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January 2019

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The Surf & Weather Forecast for

Southern California

January 8, 2019



Thank you for your patience during the break.  I heard we had a couple solid swells while I was gone, so thank you for not rioting because there were no updates.  Anyways looking out, we’ve got a pretty active pattern in the works right now.  There’s currently some fun W-WNW (275-295) energy leftover from the weekend.  The next big swell arrives Wednesday.  It’s likely to bring large surf to the region through Thursday with lingering moderate sized surf through the start of the weekend.  Another pulse is due over the weekend as well.  Read more for details.

Get the live Southern California Buoy Forecast graph here -

Surfwise we’re going to see size ease a little bit Tuesday.  The swell leftover from the weekend should still be bringing some fun knee to chest high+ surf at standouts.  Wednesday the 9th is going to start off a little smaller, but a fairly large pulse of W-WNW (275-295) from a storm that is briefly producing 40+ foot seas off the coast of San Francisco.

This storm is positioned very well to generate a quick westerly swell that is going to have some serious punch.  That means good exposure for breaks in areas like Santa Barbara, and the North Bay, basically similar areas that have been getting swell the past few days after this weekend’s pulse.  As far as size goes, the charts are suggesting that the Harvest buoy could see swell heights larger than 15 feet.  From what I can tell that wasn’t quite as big as the swell that hit in mid December, but still pretty solid, especially with long periods around 17 to 18 seconds during the peak.

With the pulse of swell coming in quick, the surf could surge through the day Wednesday with standout exposures typically seeing overhead to well overhead surf.  It’s possible that there could be some bigger exposures seeing double overhead or double overhead+ sets, but those will likely be late in the day as the swell peaks, and limited to top magnets.  Size will ease through the day Thursday and then linger more Friday and early Saturday likely settling into the knee to chest high+ range for the exposed coast.  Conditionwise it looks like the storm is going to stay to the north.  There could be a little rain on Wednesday, but for the most part its expected to stay north of Pt. Conception though.  Because the storm is supposed to stay north, its likely to mean less wind, with potentially light variable winds through the first half of the day on Wednesday then shifting onshore, but not too strong.  Probably enough to add some texture to the surface, but not blow out the surf.  Thursday looks similar.

Another potentially more “troublesome” storm is expected for the weekend.  The storm is actually supposed to be somewhat weaker, but takes a more southerly track aimed at Southern California.  That means weaker swell and likely more of a mix of wind swell and westerly medium to long-period energy arriving late Friday into Saturday and a higher chance of wind and rain on the surface.  Surfwise we’re expecting wave heights to be more moderate in the chest to overhead+ range at standouts, with more average spots likely waist to head high.  Again more textured and likely a little lower on the surfiness scale.  Wave heights should hold through Sunday morning.  A smaller pulse of backup energy could help maintain waist to head high surf at standouts through the start of next week, but another storm on the heals of the one from earlier in the weekend could bring wetter weather through the first half of the week.

Here’s what to expect on a day-to-day basis this week:

Tuesday the 8th smaller leftovers expected.  Light winds in the morning, with a fairly high tide.  Wave heights likely in the knee to chest high range

Wednesday the 9th new Westerly swell builds through the morning, likely peaking in the afternoon/evening.  Wave heights could be running overhead to well overhead at standouts, with potential for bigger sets at westerly magnets.  Tide goes low late.

Thursday the 10th light conditions and fun sized leftovers through the day.  Wave heights could be running chest to overhead+ at standouts, possibly bigger in the morning, but dependent on high tide.

Friday the 11th W-WNW swell mix eases into knee to chest high+ range.  Keeping an eye on the weather as another storm approaches late

Saturday the 12th The WNW-NW swell mix picks up as another storm works its way through Socal.  Wave heights could build into the chest to overhead+ range, but likely to be a bit mixed up with shorter and medium-long period energy.

Sunday the 13th swell mix holds in the chest overhead+ range with breezy conditions possible as another storm approaches.

Monday the 14th moderate mixed up storm swell and potential for wet weather.

Tropical Overview

No tropical cyclones at this time


North Pacific Swell Forecast

As we look further out the long-range models are showing an active pattern starting up near the dateline that could mean a series of longer-period WNW swells arriving through the second half of the month, followed by more wet weather.

The first system worth noting looks like it will send swell for around the 14th/15th.  Periods could be quite long, and the angle a little steep, making it a spottier and slightly inconsistent swell, but should still bring some fun surf for the first half of next week.

The longer range models are hinting at another low working through the North Pacific near the dateline.  This one looks a little weaker, but has a much better angle.  It’s too early to call, but it could mean another round of moderate swell for around the 18th.  We’ll have to wait and see how that works out though.

South Pacific Swell Forecast

Nothing too exciting to report there.

Austin Gendron

Surf Forecaster


































































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