday night and it looks like the eddy is going to be in full effect by Saturday morning. I hope that this is just the wind model having some gas or something, but I think we can expect S winds around 4-6 knots for most areas in the morning with more SE winds around Ventura and Santa Barbara areas. Expect onshore W winds around 10-13 knots with some stronger gusts at the more open spots.

Sunday – (dropping a bit more)
The mix of S-Swell (180-190) finally starts to slow down on Thursday but will continue to blend with some SW energy and local windswell…and while the overall mix is a little weaker, there will still be plenty of waves. Average breaks hold around chest-shoulder high with head high sets showing steady through the morning but becoming less consistent through the afternoon/evening. Winds/Weather: Weak winds in the morning, mostly light and variable with some onshore texture at the most exposed areas. Look for WNW-NW winds around 10-12 knots by late in the afternoon.

Monday – (still some S waves…and a little clean up on the wind)
We get a bit of a reinforcement of S swell (180-190) and some new SW swell (210-220), moving in on Monday helping to stop the hemorrhaging of the leftover swell from the previous week. Most S facing spots will continue to see waist-chest high surf. The standout S-SW spots and the good combo spots will have some inconsistent shoulder high sets. Chance for a little SE swell (155-165) from hurricane Frank…it won’t be much but it may help keep the SE exposed spots a little more consistent. Winds/Weather: Winds look clean for the morning…mostly light/variable to light/offshore early…then building onshore flow by the afternoon.


North Pacific
The high-pressure continues to shrink/reposition itself…leaving a little gap around the Aleutians and even a bit of an opening along the California Coast. There aren’t any real storms taking advantage of this shift, but there are a couple of areas of increased fetch that are starting to creep into the openings.

As a result we will get a boost of NW energy, mostly as local windswell, moving into Socal as we head into the weekend and early next week. Most spots won’t get much bigger than waist high but a few of the breaks that can combo up the S-SW energy as well as the NW bump could end up being pretty fun. If the wind doesn’t screw things up.

Looks like this energy, along with a little longer-period NW stuff (not really swell just sort of background fluff)…will continue through most of next week.

South Pacific
The SPAC is still going to keep a few waves rolling our way for the next several days…the bigger S-SSW swell will be fading out over the weekend but it looks like some small reinforcing swells will move in late Sunday, but mostly Monday and Tuesday, to help the surf from dropping too fast.

It won’t be very exciting next week, unless hurricane Frank does something spectacular (don’t hold your breath). There will be a few small pulses of S swell (180-190) that hit/peak on Aug 29-30, and some weak SW swell that is going to get shredded as it passes through the South Pacific Islands…but will be pushing in some soft, inconsistent, energy around the middle of the week.

Further out about the only thing that is keeping me from nodding off is this storm system that mixes up later next week. It really is about the last image on the forecast chart so I am not putting a lot of faith in it…but still if it pulled something like this off it would pump up some better positioned S-SSW swell for around September 8-10th or so.

Like I said a long ways off…we will just have to keep an eye on it.


Hurricane Frank just barely cleared a portion of his “wave-generating” quadrants (the NE/SE ones) into our swell SW swell window. Unfortunately it also is showing that Frank is going to weaken significantly as he moves into a little better position.

Even with the weakening the last part of Frank’s life is taking a pretty good track, so I don’t want to count tropical swell out completely. At this point I think we can expect a mild waist-high…maybe chest high SE swell at the really, really, really exposed spots…some of the initial energy would show late Sunday night and more on Monday (Aug 30). Like I said in the short range, I don’t think he will produce much…but the spots with S and SE exposure may have a little more consistency to the sets.

the Next Long-range forecast will be posted on Monday, August 30, 2010.

Adam Wright
Surf Forecaster


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  • kelly sl8r


  • kelly sl8r

    fog, swell dropped alot, south winds returning, kind nice to have a break from the gale force westerlies hopefully water temps come up

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