Say Goodbye to Flat North Shore Surf Mode

Say goodbye to flat conditions at Kanaha like this

We’ve had a couple of north shore surf episodes already in the last few weeks and it looks like the north shore surf season is about to heat up even more.

According to the official Hawaii surf forecast by Pat Caldwell, “north shores turning up as fall arrives Saturday 9/22.”

He goes on further:

A low pressure tracked east along about 45°N across the north central Pacific as its associated front pushed SE 9/17-19. Winds were strongest on 9/17 in an area over 2000 nm away. The low, medium-period intervals of 12-14 seconds arrived at buoy 51101 WNW of Kauai early Friday and are starting to arrive locally mid Friday from 320-330 degrees. These medium period swell should give way to shorter period surf on Saturday.

The front pushed to within 1200 nm of Hawaii by 9/19 followed by strong to near gale winds over a long, wide fetch within the 325-345 degree band. Jason estimated seas to 13 feet in an area about 1100 nm away early Wednesday 9/19. The Wave Watch III model suggest only 3 feet swell from this source near Waimea, Oahu, though the jason estimate suggests higher heights, which is the basis for the collaborative forecast number for Saturday in the table above. Probability is set to medium due to the conflicting guidance. Shorter-period surf of 10-12 seconds should build locally overnight Friday, with surf within small to moderate levels on Saturday, when the event should peak mid day out of 325-345 degrees. A larger episode is due late Saturday.

A low pressure steadily deepened on Wednesday 9/19 as it tracked from the Aleutians near the dateline to the SE. Severe gales and smaller pockets of storm-force winds filled in over the 320-340 degree fetch, reaching to about 1200 nm away by early Friday 9/21. The jason altimeter measured seas higher than estimated by the Wave Watch III product for 18Z Thursday 9/20. With seas over 20 feet in an area 1000 nm NNW of Hawaii on 9/21 with direction towards Hawaii, this suggests slightly higher swell than guided by the wave models for Sunday locally.

Long-period forerunners are due mid to late Saturday afternoon from 320-330 degrees, with heights approaching moderate on the less frequent, higher sets near sundown. Surf should build to high levels overnight Saturday, with the episode peaking Sunday morning from 320-340 degrees. Surf should drop to within moderate to near high levels on Monday.

The low pressure has dipped to 977 mb by Friday morning 9/21. Models show the system tracking towards the ENE as it exits the Hawaii swell window late Friday into Saturday. Small to moderate surf from 330-360 degrees is expected for Tuesday, dropping to small levels on Wednesday from the same direction.

…models track a gale east along the central Aleutians north of Hawaii by Tuesday, giving way to small to moderate surf for Friday 9/28 from 340-360 degrees, holding into Saturday 9/29.

All that doesn’t do me any good though since I’m still on the disabled list (long story, but the upshot is that I’m rehabing from torn gluteus medius/minimus – yea, a real pain in the ass. Hoping to get back on the water within another couple of weeks). The injury also partially explains the dearth of blog posts here lately, since I’ve been pretty much trying to ignore the wind and waves for the past 6 weeks or so. Sorry about that.

2 Responses to “Say Goodbye to Flat North Shore Surf Mode”

  1. Ben Jamin Jones September 30, 2012 at 9:58 am #

    Good luck with your rehab. I’m also on the windsurfing disabled list, recovering from a pulled/sprained groin. Not too far from a pain in the ass in fact. I’ve been told that a couple weeks not windsurfing would be wise (foot slipping off board mid jibe was the cause). However I can surf and SUP without much pain. Also swimming, biking, light running are OK. Meanwhile we’re getting all our boards re-decked at the Goya/Quattro shop (which I strongly advice everyone with production boards do about yearly). Hope to see you back on the water soon!


  2. Jeff Bennett September 30, 2012 at 10:10 am #

    Thanks Ben. It is tough to refrain from windsurfing – especially when I know there’s surf. But, even though I can finally do normal things like walk and sit without pain, I’m not ready to get on the water yet. I think as windsurfers/surfers/ SUPers we’re some times too eager to get back on the water. That’s why I’ve been off for so long. I got back on the water before I should have. Best to suck it up and get stronger first. We’ve got a long season of waves ahead of us and in the grand scheme of things, missing a few weeks on the water is not that big of deal – at least that’s what I keep telling myself.